Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lessons From The 2011 Nigerian Elections

3 July 2011

By G. A. Akinola
ONE of the remarkable things about the 2011 general elections in Nigeria is the note of optimism that informs reactions to the outcome of the polls. For example, although they took place under unprecedentedly  volatile conditions, the elections have been adjudged generally peaceful. Similarly, the bitter wrangling before the elections over which zone of the country should present the PDP presidential candidate, and the murderous riots in parts of northern Nigeria following the results of the presidential polls, both bespeak deep-seated divisions in the Nigerian polity. Yet, Jonathan’s victory has been hailed as a “pan-Nigerian mandate.” For the rest, the improved credibility rating of the 2011 polls, compared with the 2003 and 2007 exercises, indicates that transparent elections are not impossible in Nigeria. But, perhaps far more instructive are indications  in the voting patterns that it will take far more than passable elections to resolve the critical political and other issues that make up the national question.

The 2011 elections thus represent the beginning of a process which one hopes will culminate in the people choosing without much fuss or hassle those who will rule them. ...

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