Lunatics on the Loose

By Abba Mahmood –
The PDP has never been this frightened. It has never been so mismanaged. It has never been this desperate to remain in power.
To make matters worse, it has fielded a presidential candidate, “Dr” Goodluck Jonathan, who declared at the party’s recent rally in Jos that he “will increase youth unemployment”! He went to Maiduguri and told his party people that if he was “re-elected” he would end Boko Haram. Is he not the president now and has Boko Haram not been around for the last six years? What did he do in the last five years to end Boko Haram to warrant another five years? If anything, Boko Haram had no territory before Jonathan but now controls a large chunk of Nigerian territory and attacks with impunity. The PDP simply has a bad product and everyone is now aware.

I like the way former CBN governor Professor Chukwuma Soludo put it: “No other president had presided over the slaughter of about 15,000 people by insurgents in peacetime; no other president earned up to 50% of the amount of resources the current government earned from oil and yet with very little outcomes; no other president had the rate of borrowing; none had significant forex earnings and yet did not add one penny to foreign reserve but losing international reserves at a time of boom; no other president had a depreciating exchange rate at a time of export boom; at no time in Nigeria’s history has poverty reached 71%; and under no other president did unemployment reach 24%. Surely, these are unprecedented records and he surely ‘outperformed’ his predecessors! What a satire!”

To further aggravate an already bad situation, instead of the president and his party trying to explain what they did in the last six years, they have let loose some deranged individuals whose only stock in trade is to abuse and vilify. Enter Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, the chief propagandist of the current dispensation. His corruption charges were dropped and he got appointed as media director of the PDP 2015 campaign. It appears he was only hired to disrespect the person of Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, the PDP nemesis. And he went about in the most crude and uncouth manner to do the dirty job, such as making a ridiculous and false claim that Buhari does not have a certificate!

No less a personality than defence minister Gen. Aliyu Gusau, a PDP founding member, was quoted as saying on page 7 of Sunday Sun newspaper of January 25: “You know that I am not a politician but the truth needs to be told that I have known Buhari since 1960. He passed through the school that I also attended; he sat for his Cambridge/ WASC examination and came out with Division 2. He then joined the army, rose to become major general and head of state… They passed out in 1961 and we passed out in 1964. Buhari had leadership qualities since secondary school; in form five, he was a house prefect… By 1961, when he was in form six, he was chosen to be the head boy of the school.” Hope the lunatics are listening.

As Idowu Akinlotan wrote in his back page column of The Nation newspaper of January 25 also,“The election is not really about Buhari, what he can do or won’t do, what certificates he brandishes or does not hold, what acts of cruelty he performed in the past or acts of kindness. The election is strictly speaking about Dr Jonathan, by what margin to repudiate him, and about how to punish him for the humiliation and disgrace he has brought upon the country locally and internationally. The PDP is already distressed. The more they abuse Gen. Buhari and paint him as a monster, the more the crowds at his rallies swell.”

Nothing has exposed the PDP’s weakness more than the recent meeting of ex-militants and some government officials in Government House, Yenagoa. In attendance were known lunatics like Asari Dokubo as well as the presidential adviser on Niger Delta. They were widely reported in the media to have resolved that “any attempt to dethrone the president would be seen as a direct attack on the Ijaw nation, (and) threatened to unleash violence on the country and take back Niger Delta oil should Dr Jonathan lose re-election.” Do these creek warlords really know what it is to live with others in a decent society? Do they really know what democracy is?

We have passed this path before. These people must be reminded that there was no oil when Nigeria was founded by the British. It was the agricultural potential of the hinterland as well as the mineral resources of the central zone especially that attracted the British. That was why they built the railways vertically to carry these resources to the ports in the south. In any case, no one can intimidate anybody with a finite resource when we have the greatest gift of nature: hardworking people and rich lands which no one can take away. Those people are misjudging the mood of the moment and the spirit of the time which is for change.

Are Femi Fani Kayode, Asari-Dokubo and others like them aware of the implications of what they are doing? How can they abuse, insult and disrespect a significant section of this country and expect the people of that section to vote for their candidate? Democracy is about ideas and since these lunatics have run out of ideas and are marketing a bad product, they have resorted to what they know best – insult, blackmail and intimidation. But they are mistaken this time. It is a real sign that the president now knows that he will lose the next election, as everyone else is aware.

Another dangerous dimension being deployed by the PDP is the use of religion during rallies. In some states in the northwest, Vice President Manadi Sambo was busy reciting Quranic verses to the unimpressed audience while PDP chairman Adamu Muazu was reciting the Shahadah! This is a dangerous precedence in a supposed secular, diverse polity like Nigeria. This election is not about Christianity or Islam. It is about corruption, poverty and insecurity. It is a verdict on our current situation and future aspirations which the PDP and its candidate have so far mismanaged.

As scholar-activist Dr Jibrin Ibrahim wrote in his column on page 66 of Daily Trust newspaper of January 26, “increasingly, the body language of the president and his aides is that they are afraid they would lose the elections and, if they do lose, appear unwilling to hand over to the probable winner. The body language is to seek postponement arrangement”. But it is too late and rigging is out of fashion. Like pregnancy, elections have time limits. A government that cannot get ready for elections in four years can never be ready even in 40 years.

Today, everyone knows that the APC is the largest party in Nigeria, and if every largest party here is the largest in Africa, then, the APC is the largest party in Africa. All the most populous states in Nigeria are controlled by the APC. It was the majority party in the House of Representatives even before the elections. Gen. Buhari, its presidential candidate, is the single politician with the largest following. Thus, no insults or intimidation can postpone the imminent defeat of the PDP. Cancer and AIDS have infected the PDP and, as everyone knows, these are terminal diseases. Come February 14 we shall bury the PDP monster and entrench peace and love on Lovers’ Day.
History is on the side of the oppressed.

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