BREAKING: UK general election: British democracy shames Nigerian ineptocracy, by Olu Fasan -
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BREAKING: UK general election: British democracy shames Nigerian ineptocracy, by Olu Fasan

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TRUST Nigerians, some will scoff at any comparison between Britain’s democracy and what Nigeria calls democracy. But if democracy is, as Abraham Lincoln famously defined it, “government of the people, by the people, for the people”, then Nigeria must be held to universal standards.

The critical electoral link between the government and the governed must not be severed, and democracy must not become ineptocracy, a system run by inept people. In any representative democracy, the irreducible core is the will of the people freely expressed in credible elections. That’s why last week’s UK general election offers some lessons.

What happened in Britain last week was people power, and nothing, absolutely nothing, was done to thwart it. The critical starting point in any election is its logistics, to ensure that no eligible voter is directly or indirectly disenfranchised. But in virtually every election in Nigeria since 1999, millions of Nigerians were disenfranchised. First, because of the incompetence of INEC, the electoral body, which often failed to ensure that everyone got a voter card, which often failed to ensure that voting started early, and which often failed to ensure that the technologies worked smoothly without avoidable “technical glitches”. Several elections were postponed for logistical reasons, and yet they still failed. Then, there are electoral violence, vote-buying, ballot-box stuffing, ballot-box snatching, and myriad other irregularities that cumulatively frustrate the will and free consent of the people.

None of those happened in the UK general election. The voting time was between 7am and 10pm, and those starting and closing times were sacrosanct. Like many people, I went to work and left my office in central London around 7pm, got to the polling station at 9pm and voted with absolute ease. By midnight, the first constituency result was announced and by 5am it was obvious who had won the general election. There were recounts where the results were close, and everyone accepted the outcome. Party thugs did not snatch ballot boxes and electoral officers did not collude with any party or any candidate to alter the results. Twelve members of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s cabinet lost their seats; Liz Truss, a former prime minister, also lost her seat. They all accepted the results because the election was free, fair and transparent, and reflected the will of the people.

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Some would say the above elide the “fact” that Nigeria is a developing country. But that stretches credulity given that Nigerians are running international institutions, such as the World Trade Organisation, and are making their mark globally in all spheres of life. Professor Mahmood Yakubu, the chairman of INEC, is a product of both Oxford University and Cambridge University, obtaining a doctorate from the former. In principle, he could run a global institution. So, why has he failed as INEC chairman? The answer is simple: Nigeria lacks strong and independent institutions, and those running the country’s public institutions lack the values and courage to do what’s right. In other words, Nigeria’s democracy lacks guardrails, both institutions and individuals that can protect it against destructive forces.

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For me, the critical issue is the will of the people, the consent of the governed. In his book Enemies of Society, Paul Johnson argues that the true essence of democracy is “the ability to remove a government without violence, to punish political failure by votes.” But where that ability is taken away through the incompetence of the electoral body, through vote-buying, rigging and other forms of electoral malpractices, then there is no democracy. That’s why I have repeatedly said in this column that Nigeria is not a democracy. For, let’s face it, there are too many people in power who got there by electoral frauds, helped by INEC officials.

Last week, in the UK, the electorate were angry. They were fed up with 14 years of Conservative governments, with five prime ministers in eight years, and they wanted change. The same thing happened in South Africa where the voters punished the African National Congress, ANC, and cost the party its majority, reducing it to 40 per cent of the vote, for the first time in 30 years. Earlier this week, the French electorate penalised President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist alliance, Ensemble, pushing it into second position after the second round of the National Assembly elections. That’s true democracy in action. It’s people power!

But tell me, if Prime Minister Sunak, President Macron and President Cyril Ramaphosa could manipulate their country’s electoral system to favour themselves and their parties, would they? I think not. Why? Well, first, their moral consciences and values as true democrats would not let them to do so. Second, and more importantly, the British, French and South African electoral institutions, and those running them, are so robust and independent that they would not allow any incumbent leader, indeed any politician, to distort the electoral system. But not so in Nigeria. Truth is, a typical Nigerian president will exploit his incumbency to manipulate elections to his or his party’s advantage, and the institutions are too weak, and absolutely lack the independence, to constrain him.

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Last year, President Buhari said that he changed the Petroleum Industry Act to postpone the withdrawal of the fuel subsidy so as “to allow Tinubu to win the election,” saying Tinubu would have lost if he had removed the subsidy before the election. So, if Buhari deliberately changed a law to allow Tinubu to win the presidential election, what else did he do? Did he lean on INEC to tilt the balance in Tinubu’s favour?

Democracy is the ability to punish political failure by votes. Thus, given Buhari’s disastrous eight-year presidency and the unpopularity of Tinubu, who selfishly foisted him on Nigeria, their party, APC, shouldn’t have won the presidency last year. And, if you ask me, APC did not win, or, at least, did not have a popular mandate. INEC said Tinubu got 8.8m or 37 per cent of the 24m votes cast. Thus, he was rejected by a whopping 63 per cent or 15m voters!…READ FULL ARTICLE

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Ndume: Tinubu Has Resolved To Be A One-term President, Nigerians Must Ensure His Defeat In 2027 – Lukman

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A former National Vice Chairman (North-west) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Salihu Lukman, has said the actions of President Bola Tinubu have suggested that he is not interested in serving a second term as Nigeria’s leader….READ FULL ARTICLE

The former APC chieftain added that both President Tinubu and the APC are charting the way to lose the 2027 presidential elections and Nigerians must help them to taste defeat.

Speaking in a statement on Thursday, against the background of the sack of Borno South Senator, Ali Ndume as the Chief Whip of the Senate on Wednesday, Lukman said it is a testament to the fact that the current administration does not want to be criticized.

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He added that the Tinubu government and the ruling APC are pushing Nigeria to the edges of dictatorial governance similar to what Nigerians witnessed during the days of military government under late General Sani Abacha.

Lukman, in a statement titled, “Fanatical Mindset,” lamented that free speech is under threat and personal liberties of the citizens are being encroached upon.

He also called out the Senate for allowing its operational independence to be rubbished after Ndume was removed based on a letter signed by the APC National Chairman, Abdullahi Ganduje, arguing that there was nowhere in the APC

Constitution where the National Chairman, National Secretary, or any official, or even the National Working Committee, is given the powers to summarily remove any principal officer of the National Assembly.

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The former chieftain said it is a shame that the APC and the Senate Caucus got involved in such acts of illegality.

He said:“The way things are, it is almost as if President Asiwaju Tinubu has resolved that he will only be a one term President. Under his watch, the living conditions of Nigerians is continuously getting worse. Instead of making effort to develop clear plans to address the situation, the government is becoming more intolerant to criticism.

“Any democracy that cannot accommodate criticism is no democracy. A democracy that subverts fair hearing is a dictatorship. A democracy that permits a ruling party to demobilise its organs and inadvertently expels its members is worse than a military government.”

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“So long as APC, its leadership and Asiwaju Tinubu’s government have taken the self-destructive path, which is equivalent to a declaration of working end their tenure in 2027, patriotic Nigerians must help them to ensure their defeat in 2027!”…READ FULL ARTICLE

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20 Trucks of Rice: It will not get to those suffering. The Tinubu government isn’t ready to listen to advice – Primate Ayodele

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Primate Elijah Ayodele, leader of the INRI Evangelical Spiritual Church, has criticized the Nigerian federal government for distributing trucks of rice to state governments. He said the initiative would only result in increased corruption and hardship, as governors are indifferent to the needs of the impoverished….READ FULL ARTICLE

In a statement by his media aide, Oluwatosin Osho, Ayodele asserted that the rice would not reach those truly in need, but would instead be distributed among party members.

He also claimed President Tinubu’s administration was unwilling to heed constructive advice.

He said;‘’There is no way this will get to the needy, those who are suffering

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“The Tinubu government isn’t ready to listen to advice. They are not doing what is feasible, Nigerians are hungry and angry, everyone is affected, the president must be careful.

‘’Sending trucks of rice to governors that don’t care about the needs of the people, that don’t share in people’s pains, is tantamount to arbitrary corruption. They will give it to their party members, loyalists and even hoard it.

“Why is this government not listening? The more you bring such, the more the hardship. The truck of rice will only increase hardship and poverty, that’s not the solution.’’

‘’This is simple mathematics, like God revealed to Pharaoh about famine, God has revealed to prophets the situation of Nigeria, we have said this in 2022 about what Nigeria will experience, it is better the government listens before it kills the economy.

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‘’The government should have taken the trucks to markets across the country and sold them at a very subsidized rate to the needy. The impact will be felt more than giving it to state governors,” he added….READ FULL ARTICLE

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He Is Always Talking About My Structure, My Structure, What Are The Structures For? -Dan Nwanyanwu

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According to the report from the Sun, the chairman of the Zenith Labour Party, Dan Nwanyanwu acknowledged that Nyesom Wike possesses significant influence within the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) at both the state and national levels….READ FULL ARTICLE

He questioned the purpose of these political structures that Wike frequently refers to as his

own, highlighting the fact that these structures existed before Wike’s rise to power.

He suggested that while there might not be explicit evidence in the form of written or verbal statements, the influence and impact of these

structures are evident to those familiar with the inner workings of politics.

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He said, “He (Wike) has the structure of PDP and Rivers, he has the structure of PDP in Rivers, he has the structure of PDP at the national,

and he’s always talking about my structure, my structure, what are the structures for? Somebody had them before you came, you see if you’re looking for evidence that something is written or that something is said,

you won’t find it, if you’re in that game, and you know how these things work, the evidence is everywhere.”…READ FULL ARTICLE

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