The air has positively been abuzz, and I’m pretty sure it’s not just me. I remember the almost-feverish frenzy on Friday. Hoping to take advantage of my first free Saturday in a while, I decided to bake. I headed to the shops to get some ingredients, and my goodness! If you saw the queues! It was as though everyone was stocking up for an apocalypse, as though we were going to war. There were super-long queues in every shop. I went to 3 before I finally settled on a line I could bear. There was a queue extending outside the DSTV shop at Ikeja City Mall. And I concluded that it was either people just wanted to make sure they had every possible access to news, or they just figured they would be home for a while so they might as well get something to keep themselves occupied.
Most offices were closed by midday. Driving through Ikeja at about 5pm, I couldn’t believe how clear the traffic was. I got home quicker than I have in ages. The roads were even clearer than they usually are on Sundays. Shock of shocks. Everyone was rushing home.
Election day dawned, and I mean, it was electric. But it might just have been me. I was so excited. The Polling Unit (PU) was just a few metres across from my house. My street was lined with cars (officially vehicular movement was prohibited but as I live within as estate, most people drove the the PUs). I only see this number of cars when one of my neighbours is having an owambe. And then there’s usually music blaring from speakers. On Saturday, it was silent. Although I wasn’t voting (long story short: I wasn’t home when registration was happening 😦 so sad), I went by the PU to see how things were going. I hung around, took some pictures, did some people-watching, then headed home. The process took place in 2 stages: accreditation of each voter first, then voting proper. Aside: I think this is such a horrible setup. The whole process took foever. Why did they have to split it? Isn’t there some way that everyone only has to come in once. I think the whole thing would be so much more effective that way.
Because it’s such a long process, voting went on late into the night. I took a walk around at about 7pm and visited 3 wards in my area, and voting was still fully underway. I know the PU near me didn’t announce results until after midnight. I know of people in other areas that were outside till 2am. I salute every Nigerian who went out in the sun, in the rain, stood on the long queues, or had to travel to cast their vote and make their voice heard! Aside: I think the policy of only being able to vote where you registered is so inconvenient and should be reviewed. I know, I should apply for the job of INEC chairman, right? 😀
Still there is apprehension. Despite the almost-hitch-free (violence-wise, at least compared to the terror some people were expecting). everyone is still cautious. As we await the results, people still fear that violence lurks around the corner. W can only wait and see.
I’d like to round off with two great songs that I heard on Traffic Radio, 96.1 FM, on Friday. I think the songs are such a great encapsulation of everything in the country right now. Although, it’s sad to see that we are still struggling with the same issues as 30 years ago (the songs were released in the 80s).The frst is the inspiration for the title of this post.