Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Article: Cutting Off Ones Nose To Spite Ones Mouth

By Jaye Gaskia

Pardon my stating the obvious; but seriously I don't get it! I mean now that the elections have been postponed for six weeks, where are all those who mobilized and unleashed the forces of the 'Principalities and Powers', and opened the flood gates of 'rented', 'pseudo-popular' mass anger against INEC and its purported ill-preparedness for the elections, using none complete distribution of PVCs as excuse?

I mean where are they now? The emergency activists, and their portfolio CSOs along with their rented crowds who 'massed' in daily protests at INEC's Head Quarters in Abuja, addressing almost daily press conferences, and appearing as guests on numerous broadcast talkshows making the case for postponement?

By now given the six weeks reprieve they seemed to have wrung from the hands of an ambushed INEC and a dazed populace; shouldn't they be out there actively mobilisng citizens who have yet to collect their PVCs to go out and ensure they do so? Shouldn't the Political parties, the Levels of government, the Campaign Organisations, and Candidate Support Groups be organizing massive sensitization and awareness raising campaigns to get registered voters out to collect their PVCs?

Or was all that noise and frenzy of activities just for show? A carefully orchestrated subterfuge to prevent elections holding starting with a postponement?
On the other hand given the security memo that actually prompted the shift, what the status of the six weeks offensive against Boko Haram?

At another level is the clearly orchestrated massive campaign by campaign organisations and campaign support groups linked to the incumbent President and Ruling party, all aimed at undermining the very character and institutional credibility of INEC. In a farcical historical twist, we are now saddled with a ruling party and incumbent administration accusing the election agency of bias and clearly spreading falsehoods that it is planning to rig the election against the ruling party and incumbent regime?

Personally uptil now, I had felt that the one area where indeed institutional reforms had successfully taken place, and where inspite of the challenges some level of progress had been recorded was around INEC and the electoral process.

And when before the madness of electioneering campaigns started this regime had claimed a reforming INEC and electoral process as one of its success stories, this had been one point on which I felt the regime was being truthful, unlike sectors where the facts run contrary to the claims.

Now however thanks to the President's Election campaign organisation and its numerous support groups, it does appear that even here with INEC and the electoral process, the regime had also failed, and there had been no transformation!

This is the classical case eat ones cake and still have it. At what point did INEC become a complete failure, and its Chairmen a total incompetent? 4 Weeks, 6 weeks, or 2 weeks to the elections?

The Transition Monitoring Group [TMG] - a coalition of more than 400 credible CSOs established just before the 1999 return to democracy elections, and that has engaged with INEC since then; along with the Election Situation Room, and the political parties including PDP and APC, have while continuing to point out and criticize failings in INEC and the electoral process over the last 16 years, have until the election campaigns began all been agreed about the improvements at INEC and the relative success of the structural and process reforms of the last 6 years.

My point is that in panic the incumbent regime is allowing the impairment and undermining of critical state institutions, as is engaged in a self destructive process capable of engendering societal implosion, in a classical case of cutting off ones Nose in order to spite ones mouth!

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