Nigeria Grapples with a Coup

Unknown to many, the Nigerian armed forces have just staged a coup d’etat. Organised in collaboration with anti-democracy elements, the coup is meant to give birth to an interim government or extend the tenure of incumbent officeholders by at least one more year.
The weapon used in this ill-advised coup was a letter written to the chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) of Nigeria, Professor Attahiru Jega, stating that the military would not be able to protect the people and ballot boxes during the presidential election fixed for Feb. 14. The military’s lame excuse was that it would be fighting Boko Haram from that date, advising INEC to consider a six-week postponement in the first instance.
The coup has disarmed Jega who had stood stoutly against the ruling PDP and others that desperately wanted to re-jig the party’s campaigns. The PDP feared it would lose if the polls went ahead on Feb. 14.
The next step: On March 28, the war with Boko Haram would still be going on, necessitating another postponement – and then a deadlock long predicted by this magazine. An interim government to take over on May 29 would be constituted. And the “eminent” members of the ING could hold the fort for perhaps three years! President Goodluck Jonathan might opt to make use of Section 64 (2) of the constitution that empowers him and the National Assembly to stay put for six months in the first instance until elections are organised. A power scuffle of unknown dimension would ensue. Nigeria would be the loser.
Meanwhile, the plot to shift the polls is clearly targeted at getting rid of both Jonathan and APC candidate Muhammadu Buhari. Licences for oil blocks are due for renewal this year, and neither man would do all of the mafia’s bidding. An ING to be cobbled together would be used to dispense the oil blocks to members of the mafia.
It is a victory for Boko Haram that has waged a war on the nation for the past five years. In the past, President Jonathan used to do things deliberately to spite Boko Haram and pretend its activities did not obstruct the smooth running of government. Now, in a matter of utmost importance such as conducting an election, he and his government have just capitulated. Boko Haram has won!
It is not likely that the Nigerian military that have been used to scuttle the polls will even want to defeat Boko Haram anytime soon: fighting the sect gives them a lot of money. And if they defeat Boko Haram, they would still want to enjoy the spoils of war.
Because the danger of election postponement to democracy in Nigeria is too obvious, civil society groups and all other pro-democracy activists should resist the coup plotters. Jega ought to have led the resistance by continuing with arrangements for the polls.
At last, Boko Haram and those seeking to break Nigeria have found a solid structure on which to build their enterprise. May God save Nigeria and Nigerians from the invaders.

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