June 12: The Power Of False Hope
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This past January my college the University Of Houston told me that I would be recognized as the distinguished alumni of the year in very unorthodox circumstances (see here).
It seemed like so long ago now … but today June 12th the day of the awards banquet has arrived. I have not completed working on my required 3-5 minute speech (still trying to battle jetlag). But I do have an idea about the title and general theme of my speech … and it circles around The Power Of False Hope. False hope from people who could not really help me but still gave me a belief that there were people out there that could help. So I hung on to the false hope and that false hope got me through the shitty times, till the real hope and real opportunities came.
Maybe it is coincidential that today is also the day of Nigeria’s most popular and controversial elections, the June 12th election. The annullled election that saw IBB deny MKO Abiola a Presidency that was widely seen as his. It’s one of those days that will not go away from Nigeria’s history no matter how people try and ignore it. But I remember that day and the build up to that day because of the hope it gave me about what Nigeria could achieve.
And although it was a false hope in many ways … false because IBB knew that no matter what happened beyond an MKO loss, he was going to annul the elections. In the midst of the SDP versus NRC campaigns I saw for the first time what transperent democracy could achieve.
And although we as a nation have falterred aka the 2007 elections, we have gotten stronger and better at running transperent elections. Better at preventing Presidents from extending their term duration from 4 to 6 years or from 2 to 3 terms. We are not perfect yet but we will get there. And when we do get there, we would realize that we are here largely because of the fear of repeating another June 12, 1993. A day thanks to IBB that was built on false hope.
Written By Okechukwu Ofili of ofilispeaks.com
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