Come Saturday, 9th March, this year (2019), the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), shall, God willing, conduct Governorships and Houses of Assembly Elections in Nigeria.
I pray for peaceful, free, fair and credible elections that will usher in pious, capable popular, visionary, disciplined, humane, urbane and contented leaders of governments/public affairs with
Although INEC, the offshoot of the now-defunct Federal Electoral Commission ( FEDECO ), has been praised by local and international election observers, as having conducted free, fair and credible Presidential and National Assembly Elections, on Saturday, 23rd February, this year, the same was not said of FEDECO during the 1983 General Elections.
The very shoddy/partisan conducts of FEDECO and some other stakeholders that year was among the reasons given by the Nigerian armed forces for the overthrow of the civilian governments on 31st December 1983. The rest, as we all know, is history.
The headline above is borrowed from a chapter in my memoir, now in the works, for a public presentation on my 70th birthday, God willing, come 27th October 2020.
Early in 1983,former Governor of old Oyo State,the late Chief ‘Bola Ige,SAN,accompanied by his wife,the late Honourable Justice Atinuke Ige and we,the personal staff of Governor Ige,had fulfilled our civic obligations by registering at the FEDECO polling unit in front of the Government House,Agodi,Ibadan.
And when FEDECO announced its timetable for the revision of the national voters list that year, Governor Ige, his wife and team confirmed with FEDECO’s regulations.
But, it was not a pleasant experience for the late Governor Ige, when he discovered that FEDECO had put “female” in his sex column in the revised voter’s list
In a quick response to FEDECO’s unpardonable designation of the late Governor Ige as a “female” in the sex column on the 1983 revised Voters List,I issued a press release,36 years ago this month,exactly on 14th March,1983,(please see copy below)to alert the public of FEDECO’s “blunder”, if it really was a mistake,and not a flyer of her impending under-the-table act, which, after all manifested later during the Oyo State (and also in some other states in Nigeria) governorships and Houses of Assembly Elections that year (1983). Those wrong acts, crowned by blatant rigging and other electoral malpractices, resulted in bloody clashes in many parts of Nigeria, particularly in old Oyo, Ondo, Bendel,
May Nigeria never experience such bloody clashes again.Amen.I hope this recall post, particularly for Nigerians who were not born before the 1959,1964/65,1979, 1983,1993,2011General Elections mayhems, would serve as a warning bell. INEC and other stakeholders of the remaining 2019 General Elections are also implored to, please, operate by the rules.
It will be recalled that,on 1st February,1983,I was seconded from the Television Service of Oyo old Oyo State (TSOS), now called the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State Television( BCOS-TV), where I was a Principal Editor, in the Current Affairs Department, to the old Oyo State Governor’s Office, Agodi, Ibadan.
My humble self and Femi Mapaderun, also seconded from Radio O-Y-O,thus joined Governor ‘Bola Ige’s incumbent Press Secretary,Dapo Aderinola,to form a triumvirate in the Governor’s Office Information and Publicity Bureau, chaired by Dr (then Mr) Yemi Farounbi, then the Special Assistant on Information to Governor
As part of my schedule
Certified True Copy
OYO STATE IBADAN
PRESS RELEASE 14/3/83
“Governor ‘Bola Ige of Oyo State, today in Ibadan, said he was surprised to find his sex put under the female column in the current
“Governor Ige said these while accepting the second annual report of the Oyo State Electoral Commission, presented on behalf of the Commission by
“Governor Ige promised the Commission that his government would provide the means for local government elections in the state, as soon as all claims and objections on this year’s voters list were cleared.
“Earlier, in his speech, the Chairman of the State Electoral Commission, Chief Ladapo, had listed finance and the
“Chief Ladapo said local government elections in the state might not be possible if the
” ‘Lekan Alabi
Press Secretary to the Governor.”
A certified true copy of my 14th March 1983 Press Release.