The Patriot Institute of Journalism and Arts (PIJA), Lance Magazine is a public-centric independent media organisation dedicated to fighting injustice, fostering social justice and community development through the telling and retelling of the marginalised-oriented stories.
Emi Lokan: Ekiti Decides Osun, 2023
With what happened in Ekiti, it is safe for many of us to take a deep breath and sit for another deliberate of the think tank.
Rather it is a sop to us, right-thinking Nigerians can all see that it is carbuncles, laying siege on our dear skins. And if care is not taken, Nigeria will end up wasting another 8 years in pangs, anger and the likes of Lekki Toll Gate.
Me, I am not planning to have such a horrible experience again. And this is the reason for this missive.
On June 18 when the procession of the Ekiti State Election was going on, I was busy reading The Best of Newswatch. It is a book with several satiric, Investigative and insightful articles of the Nigerian Government written by Editors of the defunct Newswatch Magazine, including that of its first Editor-In-Chief and first Nigeria Investigative Journalist that died through a letter bomb, Dele Giwa. It has the articles of literary gurus like Niyi Osundare et al, as well.
I shut myself out of the internet, living my stunning face buried in every page of the book. It was a long read and I enjoyed it.
But the joy will not be prolonged as I got a call from a Journalist friend, John.
I do not want to answer the call because I hate distractions while munching my daily bread but the persistent clinging tones, gave me no room to concentrate, anymore. I had to answer the call.
“Hello Enoch,” he said. “Are you following the Ekiti election?”
I hesitated. I do not want to say No because as a Journalist, I am expected to follow the process. But what is there to follow, I already know what will be the outcome.
I told him, “Not really,” and then he explained a lot to me. After our long hours of discussion, I lost interest in my reading and then, put on my data to follow the process.
There, I got blown away by what will not be a shock in my life. Parties were giving out money in large quantities, even foodstuffs to voters, soliciting for votes. And voters too were collecting them, trading their future away. The next 8 years in pains and hardships. I cried for Nigerians and the people of Ekiti.
Well! This is not new in Nigeria, a nation perpetually blighted with the likes of late Marcos in the Philippines and late terror Regean in the United States. I moved on following the process until my eyes framed the eventual winner of the election, Biodun Oyebanji in a photograph where he gave out money to an aged woman. Despite its initial motive which, we all know, people have said he is a generous man. On the election day, is that not really absurd?
And this is why I said, Nigerians are not ready to fight, yet.
We are not ready to get a hold of the People’s Power and drive out rebels on the seats of our government houses. We are not yet in the knowledge that the People Hold the Power.
Fidel Castro had started the heat of the People’s Power in the world when he went to the jungle to plan the end of the Cuban Dictator, Batista. No one could save him. Not even the CIA. In the end, the people won.
In the same vein, when the people of Nicaragua decided in 1979 to drive out dictator Anastasio Somoza, then, the CIA tried all they could, but no one could stand the heat of the people’s power. People won, still.
As Somoza was packing his bags and biding Nicaragua farewell, the people of Iran also rose and regardless of the CIA and Jimmy Carter; they succeeded in rendering Emperor Shah Reza Pahlavi, homeless.
The same things happen in the 90s, living dictators in Africa and in the world dropped like over-ripping mangoes. It happens in Haiti which was just a move to free the people of Haiti from the perpetual suffering of Baby face Baby Doc.
This people’s power has formerly found expressions in the heart of Nigerian Youth and thus sparked the epochal current of #EndSARS Protest. Perhaps, there was a link in their blood or as most traditional people call it, the reincarnation of the past heroes.
But, I am still surprised why all of the sudden the fire of the people’s power dialled down like there was a spiral silence. No one wants to talk anymore. And this is why vote-buying was evidently and perfectly carried out in Ekiti with no one saying and making a move.
I want to let you understand that this will continue. And it will repeat itself in the soon-to-be-conducted Osun Election, it will repeat itself in 2023 and continually repeat itself until we are ready to retain the knowledge that Power belongs to us and we own the power. Once we are ready, not only through PVCs can we drag the dictators out of the office, but through…the real display of People’s Power as in Cory versus Marcos in the Philippines.
Until then, it will forever be Emi Lokan!