Archive for August 2010

In Nigeria, death is cheap

August 29, 2010

Casmir Igbokwe

I was negotiating a U-turn close to Balogun Bus Stop on Awolowo Way, Ikeja, Lagos. Suddenly, I heard a big bang at the back of my car. I stopped.

That was last Sunday, as I was going for an evening outing with my family. In a jiffy, okada riders gathered.

The driver, a gentleman in his late 40s or early 50s, came close to me and said, ”Sorry, it‘s my fault. I think I know what happened.” I pardoned him. I pitied him the more because his new Toyota Camry was seriously damaged. His bonnet, radiator, front lights were gone. Mine was slightly affected. If not that it‘s an SUV, the story would have been different by now.

It was not until the following day that I learnt of another accident the same Sunday on the same Awolowo Way. According to media reports, three female members of the National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners were riding in a car when another vehicle hit theirs from the rear. They were rushed to the hospital where they later died.

I know some people are already thinking that some demons are operating on Awolowo Way. But before we look the way of evil powers, let‘s first examine our own frailties. The man who hit me, for instance, might have lost concentration. That is if his brakes were okay.

Many Nigerian drivers are merchants of death. Some drive under the influence of alcohol. Some drive under the influence of women or vice versa. Some do not have valid driving licences. Some do not bother about maintaining their vehicles. If the Dangote truck that rammed into some vehicles and caused multiple accident penultimate Sunday in Lagos was in good condition, that tragedy could have been prevented.

The curious thing is that most of these accidents reportedly happen on Fridays and Sundays. I also know that accidents occur during festive periods such as Christmas and New Year. The reason, I suspect, is that many people refurbish their dead cars during these periods and put them on the road.

In Nigeria, an average of 400 people die monthly from road accidents. The Corps Marshal of the Federal Road Safety Commission, Osita Chidoka, was reported to have said that 18,308 accidents occurred between 2006 and March 2009. Over 5,000 persons lost their lives within the period. A great number of these accidents involved tanker drivers.

One major cause of these accidents is bad roads. Most of our roads are not just bad, they are cemeteries. The Federal Road Maintenance Agency estimates that the lifespan of 70 per cent of federal roads in the country had expired. It was once reported that the Federal Government under Chief Olusegun Obasanjo spent about N500bn to repair some federal roads. So far, Nigerians have not seen much of this rehabilitation. Contractors and some public officials laugh all the way to the bank, while unfortunate citizens die in their thousands on these roads.

Road accident is not the only harbinger of death in our country. There are extrajudicial killings everywhere. I was almost drawn to tears while reading the story of the tragic death of Owen and Collins Onaodowan in Effurun, Delta State, two Mondays ago. According to media reports, these two brothers went to watch a match between Manchester United and Newcastle at a neighbourhood viewing centre. Somehow, they were apprehended for alleged robbery.

All pleas that these brothers, one of whom was a youth corps member, were not robbers fell on deaf ears. Some soldiers and riot policemen allegedly beat them silly and later took them to their station at Ekpan. By the time the relatives came the following day to bail their sons, they had been killed and buried. The father of these young men, Austin, said he begged the security agents to spare his children when the torture was going on. But one of the men hit his mouth with the butt of his gun. His tooth fell off. The police side of the story is that the brothers were armed robbery suspects killed by a mob. Too bad!

Besides, the police in Ilorin, Kwara State, recently, allegedly killed a driver, Dele Olaniyi, at a road block. The culprits are said to be facing orderly room trial. But this will not bring back the life of Olaniyi whose father, ironically, is a riot policeman in Lokoja.

These security agents are not immune from this harvest of deaths. Only last Monday, armed robbers reportedly killed five policemen at a road block in Obingwa Local Government Area of Abia State. A couple of others have lost their lives in sorry circumstances.

In some states of the federation, particularly in the North, there are deaths caused by cholera, measles, meningitis and some other poverty-induced diseases. This year alone, about 435 people have reportedly lost their lives to cholera and measles.

The FG needs to do more to protect lives and properties of citizens. It is heart-warming that the government has approved the sum of N65.3bn for the servicing of major contracts for the rehabilitation and construction of roads and bridges in the country. We hear this is the first phase of the road projects. The second and third phases will reportedly commence soon.

Over a year ago, Bi-Courtney signed for the rehabilitation of Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. What we have seen so far are the company‘s signboards on the road. We also hear it will soon commence work on the road. The Federal Executive Council told the nation last week that a total of nine contracts for the rehabilitation and construction of federal roads and bridges had been approved. This, it said, was in line with the plan to make Nigeria one of the top 20 global economies by 2020. Nigerians are eagerly waiting for this.

But until this is done; until we learn to appreciate and value human lives, every claim to civilisation we make brings us nothing but ridicule.

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Police and N20bn checkpoint largesse

August 22, 2010

Casmir Igbokwe

RICHARD Branson in his column today (see page 22 of SUNDAY PUNCH) gave an insight into how he sourced the initial capital for his business in 1967. He said his mum, Eve, had found a necklace on the roadside and taken it to the police. ”When nobody had claimed it after three months, the police told her she could have it. She knew we were out of funds, so she sold the necklace and gave us the money,” he added.

This is not about Branson or how to source money to finance your business. But I find the honesty and integrity displayed by both Branson‘s mother and the police worthy of note.

This type of virtue is hard to find in Nigeria. Not that we don‘t have good people. Not that our nation is not great. Our problem is that the people who are bad appear to be more visible than those who are good.

Let‘s examine the police, for instance. Last Sunday, there was a multiple accident on Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. From different eyewitness accounts, the police allegedly mounted a roadblock on the sloppy portion of the road close to Berger bus stop. This caused a traffic snarl. Suddenly, an articulated truck on top speed appeared on the scene. The driver could not control what happened later as he hit some cars. About 25 vehicles caught fire. At least 40 people lost their lives.

The police have tried to extricate themselves from blame. Investigations are still ongoing. But before the result is made public, it is pertinent to note that people‘s anger is that the police mounted the roadblock not to fish out criminals but to extort N20, or is it N50, from motorists.

This allegation is not new. In a recent report, the Human Rights Watch accused the black uniformed men of being the most corrupt institution in Nigeria. The report published in major newspapers last week indicated that the police made over N20bn from checkpoints across the country between January 2009 and June 2010. The South-East region is the main cash cow as the security agents reportedly netted in N9.35bn. From the South-South, they got N4bn; South-West N4bn; North-Central, N2bn; North-East and North-West, N500m each. Of course, the police dismissed the report as ”embellished innuendoes and suggestive graphics aimed at reaching a preconceived conclusion.”

To be fair to the police, they have achieved some feats that are worth celebrating. For instance, it is well known that the Nigerian police give good account of themselves in international peace-keeping operations.

Last week, they uncovered a hideout in Ibadan where armed robbers work on stolen cars before selling them off as Tokunbo. They recovered many cars in the process. I suspect that my stolen Honda might have been taken to that workshop!

In any case, the police are not the only institution that is corrupt in Nigeria. Many other organisations or agencies such as the Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigeria Customs Service, etc. are similarly corrupt. There are also corrupt local government chairmen, councillors, state governors, civil servants, bankers, doctors, journalists and so on. That is why the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission and similar agencies are always busy.

My worry is that the more these agencies appear to be working, the more we witness cases of graft. Something is fundamentally wrong somewhere. I believe that one major cause of this problem is the inequality in our socio-political system. A few Nigerians are super rich while the majority die in penury.

A recent report by the Millennium Development Goals scored Nigeria low in poverty alleviation. The report noted, ”Although poverty has reduced since 2000, the reality is that among every 10 Nigerians, five still live in poverty. Growth has not been sufficiently equitable or generated employment.”

The government that should provide social amenities does not bother much. You struggle to provide your own water, electricity and other good things of life. A report in THE PUNCH of last Friday quoted the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Lamido Sanusi, as saying that about 60 million Nigerians now own power generators. To fuel these generators annually, according to Sanusi, they spend N1.56tn.

In the area of health, we are not faring better. As you read this, over 4000 people are infected by cholera in the North. As at Friday, about 231 of this number had already died. An official of the Federal Ministry of Health was quoted to have said that the epidemic was largely caused by drinking of contaminated water. And you ask, why can‘t the government provide potable water to prevent its citizens dying like fowls from avoidable diseases?

Although corruption cannot be justified in anyway, it will be minimised if people know that there is a system in place that takes care of their basic needs if they are incapacitated. The tendency for one to grab for one‘s children or children‘s children is partly due to the fear that should anything happen, those children will suffer. Nobody will care about their school fees or medical care or housing needs or even food.

We could start by cutting the jumbo salaries and allowances of political office-holders. The proceeds from that exercise will go a long way in providing decent accommodation and living wage for the police. It will also provide potable water for the cholera infested citizens of Bauchi and Borno States.

Addendum

Last Friday, I got a text message from someone who urged me to protect the numbers of my readers whose reactions are published on the Readers’ Court page. According to her, her husband received death threats because of his reaction to my column. Some other people had complained in the past of how fraudsters saw their numbers in the paper and started disturbing them with 419 messages. There are yet some others who would want their numbers to be published because they get reactions to their own reaction. Please note that we will protect your name or number if you so indicate in your reaction. Otherwise, we will assume that you do not mind. 

2011: Consolidating politics of bread and butter

August 15, 2010

Casmir Igbokwe

The late chief Lamidi Adedibu popularised amala politics in Oyo State. In Kwara State, the only party that can win elections appears to be the unregistered Saraki Peoples Party. In Abia State, former Governor Orji Uzor Kalu and his mother, Eunice, a.k.a. Odiukonamba, used to hold sway until very recently. There is a similar trend in the other parts of the country.

Soon, the 2011 elections will come. Godfathers and their followers are strategising, aligning and realigning for total victory. Only a few people are talking about issues. The majority are after the candidate or political party that will best butter their bread.

Their main strategy is to jump from one party to the other. The Governor of Abia State, Theodore Orji, is the current face of this type of politics. He once had a cordial relationship with former governor Kalu. 

With the support of Kalu and his Progressives Peoples Alliance, he became the governor of Abia State in 2007. Then, Kalu was disenchanted with his erstwhile party, the Peoples Democratic Party. He poured invectives on the party and vowed never to have anything to do with it.

But politicians are masters of doublespeak. Kalu has since rejoined the PDP. Some of the members he left behind are finding it hard to accept him back though. His political son, Orji, has also left the PPA. With fanfare, the All Progressives Grand Alliance welcomed him to its fold. APGA chieftains hailed the migration as the best thing that would happen to Abia people in recent times.

APGA victory dance was still on when rumours made the rounds that the PDP was wooing Orji. He gave the party conditions before he could rejoin. One of these conditions was that the authorities of the party should dissolve the state executive. That was done. But an Abuja High Court has stopped the action. Last week, the ruling party formally readmitted Orji into its fold. Not too long ago, the Imo State Governor, Ikedi Ohakim; and his Bauchi and Zamfara state counterparts also decamped to the PDP.

Last Monday, the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Bala Mohammed, organised a reception in Alkaleri Local Government Area of Bauchi State to announce his defection from the All Nigeria Peoples Party to the PDP. A few days after, the Bauchi State chapter of the PDP disowned him, saying he did not follow the party’s constitution.

These politicians have no shame, no ideology, and no principle. The PDP chairman, Okwesilieze Nwodo, had warned governors to stop coming to his house. They should come to his office if they want to see him. And that should be without any Ghana-must-go bag. But the governors had defied this directive. “Anyone who tries it again, I’ll disgrace him publicly,” Nwodo warned.

But he underestimated the power of the governors. In their meeting last Tuesday, the governors barred him from attending. It was President Goodluck Jonathan that reportedly intervened to save him from removal.

There is near breakdown of governance in the country. To the majority of the leaders, their welfare comes first. The end result of the plots to get to power revolves around how to get a bigger share of the nation’s resources.

Nigeria has reportedly earned N34trn in oil revenue from 1999 to 2009. Every month, millions of funds are allocated to states and local governments across the country. The allocation for June was shared in July.

My local government, Aguata, in Anambra State, got N137, 431, 757.88. The allocation for Southern Ijaw Local Government in Bayelsa State was N154, 336, 569.83. Alkaleri LG in Bauchi got N161, 215, 691.23. Can any of these local governments and others tell us what they have done with this money?

Do we talk about the National Assembly whose members allocate jumbo salaries and allowances to themselves for going to the chambers to exchange fisticuffs? Do we talk about state governments that tar a few roads here and change some street lights there? We clap for them and say they are the best thing to have happened to Nigeria. One or two rainfalls, the roads are washed off. Some local governments sink one or two boreholes and give out some pittance to some cronies and hangers-on. We shout halleluiah, the messiah has come!

We are deceiving ourselves. At the end of the day, we all suffer the consequences. When kidnapping started, we thought it was meant for only expatriates. Today, we are all feeling the pinch. Doctors are always on strike. Patients die in their thousands everyday in our hospitals. Some universities in the South-East are currently on strike.

Our own way of ameliorating these agonies is to purchase more aircraft for the presidential fleet. I hear the cake they are making for our 50th anniversary celebration is the biggest in the world.

I’m sorry for this country. Where is the Nigeria Labour Congress? Where is the National Association of Nigerian Students? Why have they not organised protest marches to put a stop to this perfidy? We are not asking questions because ours is politics of chop I chop. Only a few people are bothered about issues of development.

Unfortunately, the so-called opposition parties that should be sensitising the people are neither here nor there. Some new ones are coming up, promising heaven on earth. The newly-formed Mega Progressive Peoples Party is promising quality leadership. Its National Leader, Rasheed Shitta-Bay, said the party would change the course of our nation for good. Great!

There is another party that goes by the name National Emergency Rescue Mission. The leader of this party, Kayode Oluwatoke, was reported to have said that the greatest events since the world began were about to start unfolding in Nigeria. And one of their major assignments is to arrange a sovereign national conference that will discuss Nigeria by Nigerians. Interesting!

In 1999 and 2003, the ANPP and Alliance for Democracy presented a formidable opposition to the PDP. Today, where are these two parties? Since the last election in 2007, at least 28 members of the National Assembly have defected to the PDP.

It’s a matter of bread or cash if you like. And nothing brings this home more than the threat by a certain women group to go on sex strike if President Jonathan did not declare his intention to run for the presidency in 2011 by August 27.

We are in trouble!

PHCN, crazy billing and tariff increase

August 8, 2010

Casmir Igbokwe

PRAYERS and jokes are good mediums through which Nigerians try to escape from their existential problems. Almost on a daily basis, I receive them either via my phones or email address.

Last week, for instance, one Balogun from Ibadan informed me of the arrival of new perfumes in the country. In case I‘m interested, he says, the perfumes are: Escape by Ibori, Desperate by IBB, Assault by Deji of Akure, Kaitastrophy by Kaita, Barely 13 by Yerima, Missing Goal by Aiyegbeni, and Kidnapped! by Chris Uba. Others are: Paradise Lost by Turai, Looters by National Assembly, Shameless by OBJ, Headgear by Okonjo-Iweala, Retarded by PDP, Blackout by NEPA, etc.

Of all these perfumes, I‘m more interested in Blackout by NEPA, otherwise called the Power Holding Company of Nigeria. There is a deliberate attempt to perfume the air already polluted by the PHCN. Or how else does one describe the recent call by the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido, for a 200 per cent increase in electricity tariff? This, he said, would encourage investment in the sector. Sanusi has an ally in the National Electricity Regulatory Commission.

But the questions remain, what was the result of a similar increase two years ago? How have Nigerians benefited from the billions of naira pumped into the power sector by the Obasanjo administration? And what has come out of the 6000MW the government has been promising to deliver over the years?

More questions but few answers. To worsen matters, the PHCN members of staff have tried to put wedges on the liberalisation of the power sector by the Federal Government. Recently, the workers literally prevented the Presidential Task Force on Power from carrying out its duties in Abuja and Lagos. They also threatened to go on strike, but later called it off.

The point is, who will miss them if they go on strike? In the area I live in Ikeja, having constant electricity has become a mirage. If we have today, we won‘t have tomorrow. Even when the supply comes, it fluctuates such that it damages electrical appliances.

Sometime last week, I was told that some people came to ask for N1,000. Every flat is expected to pay the money to facilitate the installation of a new transformer in the area. And you ask, are customers supposed to pay for transformers?

That is the least of the headaches the power company has subjected Nigerians to. For some of us who use prepaid meter, there is nothing like crazy bills. You pay for what you consume. People were happy that this new system would eventually eliminate the problems associated with estimated billing. But their joy seems to have been suspended as the prepaid meters have become scarce commodities.

And so you find that many Nigerians are paying too much for darkness. In Mynews.com page of THE PUNCH, a reader, Freddie Raymond, from Ijesa in Lagos State, last Tuesday, complained bitterly against PHCN officials. For the past three months, he said these officials had neither come to read any meter, nor had they sent any bill to the residents of Adesina Street.

”But now,” he lamented, ”the officials of the PHCN are inviting us to their office to sight our bills on the computer. We have been paying for electricity without bills. To worsen matters, they have disconnected nearly all the houses in this area. No bill, no receipt of payment. Where is our money going?”

Raymond may never know. Perhaps, the money has gone into the acquisition of more computers for effective bill sighting. More disturbing is a report in THE PUNCH of Aug. 3, 2010, indicating that the accounts of the PHCN have not been audited in the past five years. What this means is that it will not be easy to obtain information about how much the company has generated or spent within the said period.

Is it not laughable that after almost 50 years of nationhood, we still cannot surpass an average of 3000MW of electricity?

This is why Nigeria has become a dumping ground for all manner of substandard generators. Sanusi said that much in Abuja last Tuesday. According to him, generators produce 70 per cent of the nation‘s power needs. And we have the unenviable record of being the largest importers in the world.

These machines come with their own hazards. Some individuals have suffocated in their rooms from fumes. And in the dead of the night when people should have their peaceful sleep, generator noise comes to play the spoiler. This adds to people‘s stress level.

Nigerians are sick and tired of the PHCN. We have written and shouted yet there seems to be no end in sight to its indolence and poor services.

Nigerian Telecommunications Ltd. was misbehaving at a time until the communications industry was liberalised. Private mobile telephone companies came in and sounded the death knell of NITEL.

Already, the Power Sector Reform Act of 2005 stipulates the privatisation of 18 successor companies of the PHCN. The act provides for the development of competitive electricity markets, as well as the enforcement of such matters as performance standards, consumer rights and the determination of tariffs.

Efforts should be made to implement this act to the letter. The PHCN workers are not happy about some of its provisions. NITEL workers were also not happy when the private GSM companies came. But what is important is the happiness of the majority of Nigerians.

Part of the problem with us is that we put the cart before the horse. President Goodluck Jonathan has made himself the Minister of Power. But what we have seen so far in terms of solutions is a call for more prayers. Some smart businessmen have keyed into it. On Friday, I got a message on my MTN line from 33022 asking me to join 50 million Nigerians in prayer. All one needs do is to text 010075 to 4100 to download the prayer for Nigeria. Each SMS costs N50.

Does this not amount to spraying perfume inside a septic tank?

2011: Judiciary and election petitions

August 1, 2010

Casmir Igbokwe

ONE ingredient that makes democracy desirable is a free-and-fair election. When there is a problem with this process, crises are bound to erupt. Nigeria is preparing for another round of elections in 2011. The new chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, has requested about N74bn to prepare the voter register. There are questions and apprehension as to whether we will get it right this time around.

Some Nigerians are hopeful. They pray and believe that with divine intervention, we shall overcome. Some others think the road to a credible election is still thorny. Based on our antecedents and what is currently happening, I‘m tempted to join the latter group.

My fear is anchored on a number of ominous signs. For instance, money is still an issue in our electoral system. The Osun East Senatorial District of the Peoples Democratic Party has informed Nigerians that any aspirant from that area with less than N500m in their accounts cannot aspire to govern the state. What this means is that only those with the power to buy bags of rice, salt and amala have the wisdom to rule.

There are other problems. But my main concern here today is on our judiciary. A few days ago, the Mustapha Akanbi Foundation held a symposium in Abuja on the courts and the management of election petitions.

According to Akanbi, who is the former chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission, there are reasonable grounds for intervention and checkmating the crippling monster of corruption that is threatening our judicial system.

Retired Justice Kayode Eso also carpeted the judiciary. He reportedly lamented that the petitions against elections conducted four years ago were still pending in courts. ”Any system that permits of such disgraceful act,” he said, ”can never be right.”

I agree. It is disheartening that in 2010 and a few months to fresh elections, we are yet to completely dispose of the election petitions in such states as Osun, Ekiti and Sokoto.

The Sokoto case is particularly worrisome. The issues at stake are clear. The All Nigeria Peoples Party nominated Magatakarda Wamakko as its governorship candidate in 2007. The Peoples Democratic Party nominated Alhaji Mukhtari Shagari as its standard-bearer.

However, due to some political intrigues, Wamakko curiously switched to the PDP and became its candidate. Shagari was asked to be his running mate. Being a loyal party man, he agreed. Of course, the PDP won the governorship election. But that was the beginning of the problems.

The candidate of the Democratic Peoples Party, Alhaji Maigari Dingyadi, contested the result of the election at the Election Petitions Tribunal in Sokoto. He alleged, among others, that Shagari was not validly nominated as Wamakko‘s running mate, having filed his nomination papers on April 27, 2007 (13 days after the polls), but backdated it to Feb. 12, 2007. He lost at the tribunal but won at the appeal court. The court ordered for a rerun.

Remember that there was a similar case in Rivers State. The incumbent governor, Rotimi Amaechi, challenged the election of Celestine Omehia as the governor of the state. He contended that Omehia was not validly nominated as PDP‘s candidate and that his election should be nullified. The Supreme Court agreed with Amaechi and gave him the mandate without any other election.

Nevertheless, the Sokoto rerun was held on May 24, 2008 without correcting the invalid nomination that prompted it in the first place. INEC declared the PDP the winner. This would have been a sweet victory, all things being equal. But all things were not equal and have not been equal since then.

Dingyadi and his party went back to the courts. To cut the long story short, the Court of Appeal in Sokoto heard the DPP‘s appeal on Jan. 18, 2010 and later fixed judgement for Feb. 24, 2010. But before this could happen, INEC‘s lawyer accused the appeal court panellists of bias and asked the National Judicial Council to intervene. The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Aloysius Katsina-Alu, directed the court to halt delivering judgement until after the investigation of the allegation.

The panellists were not found culpable. But rather than deliver judgement that had been fixed for March 16, some other legal technicalities came into play. Essentially, the DPP was said not to have properly withdrawn its interlocutory appeal, which it earlier made to the Supreme Court. The party filed a fresh motion. The apex court adjourned this case to Oct. 14, 2010.

What this means is that until the Supreme Court dispenses with this extraneous matter, the appeal court will not deliver its judgement. And who knows, we may still be talking about this case in January when fresh elections may take place.

This is unhealthy. I may not be a lawyer. But common sense tells me that certain things are not just right in the way the Sokoto governorship case has been handled. That is probably why the Nigerian Bar Association expressed grave concern over what it called ”the legal contrivances put in the path of the constitutionally approved court by the National Judicial Council.”

The immediate past NBA President, Rotimi Akeredolu, further noted that ”to embrace jurisdiction under very dubious and doubtful circumstances and stultify the constitutional duties of other courts amounts in simple terms to a judicial coup d‘etat and grievous assault on the constitution itself.”

Our lawyers and judges should know that Nigerians are watching with keen interest. Politicians may rig elections, but if the judiciary is upright and dispenses justice as fast as possible, our democracy will get better.

In the Second Republic, Shehu Shagari won the presidential election on the platform of the National Party of Nigeria. But he was not sworn in until after the case instituted against him by Chief Obafemi Awolowo was dispensed with.

In an interview with this newspaper (see today‘s SUNDAY PUNCH, page 6), former Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Richard Akinjide, further noted that it would be unthinkable to swear in any president in the United States of America before the hearing of election petitions. He cited the case of former President George Bush and Gore at the Supreme Court in Florida, which was resolved within a period of less than 40 days before swearing-in.

As stakeholders in the Nigerian project, every Nigerian must show interest in the process of electing our leaders. Since we have identified leadership as the bane of our country, we must do everything possible to ensure that only credible people are elected into leadership positions.

We must not only register and come out en masse to vote, we must also be ready to defend our choices. If I do my own part well and you do your own part, there may not be any need for anybody to engage in long and unnecessary legal technicalities. Those who hope to win elections by rigging or manipulating the process may succeed temporarily, but ultimately, good always triumphs over evil; and truth will always prevail over falsehood.