The race to 270 and the lessons therein for Nigeria

The race to 270 electoral votes in the United States of America is ever demanding. But the two leading contenders in the race for this year’s election arguably found it even more problematic than usual with the stark reality at the moment: COVID-19, intensified systemic racial injustice, economy, healthcare and climate charge etc, as analysed by analysts.

The American presidential election has come and gone.

The United States of America’s presidential elections had been unofficial if not the official celebration of the government of the people by the people and for the people in the world.

The USA had been known as the bastion of democracy. But that was widely challenged in the just concluded Presidential elections.

The challenge did not only emanate from the Americans who have no constitutional authorities but also some of those at the helm of affairs with the current occupant of the oval office leading the pack.

It was surreal for lovers of democracy or rather its supporters in every corner of the globe to behold some actions of arguably the most powerful man in the world who should have normally been the biggest defender of democracy in the world.

America being an exponent of democracy and its leader the presumed leader of the free world.

However, we read reports, press releases and devoured series of tweets.

And we were treated to a ‘sumptuous self-declaration’ by an incumbent President of being a winner of an election, with millions of ballots still to be counted.

All these compounded in creating scenes of panic. The victory claim with a huge amount of ballots still to be counted was almost unheard-of and unanticipated scenario hitherto in the developed nations in the 21st century.

Such an act was more commonplace in the developing, and under-developing nations. There they allow the charade conducted in some of these nations in the name of elections to end in most cases before they pass the baton of the announcement of results to officials employed for such duties even there.

Although, on some occasions, the election officials connived with the government of the day or even the opposition to do their bidding. But they gave those saddled with such responsibilities that function.

While the last American Presidential election was tagged the most sacrosanct in America’s history by so many political science scholars, pundits and political analysts etc.

Among those who referred to it as the most crucial are the outgoing President except for a successful legal battle, President Donald J Trump, at RNC 2020: ‘This is the most important election in US history,’ he said.

The President-elect, Joseph R Biden Jr had this to say, ‘There’s just one month left before the most important election of our lifetime,’ the then-Democratic presidential nominee, Joe Biden tweeted in early October. These remarks from these leaders underscored the essence of this.

It would certainly not be wrong to say it was also the most polarising.

The mud-slinging, acerbic comments and savage fiendishness of those politicians who believe in anything is acceptable in politics.

The supporters as well as their leaders left much to be desired.

We saw a United States Presidential debate that was unpresidential, an un-American campaign period at least as they made us believe based on the standards they had set prior to this electioneering and an election marred by all that they abhor when they police the world.

Alleged vote-rigging, uncertainty permeated the American polity and almost plunged the country into chaos all as a result of remarks from some ‘leaders’ who should have acted as leaders.

This threatened to undermine if not undermined the credibility of the electoral process of a country the world has come to respect for the independence and effectiveness of its institutions.

I believe this should teach Nigerians, especially those who have made ridiculing Nigeria a national pastime, a good lesson on the electoral process in particular and nation-building in general.

The reality is that there are no perfect nations. There will never be one.

What is needed is to continue to strive to be better while knowing that there will always be flaws.

But these flaws must be reduced to the barest minimum by successive governments and the entire citizenry.

I hope this does not convey the impression of justifying electoral fraud, harsh rhetoric, violence among other things in Nigeria. I categorically do not support any of these anywhere.

In fact, I was astounded to see some people trying hard to make the US 2020 elections their rationale for vindicating all those glaring irregularities in past elections conducted in Nigeria.

I believe it serves as the overture for giving legitimacy to future electoral fraud in Nigeria by those people.

We should not always view things from the prism of negativity. With my little knowledge of Nigeria, if we the electorate acquiesce to this some opportunists in the Nigerian politics will leverage on this by going so many steps further to make amendments from whatever the politicians or electoral body chose to learn from the US elections.

And this means whatever gains in our democracy will be discarded and retrogression sets in.

This will be defended by citing the seeming anomalies of the just ended US elections.

I have sampled people’s opinions both on social media and in the place I reside.

I fathom there is a huge problem unless something is drastically done Nigerians will be the biggest losers because of this in the next general elections. I hope we quickly understand this.

Whether there was vote rigging or not, Nigeria must learn the positive things from all developed nations.

This is if we are ever serious about progressing and becoming a great nation using the very best as models.

I have followed with utter shock and sheer disappointment how some Nigerians turned the American Presidential contest into a Christianity versus Islam battle.

Christians and Muslims were warned by those who my friend and brother, Sanusi Hammaseyo referred to as ‘religionists’ to not support either a candidate who some people referred to as the ‘Antichrist’ or a candidate that does not support their religious cause.

Sanusi Hammaseyo understands the sheer hypocrisy and exploitative tendencies of all those people.

I am glad there are many Nigerians like him who never fail to challenge such things that divide us rather than unite, destroy rather than build, etc.

Some Nigerians never fail to flex muscles when it comes to any issue, most especially religion and ethnicity. But are these people truly working for their religions? Rarely, do they do that.

In many instances, they engage spiritedly in the game of the chess grandmasters, the political players who profit from such divisions and confusion. Religion has never been and it will never be the problem of Nigeria.

As I always say, it is its manipulation by those who cash in on it.

All in all, I find solace in the fact that there are millions of Nigerians who see beyond these artificial, dubious, cruel assertions and polarisation.

If Nigeria is to ever become great, it will be because of these people from every hamlet in Nigeria.

On the hilarious aspect of it, the self-appointed National Assembly Quarters, Apo, Abuja Campaign Manager of Biden/Harris 2020, Modibbo Nuruddeen Garwa, a grassroots mobiliser called me to tell me how their supporters and the Trump supporters received the result.

No, there were no punches thrown around! It was dignified, haha!.

The anticipated call from White House to Wellington, Delaware has not occurred yet. Rather this one happened.

I project Modibbo Garwa, some Trump supporters from Nigeria that were with him when he called and those that later discussed with me are following the footsteps of our former President, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.

A historic, dignified and courageous way to concede defeat.

Another Biden supporter, Comrade Anwar Iliyasu, aka Don Snake a grassroots politician told me he is planning to organise a victory rally in Ibi local government of Taraba State just like our brothers and sisters from the East organised one for President Donald James Trump.

I told him as we have learnt in school, taught by elders and seen from leaders to be magnanimous in victory. And have a rancour-free rally when he eventually holds it.

I pray for the best for Nigeria. I look forward to a more cordial Nigeria-American relationship based on mutual understanding, respect and benefits. I hope this is reflected across Africa.

But even with my little experience. I am not unaware of this quote: ‘Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.’ Alexander Pope.

Abdulrazak Iliyasu Sansani can be contacted on Facebook for further discussion.

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