By Olayinka J. Fowora
All right thinking Nigerians should prevail on the President kitchen cabinet at Aso Rock, the National Assembly and the greedy politicians to be circumspect of the warning by Gen. Muhammadu Buhari that there might be a civil revolution, as it happened in Egypt and Libya, if the next general election in 2015 is manipulated.
There was a similar precedent in Western Region in 1965; during the process of the dissolution of the House of Assembly. Late Chief Richard Akinyemi from Mushin 1 Constituency warned Chief S. L. Akintola not to rig the then elections for the Assembly seats held on October 11, 1965. Chief Akintola, the premier of the region aided and abetted by Mr. Ojerinola, the Chief Electoral Officer and the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Odofin Bello on one hand, and the Federal Government controlled by Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa, the Leader of NPC, on the other, rigged the elections massively.
The public spontaneously reacted and there was a general breakdown of law and order which led to the evergreen ‘We tie’. The situation continued for about three months. Consequently, the soldiers struck and took over power on Saturday, 15th January, 1966. Not only was Chief Akintola killed in the process, the Prime Minister, two of the four regional Premiers and some senior military officers etc. lost their lives. The Nigerian Army became tribalised; allegations and counter allegations of one tribe being responsible for the elimination ofthe other led to the three-year long civil war.
It is unfortunate that majority of current crop of politicians now busy sucking the nation dry were not born then, or at best toddlers. These corrupt Nigerians are better advised to thread softly, as no nation has experienced civil war twice and came out strong, united and resourceful again.
The National Assembly should seize the opportunity of the ongoing constitutional amendments to transfer the process of appointing the Chairman of INEC to the National Judicial Commission. The practice whereby the reigning President carries out this function is dangerous and undemocratic. We should take a leaf from Ghana whose President was stopped from meddling in the electoral process of that country.
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
By Olayinka J. Fowora