ANALYSIS: Not Only U.S, The World Must Intervene To Ensure February Elections Hold And Secured!Featured, Featured Contributors/Columnists, Latest News Friday, January 30th, 2015
By Tajudeen Balogun, Head, African Examiner, Nigeria Bureau – President Goodluck Jonathan’s Special Adviser on Inter-Party Affairs, Chief Ben Obi perhaps knows and understands better, other purpose (s) beyond those announced and established, for the January 15, 2015 workshop on Violence-Free elections for all the Presidential candidates in the coming general polls.
By now, he must have realized and convinced beyond the reasonable doubt (if chosen to be objective) that the entire exercise, with its peace accord, despite the presence of high caliber of former diplomats and foreigners, was a sheer waste of efforts; time and at best, a mere talk show by all standard, especially when juxtaposed the pre and post peace accord political activities and developments in the last three weeks.
Some have declared that it was very insulting for the sitting President to have been “forced” to sign a violence-free elections accord. Those with the view observed that such situation belittles the President and his office. But with the successive political violence and many controversial and heated debates that have transpired after the workshop, in the country, those who argued that the President was embarrassed must by now, give a second thought to their position.
No wonder the last Sunday United States (US) Secretary of State, Mr John Kerry’s brief and urgent visit to Nigeria. On his mission, the US Scribe revealed: “it’s up to the people of Nigeria to make the judgment about whether they’re confident that any particular person or candidate is going to live up to their word. It’s not up to us (US) to make that judgment. The proof will be in what happens in the days ahead”.
He opened up that President Barrack Obama and the American people and the world were looking at Nigeria in the coming extraordinary exercise of democracy, “in this important country in Africa, with the largest democratic election on the continent – and it matters.”
“And that’s why we’re here: to emphasize to everybody, nobody gains by violence. Nobody gains by turning a political disagreement into a killing spree or some other kind of violence. And our hope is that Nigeria will set a remarkable example for the world in this election, and that will give whoever is President coming out of this election the momentum that he needs in order to be able to define the future that the people of this country so want”.
The two major contenders, General Mhammadu Buhari (rtd.) of the opposition APC and incumbent President Jonathan of the ruling PDP responded differently to Mr Kerry’s speech. While Gen. Buhari challenged his rival that he lacked capacity to crush and quench the raging insurgency in Nigeria, Mr. President persistently pledged to ensure that the February polls hold as scheduled, as well as make them violence – free and credible. If we must sincerely discuss indices to justify President Jonathan’s pledge, the prevailing situations in the country before and after Kerry’s visit and meeting are obviously contradictions – so difficult to confirm that truly the ruling class is ready for fair elections or for the exercise to hold at all.
Besides the previous campaign of calumny, violence and attacks, the Nigerian political landscape has since in the last one week, featured so many controversial issues; uncomplimentary comments; serious allegations and various unpleasant body languages among many others within the ruling and the number one opposition parties.
This week, there have been intensified efforts and plots to occasion shift in the day of the coming elections. Just as it has been previously predicted, the new dimension to the opposition candidate (Gen. Buhari) education qualification tussle is the impending suits among which is to challenge the alleged smuggling of his certificate into the INEC after the lapse of the statutory 40 days to present such, hence prayers to the court to disqualify him for perjury.
Similarly, there is currently debate on popularity strength of Gen. Buhari and President Jonathan, the latest of which was evident Tuesday, during an online Presidential opinion poll conducted on the official website of a private TV – AIT, owned by a ruling PDP chieftain. The outcome of the online poll backslided; jolted and seriously shocked the PDP family and it had since yet to maintain a balance, especially as it has expected the ‘on purpose’ documentary on President Joathan, which was repeatedly broadcast since Monday would sway public views and voting. Already, allegation of multiple voting by the TV management is already in the air.
Also, the latest of the disturbing signals – allegation of the huge financial inducement to jurist to disqualify the main opposition candidate (the accuser has noted it was yet to substantiate the speculation) and statement credited to the man who had assumed the position of Spokesman of the PDP and the Presidency – Chief Femi Fani – Kayode, that following the alleged shady manner INEC is handling Gen. Buhari certificate and education qualification issue, soonest, the entire ruling PDP would pass vote of no confidence on Professor Attahiru Jega – led electoral body.
Obviously, Fani – Kayode and the PDP had expected Professor Jega to have since read and understood the handwriting on the wall and ‘acted’ the written script? Now, which is the next move and game in the few days to the elections? Of course, there is a media report on the planned massive protest, which will majorly demand shift to the scheduled polls.
All of these and certainly more worrisome plots likely to be unraveled, toe the same line with the threats by President Jonathan Niger Delta militant and Ijaw leaders’ (supporters) violence threats if their ‘brother’ is defeated in the Presidential election (they never clarify if free and credible or not); the alleged and planned interim government as well as military take over. As we speak, there is no official indication (to my knowledge) of the President, calling his men gathering momentum for war, to order as generally demanded as well as denial on the transition government plot. For any Nigerian by now to still doubt these threats or consider them empty will be too costly and amount to trying the unusual.
The unfolding prelude to the 2015 general elections is totally unpleasant and calls for serious worry. Therefore, beyond the US intervention, there is an urgent need for the entire world and more stakeholders to wade in and prevail on President Jonathan; his ruling party members and the newly avowed and desperate point man of the PDP, the Presidency as well as the party’s Presidential Campaign organization – Fani –Kayode to allow the elections to hold in a free and fair atmosphere; let the winners and losers emerge and litigation by those who wishe to follow.
Already, one of the signposts of President Jonathan’s administration is the influence of external forces to make it take appropriate and popular decisions on very urgent issues of national interest. For instance, around mid-September last year, the President finally conceded to the public aversion to the use of harsh tag sign on the billboard advert for his political campaign until a US newspaper, Washington Post did an editorial commentary to condemn the act as it aligned with the internal view and demand that such an approach was a mock of the similar #BringBackOurGirls crusade used to promote clamour to regain freedom for the over 200 Chibok Secondary school girls, Borno State, who have been in captivity of the Boko Haram insurgents for over nine months, before the Presidential order for the removal of the advert was handed down.
Certainly, Nigeria requires more of the foreign informed and sound editorials and other forms of urgent interventions, appeals and pleads to President Jonathan and his party not to scuttle the coming voting exercise, which has reached its peak. Disrupting the coming exercises will definitely result to waste of money; efforts; time and unfortunately signifies dashing hope of millions of the Nigerian voting public. This country dearly needs more internal and external influence for the ruling party to yield the popular demand.
Even President Jonathan 17- year – old Pakistani ‘granddaughter’, Yousafzai Malala, might need to repeat her last year mid – July visit to Nigeria to prevail on her Nigerian ‘grandfather’ to beg him to be more patriotic, jettison personal interest and ambition and allow the February polls to hold as planned. After all, the world child education crusader eventually prompted and changed her ‘grandpa’ mind to reason along and finally agreed with the entire Nigerians to visit the families (later changed) but invited and met with the representatives of the families of the abducted girls in Abuja! This option is earnestly and urgently needed.
So, our girl; President Jonathan granddaughter – Malala, where are you? Kindly help by visiting, again and join the well-meaning Nigerians and rest of the world to sound more reasoning to our dear President and your ‘grandfather’. Our dear girl, please accept us the way we are and the level we still find ourselves to plead to this President, his party and its members to save Nigeria from another avoidable disaster – war in which many and more of target of your global crusade might perish, God forbids! Come, Malala Please, before things blow out of proportion.
I will say it again today that those busy plotting mischiefs and threatening war if their favorite loses generally acknowledged free, fair credible elections should please go back to the history, most especially for them to appreciate how dynamic Nigerian people are and how complex is the country.
Those who are plotting “sit tight” and shying away from electoral defeat should please remember the multiple “maradonic” evil plots of the former self – style Military President Ibrahim Babangida; the orchestrated June 12, 1993 Presidential election annulled by him and the attendant national turmoil, the human and material losses. They should be mindful of his plummeted rating and ranking in the history of Nigerian democracy, despite his administration many laudable and commendable policies. Overall, the Minna General woefully failed in his self – conceited and uncanny reluctance to hold on to power by all means.
The current evil planners should also refresh their memories and recall to the Military era of the former maximum ruler and Head of State, General Sanni Abacha. This deadly and reckless Military leader and his men schemed unrelentlessly and perpetrated so many untoward, against their perceived foes just to remain in power, at all cost, but in the end, was consumed – his government and its evil plans crumbled and came to abrupt end!
Does the present Nigerian ruling class remember the plots of one their own before – the former civilian President Olusegun Obasanjo’s infamous tenure elongation scheming at the twilight of his second tenure in 2007? The former Head of State with his over bearing aura was disgracefully defeated by the ‘powers’ within and outside the same ruling PDP.
The implications of the above instances are that Nigerians are unrelenting; resolute and ultimately will never condone nonsense from any unruly leader, no matter the tricks and intimidation deployed.
Therefore, now that Mr. President and his party men appear blinded and cut distance apart from the people expectations with respect to the coming elections, they should take a cue from the past, learn the bitter but true lessons, so as to save their faces and ultimately prevent the country from the brink of collapse.
And if it will be taken, I wish to personally urge Mr. President that your hawks presently being engaged in so any needless last minute attacking jobs neither love or really care for you, the country, but rather and only for themselves. So, kindly reflect deeply and listen objectively to your mind. I also wish to share with you that it is impossible for a ‘toaster’ who intends a serious relationship to force himself on his to be ‘lover’ who equally aspires a long, lasting and peaceful union. In other words, no leader can force himself on his people, if they so resolve unanimously. You are fully aware that this is what is presently paying in the country. This time, the question is not only about your love for the people; but also if they collectively and really desire you as their leader.
My point here is that you should muster courage and call the bluff of your men (if you are so passionate) about the peaceful co-existence of this country, allow the elections to hold successfully and let the victory go to where the people choose. In case it goes other way, (yours or your party’s) case is definitely will not be the first and certainly not the last of incumbent being exit from power.
As for the oppositions, my message to them, is let the game generally and truly be played according to the rules, before, during (if allowed) and after the polls. Allow the constitution to be your guiding light, the only tool and instrument to operate and pursue your course from the beginning to the final end.
Finally, as the world watches and but regrettably extends its nose to the Nigerian ongoing political and electoral misgivings, the local (Nigerian) various stakeholders and the general public should as usual remain at alert, be proactive, resistant and resilient to the unbecoming and over bearing tendencies of the elements bent on not making the genuine wish and will of the people to prevail. This is another national call and it must be heeded!
TY Danjuma, Making The Popular Demand
The February general polls are throwing up so many interesting and intriguing issues in the country. On Wednesday this week, former Minister of Defence, General Theophilus Danjuma (rtd), joined the league in Kano (during the official commissioning a multibillion naira Kwakwasiya city), of many Nigerians who had picked holes in the threats of war by some Niger Delta warlords and subsequently called on Mr. President to order their arrest, apparently for necessary legal action. Gen Danjuma, an ally of President Jonathan impressed not a few with this statement.
If such a call could come from Mr. President’s loyalist and confidant, what again is or are the reason(s) for delay in taking prompt and necessary actions. Doing the needful in this regards will confirm further that Mr. President’s love is for the country and that he is truly ready for a free and credible elections. That is never too late to achieve President Jonathan.
An Incomplete; Dull Presidential Debate?
The much desirable Nigeria Election Debate Group (NEDG) suffered a debilitating blow Thursday when the country first opposition APC announced its pull out from the exercise. The party’s decision according to the media arm of its Presidential Campaign Organization was linked to suspected bias and compromise by the organizers. This allegation to me, is very grievous, yet may be very difficult to verify and substantiate by ‘outsiders’.
However, my take is that let us assume the opposition’s allegation is real; who then is to be blame? As for me, I don’t know yet, on what premises and by which standard is the inclusion of African Independent Television (AIT), (which ownership is a Chieftain of the ruling PDP), while others – FRCN, NTA, VON are government owned broadcasting stations. For me, I choose to ask why this form of combination? The debate could continue and Nigerians should lend their voice especially in the area of panelists’ composition and their ‘constituencies’.
My concern is due to the fact that a Presidential debate without participation of either the ruling PDP and the main opposition APC candidate, will lack the needed exciting flavors, desirable local and international attention as well as a deserving sound and globally acceptable judgment. As veteran and seasoned professionals, these expectedly supposed to be the concern of the organizers.
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