Since my last piece on the 17th of January 2019. I thought it would be my last until the elections were over. This is because of my believe in the Nigerian project transcends beyond the love for any one person. Surprisingly, however the “Nigerian people are not just getting it”.
My disappointments were in the manner, politicians, elites and the Nigerian public look at public issues not beyond their personal idiosyncrasies.
Matters of national concerns are treated with naivety and pettiness all in the name of partisanship, tribal cleavages, religious or subterranean considerations.
To borrow the words of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 American elections when things became so incomprehensible she referred to some followers of Trump as “basket of deplorable”
Here at home Aisha Yusuf, the Co-convener of the BringBackOurGirls, BBOG, advocacy group in venting her frustrations with attitude of the “Hon. Minister of Power Fashola, she described him as one of the leaders who has depreciated since he got appointed into Buhari’s administration”.
She explained that; “Some leaders build people around them. Others depreciate people around them.” Are the Nigerian people depreciated under the Buhari administration?
Have we all been compromised? Have we all lost our thinking caps and rationality? Has our nationalist and patriotic zeal deserted us? Have we all been Zombied as popularised by Late musician Fela? These are some of the questions begging for answers.
Here we are some few days to the Presidential election, yet confused as ever. The muddy political waters we are navigating is getting darker by the day. Nigeria is at the precipice. No one knows for sure where we are heading to. What is certain however the elections might hold, whether or not it will meet international best standard is a subject for another debate.
In trying to understand what is going on in the political space, it may be instructive to review the actions of the political actors and gladiators since INEC lifted the ban on political campaign on November 18th 2018.
The general expectations of every Nigerian and our friends in the international community are that the country would build on the successes recorded in the past elections, but alas the whole exercise seems to heading for a collusion course.
The Nigerians people expected the process would be lively full of issues and pleasing anecdotes.
I am sure many are missing the good jokes of the former first lady Mrs Jonathan. We were mesmerised by the grammatical lexicon she developed while it lasted.
The vibrancy, the good commentaries in both the social and mainstream media provided good readings. It also added drama to the whole electoral process.
The tolerance and civility of the Jonathan administration also provided good opportunities for the citizens to engage and make meaningful contributions.
Equally, the general expectations for the 2019 elections were, it would provide a more conducive environment for politicking more especially when the President and the government are saying they are operating on “high moral ground”
Unfortunately, the reverse is the case. The political space became replete with a lot of venom, hate speeches, mudslinging, threats, selective punishments, and deliberate disinformation aimed diverting voters attentions from the real issues that ought to dominate the campaign messages.
The choices presented to the Nigerian people at the beginning of the campaigns by the dormant political parties were swept under the carpet or evaporated all together.
No one hears anything about the “Moving Nigeria to the next level” anymore, all we hear and see are four fingers representing the wasted four years and the additional four years they are asking the Nigeria people to grant them to squander again.
The government in trying to cover its short comings and under performance, wittingly re directing the campaign strategies to “tit for tat” propaganda technique. It did so by hammering on any unimaginable issues they feel would appeal to their base, thereby forcing the opposition to derail from its “Lets get Nigeria Working Again”
The President refusal to attend the presidential debate afters his disastrous outing at the town hall meeting watched nation wide sent some jitters in the minds of his handlers thereby prompting them to shield him away from the Presidential debate in order to avert another national disgrace.
In a civilised society the President performance during the town hall meeting should have sent the message to APC to start shopping for a new Presidential candidate.
The suspension of the country’s CJN some few weeks to the election on the premise that the President was advised by the CCT was another attempt to overheat the polity, knowing fully well the order was in contradiction with the provisions of the 1999 constitution as amended.
The President and his handlers knew their action would divert attention of Nigerians from the real issues the campaign ought to address.
Other major issues that are worrying and causing the President’s handlers sleepless nights were the lies they told the Nigerian people that the opposition presidential candidate would be arrested for money laundering once he sets his foot on the American soil. This has since become history.
The Amina saga, the INEC commissioner whom the coalition of political parties kicked against her involvement in the collation of electoral results because of her affinity to the President now reversed by INEC was also very unsettling to the presidency.
The resurgence of Boko Haram activities in the North East, where the government claimed it has won the war is another big worry. The relative peace upon which government is using to appeal to the sentiments of the citizens is being eroded gradually.
The President talked about his successes in containing the insecurity in the country in his campaign speech at Kano. He even ask the crowed to check with their brothers in the North East to confirm.
But what President did not ask his brethren in the North West to confirm is the rising killings and kidnappings in Zamfara now spreading to Katsina and some parts of sokoto and kebbi states the geo political region of the President.
On the whole the President knew the security situation in the country is not abating and the oppositions are cashing on the governments failure in winning public opinions.
The health issues of the President which hither to has been managed from the public glare, suddenly took the centre stage when the President showed some signs of vulnerability during the town hall meeting and his in comprehension of what is happening in his immediate environment especially during the rallies, at one point he introduced a senatorial candidate as the presidential flag bearer of the APC, he had to be corrected severally before he got it right, these exposed his in ability to continue governance.
The coalition of political parties have since after the town hall meeting gone to court calling for an order for the President to submit himself for medical examination. The coalition also in their prayer to the court demanded for an order to compel INEC to delist the President name from those contesting for election.
The logic behind all this will manifest itself in the future and the handlers of the president are aware of the intentions of CUPP unless of course they want to put the country in another logjam.
I have on this medium argued the 2019 general election would be decided by confidence, capacity and competence not anti corruption.
Events in the recent past has shown that the anti corruption propaganda the government was using as a strategy to destroy the opposition candidate will not fly the kite.
This is because government has shown its soft spot for hobnobbing with the corrupt. This assumption is supported by the statement accredited to the National Chairman of the APC in which he said “when you sin join the APC and you would cleansed”
Again Atiku’s successful journey to America and his performance at the “KADIRA AHMED” town hall meeting during which he addressed all issues regarding how got rich has busted the anti corruption campaign propaganda and evaporated all arguments associated with it.
By his performance in the town hall meeting, the journey to and return from America, the former Vice President has demonstrated confidence, competence, capacity and has purged himself from the corruption issues the government is hanging on his neck.
The President in similar performance during the town hall meeting anchored by the same Kadira Ahmed instead of helping his candidature exposed his vulnerability, in qcompetence and capacity to govern.
In an established democracy and a literate society the disastrous performance of the President in that interview will cost the party the election. The party Should have by now started scampering and shopping for a replacement.
But this is Nigeria, “the Nigerian factor” will always come into play. In spite of the fact, the country has gone through similar conundrum during the Yar’Adua reign, when the Senate had to come to the rescue of the nation by invoking a non constitutional provision coined as “doctrine of necessity” to solve the logjam.
In the case of the CJN the government and its protagonist are saying the CJN ought have resigned in order to save the sanctity of the judiciary this may be desirable, but the contraption should not be used as a means of deliberately diverting attentions from the real issues of hunger, disease, poverty, in security that are suppose to form the narratives of election campaigns.
Nigerian people would grateful if the President in the light of his historical ill health and recent exposure of his demeanour at the town hall meeting and in other events submit himself to proper medical examination to determine his continued suitability to govern.
Our position is base on the fact, the President has in many fora stated he is not obsessed about power and we want believe him. But we also know that “power corrupts, power corrupts absolutely”. We pray the President will choose to be on the side of moral high ground he preaches and do the needful.
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.