“Look, Iyawo, do quick with this food, I am running late for our meeting”.
Ah ahdaddy Goodluck, relax now your food is almost ready. Just give me 5 minutes.
“Aahh, 5 whole minutes!!!, Sorry I have to leave right now, I cannot afford to take chances. I must win this ward delegate selection at all costs otherwise, nothing for me until 4 years” time.
“But, but you have not eaten na…”. Don’t Worry, I will eat after the election…”
As I scamper out of my room and palour apartment, I am literally running to the local government secretariat. Chief Egunje had promised that he would make me one of his delegates. He said, he was allowed to choose only 5 delegates this time instead of the ten he was originally promised. That means that automatically, he will not be able to give the slot to all his boys that he originally promised. Our agreement is that I will deliver 60% of any money I am given. With the large number of aspirants clamouring for various positions including 13 for governorship, this will be a major bazaar. Chief Egunje even said one governorship candidate has offered to give 2 million Naira to each candidate. And by the time all the other candidates come with their own ‘stomach infrastructure’ I will be a millionaire during this election. Chaiii!
A week Later: I am at the venue of the primaries for the governorship for our party. Truly, there is money in this country!!! The kind of sharing that I have seen in this venue is simply mind-blowing and frightening. I see one big van that was filled with cash when one governorship candidate’s manager came in to the venue and I hear that he brought 3 of such vans. Other candidates I hear had gone round hotels the previous night and this man heard about it and said, he will give 3 times the amount the highest giver doled out but the smart man says that to receive the money you must also wear his Ankara and stay put within his group until voting time.
Chief Egunje had called and instructed me to make sure I go and collect our own share as indeed he told all the 4 men in his team to make sure we collect everything from everybody. As at last count, Chief Egunje had made over 10 million Naira for these primaries and as for me, I already have over 1 million. “
Ahhhh! This election is too sweet oh”. Suddenly, I hear gun shots. I see smoke, people are running. I see someone on the ground, bleeding from a gash on his head, I see someone wielding a matchet about to deal him another blow. I see 2 groups of boys shooting at themselves but the bullets are not penetrating. One of them grabs a knife with a red piece of cloth tied to it and hits one of his rivals. Screams and blood follow. My legs begin to race, people are screaming everywhere, running. I see the boys head for the Van with the money; each struggling to grab as much as possible. There is more shooting and more cutlasses as I see 2 policemen running ahead of me trying to remove their uniforms.
I do not know when and how I get home. But I have never been more grateful to be received and made to relax by my wife. I lost money as I made good my escape but I am only too grateful to be alive when I hear one of my team-mates under Chief Egunje was hacked to death. Chief Egunje himself, we hear has gone underground. The next day, the party announces the cancellation of the primaries. A week later, a consensus arrangement is reached; the aspirant who was ready to outspend everybody receives our party’s ticket while the aspirant whose thugs caused the mayhem is given an automatic Senatorial ticket in new ‘rubber-stamp’ primaries.
Well, if I were a Nigerian voter, whether as a party delegate or as an accredited voter in the general elections, I shall realize that selling my vote or surrendering my vote under intimidation is the greatest evil I could do to myself and constituency. I would realize that any man (or woman) who spends so much money to buy people’s votes will eventually steal back that money one hundred fold from the same people. In the same vein any politician who employs the services of thugs to kill and intimidate people to vote for (or rig him in) will be equally ready to intimidate and kill his own people for personal gain when he gets into office.
If I were a Nigerian voter, I would realize that a bag of rice offered to me as ‘stomach infrastructure’ by a politician before elections means that he has fed me upfront for the period he will be in office and therefore does not owe me or his constituents any further obligation since we have ‘eaten his bribe’
If I were a Nigerian voter, I shall realize that it is men with great ideas (and not great money) that have made themselves great leaders towards the greatness of their societies. If I were a Nigerian voter, I will ‘eat’ politicians’ money, because it is most likely our money anyway, and I shall vote according to my convictions for my benefit and society’s upliftment as any bribe-induced or blood-stained vote will end up in unpleasant consequences.