Time after time, human beings tend to ignore positive milestones, but fixate on issues of less relevance to the development and improvement of good governance. The elections that elected officials in 2011 in the country clearly signified the characters and integrity of President Goodluck Jonathan and Professor Attahiru Jega of INEC. The elections of 2007 and 2011 were like day and night, apples and oranges, and dry fruits and fresh berry fruits. It clearly showed patriotism and mediocrity. It showed love of a country versus corruption and willful destruction of the will of the people. It showed decency versus dirty politics. It showed honor and dishonor. It showed ballot stuffing versus the will of the people. Most practical and vivid benchmark to measure the last two elections in the country are very simple, and does not take a rocket scientist to distinguish the two; just take a look at the many and few court challenges to electoral victories and its reversals.
Leaders are born and not made. President Jonathan and Professor Attahiru Jega are real leaders. Their words truly matched their actions. The elections of 2007 were simply a child’s play; a typical exercise of fraud, Ponzi scheme and sheer nonsense. It meant nothing to many Nigerians and me too. It was a classic example of “Bubuyaya Bubuyaya, the more you look, the less you see syndrome.” The INEC of 2007 deserved criminal indictment in a society where judiciary works for the people. If anyone thinks I am not making sense, do some research on numbers of electoral challenges and reversals on supposedly fraudulent “victories?”
It is widely recognized that election irregularities are embedded in every electoral process all over the world, but men and women of integrity also use the exercise to separate adults from kids. I can state categorically that based on analysis of Nigerian’s elections of 2011, over 90 percent of elected officials received their mandates from the people, hence, elections challenges at the tribunals are few and all the challenges resulted to unfavorable outcome to the challengers – a clear indication that President Jonathan and Professor Jega, need great applause and recognitions for a job well done. It indicates the human decency in these men are beyond reproach that separated them from such corrupt leaders that believe that nation’s treasury solely belongs to them, their cronies and families. The elections of 2011gave Nigerian citizens in diaspora some arrays of hopes that their government would engage in infrastural improvement to benefit the masses, and for the fact that their elected leaders received their mandates from the people.
The team of President Goodluck and Professor Jega orchestrated the destruction of stuffed ballot boxes that are systematically planted to short-change the people. The case of Imo State Governor Owelle Rochas’ victory was a typical scenario. The mandate of the governor came from the people and since his election; his programs have been people-oriented ventures. The governor’s idealistic tendencies are toward improving the plight of the people that elected him. A very neutral observer will, without any doubt, could state without fear of any contradiction that Governor Rochas has his body and soul toward improving the lives of Imo State indigenes. The governor is doing well because he is a product of a president and INEC Chairman that obey the rule of law. President Jonathan set the ball rolling by his declarative statement that if he lost election, he would simply pack his belongings off Aso Rock and return to his village. If anyone is not convinced of the integrity and uprightness of the president, can anyone name any elected Nigerian leader that have taken such a glorious vow?
The elections of 2011 are the byproducts of honorable men. It is my humble opinion not to ignore the circumstances that engulfed Imo State governorship election. As plans had been hatched and ready for execution of the massive election rigging, the president and INEC chairman cleverly and systematically redeployed Imo State Resident Commissioner and members of the police force and substituted them with fresh hands and Nigerian troops from Artillery Brigade in Obinze to supervise the election. The brilliancy of President Jonathan and Professor Jega torpedoed every plan on hand as agents against the will of the people were cut red handed like a deer facing a broad flash headlight at the last minute.
The ballot box stuffers became disoriented and confused without knowing how the hidden bricks fell on them. What a smart move by the president and INEC chairman? Consequently, Imo voters celebrated like they did when our legendary Dee Sam Mbakwe was elected.
This write-up is specifically to honor President Jonathan and Professor Attahiru Jega for their professionalism, patriotism and human decency they displayed during the last election as they ushered in respect to the rule of law. I am very optimistic that elections of 2015 will be impeccably executed to the admiration of a grateful nation. Good job, sir and God bless.
Mazi Henry Otulle Eke writes from Austin, Texas, United State! Mazi Eke is the author of Great Loss of Innocence, a story of a boy who lived through the deadly Nigerian – Biafran War, 1966-1970. Mazi Eke is the editor and publisher of Town Crier Newsletter, a bi-monthly newsletter serving Austin, Texas, and its environs.