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US election and big lesson Nigeria’s electoral umpire must learn

By Jovitta Iorshase

The 2020 elections in the United States of America (USA) that witnessed the ousting of former President Donald Trump was one full of drama and historical surprises to both Americans and the whole world.

Although, the situation was not pleasant and nearly tarnished the American democracy, causing partial division among members of the Republican party in the Senate, it was still carefully managed to prevent anarchy.

Overcoming the pressure by an incumbent President – Donald Trump, to overturn electoral results in his favour, was one big moral or political lesson Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) must emulate to save the country’s democracy from instability.

Most times, political actors who get into power through fraudulent means are tempted to compare the nation’s electoral system to that of America and other developed countries. Some of them try to X- ray some weaknesses and ambiguities that exist even in the American politics, mainly with the purpose of justifying electoral irregularities and the penchant of public office holders to resist change for the better.

The futile January 6th, 2021 siege and attack on the Capitol Hill in Washington DC by alleged pro-Trump protesters to distract the results certification was another characteristics peculiar to America that is worthy of emulation.

Burning of INEC offices just days to elections, snatching of ballot boxes, intimidation by thugs at voting points, harassment and killing of political opponents, as well as seeming biased involvement of security personnel, against their ethics, among others, have commonly characterised the Nigerian electoral system.

The biggest of the lessons is the historic election of Kamala Devi Harris as the first female, and woman of colour, a minority with mixed race to the position of a Vice President in a great country like America.

The American democracy has once again proven its insatiability for development by choosing Kamala’s intelligence, strength, and her years of political experience, and her abilities and contributions to what she would do for America, rather than focusing on her mixed race as an African/Asian American, or political party affiliation, gender, among other considerations.

Harris made history as the highest-ranking elected official which indicated that America operates a neutral chauvinistic polity that lifts many to deserved heights. Directly or indirectly, it is fact Harris is first female Vice President of America because the male folks allowed it.

This should serve as a reawakening to all Africans, particularly Nigerian politicians to desist from politics of tribe, clan, minority or majority that hinders election of good candidates that can foster rapid progress and development.

This is why Evangelist Owakoyi Eghiaruwa, in an interview with The Voice, recently, posited that “there is need for Benue State government to have a female Deputy Governor come 2023 elections.” The time to effect that, he said, is now as political parties are warming for the general elections.

Indeed, America had a formidable Senate that despite their political differences was able to unite so as to avert a global disgrace that would have caused them a lot to rebuild. This is worthy of emulation.

Somehow, a lot of lives far beyond the alleged five persons lost at the Capitol Hill would have stood and the results certification probably would have been declared ‘inconclusive’ if for instance the incident had taken place in the Nigerian legislature.

More often than not, even advertorials in the media (television and radio) make reference to the developed countries as not exempted from political crisis. Yes! No doubt. Man generally cannot be separated from crisis since humanity is a combination of good and evil, therefore, crisis becomes inevitable.

The difference however, is the manner in which the crisis is handled. For example, America, though not perfect, was able to handle such a delicate electoral issue with basic factors such as integrity, patriotism, true democratic ethics which have nearly eluded our country Nigeria.

This is what should be emulated from Americans and other developed nations, not immoral aspects and other cultural outputs that negate and conflict with our culture.

It is high time our leaders who have chosen to invest and or shift their families to foreign lands, with the nation’s funds, should see this as a wake-up call and have a rethink by using public funds to develop the country.

This is because America will do anything to preserve its heritage which is a mentality Nigerians must imbibe in order to achieve the desired positive change for a better Nigeria, for all and sundry.

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