By Uthman Shodipe-Dosunmu
The last elections have demonstrated a new destructive loser’s variant in the Nigerian isle. It is a stubborn unwillingness to accept defeat, to twist an obvious failed candidacy into an ethnic circus by an extremist rump, unfortunately now widening their sphere by coupling into their midst an otherwise civil, enlightened camp.
The thronging of a particular section of the Nigerian entity towards their preferred candidate is legitimate and valid in a nation-state, still stripped of the classical ideals of a true nationhood.
Nigeria is still much an ethnic spectacle where many hurry to the tribal laager for protective cordon. The last elections however revealed a graduation to a redeeming largeness, wherein others beyond the home base of some candidates were willing to stretch beyond the ethnic boundaries embracing a pan-Nigerian Presidency, giving hope to a new beginning.
But yet, others still retained a mulish emotionalism, fervent in crude withdrawal, insistent that if there is no coronation of a failed and defeated candidate, the nation must know no peace, that the legitimate electoral process must be overturned in favor of their own.
True, democracy is about peaceful adumbration of differences, the polemical pitting of ideas, the arbitration of the ballot and the eventual adjudication of a neutral judiciary.
However, the failed interimists are consumed by a storm and fury of a despicable end-game. First, they conjured a paid gaggle of protesters, lacking animation, denuded in spirit, devoid of the content of their fabled cause.
They then graduated into violence and intimations of disorder, threatening the nation with ruin, while they scoff at the arbitration of the courts.
Now, they have swung their venom into the international arena, fabricating malice, sponsoring malignity, scribbling outrageous idiocy to defame, to destroy, to thwart the steady paces of democracy, simply because they have lost.
I take no refuge in ethnic triumphalism. It diminishes, discounting the gravity of a victory won, of a system rectifying its own imperfections.
From the Greek Agora to the Roman Capitol, from the British House of Commons to the American Congress, there is no such thing as a perfect electoral system. It is a continuous remolding, a reworking, a rebuilding, a rectifying and amending of observable flaws to enhance and strengthen the promotion of liberty.
The Nigerian democracy is still much inchoate, cradled in the susceptible flaws of infancy. But it is developing. It is maturing. It is eradicating the flaws of the old, mastering the challenges of yesterday with new modernized tools.
The last general elections were far superior in their integrity and probity to the earlier ones. Despite some rough edges in some narrow, limited spheres, the elections were credible, valid, legitimate in all basic parameters.
Those who will not let it go, those who are contumaciously resolved on discrediting a free and fair democratic expression, do no justice to themselves, do no justice to their nation. They are self-inhabited, woven in a carapace of stunted vision. While they do have the right of engagement at the highest court in our land, they have no right to twist the narratives, to distort the truth to suit their emotional, tendentious fabric. They should let it go after they would have exhausted the judicial process. That is the most enlightened path. Anything else strains normative civility.
The failed interimists are now damaging and eclipsing the moderating middle. In their unguarded mouthing, in their misguided tantrums of ushering in a storm of cudgel and iron to settle scores, they put pressure on the moderating middle to join the fray, to insert themselves blindly without reflective candor. We must never dissipate the gains of the moment on the altar of ethnic usurpation.
•Shodipe-Dosunmu, the Olóríẹkùn of Olowogbowo, is the Director-General, DG, of The Patriots Roundtable.