The presidential elections are over. Finally.
We’re still around though, some celebrating, some mourning, some (sadly) blowing things up. I sit here, a bitter aftertaste spoiling the thrill of victory (it was after all, at least to a degree, a victory for Nigerians)…
Hence this post. It’s something of a review, really, but from an angle different angle than most of us (me too) have been in the past one year. A review of the elections, without criticism or blame-throwing. Something positive, you know?
WHAT WAS GOOD ABOUT THESE ELECTIONS?
Participation. People took this thing personally, didn’t they? Never seen so many Nigerians genuinely interested in politics in all my life. Even football took a back seat, if only briefly!
Technology. In the year when we had the “Twitter revolutions”, we launched our “Twitter elections.” The social media effect may well be overrated, but I can hardly be persuaded that it didn’t count for something.
Youth awareness. A cousin told me many of his secondary school classmates wished they were old enough to participate! Even my 8 year old cousin caught the buzz.
(See this post on my blog for more good fallouts: https://tambaya.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/7-lessons-from-nigerias-2011-polls/)
WHO WERE THE HEROES?
Attahiru Jega. My kids will hear of this guy. I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t get at least one “Man of the Year” award.
NYSC members who served the electorate. You did good, guys. Whether you did it for the money or for your values, you did it, period. Because, hey, you didn’t have to. And some of you paid the ultimate price: your lives.
Goodluck Jonathan. I know, I know, I didn’t vote him. But that’s just the point. I voted. And he did help make it possible, anyhow you look at it.
Every Nigerian who voted. You “pressed your hand”. May your children honour you for taking a stand.
The “yoot” demographic. Never was I so proud to be both young and Nigerian. May our generation do greater things.
(I know, it looks like I’ve included everybody. Look again.)
WHAT COULD USE WORK, MOVING FORWARD?
Incumbency. There’s no getting away from the fact of incumbency, but we need to shed it of the near-omnipotence it presently wields. Level playing fields help the game.
Logistics. Prof. Jega did a great job, but as they used to tell us in primary school, there is much room for improvement. Integrity is good, but integrity and logistics experience is way better. Why choose when we can have both? Or can’t we?
Grassroots education. Campaigns are all very well, but there needs to be a way to get more nonpartisan info to the masses. Right?
Rigging. Need I say more?
(I’m not going to ask who the villains have been. That comes too naturally, and I’m learning to be sceptical of such reactions.)
Wanna take a shot? Remember, though: no criticism, not of any actor in this political drama, not of anyone’s comments. We’re all emotional right now, and you could just start another crisis. Just add your own bit, thank you.
Even more, I hope you share this.
Now let’s get on with this nation-building thing, shall we?
GOD BLESS NIGERIA.