Essays / The Pontifical Papers

YOU’RE STILL ON CERTIFICATES, EH? YOU HAVE NO EFFIN’ CLUE! | by Ayo Sogunro

If you think the availability or not of General Buhari’s certificates are the main issue in Nigeria’s electoral process, then you need to get your head out of that placard-carrying ass.

There are graver issues at stake, with terrible possibilities for Nigeria’s future. Now is the time for us—as citizens—to start scrutinising the serious issues, instead of waiting to react when the reality of these issues begin to manifest.

For example, can a presidential election be delivered freely and fairly while Boko-Haram runs riot in the North-East? If not, then how do we handle the constitutional requirements of territorial votes from “all the States of the Federation and the Federal Capital Territory”? Will Goodluck Jonathan be foolhardy enough to take advantage of the wartime tenure extension provisions in the Constitution? If he does so, how should we react to the exercise of such a constitutional power? Does the opposition APC have a sensible proposition to avoid misunderstanding, or a consensus policy on all of this? Does PDP have a party statement to guide the president’s actions? Does anyone even care?

The looming scenario is not difficult to imagine. INEC has the power to keep postponing the elections under the Electoral Act. The legislature has the  constitutional power to extend Goodluck Jonathan’s tenure for up to six months at a time for as long as Boko Haram controls territories in the North-East.

So what is public opinion on these? What is government policy on these? Or should we ignore these questions and their attendant scenarios and just play it by ear—and then beat the shit out of one another when things fall apart?

Those are the real issues facing the conduct of the 2015 elections. But because a number of us Nigerians have a retarded sort of attitude, we tend to think that what happens in the North-East is unimportant if we are not directly affected by it.

Yet, inescapably, a presidential election is not a piecemeal process—all the states in Nigeria (Northeast inclusive) have to participate as one single constituency. And astonishingly, we continue to act as though, nope, the North-East is foreign territory.

That is a very false approach, and I have analysed here some constitutional provisions that could screw up the entire election process.

Now that the National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, has recommended to INEC that the elections should be postponed, the time for analysis may be fast closing on us, giving way to a floodgate of reactionary behaviour.

And most reactionary behaviour are dumb ones—particularly in politics.

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