I have not yet posted anything on the elections in Nigeria because I didn't want to just quote the doom and gloom of the Western media. It seems that there were mass riggings, late openings at the polls, and the usual thugs lurking about. However, I just talked to my parents on Skype, and my dad mentioned that he thinks the international media is over-sensationalizing things as usual. Although, he is not an eye witness to the polls, and, of course, there is no way any one person in Nigeria can know what was happening at other polls, here are a few local examples he knew of that are encouraging: he said that one of (former Plateau governor who is wanted for embezzlement and is currently in hiding somewhere in the country... unless he has been found... I haven't followed the story too closely) Joshua Dariye's corrupt buddies in Plateau State attempted to rig the elections but was still soundly defeated; another PDP candidate and a strong OBJ supporter in Bauchi state was soundly defeated. So, it seems that some sort of voice of the people was heard in some locations. As for the new president-elect Yar Adua... (surprise, surprise...) well, he seems to have a level head on his shoulders, a fairly positive record from his governorship in Katsina, and "squeaky clean" bio. I'll just repeat the prayer I've been saying for the last few weeks: May the next president of Nigeria SHOCK the world with his thoughtful, competent, and (let's hope for the best) brilliant leadership. May he go down in history books as the man who (despite a bumpy start) proved to be one of the best leaders Nigeria has ever seen. This must seem naive and overly optimistic, but why not? God dey. We might as well start out this next administration with some hope.
In the meantime, from my blog roll, there is
Ex-school nerd with an eye witness account from Lagos of delayed ballot boxes. "The official's at mine were(just my luck we were sent retards)was still calling up to 300 names...expecting us to stand and wait for our names...which wasn't the way it was done at other places..because of this...we were delayed and alot of people just got fustrated and didnt vote again..me included..."
Ibrahim Sheme with reports from a phone in radio programme he hosted and conclusions that
"the important thing is to "manage" the situation and have Gen. Obasanjo leave office on 29 May. We must sustain the democratic system at all cost; it's better - always better - than military rule."
UKNaija with a report from his aunt that "Last week, she had queued in the sun, her seven decades notwithstanding to vote only to hear that virtually all the votes cast at her polling station had been cast for a particularly unpopular candidate..."
Chxta with a thoughtful analysis and a hopeful outlook: "Anyway, for me all the news hitting me on CNN and BBC about fraud, intimidation and irregularities is just blah blah. There have been small victories, and it is with a sense of hope that I am choosing to focus on those small victories because some form of progress has been made. The fact is that while slow progress isn't as sensational as fraud and violence (especially when it comes to reporting about African issues), in the long term it is much bigger news."
Toks-Boy with a rant about the Western media and positive observations on Yar Adua's initial televised comments: "The US & UK can cry foul all they like but I am sure their Ambassadors will be in Aso rock the day after the coronation to ensure that their interests are maintained. And who gives them the right to judge us anyway? What is the voter turnout in the UK? Are there no voting irregularities in the US?"
African Shirts with blow by blow accounts from the media about the elections, and a great excerpt from another Nigerian newspaper editorial: "But I cracked up today when I saw BBC monitoring's review of African newspapers' coverage of the elections. How can't this not make you laugh?..."I want to appeal to Nigerians not to lose faith in democracy... The fact that President Olusegun Obasanjo has made a complete mess of our democracy and turned Nigeria into his chicken farm doesn't mean democracy is bad. "
Jeremy with suggestions for constructive improvements for the next election: "Not by any stretch of the imagination could the election be called free and fair - the verdict of all independent monitoring groups. However, its hard to see how anything other than the predicted and pre-determined would happen. In many ways, the transition from one elected president to another was as trouble-free as one could possibly hope for. "
And finally, not from my blog roll, but someone who should probably be added. Olawande with an excerpt from TIME online, but, even better, a thoughtful analysis of each candidate:
So, these may not be the most informed or objective accounts of the election, but they at least provide a cross-section of the current blog dialogue, as represented in some of the blogs i visit.
Photo credit: Man with ballots: Telegraph.co.uk
Woman with voting card: La Stampa
Yar 'Adua billboard and achaba: China Daily