ANALYSIS: 2015 Elections Controversies; Between Partiality And JusticeFeatured, Featured Contributors/Columnists, Latest News, Nigeria 2015 Election Friday, February 27th, 2015
By Tajudeen Balogun, Head, African Examiner, Nigeria Bureau – The Nigerian 2015 general elections have till the moment been subjected to so many debates, especially at the instance of actions, reactions and comments by the major actors – the leading opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) and ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP); members, supporters as well as sympathizers. Therefore, the focuses today, are the controversies, their perception and subsequent management, especially, with a view to allowing fair hearing and ensuring a peaceful co –existence of different party members, violence free campaigns and ultimately peaceful society.
In doing this, I must dwell extensively on the recent history, as related to the two giants and gladiators in the arguably most “competitive” Presidential elections in the history of 16 years uninterrupted democracy in Nigeria.
Taking off from the APC, many Nigerians would recall the wide and spontaneous knocks received by the incumbent Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, from many PDP functionaries, when he expressed his views on the right of the Nigerian soldiers rights, fighting the dreaded Boko Haram militants, to protest against lack of welfares and shabby treatment meted out to them at the battle fronts by the Military authorities.
Then, if it were convenient for his critics, given the level and frequency of the condemnation, Amaechi by now, would have been picked up and landed in cell. Reason; to the PDP family, the statement by the blunt South South Governor was inciting and treasonable. Mark those heavy words and issue in question as you read on please for compairsm, where necessary.
In November last year (2014), the Nigerians and the rest of the world read about the invasion (twice, despite the court ruling against such, after the first) of the APC Lagos record office by the men of the State Security Services (SSS), on allegations of the party’s attempts to hack into the INEC data base as well as cloning its Permanent Voters Cards (PVCs).
Despite changing the above reasons for the invasion, to fraudulent membership registration by the party, as promoted by the agency’s Spokesperson, Marilyn Ogar early January this year; failure to institute court case against the weighty allegations and INEC repeated assurance that no one could hack its data bank and clone its Voters’s cards, President Goodluck Jonathan was so excited and hasty to point out this allegation and glossed over it as an instrument to nail his most rival political party in his maiden rally in Lagos also in January this year.
The opposition party has been called names and hammered by the PDP members for attacking President Jonathan’s campaign convoy in Bauchi. Not to forget, those believing to be working for the APC were also fingered in attacking the Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, PDP campaign office, destroying of bill boards and tearing of the PDP candidate posters. My exception to this lawlessness; the January PDP campaign buses burning in Jos, the Plateau State capital and those reported lately in Lagos, is unwavering and with no apology, yet, did we all recall that the Bauchi’s attack has been denied by a serving PDP Governor, Yisa Yuguda, who confirmed the show of shame was an organized plot, by his party men (in the State and Abuja) to hang a dog and call it bad name?
The same opposition has been accused of being intolerant and party of trouble makers, when Governor Amaechi and the APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie – Oyegun declared that their party would not fight with anyone if rigged out of the polls, but would rather form a parallel government. The PDP was prompt to roundly tongue lashed and condemned the statement. Agreed, many well-meaning Nigerians picked holes in the utterance, as it obviously betrayed the constitutional provisions and civil approach to address electoral disputes.
Recently, I captured a statement credited to Femi Fani – Kayode, quoting the APC President, General Muhammadu Buhari (rted) as saying during a radio interview programme, that he would not lose the Presidential election, when asked in case. The PDP man by his personal assessment, considered such response as suspicious and enough to jump into conclusion that the retired general would influence trouble if he lost in the rescheduled poll.
If I may ask, what kind of response (different from Buhari’s) would Fani – Kayode wish his boss, President Jonathan, to offer if similar question is put to him? Ask people to put their money on the likely definite (similar) reply and you get an overwhelming eagerness. If this is the case, it can then be say that Mr. President by his errand ‘boy’ and by extension, his party’s inference would instigate a siege on the country if he lost the poll.
Now to the instances (elections controversies) relating to the ruling PDP. In January this year, some APC stalwarts were attacked and wounded while on their way to the maiden Gen. Buhari Presidential rally in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital. Those who were responsible for the fatal onslaught have since remained ghosts till present. In fact, I doubt if there was any immediate and official statement whether at the State or National level of the PDP (to my knowledge) with regards to the incident. This happened a week to the Abuja peace accord agreement by all the Presidential candidates.
In a similar stead, the offices of the opposition in different local councils of Rivers State have been invaded with bomb explosion. As we speak, Nigerian public has not been told or given the clue of those who were responsible. And the entire PDP camp has totally kept silent on this terrible and deadly development.
Similar to this, was the invasion and attack by unknown gunmen, of the opposition APC members in their rally about three weeks in Okrika local council of the State (Rivers). Recalled, the Police aide of the Governorship candidate, Dr. Dakuku Peterside was killed, another five, a journalist, plus several party supporters with aged, were severely injured as they ran for cover when the attackers struck. Peterside escaped by whiskers in the commotion. The February 18 attack on the opposition was the second as the party’s earlier scheduled campaign could not hold, due to ambush by the persons who did not want other party rallies in the council area, except the PDP. So, who are those responsible for the violence and killing? Are these also propaganda by the opposition as the PDP is always quick to admit and accuse? Can the APC organize deadly attack on its members? Who killed that Policeman and who was the target? Was the killer a politician? If yes, which party did he belong? Is AIG Joseph Mbu listening and reading this? I wonder how many 20 or 100 of souls would have perished if the stupidity and sheer barbarism as well as peak of political intolerance demonstrated in Okrika were to have occurred in his domain. I am really scared!
Don’t crucify me please. Mbu has vowed to kill as much as he could, if anyone messes up with him or his men in the last two weeks. Still, Mr. President andb Oga’s wife’s ‘good boy’ still remains despite such provocative, offensive and uncivilized bombshell! And less I forget, Okrika is the home of the first lady, Mrs Patience. What a peace loving, apolitical and tolerant woman. Where are the Okrika’s attackers and killers please; am I talking to Madam?
What about the war threats by Mr. President’s Ijaw friends and supporters – the repentant Niger Delta warlords? They have vowed that Nigeria would remain the same if their own was not re – elected. Elder Edwin Clark is leading the pack here. Well, a belated press statement by the party Spokesman, has directed stop to such frightening and alarming warning. To the PDP family, Elder Clark, Asari Dokubo and associates’ statement were not treasonable, but what were they? Missing justice. Can FFK muster a or some “reasonable” response (s) (if any) him on this, since your interest in election winning, appears more vested than other members of your party family.
The ruling house with its wahala (troubles) and persistently will deny and call people names. One of its members, a Governor in a small but educationally standard South Western State – Ekiti, Mr. Ayodele Fayose has launched a political culture completely alien to the virtuous way and approaches of a true and through – bred Yoruba man. His infamous death adverts on Buhari, needless and endless comments on the retired General’s State of health has caught the attention of the entire globe to the extent that the question is being asked whether Mr. Fayose is really a Governor or a mere overzealous political chores character?
Mr. Fayose’s crude and fruitless mantra up till now, has not evoked remorse neither from him, nor his party. Instead, FFK has once tactically justified his infamous approach as well as justified it. So, if such antics had come from the main opposition member, what would have been the reaction from the PDP?
The election shift ripples. As I belong to the side of those who posited the rescheduled polls was remotely muted by the PDP, using the Service Chiefs as the channel to deliver the security ‘red alert’ in the North East, as the key reason to postpone the elections. (You are absolutely free to differ from my position). Even, let’s assume that the ruling party did not canvass for the shift ( to avert defeat as the case were), would the PDP have agreed to stop the polls if the opposition APC had called for the same, even, if the court would have later upturned it ( on good grounds) anyway? This is another poser for FFK and his colleagues (mouthpiece) of the PDP and President Jonathan.
Nigerian 2015 Elections debate and the elusive fair play. Three weeks ago, a 37-minute audio secretly recorded by Captain Sagir Koli, of the 32nd Artillery Brigade in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, South West, on perfected plots to rig the last June Ekiti Governorship election that earned Mr. Fayose victory was leaked to the public. Despite the actors in the tape including the Governor, one time or another, admitted the meeting; their presence, the Nigerian President, at this critical time, dismissed the audio evidence. This tape, President Jonathan said was a mere frame up and did not worth his directive for investigation. To worsen it, Mr. President (whether deliberate or otherwise) was bold enough to point out that he has not listened to the tape, yet dismissed it!
Are the Nigerians and Mr. President’s supporters listening? Isn’t surprising that the same President, who quickly admitted hacking and cloning allegations against the opposition, is now singing another tune and coming in another form? Where is justice in this please? What happens if the opposition were accused of similar allegation? Talkative FFK, others in the business, any meaningful answer? Anyway, “corruption (whichever one) is different from stealing” – the Nigeria standard.
And in spite of these, President Jonathan, who is the present number one manager of this country is being portrayed as a very humble fellow (not convinced he is really one); an attentive President who promotes the rule of law (with cases of impunity against his administration); the President who is sparing nothing in advancing democratic principles (indeed with inconsistence in justice delivery), in particular, on the matters relating to his party and the major opposition.
President Jonathan is being presented and credited for growing the country’s economy. I see; with what indices? On the list are: road construction; establishment of Al – Majiri schools; floating of 12 additional tertiary institutions and the controversial provision of over 4000 MW of electricity. They (PDP) have more, note please.
An important point for both the ruling and main opposition parties. As I have previously viewed, provision of social infrastructures, such as water, security, communication, even health should cease to be the indices to measure performance in government. These are basic subsistence of life, which in a developed society, a government rarely lasts longer without them. Rather, it should be about the state of power that gingers rapid industrialization and growth; creation of jobs and other forms of empowerment; diversification of macro economy focus; promoting financial discipline and resolute fight against corruption and ultimately, improving the per capita income of an average Nigerian.
This is a laudable and desirable paradigm shift which the successive government in this country at all levels, must embrace and aspire to attain.
If I may proffer, the relevance of this to the issue in focus, is that the present administration is guilty of injustice in the running of the country’s economy. Its major political challenger has demanded at the various levels and fora the release (to the public) of the forensic audit report on the missing oil money. This government as we speak still sits on the report. Mr. President, not only your rival is questing for the report; but millions of Nigerians are keen and curious about details of the findings and recommendations in the report, not just the sketchy version recently made available.
If your government continuously declines, where is then is the rule of law your supporters and party men claim you uphold? Mr. President, just assume this is coming from another ruling party (where yours is the opposition) how would you have reacted? President Jonathan, be fair and just to your fellow men, just as your party recently declared, that you are not President of the PDP; the Ijaw people or PDP members alone, rather of the entire Federation. So be reminded that your commitment and obligation cut across.
Finally, President Jonathan, for you and your administration to contribute positively and immensely in advancing democracy in Nigeria, always think, act and show Nigeria first before personal or ‘exclusive’ party interest. This is the true way and path to promotion of social justice; fairness and equity to all. Ultimately, this approach will definitely produce a peaceful, prosperous society and people who think beyond sectional or particular political agenda or party affiliation.
Chatham Lecture: Buhari’s Error Admittance; Failed Solidarity Protest
In a categorical and firm manner, the APC Presidential candidate, General Buhari in his Thursday lecture titled: “Prospects for Democratic Consolidation in Africa: Nigeria’s Transition” at Chatham House London, admitted errors against him as the former Military Head of State. He asserted: “Permit me to close this discussion on a personal note. I have heard and read references to me as a former dictator in many respected British newspapers including the well regarded Economist. Let me say without sounding defensive that dictatorship goes with military rule, though some might be less dictatorial than others. I take responsibility for whatever happened under my watch.
“I cannot change the past. But I can change the present and the future. So before you is a former military ruler and a converted democrat who is ready to operate under democratic norms and is subjecting himself to the rigours of democratic elections for the fourth time”. If I must confess, I never expected such strong and very sensitive admittance from someone like him at a time like this. Still, since the retired General and probably with his party had chosen he should hit the nail on the head, so be it.
Again for me, there are two key points I wish are not lost in the admittance. First is that, those who feel they were wronged have been given the option to forgive him, they may not forget anyway. So also is the fact that in every aspect of life, a true leader must be courageous to take responsibility for his actions and for his followers. We can and will do better as a nation, if this bold, historic and honourable mentality is entrenched in our orientation. In other words, never, love power, but attempt to abdicate to discharge obligations and take responsibilities. It’s a food for thought for the ruling class and the governed.
Very unfortunate, the million dollars (sponsored) anti – Buhari as leaked by the press was eventually staged in London Thursday, simultaneously as the (target- Buhari’s) lecture was on-going in Chatham building. The whole solidarity protest was very dull, disorganized and above all, ended up as another shameful self – seeking attempt by the PDP Presidential campaign organization. My reasons. The hired supporters, some of them, young – probably Nigerian Students in UK, were by their responses and dispositions, brainwashed and tipped for the exercise, never convinced of their actions. This was evident as so many of them backed camera and declined to grant press interviews. Some of those who granted, declared they lacked knowledge of their mission at the spot of the protest! The videos are all over. I just hope Enu ja waya (talkative) FFK and Oga patapata (the overall Boss) would not deny these video clips and say they were also “fabricated”. My verdict. Regrettably, the more attack of this nature on GMB, the more knocks to President Jonathan; more public sympathy and support for his (President) main opponent.
For once, why won’t the entire PDP family leave this Baba (Buhari) his party and members alone and let them be, for God sake? And they will boast they were not scared. Would they have sniffed life out of him if they are? PDP family, mind your business please and help Oga to utilize the benefits of the remaining four out of six weeks you instigated, to junket for more supports, (if possible) and allow your main rival to enjoy the golden opportunity you had availed it and its candidates, as well as supporters nationwide, please!
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