From Tom Garba Yola
People voted for change and the All Progressives Congress (APC) because they truly want to see things change for good in this country. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was sent packing at the federal level and several states in the 2015 General Elections because people were desperately and tired of the barbaric style of leadership experienced under the PDP for 16 years, sought for a change using even their blood to search for it because they wanted the destiny of Nigeria to change for the better.
But with what has transpired in the last nine months since the APC came on board, my intuitive mind is telling me that the APC has come only to settle scores with PDP, relegating all act of good governance to fighting the opposition parties. We indeed, have a leadership problem in this country.
Nigerians wanted a saviour party and they expected that by now we ought to be singing songs of salvation, glad that we have made it to the Promised Land, or that at least we are on our way to getting there. But in all nooks and crannies of the country doubting Thomas abound, whose reply to the APC “Change Mantra” today is goes like this: “Until I see it, touch it, feel it, I won’t believe it.”
The import of this rising pessimism is that it appears that most ordinary Nigerians are feeling talk less of getting anything good from the Nigerian economy under the APC.
Worst of it all INEC whose mandate is to conduct a credible election of whatever type and form but are failing contributing in destroying the entire electioneering process becoming one of the corrupt organ of elections in this country.
If it is anything to go by, the Lere West House of Assembly Re-run election of Kaduna state conducted last weekend is truly an indicator that the APC is never going to save the common man in Nigeria.
Although the PDP was rejected at the 2015 poll because of that party’s obnoxious culture of imposition and impunity both in governance and during elections, what my eyes saw in the Lere West House of Assembly Re-run as a journalist and an independent observer made me to conclude it is not yet Uhuru for Nigeria in terms of free and fair election. The APC, using the incumbency power, deployed hundreds of policemen and dozens of other security operatives in Garun- Kurama Ward – the home base of Dr Matoh Dogara – who molested and threatened the whole community not to come out for the bye-election.
However, the Garun-Kurama people stood up to this provocative act and came out massively to exercise their franchise, behaving orderly and wanting peace to prevail in conduct of the election at all cost.
The role played by the policemen – led by the Kaduna state commissioner of police – to intimidate voters in Garun-Kurama, a PDP enclave, was less than honourable.
In Makwarga Village, which is a PDP stronghold, it was reported that the member representing the Lere in the House of Representives under APC, Hon. Lawal Buge- Buge organised hoodlums to snatch ballots boxes in the area but they were repelled, resulting in the death of two people. When security operatives got wind of the information, they refused to go to that village to intervene.
Imagine a supposedly honourable member of the House of Representatives on the platform of the APC, just as many Nigerians have accused the PDP of doing in the past, organising thugs to kill people in the name of winning election!
Where is justice of the party who claim they are better than PDP? Where is fairness in a party of “Change” using the power of incumbency to rig against a popular candidate and possibly the right person poised to garner the majority vote?
I see our democracy failing if things continue this way. And I see APC failing in this country with this kind of corruption tendencies
In the collation centre where more manipulation to rig took place, it was a power showdown by the commissioner of police, State Security Services (SSS) operatives and other security personnel who, in cahoots with electoral officials declared null and void all votes cast in 11 polling units where Dr Matoh Dogara, was strongest and coasting home to win.
I swear those units were cancelled not because they was any electoral irregularities but it was a calculated attempts to halt Dogara and PDP from rising up from their political setback suffered in the 2015 elections.
However, in Ramin Kura Ward ward, an APC enclave, witnesses reported that no security agents monitored the election, except vigilantes and Man O war agents, stressing that card readers were not used in some polling units while in others political thugs overpowered the ad hoc staff and thumb-printed all the ballots papers for the APC candidates. Yet the election was not cancelled in these units.
The story was the same in Gure and Lere where APC had the upper hands. In reality elections in the APC strongholds were not properly monitored and political hoodlums were allowed to have a field day to do whatever they wanted to do.
My humble conclusion is that no free and fair re-run election was conducted in Lere West last weekend in Kaduna state.
Is this the kind of change we want in this country? How long can we continue like this?
We voted for change and it must start from smallest unit of the Federation that constitutes Nigeria.
This change must be at the bottom, change in the top, change in the lengths and breadth of the entire Nigerian system.
The ruling party must go back to its manifesto where its categorically stated that it would “change” Nigeria for good and be fair to all.
And the APC must remember that “Justice for one is Justice for all” and “Injustice to one is injustice to all.”
Garba, a journalist, wrote in from Yola, Adamawa State.