Elections and Kogi Rats

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Rats are usually associated with destructive tendencies, in homes, where they nibble at prized documents, food, and sometimes humans. Rats also live in sewers, and dirty environments, eating filth and digging holes, where they bury their filthy selves. In socio-economic parlance, rats are associated with destructive practices. So, you hear things like wharf-rats, to describe thieves that wreak havoc on items waiting to be cleared from the wharf.

Penultimate Saturday, we had Kogi rats running riot and wreaking havoc in the state’s gubernatorial election. They also, like the now sulking former senator, Dino Melaye, did songs to eulogise their ignoble role as rats. While they thought they were singing about the sound of gun they used to intimidate voters during that election, they were actually mimicking their specie, rats. With their rat mentality, they indeed wreaked monumental havoc in the state, by roasting alive a woman leader of the opposition party, the PDP, Mrs Salome Abuh, in her home, at Ochamadu, Kogi State.

Like rats, they are, after wreaking havoc in the open, they scurried back into the sewages, whence they came from. Late Madam Abuh’s sin, is that she held a different political interest from the Kogi rats that ravaged the state, two weeks ago. Of course, rats are purveyors of pestilence, and unless strong insecticide is applied to kill them off, the pestilence may spread to epidemic proportion.

So, those who owe us the responsibility to protect our lives and properties should smoke out the rats in Kogi and deal with them appropriately. It is because they did not deal with similar rat mentality in other states in the previous elections that more rats are mutating. So Kogi is just the latest rat colony. Those who also owe Nigerians the responsibility to ensure free, fair and credible election, should wake-up to save our nation from electoral perils. It should be unacceptable that contestants can empower thugs, to freely intimidate their opponents, without any consequences.

It is good that the president has given a marching order to the police in Kogi State, to fish out the killers of Mrs Abuh, and it is encouraging that the police has reportedly apprehended the rats, responsible for her death. Since some commentators have doubted that the persons arrested are the real Kogi rats, the president should make it clear to the police that he would not accept any underhand dealing in the matter. The president should remember that those who have benefited from the mayhem would not have their name recorded as being in charge when a female opposition leader was burnt alive, during an election.

It is President Muhammadu Buhari that history will record as having the ultimate responsibility for security during the Kogi and Bayelsa elections. The international community and Nigerians would only compare elections under President Buhari and his predecessors. Nobody, would hold Governor Yahaya Bello or Seriake Dickson responsible for the security in place, vis-à-vis the crisis recorded during the polls. So, the president should not accept any half measure, from those investigating the killing of the opposition leader.

Neither should the president accept any compromised security report, on the widespread violence which assailed our sights in the videos on the Kogi election that have gone viral. The president should give marching orders that security agents fish out those who reduced the Kogi elections to warfare and have them face the wrath of the law. If the police is incapable of dealing with fishing out those pooh-poohing our elections in those videos, the authorities should call in the state security services, to trace those involved, and charge them to court.

As part of his legacy, the president should push for electoral reforms, particularly the criminalisation of electoral violence. He should ask his attorney general to dust up the electoral bill passed by the eighth national assembly, which he didn’t assent to, and get it re-presented to the ninth assembly for legislative action. Since the reason for not giving assent to the bill the last time was because the 2019 elections was close at hand when it was passed, the president should not wait for the 2023 elections to come close, before necessary steps are taken.

As I have argued here on many occasions, it is the president that Nigerians will remember when the history of this era is written. Nobody will remember the so-called kitchen cabinet or the cabal, accused of running things in Aso Rock, when apportioning blame or pouring praises, depending on the performance of the regime. So the president should gird his loins, and make history by bequeathing to Nigerians an improved electoral system, instead of retrogressing to the era of do-or-die politics of the ancient regime.

Credits: Gabriel Amalu | The Nation

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