I have often thought long and hard on the subject of ‘Free and Fair’ elections. I have wondered if that alone can or has the potential to be the elixir to our electoral misfortunes and resultant foisted horrible governments. The general results of my musings was ‘No, Free and Fair elections is NOT the solution’.
How can it be?
I’m working on the premise that success is a process, not an event, that excellence is a habit, not an occasion.
So let’s look at this critically.
Let us take an imaginary land El Dorado, a land of immense opportunity with voter population of 100 million people, shall we?
Three candidates vie for presidential office. The candidates are
– Capt CROOK
– Comrado CONSCIENTIOUS
– Mr CLUELESS
Their names suggest their personalities.
Now, if about 60 million of the voter population have crookish tendencies, you can safely expect them to vote for Capt CROOK. The remaining 40 million votes would be split between Comrado CONSCIENTIOUS and Mr CLUELESS. That election could be ‘Free and Fair’ because they all voted transparently without rigging. But the winner wasn’t the best choice.
Mr CLUELESS is from a long-neglected ‘marginalised’ minority and so his people harp on sentiments and that monkey trick called Zoning Policy/Quota System (also can be described as Your-Turn-My-Turn) to get him elected. Let’s say 70 million of the voting population buy this sentimental hogwash and vote in Mr CLUELESS, the election could be ‘Free and Fair’ but the nation landed with the wrong person.
All three candidates run for president but the 100 million strong voter population don’t all turn up to vote on D-day because they have lost fath in the ‘IWUru-wuru’ process now turned ‘Jega-Jega’. Only about 20 million die-hards show up and vote for Capt CROOK with the ‘oily’ hands. ‘Free and Fair’ elections but wrong person.
Capt CROOK, who has a lot of money to spare and share around, lavishly spreads the national cake even before he gets there. Infact, in his genius, he contrives national ‘chin-chin’ since the cake might not go round. He persuades people to vote for him- but not without rewards. Sell me your vote for a bag of rice or garri or a gun or some cash to throw around. If the majority of voters buy that crap and sell their votes, that election, by world standards, doesn’t contravene ‘Free and Fair’ since suasion- whether monetary or not, not compulsion, was used. ‘Free and Fair’ but wrong person.
Capt CROOK, having ‘chop’ more than was due him, more than his fair and unfair share, more than was healthy for him, finally dies of political gluttony. Comrado CONSCIENTIOUS, thoroughly tired of the whole nonsense, leaves the country of promise to their perpetual foolishness and faces his personal business squarely. Only Mr- oops! Pardon my disrespect, I meant Dr, he’s now a Dr not Mr- only Dr CLUELESS remains and maybe another candidate, Chief CLOWNISH. The choice is now between two ‘bascally wags’. So, even then, the election might still be ‘Free and Fair’ and yet that country of potentials is left in the hands of whichever incompetent, bungling, bumbling idiot to administer their clumsy idea of governance.
In all five cases, elections were ‘Free and Fair’ yet didn’t guarantee that the best emerged. It just made sure that the whim of the majority was pandered to. A majority who has issues with wisdom. ‘Free and Fair’ is but one step in achieving what we ought.
The real tragedy won’t be if our votes don’t count. The great calamity would be if our votes count and we end up voting for the same-old-same-old legisLOOTERS, House of MISrepresentaTHIEVES, and DIShonourables, if those votes count and we sold them to Predator-Senators, to Presidents and Governors who’ll add to our problems. But an even greater curse awaits us in our inaction. When we COULD HAVE VOTED ‘if only we knew’ but didn’t because we believed ‘it won’t count’ and when it would have counted most, our votes were conspicuously absent.
Yes, our elections must be ‘Free and Fair’ but the electorate owes it to the commonwealth of their land and to the legacy they would bequeath to generations yet unborn, to place those votes on people with deep, fundamental VALUES, not deep, monumental POCKETS.
Governance doesn’t end with ‘Free and Fair’ elections which, mostly, is an event. Quite the contrary, that’s when it begins. So, we must have built a process with an incorporated Valid System for Values Measurement that would help us to determine where our thumbs would print because the consequences of our choices may very well dog us for the next four years.
Make your votes count.
AKPOVETA, Valentine ‘t