The conduct of two recent mid term elections (Èkìtì and Ọ̀ṣun Governorship elections) in Nigeria has created a lot of interest. On the surface, the legal coefficient in an election seems to be a sufficient factor, which guarantees the validity of an election. But it is crucial to always keep in mind that the legal is always wrapped inside the moral, such that when an election suffers sufficient moral deficit, it loses popular acceptability even if it appears legally valid. This is the case with most elections under the PDP and President Jonathan’s government.
The objective outcome of the moral deficit in an election and the loss of popular acceptability is the point at which the ethical trumps the legal. In such case an election may deem legally valid it remains flawed in the moral imagination of people. And that flaw begins to eat deep into the social and moral fabric of society; and the society’s social memory. This is part of what continues to empty the country of any moral meaning, for what is a country when someone’s vote is morally meaningless?
That happened both in the Èkìtì and Ọ̀ṣun elections. They both lack the requisite ethical content of a morally and therefore popularly acceptable election in civilized societies. In Ọ̀ṣun, that the more popular and better candidate Ògbẹ́ni Rauf Arẹ́gbẹ́sọlá of the APC successfully fought a life and death battle and clearly and justifiably won does not subtract from the view that the Ọ̀ṣun governorship election has serious ethical problem caused mainly by President Jonathan’s desperation for 2015 elections and his PDP ““bojúbojú” DSS. We shall show that presently.
Beside the use of state apparatus by the ruling party at the center-PDP-to intimidate voters in order to skew the elections in favor of their PDP candidates, one of the challenges the elections presented before the country and the rest of the civilized world is the ethics and morality of the “act” and “guilt” of wandering. Thus the question is : when is a party operative “guilty” of wandering during an election? Why is it that only the party officials of opposition(at national level) party are arrested for “wandering”? And what is the morality of the “guilt” of wandering? The Nigerian Department of State Security (DSS) is the immoral agent of this contributing aspect of the numerous moral deficit in both the Èkìtì and Ọ̀ṣun elections.
The DSS is not a police. The DSS is not a military. The DSS is an “intelligence” gathering unit. It gathers intelligence report for the security of the country. Its job is to spy on all of us. In carrying out its espionage and “intelligence” activities in the Ọ̀ṣun elections, men and women(?) of the DSS wore masks! We do not know which Nigerian law allows operatives of the DSS to wear masks in a civil and moral act, which an election is. Here in the US, in the Diaspora, our children who are always rooting for their original homeland, Nigeria are dumbfounded and wondered at the dinner table :”Police wear masks during an election in our country, oh my God!”
Not only did DSS operatives wear masks, they were armed to the teeth and they shot indiscriminately to the air. It was so ridiculous watching this cruel joke one of our children said in Yoruba language “Papa, ṣé election ni wọ́n ń ṣe ní Ọ̀ṣun yi tí àwọn wọnyi da aṣọ bo ojú bí àwọn tí ó ń ṣe “bojúbojú”” Let me translate to English. This means “Papa is what is being done an election in Ọ̀ṣun state such that these people cover their faces as if they are engaged in a game of hide and seek…?”
“Bojúbojú” is an African children hide, seek and reveal evening time and outdoor leisure game. But unlike the dubious masks of the men and women of the DSS, African children DO NOT wear masks during their game for our children have nothing to hide. Our children seek and reveal. The African children “bojúbojú” game is open, seeking, revealing, innocent, transparent, inclusive, democratic, rule governed and a joy to behold by any parent. We parents simply savor the innocence and joy of these kids when they relax with their game of African “bojúbojú”, seeking and revealing.
But the morally dubious masked faces of men and women (?) of the DSS are an eye sore. The DSS masks are rule breaking, secretive, stealthy, sly, exclusive and therefore ugly. The DSS masks during the Ọ̀ṣun election shows the masked nature of Nigerian democracy under the watch of President Jonathan, his police and his military. These ugly DSS masks hide and hide in defense of PDP, the party that sent them. Election is not a hide and hide game. So the masks of the men and women (?) is a moral attack on transparency, an attack on the morality of democratic choice. A masked democracy is not a choice.
The masks of the DSS men and women mask Nigerian democracy and are hideous and therefore a moral deficits for the election. Why? Because we voters cannot see what is behind the masks. And Nigerian children both at home and the Diaspora see this moral fraud perpetuated by President Jonathan due to his desperation to win states for his PDP party in preparation for 2015, and these children are disgusted.
Transparent election is what we see to be transparent with your eyes. The masks block our eyes, our perception. Therefore, they are morally offensive and undemocratic. They stink morally. And we recoil and turn our backs against it peacefully. President Jonathan is turning Nigerian democracy and election to “bojúbojú” democracy and “bojúbojú” election. Such elections and democracy are a moral fraud.
The Department of State Security (DSS) crowned this moral deficit with the arrest of officials of the opposition party (at national level) APC. The DSS arrested Mr. Láí Mohammed and Sunday Dáre of APC. Their offence? Wandering! I am not a strong fan of Mr. Láí Mohammed. Both he and his counterpart in PDP, Mr. Olisa Metuh have never sold their parties to the Nigerian public based on programs and policies. This may be the case because the two parties have no programs and policies to campaign on beside giving out kerosene, charcoal, bread and butter, rice and beans, gaari, àkàrà, roasted corn, yam, roasted yam –dùǹdún- etc, during elections only!
But despite this deficit in both APC and PDP, to arrest the chief spokesperson of the opposition for “wandering” is the most unintelligent act of an “intelligence” gathering unit-which the DSS is. This same unintelligent and silly thing happened in the Èkìtì elections. While someone called Musiliu Obanikoro of PDP, a minister of state for defense was allowed free movement in and out of Èkìtì during the Èkìtì elections, two elected APC governors (Governors Amaechi and Oshiomohle) of two Nigerian constituting states(Rivers and Edo)- were denied movement into Èkìtì state. You allowed movement of an un-elected person called minister of stat, you deny elected governors movement!
But since President Jonathan was also in Ọ̀ṣun state for his party for the same election, based on the equalitarian ethics of “what is good for the goose ought to be good for the gander”, the moral question Nigerian children both at home and in the Diaspora have asked since the arrest of Láí Mohammed and Sunday Dáre for “wandering” is that if both-Mohammed and Dáre- are guilty of “wandering” then President Jonathan is guilty of same “wandering”. We will like to see the DSS “wandering” charge against President Jonathan. The DSS has a question to answer for being part of “bojúbojú” Nigerian elections.
Adeolu Ademoyo firstname.lastname@example.org of the Africana Studies and Research Center, Cornell University, writes from Ithaca, New York. He is also a member of the editorial board of Premium Times.