Dr. Louis Brown Ogbeifun

Accredited Mediator | Certified Professional Manager and Trainer in Workplace Conflicts


Amidst Political Turmoil: Reflections on Nigeria’s Election Day

As the political fever bell tolls, twenty-eight states shall hold governorship elections today. Houses of Assembly elections will also hold in the thirty-six states of the Federation.

Why am I using the “bell tolls?” Bell tolling is the slow ringing of a bell, which signifies grief. I worry because many states are facing political shakeups that would make it look like a disastrous end for some political gladiators.

Besides, there shall be voters apathy in many states because of lack of confidence in the system. I am also worried because of the harrassments of voters and INEC officials, and the possible destruction of INEC materials.

Anambra, Bayelsa, Edo, Ekiti, Imo, Kogi, Ondo, and Osun (ABEEIKOO) Governors are resting and possibly having some celebrations because of their off-electoral cycle. The off-electoral cycle is due to the courtesy of court judgments, which have, over the years, rescheduled their election dates from others because of litigation from electoral petitions and matters.

From what is happening across the nation, many dark spots of violence could erupt tonight until the elections are over by the evening when voting shall be over. When the ashes of the election battles settle, the tribunal and Supreme court will likely add more to these off-cycle electoral ABEEIKOO states. States to watch today, which might interest security agencies, include Bauchi, Delta, Kaduna, Lagos, Oyo, and Rivers.

Though Edo Governorship is not up for grabs, the past four years of intra-party crisis might lead to protest votes from aggrieved people. The aggrieved People Democratic Party (PDP) members might align with the All Progressive Congress (APC) or Labour Party (LP) to shake the status quo as we saw with the presidential election, a case of what the rat cannot eat, it must scatter.

Unfortunately, we do not learn lessons from what happened to others. I have seen people lose electoral value and get diminished when they sabotage their parties. Many spent time and money to help the opposition to defeat their parties in 2015 and 2019. As events unfolded, they were seemingly used and dumped. It is always the case because people in the new party would be suspicious and cannot trust that they will not do the same thing in the future.

Check out those who were in the PDP but decided to sabotage their party by aligning with others to emplace an opposition in 2015. Some got ministerial appointments after that. Though they got their rewards, many lost out in the political chess game during and after the presidential primaries. So many others became irrelevant. If care is not taken, their political lights and the candor they enjoyed over time have dimmed. They may be rich, but money cannot buy integrity, and many may not be able to sleep with their two eyes closed in their states.

Though the ABEEIKOO states are not changing their Chief Executives, the Governors should pray and work hard not to see their Houses of Assembly taken over by the opposition. If this happens, governance will be made difficult for the incumbent Governors to the extent that some may face shaky moments of impeachment threats that might, in the end, lead to severe crises in those states. So, there are exciting and anxious moments ahead of us.

Today’s election may become a watershed in our history because there may be many firsts. There is no doubt that incumbents will want to use their powers to hang on to power, but the presidential election has shown that the emergence of a third force might sweep aside many of the old order.

The political tsunami that prevented nine governors from achieving their senatorial ambitions could signal many more falling, especially in states where the Governors did not perform to people’s expectations. If they force any candidate on the people, the courts might reverse many positions to the shame of the political parties. Besides, the shakeup might lead to many of the present Governors being picked up for questioning after May 29.

Most losers in today’s Governorship and Assembly elections shall approach the tribunals, and we will likely see more court-emplaced Hope! Hope!! Hope!!! (Fr. Mbaka’s mantra of I see hope in my mind.) So, when more shall join the ABEEIKOO states, INEC and security agencies will have time to plan and execute credible elections in those off-electoral cycle states because of the staggering elections and smaller numbers.

So, when the untoward shall happen, it will send a dire signal to the ABEEIKOO states on what to expect. Like it or not, our little revolution wherein leaders shall now be afraid of the power of the electorates would have commenced.

Knowing that whomever you vote for has four years over you, your welfare, and security, be wise, bold, and patriotic as you vote for truth and competence above all other interests.

As you leave your abode today, I’d like to ask you to apply wisdom. Only those who vote and return home safely will live to vote another day. As you vote, please, apply caution and stay safe so our paths can cross again.

Grace and peace!!!