April 23, 2011

Post Election Violence: Not Buhari’s Fault?

In US election seasons caustic words from candidates are known to result in violent actions among the voting public. The recent shooting of US Democratic congress woman Gillfords (and eighteen others) has also been linked to intolerant comments made by some politicians in the media. Ted Baxter, Abu Dhabi based US citizen had this very informative take on this shooting: “The shooting of Gabrielle Giffords along with the deaths of six other innocents in Arizona demonstrates just what can happen when a sizable, uneducated and unenlightened group such as the Tea Party movement calls for blood. Call the opposition communists, feed the masses who don't want a black man as president of your country with hatred, lies and prejudice, show rifle crosshairs in your election literature, talk about "gunning" for the Tea Party, repeat firearms analogies and hold weapons as a core part of your policy - and what do you get? Murder. By stoking fear and hatred you reap what you sow. All we need now is for Sarah Palin to weep some "oh so sincere" tears in front of a Fox News audience.” All hell will let loose. We are here talking about a country, the United States of America, where the literacy level is close to 99% according to the CIA factbook (though the US National Assessment of Adult Literacy puts the figure at about 68% using some other measures). In general, the US population is nearly 100% aware of what civilization means and majority of the people are virtually in control of themselves and are fiercely “independent”. Ironically, Buhari was seen on national television shedding tears and saying this was his last election. His campaign trail greeting is the clenched fist power salute popularized by the American liberation struggle. Several violent words like “lynch”, “rig & roast” 2011 where used copiously during the run up to this election

Buhari Weeps Buhari Weeps before the election. The question is with the number of people killed following the election could he sincerely weep for the dead?

Now consider what the scenario would be in Northern Nigeria. The literacy level in most of the North is about 5% according to the BBC. Whereas the literacy in most parts of the south  is above 80%. Notwithstanding this level of literacy nearly every northerner has a portable radio. They carry it with them everywhere they go, and they listen to radio broadcasts more then they read the Koran. Imagine the millions of voters listening; clutching to their radios at that very emotional moment as the election results began to trickle in. There was evident victory by Buhari in parts of the North, as expected, towards the lowest literacy zones. Then the feeling of victory is overtaken by some despair as results from elsewhere shows Buhari is going to lose eventually. Just as the millions of masses were feeling the disappointment of defeat; Buhari goes on air (Hausa service Al-Jazeera) and delivers his statements and later the VOA, alleging that the election was systematically rigged. He also said at that time, that he was not going to challenge the results in court because, according to him, he has done that before and it was no good; which was a subtle driver to tell his supporters “look, I am done with crying, I am helpless here, but I have evidence to show that I have been robbed once again; you can fight now for me”. At this moment I could imagine majority of the CPC northern Muslims moving in anger to execute what we have now witnessed as post-election violence. Consider these statements, below, credited to Buhari after the elections. Then consider how those statements would play out in the mind of ordinary northerners who had voted for him.

"In the (Niger Delta region) and the southeast, there were no elections and our supporters weren't allowed to vote," –Buhari on Voice of America radio's Hausa-language service.

Who was not allowed to vote? Why did they have to wait for election results to be declared before speaking up and why choose to have Buhari speak for them? If they are really lacking in expression how did they find the courage to suddenly turn violently expressive?

“We have evidence in our hands that the computers were programmed to produce rigged results.” Buhari in an interview with Al Jazeera

"[We] uncovered in Katsina and Kano that the computer was programmed to cheat us, the CPC, by 40 and 26 percentage respectively," - Buhari on Voice of America radio's Hausa-language service.

A plausible explanation to an illiterate voter; but the CPC representatives signed on the forms after the results were counted and tallied. Did PDP also pay them to cheat their principal, Buhari, and the other parties too and INEC and then the result was posted on the booth were the election was held. Was that also rigged? Take a look at YouTube and you would find loads of videos showing the process and the results as they happened. Are those PDP agents too? Of course the results could have errors which any statistician would tell you, all calculations have a margin of error. But to say, the computer program was rigged to cheat CPC? Give me a break, Buhari is simple showing us how literate he is. Perhaps he does not even understand how to send an email. And this is someone who thinks he can rule this country? Shame. Part of the problem I see in the INEC election process is that Alhaji Jega had not taken time to explain completely to ordinary voters the election process. Many voters are still susceptible to suggestions on what is involved in the process.

"We are going to prove that it was even the worst because of the sophisticated rigging by using computers. The way people were disenfranchised especially in South-South, South-East, and part of the South-West." –Buhari on Al Jazeera

“Sophisticated rigging by using computers” Indeed. Buhari also said this before the election and then he said he believes 60% of the election will be free and fair. This is very unusual. If the South-South, South-East and South-West were disenfranchised why are they not speaking up? Is Buhari now their spokesman? He did not even campaign in the south-east and south-south and how can he expect even one vote?

Buhari again has demonstrated that he does not understand politics nor the mood of the voters, especially in the south. I will doubt that anyone even voted for Buhari in the South-South and South-East. For various reasons the south-south and south-east had no stake in Buhari’s campaign organization and ticket. All of the high ranking people in his ticket are not from that region: his vice is from the West, his party chairman-south west etc. Why and how does he expect a vote from that same region? Is it because he is trusted, detribalized and will protect rights of voters in this region? On the contrary their have been indications in his past that the opposite will be the case. All of the major Northern candidates have actually campaigned in a way to suggest that there would be violence if they failed to win. This position was first toyed with by Atiku, then Ribadu and Buhari himself. Only Alhaji Shekarau has campaigned on a non-volatile manner. They have all taken for granted the contribution of their statements to what we are now witnessing. When Buhari says that no elections were held in the south east and south-south in a Hausa service station what did he expect? These politicians simply do not understand the power of their opinions, at least, or he was outright malicious. Buhari has got blood on his hands right now.

At all the elections in the past, when a Northerner has won, the election was always massively rigged in their favour. The same was the case when Yar’adua was elected. Of course it is still doubtful if he would have lost had the election been free and fair. When Shagari was elected he did so ridding on the support of parts of the south-east and south-south. In 1983 an Igbo family I got acquainted with actually supported the NPN. Part of the reason, why that was the case, was because it was felt that no matter how the south voted, NPN was going to be rigged in. So it was a case of “If you cannot beat them, join them”. And besides he had an Igbo vice president who would have been next in line if sustained. None of those factors was a fact in this election. Buhari had no base in the whole of the South. See businessday and hear what one of his South-eastern associates had to say about this election. Buhari did not made a concrete plan to court the South-East and South-South and like Atiku he hoped to win the entire North and add a sprinkling of the South to go on to victory. But he failed to realize that sections of the North are not going to vote for him either. How remarkably progressive? About 50% of voters in Kaduna voted for . Does not that tell him something? No need to continue making inflammatory statements he lost fair and square. Even if you put the margin of error at 20%, which will be outrageous, Buhari will still loose. By the way everyone assumes it was only the PDP that should be rigging the election simply because is the incumbent administration. Who says that CPC candidates and machinery are not also involved quiet as much? So in the North those underage voters etc. where are they from? The CPC’s former National Publicity Secretary, Dennis Aghanya, later said the election as attested to by international observers was free and fair and he blamed Buhari’s failure on sabotage by “fifth columnists” from within the CPC’. Independent polls showed the pattern of the election, the national assembly polls supported it and in actual fact Buhari and CPC failed in the real elections why continue to instigate revolts by making those comments. Do you think Buhari’s handling of his defeat was a factor in the revolts and disturbances in the North? You bet. Leadership is about being aware of one’s influence and wielding it in a manner that gave maximum effect to the public good. “Only Buhari”? not a leader.


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Your analysis are right to some point. I can assure you if the table is reversed, the same type of violence will occur in the south. That is why I did not agree with your suggestive argument that the north just because of what they hear or what they think the electoral process is .They are rioting. Both the North and the South will always believe the electoral is manipulated.
The truth of the matter, is it is not a north or south issue, it is general issue facing the nation. Even when nobody is declared a winner, some miscreants will still deemed it right to riot.
For Buhari, to say, the election is rigged by programming the computer. Someone needs to enlighten him and assure him that is not the case.
In all we need to move on, and be a better brothers and sisters. Anyone who have served in the federally constituted environment, be it, military, NYSC, Police will know, there is nothing like North or south. It only existed in the Political environment to sake pity.
Congratulations to the winner, He should not forget, 4 years will pass by in a jiffy, there is no dependable light, even in Aso rock, things should start to be in place to jump start the economy, to enghance every Nigerian social well being.

Anonymous said...

Do the politicians even care about the safety of their constituents when they make instigating statements? Even JOnathan's reference to biafran war seems to be a subtle implication that the southsouth and southeast will be willing to enter into war to defend his mandate

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