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THE PLACE OF 25TH FEBRUARY IN HISTORY

Feb 25, 2023

THE PLACE OF 25TH FEBRUARY IN HISTORY

By: Augustine Omilo

“Whether anyone likes it or not, Nigerians are making statement today, the 25th day of February, 2023. That statement may be negative or positive. But everyone can choose to make it a positive one in order to justify the time spent before, during and after the elections. “Posterity” is already standing for recordings of this time. The beauty of time is that it has three major components – the past, the present and the future. While the past is history that helps to make the present better, the present itself helps to promote a better future which is often unpredictable”.

Since the adoption of the Gregorian calendar by over 75% of the nations of the world in 1582, many events have been recorded against February 25th. Some were negative while others were positive. Unfortunately, the only event recorded for Nigeria was negative – the killing of 50 students by bokoharam in a school in Buni (Northern Nigeria) in 2014.

On the contrary, countries like the United States of America, have recorded many occurrences on the 25th of February.  For example, on the 25th day of February 1870, Harman R. Revels of Mississippi, the first black man   of African extraction was sworn-in as a senator.  Still in the USA, the 25th day of February 1989 saw ‘Iron’ Mike Tyson securing a technical knock-out against his opponent, Frank Bruno at the 5th round in the world heavy weight boxing championship. In his less than 25 years of boxing, Tyson was reputed to have won 50 of his fights by technical knockout.

As the redesigning of Nigeria’s currency continue to pose serious threat to the nation’s unity, it is perhaps pertinent to note that other countries have done similar things without rancor. On the 25th day of February 1814, the Australia’s first currency, the holey dollar was introduced, just as the first America’s paper currency, the United States Notes was introduced on the 25th of February, 1816.

The presidential and national assembly elections in Nigeria hold today, 25th of February, 2023. This is an opportunity for the people of the country to do all they can to ensure that this year’s date portray the society as a peaceful one where it will be recorded that the country witnessed one of the freest and most credible elections in the African continent.

For this to happen, all hands must be on deck. The political contenders must continue to conduct themselves in manners that suggest that election is not “a do or die” affair before, during and after the elections in accordance with the peace accord signed by all of them.

The electorate and followers of political leaders must understand that contesting and winning elections are the primary aim of politicians. Succeeding as leaders after the polls do not necessarily form part of politicians’ ambition, especially in Nigeria. This is why the leaders never apologize for what they promised but failed to   deliver.

Whether anyone likes it or not, Nigerians are making statement today, the 25th day of February, 2023. That statement may be negative or positive. But everyone can choose to make it a positive one in order to justify the time spent before, during and after the elections. “Posterity” is already standing by for event documentations for this time. The beauty of time remains the fact that it has three major components – the past, the present and the future. While the past is history that helps to make the present better, the present itself helps to promote a better future which is often unpredictable.

However, this year’s election offers great opportunities for each state and geopolitical zones to prove their electoral worth in terms of the number of votes recorded from their areas. If the Independent Electoral Commission, INEC lives to its promise of organizing free, fair and credible election, the result of the polls will certainly help in planning future elections in Nigeria.

Good knowledge of the voting strength of the different wards, local government areas and states will guide politicians on areas to exert more efforts during campaigns for positions.

Opportunities also beckon on the Independent Electoral Commission and its leader, Professor Mamud Yakubu to prove that there still exist people or organizations that can project the continent of Africa in good light. The Bimodal Voters’ Accreditation System, BVAS can become an electoral system of first choice in Africa even as we look forward to acquiring a more robust technology that can ensure the possibilities of Nigerians voting on-line for elections irrespective of their locations. With this method, election results can equally be transmitted on-line and real-time.

In the meantime, all the stakeholders in Nigeria’s election project have roles to play to ensure a positive place for the country in the annals of history to be documented for February 25, 2023. INEC must work towards free, fair and credible polls while the security agents must do all they can to avoid the provocative shooting of innocent citizens The electorate must not take advantage of the fact that police authorities have directed that their (police) officers and men should not bear arms within the polling arena.

It is not late for Nigerians to begin to work towards making democratic impact in the world. And the best place to commence the process is the different polling units around Nigeria. And the right time is now!

 

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