Nigeria has moved quickly from voting on February 23rd to expecting the final results of the poll by Monday, February 25th. But it is doubtful if the situation in the country leaves any room for worrying too much about who wins in the final results of the Saturday polls. The degree of incoherence is such that whoever wins this election does not have the luxury of pretending that the country can continue the way it is. The degree of division, anger and bitterness observable all over today doesn’t permit that luxury.
Whoever ends up as winner of the election is faced with managing the unintended consequences of the past four years and this particular election and victory. Coping with such consequences in the current circumstance demands signals of how to rebuild trust, undo hatred and reduce bitterness. No attempt at business as usual or more of the same should be contemplated at all because such could lead to preventable disorder.
What and how best the rebuilding of trust can be done is better left to each actor’s discretion. But the point to bear in mind is that the country has never been as mobilised as happened this election. The implication is that whoever is declared winner would not have got the percentage of the votes that can make a winner-takes-all government and governance inclusive enough.
What is, additionally, important is the need to end monologue and get Nigerians talking to each other towards renewed consensus on the key issues. It is unimaginable, for example, that today, Nigeria has no development strategy driven by any clear cut convictions. Whatever exists as such are confused use of unrelated concepts assembled to give the impression that the operators know what they are doing. The country just can’t go on like that.
Meanwhile, it is expected that adequate security arrangements have been made to forestall violence. It is unfortunate that, already, so many persons have lost their lives over the course of the poll. By the current level of development across the world, that ought not to have been the case in Nigeria anymore. The fact that it is the case is yet another pointer to how abnormal Nigeria itself is. No one can gloss over this abnormality in the euphoria of being able to conduct the election at all. It is true Nigeria is so massive as for conducting an election with over 70 presidential candidates to be worth her self-congratulations. But, even then, things ought to be vastly better. That is better not only in the conduct of the elections but generally. Alas, that has not been so.