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ANALYSIS: Kudos To The Heroes Of Nigerian 2015 Presidential Election

By Tajudeen Balogun, Head, African Examiner, Nigeria Bureau – The much talk about Nigerian 2015 Presidential has been conducted; its outcome declared and the rest (except related new developments) is now history. This poll was like one in many. It was an exercise that seemed the country has never conducted one before – created division among the country’s ethnic groups; aroused emotion and seriously heightened tension and caused confusion among the various stakeholders.

Of course, the two major political parties and their supporters stick to their positions till the poll was held last Saturday, while the comments; actions and reactions of certain politicians were far from giving hope and assurance of a free and fair exercise, before, during and after. While the fear of violence eruption was surprisingly deflated in some marked areas, it actually came to past in some other places. The blame certainly goes to desperate politicians who determined to win by all means possible.

Despite these worrisome and disturbing signals, the country and entire citizenry have since remained in total peace. It has been said repeatedly; loud and clear that Nigeria will not boil or put under siege if election (free, fair and credible) is conducted and won by any of the two main contenders – the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari (rted) or his ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) counterpart, President Goodluck Jonathan.

Effectively, today’s commentary is not aimed at x–raying the concluded Presidential poll, rather it is to appreciate and give accolades to those who explored their potentials, deployed personal wisdom, expended their time, risk their lives, prioritized the love of the country and committed their personal resources, all to ensure that the exercise went on smoothly and not fail after all. In other words, this piece is more of a follow up to one of my previous analysis with headline: “The Heroes And Villains Of 2015 General Elections”, posted Friday, February 20, 2015.

First, I congratulate Nigerians for their determination, sacrifice, courage and doggedness on the last weekend election. I observed as I set out early Saturday morning many Nigerians, young and old either waiting at their polling units or on their way for accreditation. I was moved to tears on returning home the following day, (as I was on election duty) when told that despite rains in some local government areas in Lagos State, the electorates, young and old stayed back for accreditation and refused to take cover until they voted, while those who could afford it, waited until later in the day, the votes were counted, result announced and pasted, in fact in some cases, snapped the pasted results before they left for their respective homes. My experience was not in any way different from the above, while on the field, on the Election Day.

For this, I thank Nigerians, appreciate them, give kudos to them and really salute the spirit of love demonstrated for the country, her future as well as that of their family members. Nigerians, my first hero of the historic and perhaps, the most decisive election in the Nigeria history; once again, I hail you all!

Here, I wish to applaud the leading opposition APC, although with caution, so as to avoid being accused wrongly. This party deserves my mention for weathering the storm and discomfort of coming up with a strong and viable alternative political platform. Without hesitation, members and leaders of the APC must be commended for the formation of the party which, birth and slogan coincidentally aligned with their agitation and yearnings for better governance, having lost faith and confidence in the government of the day.

However, the victory it achieved through the support of teeming Nigerians, will make meaning if only, it rises up to the prevailing challenges facing the country and delivers appropriately and persistently. I wish the APC well as it sets to take up the mantle.

Well, I have heard people describing President Jonathan as hero of the just concluded historic election. After what and when please? For those who read me regularly, I have mentioned constantly that this outgoing President is very good at evoking emotion on critical national issues. Agreed, each is entitled to his opinion, just as I am busy doing here. Yet, can we consider some variables, to assess whether the President is truly a hero or not?

Aside the dirty campaign from his team, President Jonathan, had to be prevailed upon and pleaded, by the local, regional, continental and international leaders up to the point that it was obvious the outcome of the poll would not favour him. Indeed, if President Jonathan’s call to General Buhari (in which he conceded defeat and congratulated him) was not ‘mechanical’, the show of shame and disgraceful display by one of Mr. President’s kinsman and ally, Elder Godsday Orubebe would not have taken place in the first place. It was therefore clear that the former Minister of Niger Delta Commission and two other ‘militants’ who accompanied him, were out to act a script which the ultimate goal was to scuttle the entire process, hence give way to government’s declaration that the poll was inconclusive, therefore canceled!

The questions are who is or are the author(s) of the script? Did President Jonathan has prior knowledge of Orubebe’s action? Besides, it is also important, the point is made here that, on Monday (a day before failed attempt to disrupt the collation and final announcement) the lousy Spokesperson of the PDP Presidential Campaign Organization, Femi Fani – Kayode was quoted as threatening that his party would not accept result that failed to declare President Jonathan the winner of the election! Did President know about this? What was his reaction? Is threat in line with the first and second peace accord he signed before the poll?

Yet, his call to General Buhari before the final announcement was considered as being exemplary and he (President Jonathan described as hero). But I make bold to submit that, if Elder Orubebe had been for instance, properly dealt with in the hall for his ignoble conduct and the announcement was abruptly halted, (as originally planned) what could have been said of Mr President; a hero or what?

I dear say there is no big deal in President’s action. Just like a brother of mine reasoned and posted: “if President Jonathan is called a hero for conceding defeat”, then he is also one, for paying his child’s school fees. Very impressive one. And I add, if a husband seeks to gain favour or attention for making available, housekeeping allowance, he deserves none, as what he is doing is just an expected obligation, nothing spectacular.

Anyway, for those who chose to hail President Jonathan for doing the obvious, (conceding clear loss in an election), they should not forget there are more tasks still lying ahead, hence must call on him to replicate the same status they have accorded him. In a week time, the Governorship election and States House of Assemblies will be conducted nationwide, except in few States. Therefore, those who call Mr President hero should please appeal to him again, to ensure a level playing ground especially in his regions – the South East and South South geo political zones, which was liked to many violence and electoral frauds last weekend.

In essence, every party and candidate, regardless of affiliation must be treated equally and fairly too. For instance, if voting result sheets, ballot papers and boxes as well as other vital election materials are available in Okrika, Obi/Akpor Local Council areas of Rivers state, they must as well be present all the polling units in Ikwere Council and other strongholds of the State Governor, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Amaechi.

I do not know if by now those with habit of freely throwing bashes at Amaechi and called him names, have had a change of mind, especially with respect to inability of the State (Rivers) Collation Officer, Professor Etu Efeotor, a University Vice Chancellor, to present the allegedly results collated. The scene was dramatic, but very embarrassing and distasteful. However, I consider the shocking and incredible scenario a victory and vindication of the Governor and his supporters on their agitation that election did not hold in the State. I assume as for the Professor’s travails, conscience was at work.

Honestly, with the manner, the events eventually turned, Amaechi in my reckoning is another unnoticed and uncelebrated hero in the just concluded election.

If that is not convincing enough, another South Eastern Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha of Imo State at an Ndigbo forum Thursday, to salute the President – Elect, General Buhari in Owerri, the State capital, narrated his terrible experience and his cabinet members in the hands of law enforcement officers and political thugs, during the Presidential election. Okorocha exploded and exposed that the situation in Rivers was repeated in Imo, Anambra and Abia States. He declared that President Jonathan did not win in the State, as the world was made to realize, just as figures were inflated in his favour. The 1.3 Million votes allegedly planned to record for PDP he revealed was resisted by his party members and supporters.

As for me, I am glad and so relieved that the President after so much pressure eventually listened to advice and at last behaved like a gentleman. As for being a hero of this poll, I hold an exception, perhaps after the coming elections is conducted (made to be free and fair) and when his disposition and body language and party members are juxtaposed. Until then, I keep my fingers crossed and reserve further comments.

After Nigerians, my real and adored hero in the poll is the man of the moment – the INEC Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega. This man – a political scientist, ex – University Don and one time Academic Staff Union of University (ASUU) National President is blessed with an independent mind; a brilliant, resourceful, diligent and organized administrator; very honest and a man of his words.

He conducted the election in 2011 that produced the incumbent President and despite intimidation and propaganda, of being pocketed by the leading opposition, he stood still, stay focused and refused to be partial to any party or candidate.

Even when representatives of those who wanted him out of INEC stormed the National Collation Centre – attempted to indict, insult him and ultimately to disrupt the proceedings, he restrained himself and responded accurately to the spurious accusations against him, very intelligently as well as with high level of maturity. No wonder, #Jega went buzzing and keeps trending on different social media handles, since Tuesday even till moment. Professor Jega, Nigerians thank you for the rare courage you had demonstrated so far as well as for choosing to be a patriot. Certainly, posterity will adjudge you right and history will be so kind to you.

Professor Jega, once again, you are a pride to your family; to the country academic circle a role model and a source of inspiration to the upcoming generations. On this election, you are our (Nigerians) hero. Therefore, I wish you success on the tasks ahead and other life endeavours.

The position of Elder Orubebe, irrespective of his apology and caution to the Niger Delta youths not to imitate his inglorious act; his master and his colleagues in the evil plots is definite. Their roles have been properly documented and it will ever remain a point of reference. For him and those who sent him the errand, if they really regretted their action, the bitter lesson I expected they must have learnt is – think before you act, especially the imports and bearing of the action. So, with or without his apology, Orubebe and his cohorts are failure – the villains of the Nigerian 2015 Presidential election.

Finally, the big lesson that must be learnt in President Jonathan’s predictable loss in latest Presidential poll is that, Nigerians are more enlightened and wiser unlike before. Again, that the final determinant factor for politicians to earn votes is not ultimately money, but majorly performance. Here, the outgoing President has been found wanting. Almost six years in power, Mr. President has reduced himself to slave of his political ambition – leaving himself to continuously scheme on how to remain in power instead of how to deliver on his electoral promises so as to use them as his score cards this time. It is even unfortunate the President, instead of heeding warning and advice chose to politicize issues, making his aides resorting to all manners of verbal attack and war. It is therefore very wise to conclude that any public office seeker who does not wish to fall into similar trap must know his onion from day one – serve diligently and refused to be disillusioned and carried away by personal ambition. It has never worked for anybody and it will never workn no matter the level of tricks and gimmicks!

President Jonathan, When Will This Fuel Scarcity End?    

It is over a month now that Nigerians have again been caught under the pains of fuel scarcity. Upon the explanations (non-payment to the marketers) when the crisis started, and Presidential marching order to the Finance Minister to do the needful, fuel is still not readily available in gas stations till the moment. Using Lagos State as a case study, motorists can still not boast of buying the product at the outlet of their choice, but only buy in few places that has the stock. For how long will this last in a country rated the sixth world largest oil producing nation?

Is the situation in the country suggesting that the Presidential order on March 3, 2015 is yet to be acted to letter? What is the matter Finance and Petroleum Minister, NNPC, PPRA?

Now that the Presidential electioneering campaign is over, it is hope that the Federal Government will double its efforts to resolving the fuel scarcity problem. Nigerians are begging President Jonathan that this should not be added to the list of terrible, unpleasant and uninspiring legacies of his administration. Mr. President, help resolve this matter before your final exit please.

E – Mail: tjaysuccess10@gmail.com; Facebook: Tajudeen balogun       



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