It appears the entire world paid close attention to the recent Ekiti elections. News outlets from the BBC, to the Financial Times and Reuters, to papers across the world reported on the electoral tension and eventual confusion and violence which marred the process. While these news organizations and many of their readers could observe these events detached, an incredible amount of Nigerians followed the elections emotionally and tirelessly. Using blogs, and social media forums like Twitter, they shared information and their opinions on the situation.
ELECTORAL PROBLEMS & ISSUES
Prior to the April 25th Ekiti elections, Sokari of Blacklooks focused on the rising political violence and electoral fraud issues across the nation in states where polling occurred. This was obviously a precursor and bad omen for the eventual Ekiti elections which were marred by violence, attacks on journalists and ordinary civilians. Once the elections took place, Solomonsydelle of Nigerian Curiosity presented a brief history of the events that led to the confusion during the elections and analyzed the various issues related to not just for Nigeria’s upcoming 2011 elections, but democracy, national image and even the possibility of exporting dysfunctional Nigerian election practices to other African countries. Nzesylva discussed the resignation confusion surrounding Ayoka Adebayo, calling it “The Re-branding of Conscience”. Jeremy Weate of Naijablog, kept readers updated with numerous pictures from Ekiti such as this one illustrating that local women resorted to traditional naked protest, all be it semi-naked, to challenge many of the obvious shenanigans that took place during the election and afterward.
Additionally, Akin’s post “When women rage with the pudenda and the paps“, reviewed the Ekiti situation, women’s role in protest and other related issues.
The overwhelming attitude towards the Ekiti election reflected much sadness, disappointment and anger against many of the main actors. As to the violence that occurred, Chinedu Vincent Akuta, of Briefs From Akuta, pointed out that there were an estimated 10,000 police officers in Ekiti to prevent violence. He then wondered if those officers couldn’t prevent violence what would happen in 2011? Imnakoya, of Grandiose Parlor, focused on the role of the Police in the electoral confusion and called for the firing of Mike Okiro, the head of the Nigerian Police Force. ‘Omoluwabi Okebadan‘ put the blame on the federal government which he said continued to to whittle away any goodwill it had left.
Obie Precious, an Abuja resident blogging at Diary of a Naija Youth, discussed his dislike of everyone involved from the PDP, the AC, INEC (Nigeria’s electoral body), and the Police. Furious Frank Talk admitted to laughing when he learned that neighboring governor of Ogun state planned to send in hoodlums to Ekiti but quickly sobered up because he realized that he was witnessing the “demise of democracy in Nigeria”. Ifejem’s Blog focused on the unfair manipulation of the democratic process and political blogger, Adeola Aderounmu of Thy Glory O Nigeria! called the Ekiti election “Another Useless Election” that reflects the abuse of the word”democracy“.
On the micro-blogging service, Twitter, interested users learned from Ekitirr that the anti-corruption body, EFCC, was interrogating INEC officers over an alleged N250 million bribe, less than 24 hours after the final poll closed. Ekitirr, a supporter of the AC challenger, had updated others using his phone through out the election. In response to the bribe discussion, Plastiqq noted that he was awaiting the “outcome” of the investigation and others questioned whether or not there would be any concrete results. And Elcij proclaimed “On a more serious note, this nonsense in ekiti is becoming quite dangerous.” This view was shared by many not just on Twitter but also, the many Nigerian bloggers that focused on the elections.
Overall, Nigerian observers of the Ekiti election expressed genuine concern for the future of democracy and elections in the country. Time will tell exactly how these elections will impact others.