There are too many things to take away from Saturday’s elections in Bayelsa and Kogi States. Bayelsa, as we all knew, had just the governorship election, while Kogi dealt with both the governorship and a rerun in one of the senatorial districts. So, the stakes were high and understandably so in the two states.
It is also important to note that the brigandage that typified the elections in the two states was not peculiar to either of the major parties. The two leading parties tried their best at undermining the electoral process for their selfish good, what differed was the propensity and advantage open to both the APC and the PDP as they undid each other.
I do not also think the time is nigh to talk about the disappointment, which the madness that currently characterizes every election under the watch of a general, a man, who promised heaven and earth but unable to address even the local challenges in Daura District, brings.
That’s a whole lot of discussion on its own. Not for the now. But below are some of the things I found amazing in the Saturday elections.
Bayelsa is a very small state, which was lucky to have produced a president by default. But, go to today’s Bayelsa and honestly, no one can downplay or dismiss the works of Governor Seriake Dickson. He did his best and changed the Bayelsa story considerably, with evidence of a well-thought-out performance.
Unfortunately, like many in his ilk, he became powerful and arrogant and didn’t’ mind riding roughshod on his benefactors, President Goodluck Jonathan being the main casualty. Thus, in spite of his record of performance, the story that some PDP leaders resolved to teach him some lessons is instructive and worthy of political science class analysis in the foreseeable future.
Curiously, arrogance in power appears a Bayelsa thing. The current Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva did worse to Jonathan, when he was governor and Jonathan, vice president. Their rivalry was what gave birth to the administration of Dickson if you could recall.
Even Rotimi Amaechi, who was in faraway Rivers, deferred to Jonathan as the highest political office holder from the Niger Delta at the time. While Sylva didn’t think he owed Jonathan any information about his administration (and truly so) especially concerning cabinet constitution, Amaechi ran his by the then vice-president and also asked him for nominations. Indeed, Jonathan had two nominations in Amaechi’s cabinet and none in Sylva’s, his home state.
When one of Jonathan’s nominees in Amaechi’s cabinet died and they had already begun their pre-2015 fight at the time, Amaechi still went to him for replacement, which he gave. But Sylva despised Jonathan and didn’t hide it.
So, that seems to me like a typical Bayelsa trait and we shall wait to see what their new darling, David Lyon, does with power, if he ever gets away with Saturday’s electoral robbery, because that’s what the election was.
There is, however, a lot to learn from Dickson’s attitude to power and in power. He mismanaged critical relationships. He developed an instant god complex. He forgot too soon that Jonathan made it possible for him to be governor in order to outplay Sylva. He was lord unto Bayelsa and yet, didn’t see the danger lurking in the corner. He, perhaps, didn’t even think this day would come. Pray he learns from this ugly experience.
Now, come to Kogi. Here, a man has done so badly that his colleagues, both in the APC and the PDP resented his style in office. His allies in the ruling APC spoke condescendingly about him albeit in hushed tones and yet, some of them still went ahead to beg, kneeling before the people of Kogi to forgive incompetence and outright misfit, because according to them, he had no clue what he was doing with power and state resources.
Were you not surprised that the First Lady, who always preached against alleged abuse of power and privileges in Aso Rock, also joined the “political beggars” on behalf of the governor, who has made a complete mess of the clamour for young fellows in power?
Not surprisingly, they did not sufficiently address the fact that he owed salaries running into months or that his performance had been disappointing and abysmal. Whether the facts out there were real or contrived, the APC did not mind reinforcing failure. All the party craved was power, even if the main beneficiary had no clue what to do with it. After all, the party had it all under wrap!
Even with that, it still took some ‘brazen electoral heist’, the type indefensible in any society – democratic or dictatorship – to arrive at their victory. This is the party of change; a party that has continued to accuse the PDP of all the possible ills any government could possibly perpetrate. Sadly, they carry on with their cult of impunity, because they are not accountable to the people they seek to serve.
Certainly, the last has not been heard of the charade called elections at the weekend. We expect that the aggrieved candidates would approach the courts and hopefully secure justice if the already intimidated judiciary chooses to redeem itself as it’s been doing lately.
Although not much is expected from the rerun senate election between Dino Melaye and Smart Adeyemi, which has been declared inconclusive, it is also natural to await the predetermined denouement.
In the final analysis, my take is that there appears to be no antidote to the disease that currently afflicts the nation. Nigeria is simply an impossible entity. We can continue to paper the lie called Nigeria and dishonestly pontificate, truth is that the options before her are too costly and almost unaffordable.
I strongly share the view that there’s no one Nigerian today, who still needs the conviction of another that the nation cannot be remedied. You can continue to live in lies and self-denial; it does not change the fact that nothing would change, ultimately. We don’t even have the leadership to change anything. The will power to cause the much-needed change is also by choice, absent.
Take this to the bank: Nigeria is structured to fail. Fact! Yes, some will say you can’t arrive at that answer without at least trying. But it’s also okay to retort: ‘What with the result of those who had been trying for years?’ I’m done living a lie. Nigeria is an artificial entity, good only in name. Her people are not compatible and so, workability is impossible. No be by force. Period!
Olawale Olaleye, is a journalist who worked in THISDAY Newspapers for 21 years.
The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author.