Yesterday, there were protests across certain states in the country over insecurity, kidnapping, bad economy and other things. I want it on record that I believe in protests and I also believe that in a democracy, citizens must be allowed to ventilate their grievances through peaceful protests.
Among the many issues the protest was about, there is one I disagree with, which is what this post will center on. I disagree with the Buhari Must Go theme of the protest and I will proceed to explain why.
It is important for us to remember that Buhari was elected by some of the people who are now protesting. He was raised to the status of a messiah, and we were even told that even if it is NEPA bill he has as certificate, he must be elected. These same people told us that if Buhari doesn’t become president, Nigeria will collapse! At what point did their relationship become sour?
When you say Buhari must go, how do you intend to achieve that? Whatever anyone thinks, we practice a constitutional democracy in Nigeria and that gives Buhari a 4 year term. Under that system of government, there are only 3 acceptable/feasible ways that Buhari can go;
- If he decides to resign. We all know that this won’t happen.
- If he is impeached. We also know this won’t even be considered.
- When he concludes his term. This is the safest and most likely option available.
It is an exercise in futility to chant Buhari must go without recourse to the reality on ground. Instead of asking for the impossible, I had rather suggest that people mobilize themselves to effect the kind of changes they want to see in the next cycle of elections.
From the INEC timetable, the next election will be in February 2023. That is exactly 19months from today. Who are the leading candidates? What are the issues been discussed? What are our demands? How do we want to extract them form the candidates? How ready are we to exercise our franchise and ensure that it counts? How many of those protesting have their PVCs ready?
I suggest that we begin a campaign of massive voter education from wherever you are. The theme will be simple; do you have a PVC? From there, we can proceed to articulate a document that encapsulates all that we want to happen in the next government. Develop it into a blueprint and use it as a bargaining chip for our support to anyone who we consider fit and proper. Next, identify a sellable candidate who will commit to implementing that document and adopting it as his blueprint and campaign slogan. Finally, mobilize ourselves massively to go out and vote.
We must also put both the national assembly and INEC under tremendous pressure to pass the electoral law. The electoral law if passed will guarantee the integrity of the ballot by at least 70%. It will eliminate the issue of ballot box snatching and stuffing. There will be a correlation between the votes coming from any polling unit and the number of cards accredited by the card reader. Results will be transmitted online realtime, and there will be no need for anyone to be kidnapped so as to rewrite results in a hotel room.
If indeed we are serious about making changes, this is the direction I think we should be looking at. If we waste time shouting Buhari must go without making any adequate plans, we will wake up tomorrow and discover that it is election time and there is nothing on ground.
It is also important that we know who we are battling. We are fighting an experience old gaurd who understands this game deeper than you think. To beat them to it, we have to up our own game. Are we ready?