On February 24, 2023, I entered an office to make payment for a service while a Turkish man told me that he had been following the Nigerian election online. He asked why our leaders compromised the “will” of the people. He said Nigeria has a lot of natural resources, but why do people still suffer and even sell their votes during elections? My head was buried in shame; this is the image our leaders and politicians have gifted us, even as an international student.
The Nigerian Presidential and National Assembly election, which was held on February 20, 2023, across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, was not only an election that made young people lose hope in the system but an election that justified what the slave master did to our forefathers. The intimidation that went on in Lagos State, Rivers State, and the eastern and northern parts of Nigeria against a sect of this country justified what the South Africans did to Nigerians.
The 2023 election revived the story of Rosa Park and how she was intimidated by white folks. A country where a celebrated kingpin in the heart of Oshodi threatened that the Igbo could not perform their constitutional rights in front of a camera, and he was given lolly pop by a security agent. This election has shown that, as Nigerians, we have no right to say that Black Lives Matter when our countrymen’s lives do not matter in their own country. A country where the laws that bind the Northern Nigerians do not bind the Southern Nigerians. A country where underage people were given the utmost right to vote in the north while it is a crime for an underage person to vote in the southern part of Nigeria, which is an act that perpetrates massive election rigging and is being swept under the rug. I think we deserve what our colonial masters did to us.
The 2023 election has not only divided us along religious and ethnic lines but also through political violence and the rigging of elections by those who were vested with the responsibility of conducting a free and fair election. This act was not only shameful but also criminal. The independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) spent $355 billion for the 2023 election to transmit election results in real-time through the Bimodal Voters Accreditation System (BVAS) and IREV, but only to give excuses that the server mal-functioned and failed to transmit the presidential election result from 176,800 polling units as promised. INEC failed to deliver on his responsibility: different results from the polling unit and different results announced . I know if it was an ordinary Nigerian who failed to perform his responsibilities, he or she will be dealt with, but I know heaven won’t fall. Invariably, there is no difference between ballot snatchers and the independent National Electoral Commission.
The hope of the ordinary Nigerian has been thrown out of the window and shattered! What a country! How would INEC explain that only 25.2 million out of 87.2 percent of registered voters voted? A country where every election must end up in court, in a country where people rig elections to favor their party, and they call it a “free and fair election. When they say the voice of the people is the voice of God in my country, I strongly disagree. In Nigeria, the voice of the people during elections is not the voice of God; it is the voice of the oppressor.