ANALYSIS: The Heroes And Villains Of 2015 General ElectionsExclusive Reports, Featured, Featured Contributors/Columnists, Latest News Friday, February 20th, 2015
By Tajudeen Balogun, Head, African Examiner, Nigeria Bureau – If by four weeks to the rescheduled (Nigeria’s) general elections; with the Thursday, February 5 and Saturday, February 6, 2015 Council of States, the tripartite INEC, State Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs) and political parties’ crucial meetings respectively as well as Wednesday, February 18 INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega’s appearance and presentations at the Senate, Nigerians still hazard stress and told the polls are not guaranteed, then something at certain ends definitely is faulty and fishing!
The unfolding dicey and disturbing games actually prompted the last week’s Analysis with the title: Who Is In Charge Of These Polls; The INEC, Military, President Or PDP?
A brief refresh of the INEC’s boss, key submissions on preparations at the Senate. Professor Jega informed that as he spoke, a total of 1 Million Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) were yet to be collected by their owners for “various reasons”. He said 76 per cent of Nigerians who registered have collected their PVCs across the country and went ahead to do a comparison of the Ekiti and Osun Governorship elections held last year, in which he related collection of PVCs did not reach 70 per cent. Recall, the Commission in the week of Council of States meeting, confirmed about 68 per cent distribution had been done.
Again, INEC Chairman never mince words in affirming the electoral body substantial readiness for both old and new elections time tables, but for the security which he responded had the final say for the polls to be or not. Very serious one, guess you might wish to conclude.
So at this critical moment – in the history of democratic experimentation in the country, no doubt, the roll call of the characters that will, and can be considered the heroes and villains of the decisive elections has emerged, although the listing continues.
Starting from the charlatans, the service Chiefs come on top of the list. Many Nigerians and followers (external) of the country’s politics are very conscious of the fact the security top brass were instigated to cook up the security threats (excuses) as the last resort to ensure the INEC succumbed and backed out in conduct of elections as formerly scheduled, hence the announcement of shift by six weeks, which the security ‘executives’ described as the “minimum” time frame required to achieve their task. Well, I do not know how many Nigerians who cared to pay keen attention to the usage of word – minimum, its implications and bearing on the coming polls.
If the truth must be told, the Nigerian security chiefs have never helped the matter with respect to being on the side of the people, rather, they have chosen to be answerable and responsible only to their ‘biased’ pay master. Otherwise, the country ordinarily, needed not to be bored with the resentment by the security helmsmen; after all, is the entire Nigeria under the insurgents’ siege? This is where they totally failed and which constituted the crux of being labeled the traitors by many in the conduct of these elections.
The ruling party (PDP); its members as well as its Presidential campaign organization unarguably drop on the list of the charlatans of these polls. Acting the devilish written scripts, these folks having being faced with the unexpected and shocking reality, have never been so irritant, offensive, desperate and inconsistent on issues relating to the coming polls.
They had up till the moment, peddled one fake story or another to create confusion; attack or discredit the main opposition; its stalwarts or its Presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari (rted) using various means, including public institutions and agencies. Also joining actively in evolving and implementing the dirty jobs and antics are some President Goodluck Jonathan’s aides. They will all be remembered for their crude, infamous and anti – people drives and strives at this critical time.
Also on the list of villains are certain regional leaders, representing either political parties; civil societies or pan social – cultural bodies. The roles they were paid to play variously, are to justify the rescheduled polls, galvanizing on poor preparation of INEC; insecurity in the North Eastern region; mastering and promoting of ‘undoing’ antecedents of some ‘marked’ opposition politicians as well as why the incumbent President is the ‘unmatchable’ leader Nigeria has ever had through various means, including the mass media.
Similarly are the prominent and super rich clerics who have received the Presidential largesse and busy hoodwinking their followers to vote President Jonathan. They are presently pre – occupied with smearing religion laden campaigns against their ‘client’ main opponent and his party. It is however interesting that the alleged N6 billion that exchanged hands to execute this task have been confirmed by one of the insiders. The ‘national cake’ was said to be more bloated by a tranche – N7 Billion not six as alarmed by the first whistle blower.
Also on the list are Mr. President’s kinsmen and friends – die hard repentant Niger Delta warlords who have chosen to be unrepentant in beating of war drums, if their man is not re – elected. These characters are ‘busy body’, nuisance, distraction, failure, lazy and ultimately enemies of the Nigerians’ common goal. They are the villains of these yet historic elections.
Now comes the list of those whose, the side of the coin they belong, is either determined or about to, yet, could still shift to the side of the people, if they choose to be that committed. The jurists are relevant here. As we speak, there are so many suits, awaiting hearing or adjourned, challenging the eligibility or otherwise of President Jonathan major opponent, Gen. Buhari to run for the election or not. Very strange one, you might wish to say again, as the same candidate had competed twice with the sitting President but without these diversionary political tactics and ‘semantic noise’.
Specifically, Justice Ademola Adeniyi of Abuja Federal High Court readily comes to mind here. Your place is yet to be determined sir, until cases before you are determined. But before then, kindly be conscious of one but very vital point; that Nigerians are very conscious of the brains behind the litigations as well as their parochial motives. Therefore, the choice to be with and for the people, posterity or those seeking ‘self’ agenda is yours. Until then, Nigerians are keeping their fingers crossed for you to define your place in this critical time and democratic history of the country.
Yet, one big and domineering character under this category is President Jonathan. It is undisputable that Mr. President had hope his poor rating among many Nigerians would assume a positive twist, as the campaigns progressed. Unfortunately, the opposite has been the case, as many plots from his party, members and campaign organization were leaked, widely condemned and further ditched his (President) public rating and subsequently dimmed his chances of winning.
And this obviously informed dragging the career officers into the political mud and raging controversy. Faced with unbearable reality (outcome of the Presidential election), the President, unfortunately and remotely stage managed flying the polls shift kite, via the security Chiefs. This was after, the needed cooperation was not sought from the electoral body leadership. These are known facts to Nigerians and international community. But I must say this here. In case the Military wage a successful war against the insurgents, in the remaining four weeks, kindly prepare a convincing response to why the same force could not achieve similar task in almost six years of your government. That appears like another expo for you; so be ready in case.
President Jonathan, relating to these elections, your recent roles are well defined and where you belong, is definite. The issues here are beyond your persistent verbal assurances that the rescheduled polls will hold as agreed. Instead, the guarantee must be consistently matched with other ‘variables’, from your camp. For now, there is no link between your assurances and what is coming out and body languages of other stakeholders. And these are the reasons why many Nigerians are still worried. However, within the remaining four weeks, you can definitely make the list of heroes; at least, for the sake of the country, provided you so wish. More on that, later.
As for the former President Olusegun Obasanjo, I remain his persistent critique. This is one man I know he has the imposing clout across Nigeria to wield weighty influence. Chief Obasanjo had the rare opportunity to govern this country (both as Military and civilian) as well as what it takes to salvage the country from the precipice of ruin, but failed, due to narrowed interest and ambition. It was the same Egba high Chief who launched the elimination attack of members from the PDP and navigated his way for the incumbent to ride on his back to clinch the party’s ticket to run in 2011. Whether OBJ was doing all of that then to serve certain or national interest is another issue for debate entirely.
With respect to his over 12 months old differences with President Jonathan, the vital questions I feel every critical mind should ask is, are the points of his quarrels as related to corruption and mismanagement of the economy true or false? This is the reason I consider reasonable the argument that the messages are more significant than the messenger.
For me, the former President will not make either of the two lists. Still, if he wishes, he could choose to leak his vomit (return to PDP) on the eve of elections. He is a drama personified – known for many disdainful and laughable tendencies. But for now, he should continue with his melo drama. They are good, thrilling and I am sure, Nigerians are really feeling him. Well done, Baba Legba – (Abeokuta man).
On the list of heroes, with its Thursday (yesterday) approval of Professor Jega’s presentations, the Nigerian Senate to me for now, has properly positioned itself as far as conduct of the polls is concerned. Given the level of drilling Jega was subjected to and attendant fear of being carpeted, many had thought the senior law makers would find some excuses against the INEC preparations and decision to deploy the use of card readers for voting accreditation. For this decision (for now) the distinguished Senators make the list of heroes of the coming elections.
The Nigerian masses (home and abroad) of course, are on my heroes list. Their political alertness, activism, critical views, close watch and persistent demand for good governance are very appreciative and commendable. So, for those who have chosen to be active and unrelenting through various means, you are all heroes and your roles will remain in the book of history.
The Nigerian leading opposition (political party) the APC and its allies are no doubt undisputable heroes of the incoming political dispensation. On one hand, the ardent task of forming such a formidable political group that had inflicted visible jittery into the ruling house is appreciative, good for Nigeria democracy and the country as a whole. On the hand, the APC and its members’ resilience; doggedness; vigilance; rapt attention and prompt responsiveness to burning and serious national issues deserve mentioning and must be appreciated. So, the present leading opposition’s roles as we speak are heroic. To them, big I give Kudos!
However, the same opposition if it happens, it actualized its dream in the coming Presidential election (generally applauded free and credible) should have at the back of its mind that, it would become the victim of the same political revolution it has launched in Nigeria, if it slides at the expiration of its statutory tenure, just exactly in the same manner the reigning ruling party, which had been widely criticized of 16 years of poor performance. So, the hero of the moment, be wary of being disillusioned by narrowed interest when get into power!
Now the number one ‘idol’ to me. Professor Jega tops my list of 2015 general elections role models. Sincerely and deeply, I envy the revered former unionist and academia. Professor Jega has again succeeded in displaying the genuine stuff he is made of, the like he deployed to tackle the self-styled Military President Ibrahim Babangida. Then, Professor Jega led as the National President, first ever extended nationwide Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) industrial action.
I adore Professor Jega for his consistent delivery and deep honesty with respect to his non – partisanship; responses on INEC readiness; his clear as well as exact definitions of the commission’s scope of electoral activities. This erudite scholar was so convincing in all his addresses and reserved in public appearances. He had inspired me not a little. And his exemplary personality is convincing that I crave for more of characters like him in most of our sensitive public institutions. Surely, Jega is a proud to his family, friends, associates and ultimately to the Nigerian academic community. He is an inspiration to the incoming leaders. This country will do better and go far if it had many of him in strategic position of authorities.
Therefore, keep up the good work. Nigerians are watching, so also the world. No doubt, if the present tempo is maintained, history will be so kind to you and to your family. Thank you sir, my own first hero.
As for the conspirators, please cast your mind back again to those who have attempted to play pranks with the common wish of the people either within or outside the country. In the case of Nigeria, remember the June 12, 1993 Presidential election; the annulment and lingering siege on the country.
What about late General Sanni Abacha sit tight, but failed and crumbled plots? And I repeat here, the one who strangely has no place in this piece attempted the evil deal (tenure elongation) about eight years ago, but his men and the opposition then, ganged up and repaid him back in a more devastating and miserable manner. Those with listening ears, let them hear loud and clear!
Just as mentioned earlier, the present Nigerian first pilot shoulders more responsibilities on the fate of these elections. I repeat, everyone knows which side of the table you belong, but choice to be honorable as well as the need for you to think beyond the box is up to you. Therefore, adjust boldly in all areas necessary and bury all those hatched or brewing sinister plots! In other words, you can still become an hero as far as these polls are concerned, if you personally wish to. Remember, ‘disgrace assumes after fore praises’.
Finally, the villains and charlatans of these polls should please safe this country from another long restiveness and civil disturbance. They should allow the democracy to be nurtured and grow to an enviable level in Nigeria, for the benefit of the present and unborn generations. No other countries for us as Nigerians. The issue therefore, should be ‘my country – Nigeria first’ if truly we desire socio – economic and political growth and breakthrough.
IGP Abba; President Jonathan, Recall Your Man – Joseph Mbu Now!
Given his somewhat initial silence, it first appeared he has learnt his lessons and turned a new leaf – as a fine, honourable and indeed friendly police officer, when posted to the South Western part of Nigeria as AIG. Alas, it became clearer last weekend that the man is still in his old shell, as he goofed and uttered the most offensive and sweeping statement highly unexpected of an educated, intelligent and civilized senior public officer, when he dropped that 20 civilians would die for every one police in his care killed.
Please can someone ask this overzealous police who are the civilians or the politicians targeting or plotting to sniff life out of the police officers, if not armed robbers? Mbu’s known gangsterism has refused to elude him, even after he left those places (Rivers and Abuja) where he was assigned to carry out some uncivilized and defined missions. If anyone thinks the man’s statement was a slip of tongue, it is better such thought is reversed, as he repeated similar statement, in fact in a more elaborate manner in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital this week (Thursday).
With these, is there any need to doubt that Mbu’s posting to South West was deliberate and with a defined purpose? With his uncouth and inflammatory utterances, can Nigerians identify who is actually heating up the polity? What mission is Mbu was directed to accomplish in this part of Nigeria?
Mbu and his masters should be faced with the fact that the South Westerners are very civilized, peaceful and highly intelligent people. So, if the task he was directed to execute is evil, he and those sent him should be told he would be frustrated and failed.
Finally, they should be told that South West does not wish to lose any of its soul to election violence nor Police brutality and most significantly, does not want bloodshed as currently being canvassed and instigated by Mbu. That his second reassuring threat came after the Police evasive warning against inciting statements spoke volume. Who is fooling who? Please, for the sake of peace and tranquility, IGP Suleimon Abba and President Jonathan, should recall their man and redeploy him for another engagement different from the present. Better still, let him go and support the Military in their belated fierce onslaught against those who have made security to fail in Mr. President’s almost six years of administration. He will definitely do him and his other closest admirers very proud.
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