By Abba Mahmood —
The Jonathan administration used security considerations to postpone the February 2015 elections. No one could understand how an election timetable that was approved and published 13 months ago could suddenly be altered at the last minute based on “security” considerations. International observers had already arrived. Citizens and the entire world were waiting excitedly when, suddenly, there was an announcement that there would be a six-week extension to enable the now weak and impotent Nigerian military to carry out “operations” to rid the country of terrorists within the six weeks, a task that has not been accomplished by the same military in the past six years.
President Jonathan further insulted our collective intelligence when he said, during his recent “Media Chat”, that he was not consulted before the postponement was announced! So who is in charge? Does it mean the service chiefs could write a letter to the national security adviser declaring that they could not guarantee the security of citizens during the 24-hour voting or a maximum of 48 hours of election period without the knowledge of their commander-in-chief? What came out of the president’s attempt to rationalize this major disaster is that he is a prisoner of vested interests who are using him to fight dirty wars. Their common denominator is the fear of a Buhari presidency and the need to prevent that by all means from happening. And they are many.
There are those who have stolen the country dry and are therefore afraid of Buhari coming to power with his reputation and moral authority of fighting corruption. In this category are those who have been stealing money from the petroleum industry and not remitting sales into the federation account as required by law; those who have been stealing money outright from budgeted funds; those who stole pension funds and stopped retirees from getting their dues; those who have been stealing at state and local government levels; and those who have been sweeping under the carpet all the numerous probes without properly recovering the funds running into trillions of naira and prosecuting the guilty.
There are those who are eternally afraid of Buhari would never imagine a Buhari in power as long as they are alive. They have lost credibility at home and abroad; they are afraid of their shadows and live in eternal fear of even a lizard that falls down from the wall. They are afraid of being demystified. But people are already tired of their antics. Like the old hyena which has lost its teeth, they can only salivate but cannot bite. They are left with only nocturnal conspiracies and daylight hypocrisies as they await the day of reckoning, which is fast approaching. It is an agendum within other agenda and layers and layers of webs of intrigues like the last fight in a tragicomic drama.
President Jonathan was tricked into fighting the battles of these people, but he should ask himself an honest question: why is Buhari so popular now after five years of the Jonathan administration? The answer is very clear: unprecedented insecurity, monumental corruption, general insensitivity and mass poverty have been the lot of Nigerians under this administration, and they are looking for a credible alternative which Buhari symbolizes. To compound matters, Jonathan has appointed mediocre aides to take charge of state policy, thereby reducing governance to the charade that it is now. The statements coming from the government officials are always infantile, pedestrian and un-presidential.
How can anyone take Jonathan seriously as a president when his main supporters are those who have sworn to dismember Nigeria and who do not even believe in Nigeria, such as Dokubo-Asari? Consequently, as Tope Fasua wrote in the Sunday Trust of February 15, 2015, “we have never seen such atrocious, acrimony-based campaign as the one he (Jonathan) is currently using the common wealth to pay for, directly or indirectly. Neither Obasanjo nor Yar’Adua nor their supporters were this vicious, this careless, this bloodthirsty”.
Jonathan and those using him must remember that they can delay but can never stop the change that is coming to this country. The people of the Niger Delta must know that their enemies are not the rest of Nigerians who do not have oil in their backyards, but those in charge of their wealth and the fat over-pampered pigs who call themselves militants who feed fat in their name. The budget of Bonny local government in the Niger Delta is more than the budget of many non-oil producing states, but the poverty rate in Bonny is definitely higher than that of those states; and the physical development in those states with the meagre resources cannot also be compared with that of the oily Bonny. These are the questions they should ask.
Those who are using Jonathan in their proxy wars must remember that there is overwhelming consensus for change: over 70 per cent of Nigerians and the international community are ready for a new government after the failed policies of the Jonathan administration. If they really love Jonathan, they should have started advising him to prepare for free, fair and credible election; prepare for his exit strategy and safe landing; and prepare to be forgiven all his mistakes and sins as long as he can respect the wishes of the people of Nigeria; or prepare for a disgraceful defeat. The choice is with President Jonathan and with Nigerians.
As Mr Fasua concluded in that same article, “How an incumbent hopes to owe salaries and contractors, sometimes puny amounts, spend trillions on elections, condone corruption, surround himself with extremists, approve the airing of the most divisive and distasteful of campaign videos, have no cogent plan about reforming the future of our economy, declare austerity on the people, take on the international community who put him there, expect Nigerians to keep operating as a zoo, and win elections, remains to be seen. The odds are totally against him and six weeks of divisiveness will be nothing.”
Already the ruling party is no more the largest party. The APC is now the largest party in Africa; that is why the PDP is afraid of elections. The circumstances are also different since the PDP is in total crisis and going into elections with less than 30% rating. As Wole Olaoye wrote this week in Daily Trust, “Doyin Okupe, SSA to the president who had earlier compared Jonathan to Jesus Christ, went berserk in his anti-Buhari propaganda. Instead of promoting Jonathan his boss, his strategy was to denigrate the person of the APC presidential candidate, Gen. Buhari. ‘Gen. Buhari is not electable and would not be elected by the grace of God. And why I am saying that is this, Nigeria would not have a president that has not gone to school. This is not going to happen. In Nigeria, it will not happen. Buhari will not be president!’”
“The journalists were scandalized. As Okupe ranted on, they rose in unison and chorused APC! APC! APC! Disgraced but not embarrassed (Okupe is beyond embarrassment because he was not at home on the day God distributed that capacity), he waddled his way out of the venue. That this was happening right within the State House spoke volumes about the extent to which the present administration has alienated the public with its lies and hate”, Olaoye concluded.
History is on the side of the oppressed.