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Challenges in the 2023 Elections. By Chidi Ekeh

 

In the heart of Africa, where the endless savannah stretches and the powerful Niger River flows, there’s a country called Nigeria. This place is rich in culture, traditions, and history, but lately, it’s been facing some tough times with problems like injustice, immorality, and a lack of law and order. The 2023 Nigerian elections were a clear sign of these challenges.

Abeni Aso-Oke
Abeni Aso-Oke

On that important day in 2023, as the sun rose, the hopes of millions of Nigerians were clouded by uncertainty. The elections, which should have been a celebration of democracy and the people’s choice, showed the deep-rooted issues within our country.

One of the most troubling things about these elections was the violence that happened before and during the voting. Instead of being a simple act of expressing our rights, casting a vote was overshadowed by the fear of violence and intimidation. This was a big problem because it took away the fairness and equality that should come with voting.

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Ethnic tensions, like a simmering fire, continued to threaten Nigeria’s unity. The idea of zoning, which should make sure political power is shared fairly among different ethnic groups, turned into a battleground for politicians. These tensions weren’t just in one area; they spread all over the country, and everyone felt insecure. It’s sad that in a country that should be an example of unity in diversity, these divisions only got worse.

During the Lagos State gubernatorial election, the use of ethnic language was really concerning. Instead of talking about the important issues, politicians used dangerous tribalism and ethnicity to win support. These tactics only split the nation further and hurt our democracy.

The Nigerian police, once seen as a symbol of safety, lost the trust of the people. Reports of police being too forceful and intimidating created a lot of fear and doubt. The police, which should have protected our rights, ended up making things worse.

Additionally, the rejection of changes to the Nigerian Constitution that would’ve helped women’s rights and political involvement was a clear disregard for equality and inclusivity. This made people protest and showed that the government wasn’t listening to what its citizens needed.

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), responsible for making sure elections are fair, faced a lot of criticism for not doing its job well. The promise of electronic transmission of election results, which should’ve made the process more transparent, raised doubts and concerns. INEC’s failure to transmit the results in real-time made people trust the election process even less.

Even the international community, including the United States, worried about how the election was conducted. They called on Nigerian authorities to hold accountable anyone who tried to intimidate voters or stop them from voting. This showed that the world was paying close attention to how democracy was working in Nigeria.

The problems with the judiciary were also clear during these elections. The Presidential Election Tribunal’s decision to support Bola Tinubu’s victory raised questions about the fairness of the justice system. The opposition parties had raised some specific concerns, but they were ignored, which made many Nigerians lose trust in the judiciary.

The government, which should’ve protected the people, seemed to care more about keeping power than addressing the country’s challenges. Instead of solving problems, it looked like they were only interested in keeping things as they were.

But in the midst of all these problems, there was still hope. The opposition parties, despite facing a lot of trouble from the government, stuck to their commitment to peace. They showed determination to uphold democracy’s principles.

To the opposition, I say, keep going. Don’t get discouraged by what happened in 2023. Use this time to regroup and prepare for the next election. Make sure the problems from 2023 don’t happen again. Your job is not just to criticize the government when it fails but to guide the way toward a better future when the government is lost.

Remember the African saying, “Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.” The challenges you face today will make you stronger leaders. The path to change is never easy, but your determination will light the way.

In tough times, remember another African proverb: “Unity is strength, division is weakness.” Build alliances, find common ground, and bring people together for your cause. With unity, you can stand against the forces that want to weaken Nigeria’s democratic ideals.

The 2023 Nigerian elections were a wake-up call, reminding us of the work that needs to be done. It’s a call to protect justice, morality, and law and order. In the face of challenges, let the opposition’s fire keep burning because it’s your unwavering commitment that will help Nigeria reach its full potential.

In conclusion, let the wisdom of Africa’s diverse cultures guide us on this journey. The path to justice and progress might be long and tough, but as another African saying goes, “However long the night, the dawn will break.” Nigeria’s dawn will come, and it will bring justice, morality, and true law and order.

Chidi Ekeh writes from Abuja

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