© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
‘We’re behind’: Nigerians lament after Senegal’s successful elections
NIGERIANS have begun to lament how their country is backward by drawing comparison with Senegal after the two members of Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) held presidential elections a day apart.
Nigeria’s Saturday’s elections were marred by incidences of technology failures, vote buying, ballot snatching, and widespread violence that resulted in the deaths of 39 people, according to reports.
Senegal, however, conducted hitch-free presidential elections on Sunday without any record of violence.
Less than 24 hours after voting was concluded in Senegal, provincial tally already indicated the winner of the polls, whereas Nigeria is still grappling with collation of results after more than 48 hours that voting ended.
Although provincial tally showed that the incumbent President Macky Sall won the election by 57 per cent, official announcement of the results by the electoral commission is expected by Friday.
Since the country gained independence from France in 1960, Senegal has had peaceful transfers of power and is regarded as one of the most stable democracies in Africa. Senegal is also one of the fastest growing economies on the continent.
While the Senegal’s exemplary conduct of elections is being commended across the world, Nigerians are bemoaning the failures of their country.
“Within a day, Senegal conducted its polls without drama or incident or anyone threatening to make it an extinction level event” said Chris Ngwodo, a public affairs analyst. “In Nigeria, we’re still collating results while counting our dead. We’re behind &It doesn’t matter if we “invented” Jollof rice.”
Within a day, Senegal conducted its polls without drama or incident or anyone threatening to make it an extinction level event. In Nigeria, we’re still collating results while counting our dead. We’re behind&It doesn’t matter if we “invented” Jollof rice. #NigeriaDecides2019
— Resistance is Futile (@chrisngwodo) February 25, 2019
Many other Nigerians agreed with Ngwodo that Nigeria had not made progress in conducting successful elections.
Olumide IDOWU, a climate activist, in a copied message, said Nigerians should be ashamed of Saturday’s elections by just looking at Senegal.
Less than 24 hours after elections in Senegal, results are out.
No violence, no thuggery, no citizens burnt or shot or stoned, no corps members hiding in the bushes and crying. No group carelessly inciting citizens against the other group.
We should be ashamed. #Copied
— #ClimateAction (@OlumideIDOWU) February 25, 2019
More than 6.5 million people registered to take part in the Senegal’s polls whereas over 70 million Nigerians registered to vote.
Senegal is a smaller country but many Nigerians do not see it as a basis while the country did very well in organising elections and Nigeria performed woefully.
Japheth Omojuwa, a social media influencer, suggested that Senegal did better in conducting elections because the country is more civilised than Nigeria.
The Senegal 🇸🇳 #Sunu2019 Elections appear well organized. I would be shocked if I hear report one a single death or vote buying. Zero tension too. Senegal is about 3 hours of civilization away from Nigeria 🇳🇬 #SenegalVote #Kebetu
— JJ. Omojuwa (@Omojuwa) February 24, 2019
Ahmad Salkida, a journalist, said he had lived in Senegal to know how lawful and orderly the country is.
Dear #Dakar, when I lived there briefly you demonstrated to me what law and order can do to a developing country. You proved to the world how disciplined you were at the #fifaworldcup2018. Your elections yesterday were so orderly and peaceful. #Africa should learn from #Senegal.
— Ahmad Salkida (@A_Salkida) February 25, 2019
Other Nigerians have also taken to the social media to express their frustrations over the country’s seemly retrogression.
Let it be on record that in my Country, in an exercise that forms the actual civic rights of citizens, my fellow countrymen were killed, maimed & massacred right at the same moment another African Country that doesn’t claim to be a “giant of nothing” held elections. Oh Senegal.
— Iya Ewe Toyosi Akerele-Ogunsiji (@toyosirise) February 25, 2019
All this paperwork for 2019 general elections. What happened to transmission of results to the inec central server. Senegal took 10 hours to declare results.we can do better come 2023#NigeriaDecides2019
— Joseph Wilcox (@JosephW21897455) February 25, 2019