Tag Archives: nigerian elections

Which came first – the corrupt citizen or the corrupt government?

The past few governments have truly had their work cut out for them, after all, swindling the country’s money is hard-work and time-consuming. So much so that they haven’t had the time to pay attention to industries other than oil, or run a general election without it becoming an absolute joke.

With the elections that were meant to take place last Saturday being postponed for a whole week, the world has been reminded of what a corrupt country Nigeria is.  Not only does the whole registration/election process highlight severe corruption, it also highlights the disorganisation that Nigeria seems cursed with in all political and social affairs.

It’s easy to blame the people sitting in power. Of course they are certainly the ones making immoral and moronic decisions that impact negatively on the people they are meant to serve. The government should be responsible for infrastructure, education, nourishing and protecting home industries and making sure international trade is as beneficial as can be.

But Goodluck Jonathan, Namadi Sambo, and those under and around them did not arrive on a spaceship from planet Corruption. They are, after all, former ordinary citizens.

I came across a Nigerian forum awhile ago in which the issue of tax was being debated. One poster claimed that it was probably for the best that Nigeria wasn’t fully developed because perks of evading tax made life, for him, a lot more comfortable. He went on to tell an anecdote about how his brother was taken to court in the United Kingdom over refusing to pay a TV licensing fee, and described how systems such as these were “a nuisance”. I remember watching a news programme years ago asking young Nigerians what they would do if they were in power. One boy, aged around 10yrs, said “chop [steal] money.”

Heritage.org had this to say about Nigeria’s corruption rankings (notice the word I have highlighted in bold):

“Corruption is perceived as pervasive. Nigeria ranks 130th out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for 2009, a drop from 2008. Corruption is endemic at all levels of government and society, and the president, vice president, governors, and deputy governors are constitutionally immune from civil and criminal prosecution. Domestic and foreign observers” recognize corruption as a serious obstacle to economic growth and poverty reduction.

In Nigeria, it’s normal to play ‘the game’. From bribing airport staff when one enters the country to paying 20N to policemen at so-called ‘checkpoints’ dotted along the main roads to allow you to get on with your journey.

Travelling to my father’s house in Ibadan from abroad we were stopped by policemen, armed with guns, who demanded a search of our car. In the glove compartment was a sum of money given to my father, by friends, to pass on to their relatives. Of course the policemen demanded a large portion of that money. Money that had entered the country legally and money that was not theirs to take. After much pleading, they finally accepted a smaller proportion of the money and went on their way.

Corruption, like any virus, has spread throughout all sectors of society. From politics, to education, from the top to the bottom. No one seems to be immune. But Nigeria is going to need some sort of cure – some sort of revolutionary change in mindset to change the status-quo. It’s easy to blame ‘them’ but what ‘you’?


Hello. Does anybody know where the election date has gone?

After taking a short break away from the blog, to pack up and move to another country, I was excited at the prospect of catching up on Nigerian politics – in particular the 2011 elections which were rumoured to take place early this year. So a quick search on Google comes up with nothing – a further search produces the same result. However, I stumble across a story in the Vanguard that suggests that the election may now take place in April. April?! If somebody could please fill me in on why the date has been pushed so far back , it would be much appreciated.

During my search on the upcoming elections, I also stumbled across a story about suspected vote rigging during the registration of eligible voters across the country. Hodewu Avoseh, a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly, said that he had received information about stolen Direct Data Capture (DDC) machines. Avoseh said: “Six machines have already been hijacked in various centres around Aguda, Surulere.”

The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) employed the services of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) to oversee election registration and voting. This news will disappoint many Nigerians who had hoped for some improvement in the voting process this time around.

Late last year, Chairman of the INEC, Prof. Attahiru Jegu, had warned Nigeria to not expect a perfect election, but had done his best to reassure the country that the INEC “will bring a remarkable and substantive improvement that will make Nigerians accept the credibility of the elections.” Read the full story here.

Who is to blame for this debacle? What suggestions do you have to stamp out voting corruption  from the grassroots?

“Don’t expect a perfect election in 2011”

These are the words of warning from the Chairman of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jegu. The professor attended a colloqium over the weekend, focusing on matters concerning Rwanda, the Congo and Nigeria.

Prof. Jegu plans to restore faith in Nigerian elections (source)

Discussing plans for next year’s election at the 2010 Achebe Colloquium – held at the American Ivy League  university, Brown – he announced that members of the National Youth Service Corps and senior level students of Nigerian universities will be employed by the commission during the election. How effective this will be in keeping corruption low is uncertain.

However, Prof did have some positive words to say about the upcoming elections. “We have been inspired by the growing and overflowing positive feeling of Nigerians to get things right,” Prof. Jega said. He also promised that the INEC “will bring a remarkable and substantive improvement that will make Nigerians accept the credibility of the elections.”