Sunday, June 21, 2009

Nigeria Needs Help

There is no magical prediction on events that can bring any Nation to an economic standstill or any democratic destruction even in the face of a Global Economic meltdown. It is only a radical economic revolution and agenda that can pre-empt catastrophes capable of destroying and derailing a democratic experiment.

Nigeria is once again both crying and begging for good leadership. Friends and Foes alike can swear on oath in their continuous belief in the present Administration and leadership. However, recalcitrant dullness in the process of setting Nigeria aloof has become a concern of ordinary Nigerian. Papa Awolowo once said that the fastidiousness of Nigeria citizens demands a constant challenge by those in charge of Governance. Besides Papa iconic writings during his life time, he made sure that his activities in economics; concern for the welfare of the peoples; their democratic appetite and the people’ wish to join a growing and developed comity of Nations became paramount in day to day of his dealings with Nigerians.

The Awoists remunerate from time to time on issues confronting the country among themselves both within and outside Nigeria and surprisingly we have all agreed that it would have been much better to see Babangida type of leadership style once again in Nigeria despite the drawback of the imbroglio of June 12th.

The most urgent Infrastructure needed in Nigeria today is that of energy Infrastructures. It is unfortunate however, that none of our leaders could work out a befitting compromise among themselves and with other leaders of the advanced countries to lay down these Infrastructures that will oil the engine of economics development for a population of one hundred and fifty million Nigerians.

When Iran and North Korea regimes became a thorn in the flesh of the sane world, everyone panics and chuckles on the danger of Nuclear proliferations. Perhaps North Korea wants to join the Space race, wants to have one of Its Scientists rides to the Space Station and/or elect to sell weapons of mass destruction to Chavez of Venezuela or Iran or perhaps each of those countries genuinely meant well for their Citizens or perhaps they are all attention seekers; there is one fact unmistakably clear, without these Countries becoming defiance as regards their energy need, the developed Countries, through share ego, subjugation and nonchalant attitudes toward poor Countries, precipitated these nuisance out there.

Developed or Advanced Nations starting with U.S.A., Britain, France, Germany and China all have the monopoly of Nuclear technologies until India, Pakistan and Israel joined the club. Outside the production of Nuclear war heads, the cheapest source for supply of electricity such as Gas and Water turbines, Hydro electricity, Coal Energy, Wind Mills and Solar (with voltaic cells) Energy are not that very accessible and cheap.

It is true that majority of poor countries, due to their unfavorable topography couple with the cost of Nuclear Reactors that stands as 8 billion dollars or 6 billion Euros today, cannot afford to have the Reactors in their domain. When other factors such as terrorist threat, corruption and lack of maintenance culture are factors into place within these poor countries, one can reasonably agree on the need for diligence in handling Nuclear Proliferations.

The existence of Nuclear Regulatory Commission based in the District of Columbia in Washington must urgently be married with a new commission to help countries in dire need of Energy Infrastructures. To ignore is to run the risk of what the world is facing with Iran or North Korea today. If we believe that Libya under Ghadaffi had surrendered all that matters on nuclear technology-know-how, we would be fooling ourselves.

Outside the more than 200 Reactors in the world today with about more than 100 Reactors in USA alone, over 50 new Reactors are under construction worldwide. Obviously, that would be what we know about the open world. South Africa voluntarily surrendered on researches and enrichment of Uranium, but what happen when we wake up tomorrow to learn more of the secrecy that surround Nuclear development in other countries even under the prying eyes of CIA, MIA, M5 or the new Garb of Russia KGB!! It was former President Jimmy Carter that revealed Israel’s stockpiles of nuclear war heads into tens.

Until Iran became openly defiance on Its Nuclear research no one believe the Mullahs with their sparkling white robes could jack any nuclear needles into the world chest.

The paramount issues of safety and leakage of nuclear technology should not stop the advanced Nations from helping poor countries meet their energy needs.

One could be ashamed or embarrassed seeing people dying of hunger in the world even in the midst of plenty, but the lesson from the Global Economic meltdown that continue to plague us today sound an urgent serious note that no one would be immune when the world is faced with unpredictable and unforeseen crisis.

Nigeria is presently struggling to fully democratize Its polity and Its entire aspects of life, corruption is been tackled head-on, Activism been carried into the extreme will be tamed, the rule of law will eventually emerge and electoral evolution is moving robustly with full speed; and no one should underestimate what this sleeping-African-Giant can morphs into within the next few decades. But, Nigerians need help and all hands need to be on deck.

By Dr. Almaroof

Friday, June 5, 2009

Ekiti Re-Election

That the PDP and the AC tried to outdo themselves in Ekiti is not a surprise. The PDP needed the victory in Ekiti to beat back the erosion of its hold on the South West especially after the loss of Ondo State to the Labor Party and the challenges posed to the party in Ogun and Oshun States where new Tribunals have been ordered to look into the last gubernatorial elections.
The AC on the other hand needs to prove its opposition leadership in the West by extending its tentacles beyond Lagos State.
There is no doubt that the pendulum of propaganda in the Western States is in favor of whatever party that is opposed to PDP and in this case , the AC.
The reason is not far fetched. In 1999 elections, the PDP lost all the three axes of the South West: Lagos/Ogun; Oyo/Osun and Ondo/Ekiti to the now near-dead AD that claimed to be a Yoruba nationalist party.
In those elections , the people of the West voted for AD in the local and state elections and AD turned APP candidate , Chief Olu Falae , a Yoruba man for President and forsake another Yoruba man, Chief (Gen.) Olusegun Obasanjo who ran for election on the platform of PDP and won making Gen.Theophilous Danjuma to comment deridingly that a Yoruba man could be elected President of Nigeria without the Yoruba support.
Came 2003, the AD found itself in disarray. The opportunist, arrogant AD governors found themselves in a quagmire. Knowing their party could not challenge President Obasanjo on the second instance ( omo eni ko sedi bebere ..) and sensing that their position was in jeopardy , coupled with the fact that their rule betrayed the ideals of the late Sage Awo against what they promised the people , the AD governors rushed to Otta to strike a deal with Obasanjo by which they arrogantly assured Obasanjo that they would direct their ‘people ’to vote Obasanjo as President if he would assure them that he would not use his ‘ Presidential might ’to fight against them as they contested their gubernatorial elections under the platform of AD. One of them even suggested he was ready to contest for the Senatorial seat in his state under the platform of the PDP if Obasanjo could clear the way for him.
But the people of the South West would not be fooled , the result was the sweeping of the West by PDP in all the elections, except in Lagos where the agents of Vice President Abubakar Atiku sabotaged the PDP efforts in order to preserve Lagos State for Senator Bola Tinubu who later ditched the so called Yoruba nationalist party AD, to prepare the way for Atiku’s running on the platform of a break away faction of the PDP, the AC which was formed to fight against Yar’A dua ,the PDP presidential candidate after Atiku was humiliated out of the PDP by President Obasanjo , his boss.
The PDP took the reins of governance in the West in 2003 except in Lagos but the PDP under President Obasanjo did not satisfy the yearnings of the politically sophisticated Yoruba people, thereby making the AC to post a serious challenge to the PDP but the Yoruba people do not forget that the leaders of the AC are the same failed governors of the AD.
The people of the Yoruba are not used to voting for ‘their party’ but ‘our party’ and the PDP has not proved to be their party. The people of the West are used to “ our Awolowo’ forming a touch light party navigating Nigerian progressive political landscape like a colossus and feeling very proud for it . They tried the AD but the AD was not attractive to Awolowo allies in other parts of Nigeria and the AD failed. The Awolowo political friends in other zones are already committed to PDP or other political parties. The Yoruba look at the PDP leadership at the very top ladder and found only few names they are used to since the Awolowo days - the Babatopes in the midst of the conservatives like Akinjides of the world and wonder if this could be their party. But there are more prominent Awoist politicians ,which I have no space to mention here , from the West in the PDP than in any other party . They are more prominent in the Awolowo camp when Awo was around than this crop of untrained politicians who are parading themselves as leaders of a new era, an era of self serving politicking where looting of the treasury is the order of the day.
But the PDP managed to win a weak victory in the West with fragile control of Oyo, Osun, Ekiti, Ondo and in Ogun State where PDP is now engaged in intra party fighting while Ondo State has gone to the Labor Party! Yes, Labor Party whose win-ability was so much in doubt that the former popular President of the Nigerian Labor Congress , Comrade Adams Oshiomhole , the present AC governor of Edo State had to jettison his Labor Party nomination to contest on the platform of the AC .
Therefore the struggle for Ekiti State was therefore a prelude to the imagined struggle to control Osun and Ogun State in the case of dissolution of the elections of those states as new panels have been authorized to look into their gubernatorial election petitions. The West, thus, has become a trial battle ground for 2011 elections. No wonder the degree of intensity with which the Ekiti elections were held. But no matter what the rule must be respected.
I examine the Ekiti elections from the point of view of the objections raised by the AC on the election results. The AC claimed that the PDP claimed that 18,000 registered voters were at stake in the last Local government where election was held and only 2,000 votes were cast there in Oye as a demonstration of the determination of the people in not allowing inflation of votes cast in the election. And that the voting there with the votes cast in other eight other local governments where elections were re-ran was not consistent with the trend of the votes cast in Ido-Osi where voting was high resulting into 15,939 votes cast for PDP to 3,793 votes cast for AC . The AC claims further that the 15,939 votes recorded for the PDP were impossible in Ido-Osi as it contributed over more than half of the votes cast for both parties in other five local government but it did not say anything about the 3,793 AC votes in Ido-Osi.
It is not enough for AC to claim trend as an indication of fraud, it must go to the Election Tribunal to prove that those votes were false and it was not to force this on the Electoral Resident on the day of election unless it had in its possession another result that contradicted the result presented to the Resident Electoral Commissioner by the local government electoral officer.
This brings us to the pressure brought on the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mrs. Ayoka Adebayo, that made her to run away from her post.
There are two stories to Adebayo’s refusal to yield to pressure. One was the pressure from the AC for Mrs. Adebayo not to accept the votes recorded for Ido-Osi local government which was compiled in the local government and recorded by the local government returning officer. The other pressure would be from the PDP for her to accept what the AC felt was unrealistic result that did not reflect the trend of the voting in other local governments.
Mrs. Adebayo was a state Resident Electoral Commissioner who was statutorily obliged to accept the result legitimately compiled by the local government electoral presiding officers from each local government and use those data to compile her own result as state election result. She had little or no discretion on that since it does not depend on the variation of her conscience.
The process of collating results does not start at the state levels, it ends there. Result of election starts from each voting unit where the votes are counted and recorded. That is the only unit where votes are counted. From there the returns from the units are compiled at the ward level to get the ward result.
From each ward, the compiled results are compiled at the local government level and it is the compiled figures from each local government that are collected and collated at the State level to make the state final gubernatorial result.
From the above , it is logical that the pressure that Mrs. Adebayo would refuse was the AC pressure that she should not accept the result given to her from Ido-Osi local government which the PDP won and which would determine the result of the election against its candidate. And this is supported by a newspaper report that Mrs. .Adebayo abandoned her post on the threat by a politician who sent her a message that her children would be killed if she accepted the result of the Ido-Osi local government.
The fact that Mrs. Adebayo came back and directed each local government electoral officer to report the result of his local government demonstrated the stand of the State Electoral Commissioner that compilation of local government result was the responsibility of the local government electoral officer. So far the result we have got for that election is the result of the Electoral Commission.
There are sixteen local governments in Ekiti State. The election in six of them were validated by the court resulting in giving the AC 12,348 votes advantage before the re-run in the ten other local government where elections of the 2007 gubernatorial election were nullified . So in those 6 local governments, the AC won 11,348 more votes than the PDP. To the AC, that is normal. How then can the PDP victory in ten local governments with 12,000 be so abnormal in the same Ekiti State?
Let us examine the result in the local re-run local governments. In Gboyin PDP had 1,925 to AC 2,871 votes ; Ekiti South West gave 423 votes as against 351 for AC .In Ise-Orun , PDP had 3,864 to AC 4,221 while the PDP had 5,121 as compared to AC’s 1,881 in Ijero local government .In Irepodun / Ife local government , the PDP had 4,087 to AC ‘s 1,149 in Ekiti West . Ekiti East produced 4,711 for PDP as against 3,639 votes for AC. In Ikole Ekiti, the PDP had 4,471 votes while the AC had 3,639. I am deliberately skipping the result in the controversial Ido-Osi election while I look into the Oye local government where the last election was held with PDP having 1,268 votes as against AC which had 802.
The AC seems to agree with the results in these nine local governments where they lost elections to PDP in 5 local governments because they ran ‘neck to neck’ while it refused to accept the result of the Ido-Osi where the PDP countered its voting advantage of 12,348 with 12,146 votes as the PDP scored 15,939 to 3,793 in the 11 wards of Ido-Osi.
The total votes cast in the ten local government re-run produced 44,306 for PDP as against 28,238 for AC whereas the pre-validated result from the six local governments favored the AC with 78,091 votes to PDP 65,743. What trend is discernable in the votes cast in 6 local governments that are more than the votes cast in the ten local government re-run.?
What pattern is Ekiti S/W casting total votes of 774 which PDP won with 423 to AC 351 and Irepodun \/Ife local government where the PDP lost with 4,087 and AC won with 5,702 votes?
The truth is that election results are not based on election trend in other local governments because each local government has its own characteristics but votes actually cast, counted and recorded in a particular local government.

By Bari Salau