Chaos and noise,
Voices lost poise,
Rigging and fraud,
Will of people ignored,
Future brutally sacked.
Torn dreams, hopeless and feeble,
Nonviolent change obstructed,
To our shame, corrupted.
INEC’s promises were once high,
BIVAS and IREV, systems to try,
Voter fraud to stop and deny,
Nigeria’s future to fortify.
But alas, the political class,
Had different plans to amass,
Voters intimidation with no class,
INEC, their ally, a conspiring farce.
BIVAS and IREV, just words,
INEC and politicians, blurred,
Truth and justice incurred,
Hope of free and fair elections, absurd.
Charade persists, for how long?
INEC and politicians cheat,
Democracy’s hopes in chaos meet,
Political class corrupt and steadfast.
Exploiting ethnic and religious divides,
Fueling division with self-serving lies,
Personal gain, their preferences,
Causing the nation endless stress.
Nigerians, easy prey,
Falling for the tribalism play,
Led astray, far away,
From a brighter, better day.
But hope is not yet lost,
For at what great cost,
We must choose competence,
Over tribalism’s false pretense.
Dare to unite and stand as one,
Building bridges, not walls undone,
For Nigeria’s future, we must shun,
The politics of division, it’s not fun.
Dare to rise and make a change,
For a better Nigeria to arrange,
Where we value competence,
Over ethno-religious difference.
“I came here stark naked the way I came into this world to fight for my emancipation. Should there be my own compatriots who colluded with them to steal our mandate, I stand here today to curse and declare that may the ground open up and swallow them all.”
That was the heart-wrenching cry of one disconsolate woman in Akwanga Local government Area of Nasarawa State who came out this past week to protest the outcome of the governorship election of March 18th in the state. She was joined in the protest by scores of half-naked women and others dressed in black attires, a suggestion that they were all in a state of mourning. They hurled curses at anyone they believed was complicit in the scheme that rendered their votes inconsequential and demanded it must count.
I do not have the specifics of what transpired in the Nasarawa state gubernatorial election but I know that in my home state of Enugu, the mood is no different. From Enugu to Imo, Lagos to Rivers, Nasarawa to Benue, Presidential to Governorship elections, it was one story upon another of unimaginable violence, intimidation and vote buying across the length and breadth of this country. A well-oiled political class used the powerful instrument of state and Mahmood Yakubu’s INEC, a corrupt umpire, to scuttle the will of the Nigerian people.
Nigeria under President Buhari’s 8 years of inept leadership, marked by total economic collapse, rising insurgency and pervasive insecurity has tethered on the edge. To many compatriots, the nation’s 2023 election offered hope as a defining moment for the country to change its trajectory by choosing leaders whom they believe could refocus their country on the path of sustainable peace and stability. Instead, what we witnessed was mostly a charade with predetermined outcomes in favor of certain candidates, in place of a free and fair election.
Nigeria’s corrupt political class seemed to have paid no mind to the note of caution sounded by President John F. Kennedy when he warned that those who make peaceful change impossible, will make violent revolution inevitable. The poem is dedicated to those women from Nasarawa state and every citizen of Nigeria reeling from the pain of being robbed of their votes; whose voices were lost in the chaos; whose hope for a better future triumphs over our current experiences. Not all heroes wear cape.
•Osmund Agbo writes from Houston, Texas. Email: [email protected]