Tiger Monitors

2 Comments » May 15th, 2011 posted by // Categories: General Articles


Where were you all those heady Saturday s and Super Tuesday of April 2011? Probably at home, with your loved ones or friends? You were not indoors throughout,  though on the election days, 2nd, 9th, 16th and 26th April 2011, I guess? You probably went  to the nearest polling booth in your locale to perform your civic responsibility and then returned home.

Well that was the experience of the vast majority of our people on the aforementioned dates. In Lagos, the voting exercise was not a nightmare; there were very few people who had any bitter experience to narrate. To the happy surprise of many, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) which started off in a shaky and disorganized way, leading to the halting and postponement of the election of the 2nd April 2011, midway, got its act right and improved on its performance in the successive elections.

So good was INEC, at least in Lagos State, that even the heavens cooperated. Not for once did the skies turn lachrymose. This was a good thing, as the army of voters, who patiently endured or gracefully coped with the merciless heat of the sun, would have undoubtedly scattered and disappeared in the face of the liquid arrows from above.

Not all of us stayed home though, a few like my humble self and two dozen like minded Tigers and Tigresses (NBA Ikeja members) were out on those election days to serve as monitors.

Competent, dedicated and sincere monitors add invaluable credibility to the electoral process. Their reports and assessment of how elections were conducted present a yardstick to judge whether the process was indeed “free and fair” as conductors of the election and the winners of electoral contests are wont to claim.

We had great fun in serving as monitors. You can trust tigers. Not for us any cold, regimented approach like you will find in “ancient of days” branches. Before setting out from the Bar Centre we fortified our bellies with some yummy yummies and unlike most other groups of monitors, we were roving rangers.

Working a five team formation, we were all over Mainland, Lagos I our various operation vehicles happily donated to the cause by Tigers. Also pressed into service was our ever reliable motorized Charger, certainly the most famous and most travelled Bar bus in Nigeria, always impressive and eye catching with the legend “NBA IKEJA BRANCH” printed on its sides, likewise, front and back, in green colour.

I said our Charger was impressive and eye catching, maybe I should add ‘awe inspiring.’ In places like Ejigbo, Oshodi, Mile 2, the majestic bus and its occupants were hailed, as it rolled slowly on. “The Law!, here come the lawyers!” said the people.

On our way to Ipaja, we stopped to observe the on-going voting exercise when a fellow resting on his parked ‘Okada’ suddenly took flight, after telling the person nearest to him, “Ha, mo ri green, mo ri white, motun ri green. E mi n lo temi. Ta lo mo boya lati Abuja ni won ni ki won ti wa mu wa. (What? I see green, I see white, then green again, they (the occupants of the bus) must  be government officials, who knows whether there is an instruction from Abuja that they should arrest us all. I am off!).

In some cases, the Charger and the occupants were considered supporters of Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola and the Action Congress of Nigeria (CAN) party, especially during the gubernatorial election. The reason was not farfetched. The incumbent governor and also the candidate of the CAN in the race is a legal practitioner.

The situation report of the election in almost all the more than four hundred polling units we visited was invariably the same – “peaceful, orderly and balanced.” And in the rare exceptions, the situation never got out of hand. Agents of the various parties, especially those of the CAN, PDP, CPC, Labour, APGA oft times interacted in a friendly manner.

The most sensitive periods were the sorting and counting of votes, yet the charged atmosphere never boiled over, as most people appreciated the need for caution. Losers took their losses gallantly, while winners celebrated their victory without ribbing their opponents too wickedly.

After our labours all through the mornings and afternoons, we repaired to our redoubt – the secretariat a.k.a “Bar Centre,” at the Ikeja High Court from where we had sallied forth in the morning. There, good Nigerian meals; fufu, eba, rice and beans, in the main, were set before us. We never failed to do justice to these truly taste repasts, amidst gusts of rib-cracking jokes.

One Tiger in the middle of demolishing his plate of fufu over laden with ogbono, vegetable, egusi soups and assorted fish and meat contended that such a meal should be served dinners of the Bar instead of the usual ‘oyibo food’ (rice and ‘burnt’ chicken). He ended his submission with a call for frothy palm wine to grace Law Dinner tables instead of “Oyinbo wines.”

On a personal note, I would never forget the monitoring exercise of the April 2011 General Elections, especially the Presidential Elections of 16th April 2011.

That day was special. Not because that for the first time since 1992 (the Otedola NRC victory over over the SDP), a conservative party not only defeated a progressive incumbent government but completely white washed it electorally.

It was special because that was the day I ate the forbidden meat. At Igando. Other Tigers drank only palm wine in Igando. But I did more than that. I ate the forbidden meat. Oh how delicious, scrumptious really. The forbidden meat?

The more sinful you are, the more riotous your imagination would be raging by now.

I ate the forbidden meat. And washed same down with swigs of permitted wine. So there. Don’t  ask me what the F.M was. Blessed are the brave in heart!

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2 Responses to “Tiger Monitors”

  1. Wale Adewumi says:

    The F.M. of Brother Ogunlana’s bravery has to be nothing but the renowned 404 of Abuja “—” peppersoup fame. Although never or ever will try it, I read about it in a filing by a foreign correspondent who also sounded like a fan of the infamous cafe on the outskirts of the nation’s FCT. Well, bro. Don’t keep us guessing for tooling or we might start imagining you ate other fare of forbidden infamy.

  2. what…vulture, lizard, monkey, owl, what?

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