Tuesday November 8 is a big day in the US – it is the date for the US midterm elections. It can determine if the President of the United States Joseph R Biden can govern effectively. What happens at the ballot will make a difference, it can also determine the power that President Biden can wield with Supreme Court nominees and his ability to legislatively push or deter policies he supports or denounces. Basically, these elections are a big deal. The bicameral Congress matters to the presidency, the Judiciary and to the people at large in so much as the laws, regulations and policies that will impact the lives of the US citizenry and to some extent most of its dwellers.
Election times are exciting or should be exciting as they are for the most part the culmination of months and years of efforts by parties, supporters, the electoral and people at large to see the fruit of their labour. Now, with the rise of election dissenters, fear mongers and detractors, election periods have increasingly become times of angst, concern for safety and assaults on the sacred trust of the people’s will. Election thieves lurk around at first in the shadows but in more cases boldly in the fore front wreaking havoc, harming anyone who would dare to disagree with them.
This phenomenon exists everywhere and in every continent. It used to be that political unrest happening in emerging economies tended to be the lenses through which the west categorised their worthiness. Using terms that run the gamut, from immature democracies to barbaric. What the rest of the world did not know was the West had its own election dysfunction, initially kept under wraps but more recently blatant, loud, uncouth, and extremely dangerous. In that today, much of the West has lost its moral high ground to lead on a peaceful honest democratic process.
While all that has been said so far is true and important, that is not the focus of this article. Instead we will be focusing on an upcoming presidential election in Africa’s most populous country and its most prolific economy, Nigeria. To narrow it even further I will be focusing on the potential to elect Mr. Peter Obi as the president of Nigeria.
Today Mr. Obi is one of 18 candidates running for office, one of the three key candidates and the appears to be the most desirable candidate for a great number of the population. Obi brings to the elections the potential for the Federal Republic of Nigeria to be delivered from the grip of a two-party system that has stifled and mostly retarded the prospects of advancing Nigeria in policy, economics, and welfare. Obi has the hearts of majority of the youth and many right thinking, patriotic Nigerians but is that enough?
The question is not meant to provoke deep thoughts on the potential for inappropriate election behaviours, violence, and threats of destabilisation. While all these are real concerns, much of which are already in play and evil at their core, there is something else that is much more simple, much more fundamental. That is, the comprehensive plan to engage the requirements of the electoral process, to achieve the required outcome. All without becoming the very thing Nigeria desperately needs to b relieved of!
“The President of Nigeria is elected using a modified two-round system. To be elected in the first round, a candidate must receive a majority of the vote and over 25% of the vote in at least 24 of the 36 states. If no candidate passes this threshold, a second round will be held between the top candidate and the next candidate to have received a plurality of votes in the highest number of states.” (source Wikipedia)
It actually has a few more layers than stated. The Nigeria electoral process requires the following:
- Round 1:
- Win popular vote
- Get 25% of vote in at least 24 states
- Round 2 / Run off (within 21 days): – Invoked if no candidate meets round 1 requirements
- Top 2 candidates are eligible
- Candidate 1: Candidate with highest number of votes in round 1
- Candidate 2: Candidate with highest number of votes in highest number of states
- If more than one candidate is eligible for candidate 2 status, then;
- Candidate 2: Candidate among them with highest number of votes cast
- Winner selected based on:
- Most votes cast
- Get 25% of 24 states plus FCT (Abuja)
- Top 2 candidates are eligible
- Round 3 (within 21 days): Invoked if no winner emerges from run off.
- Winner is candidate with most votes cast
Predicting what would happen on February 25, 2023, in Nigeria might seem foolhardy on a normal honest day but is it? Keeping these numbers at the fore of the eyes, hearts, minds, and access of all Nigerians is key. The questions to be answered include
- What must be done to preserve Nigeria?
- What must be done to create a solid democracy?
- What must be done to preserve national integrity?
- How can the will of the people prevail?
Here are some thoughts on each question:
To preserve Nigeria – change must happen and be embraced. Fear of harm that gives way to complacency must be fought against and rejected. Everyone must participate, young, vintage, mature, youth – everyone
To create a solid democracy – everyone must fight to exercise their democratic rights to vote. Those who need help should be helped, everyone must be encouraged and given avenues to see themselves as critical to the electoral process. Registration to vote and access to vote must be readily available. Candidates must debate and present themselves to the people. Elections must be free and fair.
To preserve national integrity – the people should feel secure or demand reasonable security. The people must not be intimidated and precluded from their civic duties. Election process must be clear and transparent.
For the people’s will to prevail – count their votes; government at all levels must be reasonably transparent. No one should be intimidated.
The problem lies in the fact that the activation of the four things I have written on feel few and far between. In many cases the opposite seems to be the norm and no alternatives seem to be in sight.
This takes me back to the dilemma that is Peter Obi; the national divide in Nigeria squarely finds itself in the laps of religion, power, and stolen wealth. This is the harsh reality and a tough place to navigate Nigeria’s presidential election.
However, to try is to bring about the potential to win. Peter Obi must not be intimidated, he must try hard, his team must try hard. They must converge their online strategy with boots on the ground and begin to work the criteria, making sure they have ground swells in at least twenty-nine states.
Yes, the negative role in which religion is cast can be a huge burden, but engagement works and can break the barriers of seemingly “iron clad” indoctrination. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, the thing though is that corrupt minds are not as sharp as they appear, find the gaps and exploit them to oblivion. Finally stolen wealth has a way of falsely making the possessor invincible, but anything stolen has negative consequences though usually hidden. Among thieves are those filled with avarice, their fight is for self. Let the thieves fight each and stay above the fray!
The work is hard, the road is rough, but the opportunities are many; do the work and the payout will come! In the meantime, the beat goes on………
About Ngozi Bell
Take a listen to this podcast Say It Skillfully® OUR VOICES – Ngozi & Okezue Bell, Carpe Diem! Tuesday, April 5, 2022 (voiceamerica.com)
Inspiration, Hard Work, Innovation. These three foundational elements anchor Ngozi’s core belief that manifesting the extraordinary is always within reach. Inspired by her mother A.C.Obikwere, a scientist and author, she learned the privilege of living at the edge of important encounters and dedicating herself to robust and perpetual learning. Ngozi’s background is a combination of Physics, Engineering, Venture Capital/Private Equity, regulations, and business where she has managed over $1B in cumulative revenue. Ngozi is a speaker, storyteller, and writer on a diverse set of topics including AI, iDLT, ML, Signal Processing, iOT, women, entrepreneurship and more. She contributes regularly to VOA, has been a TEDx speaker and is published on tech and non-tech platforms. She is a champion of STEM, women, youth, art and the Africa we must engage. Ngozi is an adjunct professor of Physics and management with work
experience in Asia, Europe, Africa, Middle East, and North America. She is a founder of a number of a number of enterprises and host of the podcast Stem, Stocks and Stews (https://anchor.fm/stemstocksstews-podcast).