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Nigeria: Blogging the historic election (Part 2)

Recently, Nigerians participated in historic national and state elections. This is the concluding part of “Blogging the historic election,” which highlights the blog posts by Nigerians on Presidential elections. We will see what Nigerian bloggers were saying on the election day and afterwards.

We will start with election day post from Thinking…Imagining… In a post titled “Thank God Nigerians are not Suicide bombers!,Segedoo highlights an attempt to blow up the national headquarters of the INEC (Independent National Electoral Commission) head office in Abuja, Nigeria:

A 33000 litre gas tanker was loaded with fuel and Gas cylinders was driven to a slope opposite the INEC office and allowed to roll down but instead of a driver at the steering wheel, a stone was placed on the throttle. The tanker as stopped by electric poles and the side walk!

Thank God that Nigerians love their lives enough not to be suicide bombers otherwise, the whole presidential elections would have been halted abruptly.

The World According To Adaure blogs about the disorganization in the elections in “NIGERIA VOTES 2007 PART II: THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION“:

The news coming from around the country is obviously discouraging and is what was expected from I-MESS, I mean I-NEC ,the electoral body. Which brings me to the subject of disorganization. When will Nigeria and Nigerians get organized. Everything is a problem, a fight, big-big wahala. Census na kwanta, Voters registration the same thing, election sef na by the miracle of God we have am. KAI HABA DANGOROBA SHEGE!!!. For example I found my self taking charge of an audition that had gotten out of hand because of the number of people who turned out to the station. Now why did some people feel it was their god-given right to jump the line? Worse still is the fact that people never want to listen to simple instructions. Even when they do, they want to challenge and profer their own perceivably better process. What I call I-T-K mentality. This situation, the elections and just some other things around got me thinking about the War Against Indiscipline Campaign in the 80's. Can we go back to that? And if so will it work without the MILITARY operating the program because as it has been shown during this election period, NIGERIANS ARE VERY AFRAID OF THE SOLDIERS.

The US-based blogger, Adaure Achumba, then went on to list some of the irregularities that perturbed the presidential election.

We move on to Tayo Odukoya, a young Nigerian blogger (Break of Dawn) who took part in the elections from Lagos, Nigeria. He shares his funny experience in a blog post titled: “Nigerian Presidential Elections – My Voting Experience“:

[…]The first observation was that the voting spot was quite devoid of people. If you read the registration process on my previous post “INEC Registration Exercise. Have you registered?“, you'll remember that due to the crowd of aspiring registrants, I had to wait for some time before I could get registered. This situation was different. There was not a single voter in sight, contrary to the gubernatorial elections when the queues were very long (read Tolted's experience on her blog here]) and some people did not get to vote. This lent credibility to a rumor that many Nigerians had decided to boycott the election due to a speculation that their votes would not count (or be counted for that matter!).

There were several INEC officials in sight, so I presented my voters card (sorry voter's paper) to one of them and waited patiently while he scrutinized it. He then proceeded to check the voters register for my name after which he said to another seated official “INK HIM”. I drew back unconsciously. How would they “ink” me? I hoped it was not some INEC slang signifying arrest of political miscreants … one has to be wary during these election days. I was later made to understand that inking was just a means of marking my thumb nail so I couldn't vote again that day. “OK” said I, and I heaved a sigh of relief.[…]

Nnimmo Bassey, Environmental Rights Action (Friends of the Earth Nigeria) casting his vote. Source: BlackLooks.org Source: BlackLooks.org

Post-Election Day Posts

Ore's Notes shares the experience of a female Nigerian blogger in “The Presidential Elections“:

So, we had the much-anticipated presidential elections yesterday. In my area, all seemed to go quite well. As I was getting ready to leave the house at 8am, my brother told me that he had just read that the polls would not open until 10 as the voting materials had only been flown in from South Africa the night before. Well, whatever! I took the opportunity to eat breakfast and left the house around 10.[…]

The voting seemed to have been uneventful in her area. She concludes:

[…]Almost everyone else went to get a chair and we all sat, talked, drank, ate and generally passed the time in a pleasant (or not so pleasant for those in the direct line of the sun) way. When the officials came, the voting commenced within minutes and we played pseudo musical chairs, as the line moved and we shuffled from the chair we were sitting on to the one in front. It was all so eerily organised, I struggled to believe that this was a Nigerian queue (sorry, NYSC, the banks, fast-food eateries and just about every other institution I have had cause to visit bring up infuriating memories). Okay, well, this was no ordinary Naija queue, this being Lekki and all.

Now, we wait for the results.

Thy Glory O Nigeria..! is a blog run by Adeola Aderounmu. He/she is not happy about the recent elections, and castigates the country in a blog post titled: “WHY NIGERIA WILL NOT BE GREAT SOON“:

Nigeria calls herself the giant of Africa. Please can someone tell Nigeria and Nigerians to wake up! Giant of where? Nigerians are giants only in their homes. They live under an illusion of pre-independence glory. They count on the dense population as a criterion to pronounce giant as a title. The events that have played out recently in Nigeria have precipitated the country to the lowest level of pity. Indeed, no one can take away the influence that Nigeria cast on the Africa continent or worldwide, but those influences will never be counted as greatness. Never!

In great countries and in giant nations, election time represents the voice of the people. It is a time to keep fate with a performing government or seek a change when necessary. Public offices are designed as positions for servants who must be ready to give account of their performance at any point in time during or after serving. In great countries with functional democracies, the arms of government are functional and independent. Simply, the executives perform its duties, the senate makes laws and judiciary interprets the law and constitution. The people of a great country know their rights and they demand for it. […]

The conclusion of this blog posts summarizes the pain of this blogger:

[…]After May 29th, I will be really disappointed if the likes of Obasanjo, Atiku, Iwu and the others who have contributed to the demeaning of Nigeria in the last 8 years are not placed on trial. We need to take control of our lives, our destinies and our future. It must start from someone, from somewhere and this is another opportunity. If we don’t probe and try the outgoing administration and its key players, we will be setting a pace for the new administration that we are not destined for greatness. I have nothing against still having the like of IBB or Buhari on trial. They are living burglars. We need to stop thieves in high and low places and put everybody on alert for national revamping. Making Nigeria great is not going to be a day’s job. It will be a collective duty on virtually on frontiers of our lives. But Nigeria will never be great if we don’t resolve to take the first step. Many more generations will be wasted and people will continue to wallow in poverty despite the wealth of the nation. My heart bleeds for Nigeria, a rich country where values are not placed on human existence and where sycophants are glorified.

Twinstaiye (Pause to Ponder) declares My Vote Counts and goes on to explain why he thinks so:

I voted for Umar Yar'Adua in the last Presidential election, and from the result released so far, just like I anticipates, indicates that my vote actually counts.

The truth is, a lot of people stayed away from this election, and I felt have they participated, it could have make a difference. At the polling station, those that we queue together with, have different story to tell about the way they will vote. While some of them believed that PDP had failed us as a party, they insist they will vote for PDP so that their vote counts at the end of the day since it is evident from the last Governorship election, that PDP will surely win going by the pattern of voting.[…]

We conclude this special round-up on an optimistic note by highlighting the concluding part of a blog entry of Wetin Dey Happen?, a blog that chose to play The Devil's Advocate:

Fellow Nigerians, we must now prepare to move forward – we have a President-elect in Umaru Yar'adua, a man of quiet strength, moral integrity and financial probity, who is ready to build on the great work of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, and take our great nation to the next level. This is not the time for petty recriminations and blame trading. If we look to the so-called “advanced nations” of the world, we will see that the elections process was not invented perfect. There were flaws, which were worked out over time, and gradually minimised, but not eradicated. The election of President Bush in 2000 showed that even America, the most advanced democracy in the world, still had problems with it's election process.

Fellow Nigerians, I strongly urge that we all join hands to help in moving our nation forward.

Long live the Federal Republic Of Nigeria, and God bless you all.

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