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‘It’s possible to have all the elections in one day’

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An electoral official count ballots at a polling station in Kaduna (Photo by KULA SULAIMON / AFP)

Lucky Andrew Afinotan, a professor of Political Science and Dean, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Joseph Ayo Babalola University (JABU), Ikeji-Arakeji, Osun State, spoke to TOBI AWODIPE on the last elections, multiplicity of political parties, e-voting, among other issues.

What is your opinion on the last elections?
Two days before the election, a former student of mine asked what the outcome would be and I told him there wasn’t going to be any election, rather a selection.

When the President said he would win and congratulate himself, his statement didn’t surprise me, because he has been programmed to win. I do not believe any election held in Nigeria, but selections according to the whims and caprices of the ruling party.

The last elections were a sham, charade and swindling of the Nigerian electorate.

What do you think about the multiplicity of political parties in the elections, with most not making any impact?
On the surface, we are in a heterogeneous society, with up to 350 different autonomous tribes with different views and if 350 political views should be articulated via a political party, we should have about 350 political parties. But this is not the reason why we have so many political parties.

The truth is that we haven’t come to a clear realisation of what democracy is all about yet. We think it is the question of different groups coming together to fight for power in order to use the said power to share the commonwealth.

In other words, it is a struggle for how the country’s resources will be shared among all the various nationalities, because experience has shown that when a leader comes from a particular ethnic group, he uses the resources of the entire country to take care of himself, his cronies and his ethnic group.

Over the years, we have had people ruling, not for the interest of the whole country, but for their own tribes, and so it has become clear that ethnic groups must struggle to get power to enjoy the resources.

There has never been resources shared equitably with the interest of the state at heart; it has always been interest of the ruling party, tribe and person and has become a do-or-die affair.

There have been allegations of manipulation in the process of transmitting results from the polling units to the collation centres. What are your thoughts?
There is no doubt that manipulation occurs, because from the start, everything is skewed to promote manipulation.

First, the federal government picks the electoral umpire, commands the armed forces, defines the limits of security and who will and won’t remain in the judiciary. So, even if you have been cheated and go to court, the courts have been programmed to produce a pre-determined result.

If you give me a very juicy appointment, naturally, I would want to please you and keep you in power so I continue to enjoy. If the executive appoints the Judges that head the tribunals, what do you expect? They will do any and everything to ensure the case is won by the sitting president, so that they can keep their filthy lucre. If you are a stubborn Judge and they know you won’t play along, you will be removed.

How can wastage be reduced in coming elections?
We don’t know the danger we are in by allowing impunity to go unpunished. In four years, anything can happen with the way we are going. In 2023, there would be a third term agenda and a no-term agenda afterwards, mark my words. If this present government succeeds in their plans, we are on a roller coaster ride to self-destruction.
The people need to take action, but as almost everyone is compromised, what can we really do?

Is it not possible to hold all the elections on a single day, instead of two weeks apart, and save time and resources and prevent voter apathy?
The world has become so technologically advanced that we can practically do everything with technology, but are we willing to do so, despite the fact that we can do it?
Using cyber technology, anything is possible; people can vote from their homes without having to leave their homes to vote or queue up. But where is the will? Put yourself in these politicians’ shoes, with technology, they wouldn’t be able to control the voting, collation and final announcement of results and they cannot have this, because they wouldn’t win.

With recent technology, you can vote from home on the same day for all the elections in less than 10 minutes, saving cost and time, while eliminating election riggings. We have the wealth, manpower and technological resources to do this, but our leaders lack the will and because they want to cling to power, they wouldn’t do this.

Our present crop of leaders are only interested in perpetuating themselves in power and will not agree to conducting elections electronically in a single day. All our lawmakers want to cling to power for as long as they live. Do you think they would pass into law, the use of technology for elections?

It is possible to have all the elections in a day, but they won’t do that because they want to leave room for manipulation and rigging.


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