While 2015 was a critical Nigeria’s year for many reasons, one of which was the last general election; but for American civil society and their prognosis it was critical because the nation was destined to break into ethnic components.
Perhaps the prognosis was solidified from Nigeria’s historic facts. The 1914 amalgamation pact had Lord Lugard’s clause which gave the pact 100 years after which, in the opinion of the Governor-General any component ethnic nationality unwilling to be bound could disclaim the pact.
Several years later United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples created leeway for self-determination of peoples independent states. This position was to be corroborated by Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the late sage and governor of Western Region in the first Republic, in one of his legendary literary works that Nigeria was a mere geographical expression.
These conditions made fears of disintegration very palpable, with the general election being its flash-point. Former president, Goodluck Jonathan averted the disintegration by eating a humble pie. It was also rumored that the activities of the terrorist group, Boko Haram were instruments with which the North planned to achieve the 2015 break-up and thereafter Islamize the region,
While Nigeria patiently waited for the assistance from international community to rid the nation of and sub-region of Boko Haram, both armory and satellite surveillance failed to come her way. On America’s refusal to sell strategic combat weapons to Nigeria Army, Leahy Amendment law which frowns at abuse of human right was said to be an excuse to allow the prediction manifest.
Over 100 years of that experimental amalgamation patriotic, positive and anthropological forces have conspired to counter the tentative provisions. One of such forces emanates from both the preamble of the 1999 Constitution, as well as its s.1(2) which underlined the indivisibility and inviolability of the sovereign state. The people exhibited resilience to turn cultural and ethnic diversities into corner stone for stronger nation.
However, this year it is the turn of America to hold their general election. I am not aware if there is any predictions about disintegration of the United States, except that of the emergence of its 45 th president. The Nigerian parlance for ‘mind your business’ is ‘wetin concern you?’ It is difficult to ignore their election because when America sneezes the entire world catch cold. Apart from its consistent electoral/democratic culture to learn from, there is also her role of policeman in the international community, as well as her relations with nation states.
For example it was the election of Jimmy Carter, a democrat as the 39 th president in 1976; and the instrumentality of a diplomat, Dr Andrew Young that facilitated the visit of the first American president to Nigeria, nay Africa. Furthermore it took the election of Bill Clinton, another democrat as the 42nd president in 1992 for the economic concern of Africa were to be addressed in a broader spectrum when he introduced the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA).
Although Nigeria (Africa) is not the only entity that feel the impact of American successive elections and administrations, perhaps it was the cumulative effect of these positive energies and developments towards African continent that subsequently ushered in the first African American Tenant to the White House. When Senator Barrack Hussein Obama was elected the 44th president the entire continent of Africa was woken like a wild dream that came real.
Obama’s administration has built on the successes of the past administration, especially those policies that focus on Africa that includes African Young Leadership Acquisition, Global Entrepreneurship Summit as well as being the first American president to address African Union (AU) assembly in 2015. At home he excelled with Obamacare Health Act and successfully concluded diplomatic ruse with Cuba and Iran among others including Nigeria.
However, there are predictions that his successor at the White House might reverse those laudable policies with outstanding results. And that depends on who his successor would be. As usual the two major contestants are the Republicans and the Democrats. They are still at pre-primary stage with large number of presidential contestants. Suffice it to say that the estate guru, often tagged “egomania” Donald Trump seems to be leading other Republican Contestants while Senator Hilary Clinton whose husband former president was alleged to be “serial floundering of women” appear to be leading other democratic aspirants.
The notable African – American candidate in the race is Ben Carson, a Republican Surgeon and author with about 9.6% support at the polls. For such a daunting, almost bleak chance of winning the nomination, this candidate is determined not to loose steam. After all what is important to American electorates is what candidates brought to the table. And that brings to the fore, the issues.
The present Obama administration has global support with his climate policies which form part of a bill at the congress. It is also part of the Sustainable Development Goal’s 17-point Agenda of United Nations. The synopsis include clean energy, 21 st century transport sector, cutting emergency waste, reduction of greenhouse emission, promote resilience in health sector, understanding international effort to address global climate etc. For Obama reasons most of the candidates seem to be bringing climate change as a serious proposal when elected.
On citizenship and immigration the Republican usually tougher, with various exclusion options and the Republican contender appear not to be raising sufficient hope for immigrant voters. But on the other hand the Democrats are offering what appear to be on the side of voters. Senator Hilary Clinton is also firm on her proposal of slashing the income of middle class and the rich further than Obama did on assumption. This policy is an affront on the conservatives, who have already attacked her on the use she put her email box to while serving as Obama administration’s Secretary of State.
The other controversial campaign issue is the European refugee crisis: to help or not to help? Americans have not totally recovered from the impact of the September 11 terrorist attack, if they would ever do so. Whether any candidate would score any section of the voters goodwill would be minimal if at all. Security is still a volatile issue in America and any thing that could escalate it would not fetch any vote. And that is why Obama’s policies at reduction of use of arms has not been quite effective because it is difficult to dectate those who have tendencies to misuse it.
American election years are not only full of drama, entertainment and education, they are memorable because of what follows after the president, probably the most powerful individual on earth has emerged.
Ozemena is an Attorney at the Ikechukwu O. Odoemelam & Co.
No one should disparage the role of an average voter who carefully weighs these issues, compare the options and finally casts the vote that brings the desired change or continuity. The law allows voters to vote early, without waiting for the final day.
However, at the centre of all these is the magic of electronic voting which entitles eligible Americans whenever they may be on the surface of the earth to cast a vote.