The Oasis Reporters
February 12, 2019
Despite watching on NTAi program, the blood curdling threat of Kaduna state governor, Ahmad Nasir El-Rufai to send foreign observers on election monitoring back to their respective homes in body bags if they as much as interfere in Nigeria’s internal affairs at this election season, intrepid members of the Commonwealth Observer Team, defied fear of the unknown and came to Nigeria, where they met with the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Prof Mahmood Yakubu and members of the Commission at the Commission’s conference hall in Nigeria’s capital city, Abuja.
They offered no official statement, neither has any been issued by the commission as the reason behind the scheduled meeting. However, it is expected that they would demand from the commission, assurances of a free, fair and credible election.
It will be recalled that the statement the governor of Kaduna state, Nasir El-rufai made last week on live TV, hosted by Cyril Stober, Nigeria’s popular Television anchor man threw Nigerians into panic. Despite his unilateral explanations with the All Progressives Congress, APC, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and other Nigerians were disquieted over his statement on the Body bag killing Insistence.
Kaduna state, where Nasir El-Rufai currently governs has seen much sectarian bloodshed in the last twenty years or more. Respite came to it during the regime of Ahmed Makarfi, debonair and sensitive governor of the state between 1999-2007, who delved into the root causes of the internecine conflict across the Kaduna state fault-lines that pitched tribe against tribe, Christians versus Muslims. Makarfi set up a Commission of Inquiry that suggested that local tribes in Christian Southern Kaduna should be granted their Chiefdoms, and not to be ruled anymore by Muslim Fulani Emirs from Zaria and using his Attorney General, Mark Nzamah Jacobs to issue instruments of Chiefdomship to the tribal chiefs, and almost immediately, peace enveloped Kaduna state. Christians started mingling with Muslims and vice versa.
Despite the furore that attended the bold step taken by the Muslim Hausa governor, Ahmed Makarfi, seen as a betrayal of Fulani Muslim superiority and entrenched rulership, peace stayed and reigned, beyond his regime.
The Commonwealth Observer Team is co led by a former president of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete. Nigeria’s former president, Goodluck Jonathan was held in high esteem, shown all over Tanzanian television channels with wide eyes of adoration as a democrat par excellence when he led the Commonwealth Observer Team to monitor the Tanzanian elections, recently.
Goodluck Jonathan did not wait for the Nigerian Electoral Commission, INEC to announce the results of the election in 2015 to call his then opponent, General Muhammadu Buhari and concede. Wide jubilation followed the rare gesture, hardly unknown in the African context. And this has raised his esteem to towering heights.
Nigerians expect the same gesture to follow in the 2019 election coming up on February 16, 2019, in which Atiku Abubakar is expected to emerge victorious, according to both local and international pundits. However, INEC is expected to ensure a free and fair process.