Rejoinder To Remi Oyeyemi’s Conspiracy Of Inconclusive Ekections By Funke Philips

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Remi Oyeyemi’s piece, 2019: the ‘conspiracy of inconclusive elections’ is a product of abusive scholarship directed at Professor Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). There is something troubling about the way learned commentariats turn our public discourses into disquieting conversations one can only find in the motor parks of our country.
BY FUNKE PHILIPSAUG 21, 2016
Remi Oyeyemi’s piece, 2019: the ‘conspiracy of inconclusive elections’ is a product of abusive scholarship directed at Professor Mahmood Yakubu, Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). There is something troubling about the way learned commentariats turn our public discourses into disquieting conversations one can only find in the motor parks of our country.

Public scholarship isn’t a roforofo contest. It isn’t about pouring invectives, or about poking fingers into the eyes of others to see if they hurt, or is it about demeaning the integrity of engagement by reducing every point of engagement to puerile syllogism and illogic. As a public intellectual, Remi Oyeyemi ought to know that advancing arguments in a manner that is inconsistent with the finest tradition of public scholarship does not show learning, neither does it highlight a certain commitment to hoisting logic as the true banner of scholarly engagement, nor does it do him any good in the eyes of his discernible readers.

What scholarship allows a commentariat to impugn on the integrity of others, without proving proof of factual evidence that reinforces, to paraphrase Remi Oyeyemi, the obvious lack of integrity and accountability of Professor Mahmood Yakubu?

Beyond the obvious reliance on the innocuous response of Professor Yakubu to the question on inconclusive elections that was posed by a journalist, Remi Oyeyemi chose to subject the integrity of Professor Yakubu to his own value judgment by coming to the sad and unfortunate conclusion that “Professor Yakubu potentially, is one of the enemies of Nigeria. He is bent on destroying this imperfect democracy that everyone is working hard to sustain”.

Remi Oyeyemi didn’t stop there. Hear him: “He is making it clear that he’s not capable. He is saying loud that he is not fit for this position… Professor Yakubu is so shameless about his incompetence that it boggles the mind”.

Perhaps, as the performance assessor of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), only Remi Oyeyemi knows the parameters upon which he arrived at his seemingly befuddled assessment. There is something sinister about the way Remi Oyeyemi dismissed the case Professor Yakubu made about post-election violence and how it implicates the way INEC discharges its statutory functions. Remi Oyeyemi seems to be oblivious to the violent theatres of elections in this country, so appreciating Professor Yakubu’s concerns and fears becomes an arduous task for him to undertake, if not a tiring burden he only elects not to ponder over or to bear. Those who naturally place their personal safety and the needs of civics on the scale know how their personal safety scale above the need to vote in a volatile atmosphere. Professor Yakubu merely makes the case, and rightly too, that, with the growing spectre of violence, that guarantee cannot be made of an election that’s three years away.

“It is not strange. More than any commission in the history of our country, we have conducted more elections outside the context of general elections”, Professor Yakubu asserted. Why has the commission conducted more elections outside the context of general elections? Why is it not a strange occurrence? These are questions Remi Oyeyemi should have posed to Professor Yakubu, but he elected to lay the blame of the failing political order and a chaotic democracy at the feet of someone whose statutory responsibility is to supervise elections.

We have to ask ourselves the following questions: why politicians have become bolder, why the snatching of ballot boxes has become attractive to politicians again? Or why law enforcement officers have suddenly become active participants of our electoral shame- rigging? Finding answers to the questions would help us to unravel the one-half of the puzzle of inconclusive elections!

Professor Yakubu isn’t the other half of the puzzle, so abusing him the way Remi Oyeyemi has done will not make future elections conclusive, nor will it help us to unravel the puzzle of inconclusive elections.

Funke Philips is a blogger and social commentator.

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