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Obsequies for an Old Order

‘The obsequies must now continue for it has become glaringly clear that unless Nigeria can inter all those who have plundered the country, ghosts will continue to haunt a prodigiously gifted country.’

When the dust finally settles on what has gone down in the collective memory of Nigerians as an unprecedented attack on the people’s choice thanks to the iniquitous performance of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Nigerians will read and re-read the venomous messages sent through their votes, and perhaps find the most fleeting of consolations.

It was about 1998 that the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was formed together with a handful of other parties to fill the vacuum as the military finally brought an ill-advised excursion into power to a close. The PDP was to put forward Olusegun Obasanjo who would win tightly contested elections to begin what were an initial seven years of dominance.

As Nigeria’ struggled to come to grips with its newly resumed democratic experience, the PDP’s struggles to provide good governance were even more pronounced. At different levels of power, the PDP huffed and puffed with little to show for it. A party chieftain even had the cheeks to boast that they were spending at least sixty years in power. Their shenanigans continued until 2015.

By 2015, what has turned out to be a greater evil than the PDP was formed when the sore losers of the Action Congress of Nigeria (CAN ) joined forces with the discarded PDP pieces claiming to belong to the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) to form the All Progressives Congress (APC).

In a historic scam, wool was pulled over the eyes of Nigerians to give the APC victory. After eight calamitous years in power, those who had warned that disaster was near soon after the APC’s victory in 2015 have proven to be unerringly accurate in their predictions that the APC had nothing to offer.

As the 2023 general elections beckoned, an opportunity opened up for President Muhammadu Buhari to do something he will be remembered for before leaving power. INEC’s calamitous lack of transparency has now put paid to that opportunity.

Nigerians will remember Peter Obi and the Labour Party whose relevance his hurricane-like popularity helped ignite. Nigerians will remember the man who less than a year ago jumped the sinking ship of the PDP before going on to bewitch a national and international audience sickened to death by the demise of a beloved country.

Nigerians will remember a man who for the first time in the history of Nigeria’s politics ran a campaign suffused with issues and starved of insults. Nigerians will remember the man who for the first time ever mapped out the blueprint Nigeria can use to escape its current slump.

At the polls proper, many of those who checked their apathy and cynicism at the door was more than happy to participate in the obsequies of the old order without any obsequiousness whatsoever. Many of them were simply happy to witness the day when Nigerians had a third option on the ballot, one more credible than all others put together.

The numbers told the story too. How the contestants went neck-to-neck nicked the story until political sorcery marked by relentless malpractices began in states like Rivers, Lagos, Benue, Kogi and many other states around the country. The people who midwifed this sorcery were determined to quash the hopes of Nigerians to drive change through their votes.

The hush that fell upon Nigeria when the thoroughly discredited INEC declared the winner bespoke a country in mourning.

Yet, the obsequies have started for the old order marked by political prostitutes and their debaucheries. The death knell has sounded for the old order marked by those for whom the only attraction to the corridors of power is the public till.

The obsequies must now continue for it has become glaringly clear that unless Nigeria can inter all those who have plundered the country, ghosts will continue to haunt a prodigiously gifted country. 

Kene Obiezu is an Alor, Anambra-state-born lawyer and writer. He believes in the power of words to instruct as well as construct.

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