Who Is Afraid of Card Readers?

By Debo Adeniran

The forthcoming 2015 general elections have recently been throwing up series of interesting scenario which, by all estimation, marks it the most controversial, most contentious and in fact, the most chaotic in the history of electioneering in this country so far.

The two prominent gladiators i.e. the ruling Peoples Democratic Party and the opposition All Progressives Congress have since been at each other’s jugular, trading accusations and brickbats.

Party campaigns, which should have been an issue-based exercise, have so far been reduced to mere mud-slinging, brickbats, name-calling, hate campaigns, innuendoes and in many cases, outright blackmailing. However, we cannot but allow all these to go on, on the excuse that, as some are quick to remind us, ours is still a nascent democracy. “We are still growing; we shall certainly get there someday.”

Granted that our over 50 years democratic experience is still considered young and that mistakes made are meant to serve as tools for getting better as we advance towards perfection, we cannot however help asking the question:  can we ever get any better in the face of apparent retrogression in our attitudes generally especially with the way we operate under our own peculiar, but absurd form of democracy? One would naturally have expected that an over 50-year-old person should be able to display some appreciable degree of maturity but when such a person now behaves like a toddler, something fundamentally nay pathologically is wrong and as such, a major, comprehensive surgical operation, cannot be substituted.

Excuse-makers, for series of abnormalities displayed by the major players in our political turf, are always quick to remind us of how the likes of the United States of America have had to grow steadily through decades and centuries before getting to where they are today. But the basic question these excuse-makers should have to provide answers to is; could America have been able to get to this enviable stage today if it had been a case of one-step-forward, five-steps-backward, as is seemed to be the case with Nigeria? Can growth be synonymous with retrogression?

Well, it is generally agreed that the very foundational bane of our society, has always been the issue of poor leadership. This being the case therefore, the only option left for Nigerians to effect the desired change is no other than to elect leaders of their choice and this could only be made possible through a free, fair and credible election.

Professor Attahiru Jega, chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, today, has had, placed squarely on his shoulders, that onerous task of organizing elections that would be acceptable to Nigerians in particular and the international community that has expressed so much interest in what becomes of the world’s largest black nation as it files out to choose its leaders for the next four years.

Since making public his Commission’s time-table for the election, the afore-mentioned two leading gladiators have been having one issue after the other to contend with. Most pronounced of these contentious issues have centered on the appropriateness or otherwise of amendment in the set time-table, allegation of lopsidedness in the distribution method of the PVCs by INEC, the competence of the INEC as presently composed particularly Jega, the Chairman, as a section of agitators, mainly from the ruling party, the PDP, now calls for his removal and substitution ahead of the elections and most recently the issue of the appropriateness or otherwise of the use of the car reader in the process of voting at the polls.

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