Local vs. general elections in Nigeria

If we could do it for presidential election, surely we should realise it is important to put the same efforts into electing local representatives as well.

This year has been full on for Nigeria elections from presidential, governorship to local representatives. On April 11th, there were yet another elections going on, for Osun state it was State Assembly elections. The roads were deserted as there were warnings that businesses should not open on election day. This ordinarily should translate to everyone needs to participate in the elections only that people did not as they really do not see the point as local elections are usually won by whoever has upper hand.

Deserted road April 11th

I wander round for hours. The common response from people was the fact that elections took too long of their day and the fact that they had done the same only 15 days prior for Buhari.

Now I realise in order to increase the number of people participating in elections then it must be a lot more friendly to voters. It is a bit too much to ask to wait around for up to 3 hours in the morning just to get accredited, and to be told to come back for another long waiting voting session later in the day.

It is one thing to bully people not to open up their businesses, it is a whole other story to get the same group of people to vote for the right person.

We call on the President to help on all sort of issues, but in reality, the President is in most cases far removed from the people hence it is important to elect someone we all know and trust to represent locally with the hope that local issues will get deserved attention.

Today, I read about fresh attacks in 3 Plateau villages whereby villagers were butchered in their sleep.

I called my niece to see if she was okay, not too surprising she has not heard about the killings and no one around her talked about it – this is within the same state.

Reading a bit more about the genesis of killing spree in Plateau state, it has striking similarities to many senseless killings going on around the country – fights over land ownership and from there escalated to religious and political killings.

Who is better to inform the general public about the truth of such atrocities than a trusted local representatives?

#BBOG has attracted sympathies from lots of people around the world, how I wish locally we can be concerned about needless shedding of blood in all of our regions enough for us to be interested in local elections. If the right people are in key positions, there is likelihood that peculiar local issues will get the right attention.

Very sad what is happening in Plateau state, probably will continue for many more months to come unless it bothers enough people to call government attention to it.



Categories: Africa, Nigeria

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10 replies

  1. Enjoying your posts – are you on a short break home in Nigeria? Love the write up😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Local elections are a problem in my country as well. Our more liberal political party is able to win the Presidency because of high voter turnout. However, low voter turnout by liberals, during local elections, makes it difficult to win a elections. The result — a lot of far right conservatives win and promote policies that a majority of the people disagree with. Thank you for your enlightening posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi FK
    1) Why can’t enrollment and registration for local elections be done on the same day as the presidential one, that would save time and money?
    2) Why do businesses have to be closed, the City of London, doesn’t close down for national elections here. Think of all the lost revenue, because someone wants to ‘spoil things’!
    3) The problem with Plateau will no doubt run on for months if not years to come. I think the threat of direct rule from Abuja, should wake up the local authorities to take decisive action. Not the ‘mickey mouse stuff’ that was done in the North East. Really clamp down and have effective road blocks, set up reliable local intelligence go after the villains and hunt down their backers. Handling this with ‘kid gloves’ has not brought about the desired result. It’s time to ‘get serious’. When distress calls are received the authorities should respond quickly. Too much ‘je je’ approach has proved to be a waste of life, time and money.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good questions, but I don’t get many of these policies myself. Let’s see:

      1. I don’t know the rationale behind this one. Most people interested in voting have collected their voting cards before the presidential election, agree doing accreditation for voting once and for all seems sensible. Policy makers are silly hence majority of people do not bother to waste yet half a day going through the same processing.

      2. This same policy of bullying people to close businesses for every public affairs is commonly used in Nigeria, this explains a lot about why many things do not work for us. No iota of consideration for many people whose livelihood depended on a day job.

      No, I don’t get this neither. I suppose it is a subtle way of telling people their businesses will not be protected from looters so people then closed businesses and wait around, ‘bite the bullet’ for the lost revenues. Only retaliation was not voting which is a shame as it means the same people making bad decisions with no consideration to local people end up in power.

      3. Plateau fights will continue and many like it within the country until we have smart leadership in place. As with similar issues around the country, it is incredible how hardened people can be. This is a kind of problem that Nigeria usually wish can go away on its own, but here to stay. Soldiers in place isn’t helping as in no time get compromised by the big men/women in town.

      As you have rightly put it local intelligence need to be employed to do thorough investigation of the problem so it can be addressed from the roots.

      Like

      • FK
        Thank you for the reply.
        To me for a cash-strapped country such as Nigeria, the emphasis should be saving public money not wasting it. I think all this voter registration and voting should be done on the same day as the presidential elections, it saves time and money. This re-visiting the electoral process is just another way of subverting the system to their own ends, to skim off or scoop as much money as they can get their hands on and award contracts to their friends as a reward.

        They should have a review on how to make the process more user-friendly and implement it across the nation.

        As for the soldiers, the only way forward is to suspend local democracy in Plateau and impose direct rule. The soldiers will be answerable to Abuja not the local prominent people in the state.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sound advice. Technically we have a democratic government but lots of our policies are more or less dictatorship. The above would be implemented in a country where legislators are able to analyse the situation before hand to arrive at the best solutions that increase voters number while all other factors are not seriously compromised.

          Like

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