By Sanusi Muhammad
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was strategic and rational when it endorsed Goodluck Jonathan as its consensus candidate for the 2015 presidential election. In our perverse political environment, an incumbent spurned by his own party could work for the success of opposition.
Most Nigerians rate Jonathan as clueless and unproductive and if denied PDP’s ticket through competitive primaries that would vindicate the opinion of the majority and end PDP’s hold to power. If Jonathan is defeated at party primary which could have happened, what moral justification will the PDP have in campaigning for the success of another candidate on its platform? That is the strategy of endorsing Jonathan to save the little credibility of the party that has brought hardship to Nigerians through inept and insincere leadership spiced with greed and sharp corrupt practices forced on Nigerians who are deprived and denied access to justice by the same people ‘elected’ to provide leadership. To prove its lust for power and misuse of power, Honorable Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives was blocked by security agents from accessing his office after several other attempts to frustrate him from being a decent politician. Tambuwal who won an election on the platform of PDP, had cause to dump the party for better clime. His defection offended the presidency and remains worrisome.
From the PDP opinion, Jonathan remains the best and most credible it can offer Nigerians to stand and win an election, most especially if eligible voters can be intimidated by security agencies for peanuts.
To be fair to the Jonathan administration, it has scored some laudable points that should not be ignored. Electricity supply has improved of recent at least in some parts of the country as the moribund railway system has been resuscitated to an appreciable level through the concerted efforts of the supervising minister of transport. agriculture recorded some major strides as roads while some airports were renovated and new ones established.
Despite claimed achievements in other sectors that are neither felt nor seen but read on the pages of selected sycophantic newspapers and on national television screen, are what Jonathan could offer. Based on poor performance and high class hypocrisy of those piloting the affairs of PDP, the party, deserves to be massively voted out of power in 2015 and thoroughly probed for possible retrieval of stolen public funds.
In 1999, Nigeria was generating approximately 4000MW of electricity and has overtime remains like that with over $20billion said to have been expended on the sector by the PDP-led federal government in 15 years.
The rail system that Jonathan crows so loudly of is still primitive, archaic and a disgrace to a country of Nigeria’s status as the giant of Africa.
Unemployment has attained stratospheric heights with applicants defrauded for non-existing jobs. Most of the federal highways across the country are in catastrophic condition. Federal roads are turning into the beginnings of craters and vehicles are like mice to their traps. The vast majority of Nigerians are worse-off than they were in 1999. Most states cannot pay their bills as they owe salaries to civil servants because the balance sheet is in red. Jonathan has gone borrowing to fight insurgents that can be fought without weapons. Jonathan glowed to the world that his administration is on the cusp of an agreement to end the war against Boko Haram and free the abducted Chibok school girls. The world watched the foolery and Nigeria became a laughing stock fooled by a fraudster, Danladi Ahmadu. British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain once signed a peace pact with Hitler during the Second World War. Sir Winston Churchill decried the pact as an act of shame which it was.
Just as Nigerians were sitting with phantoms of Boko Haram negotiators, their leader, Abubakar Shekau bloomed darkly in a video taunting Jonathan and those who traveled to Chad for the mockery.
Shekau mocked Jonathan and said he had not authorized any ceasefire deal and was never a party to it but Jonathan’s imagination. That was a disgrace to a man who claims to be educated to an appreciable level but fooled by a stark illiterate. Jonathan is not to be blamed but those his aides who keep on deceiving him to believing falsehood.
Jonathan has made the ‘giant’ of Africa a sickly trapped bird in a pond that it cannot fly with a crocodile sidling closer for the slaughter. Yet Jonathan and PDP want to continue.
The North-east has become an emergency, not only for its residents but also for Jonathan. Nigerians ought to by now declare an emergency on the Jonathan administration. It is the government that needs salvation. It has committed several atrocities that ordinarily should have forced it to resign but it has lost sense of reasoning to understand.
In their desperation for more of the loot, Jonathan’s foreign hired image launderers compare him with Barak Obama, Lee Kwan Yu and Nelson Mandela claiming he has achieved so much to be compared to such respected leaders while majority of Nigerians are in-secured, unemployed and denied access to good governance.
Failure of the Jonathan administration has made the 2015 elections more attractive to even less qualified aspirants. Every Dick, Tom and Harry has joined the race. Jonathan has made the 2015 elections to be more critical and frightening in the country’s political history. He is desperate and determined to use all machineries at his disposal as the Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces to muzzle life out of opposition parties who threaten his ambition with genuine reasons of rescuing Nigerians from bondage.
Those who claim to like Jonathan as a President say he is their son and he answers to the same God as they do, and that God placed him where he is. That means Jonathan can continue to sin as he likes because God placed him there to sin? And many a religious shyster line up behind him and anoint him with false oil and invoke apocryphal scripture in his favour to be positioned to steal in the name of God. They misgovern in the name of tribe and claim that those who governed in the past are not better than Jonathan as it is their turn to bungle. Let them have their own opportunity for disaster. Never mind as their personal living styles are not better than those deprived as they are sacrificial lambs for God and tribe and let Jonathan continue to loot and they remain his Lazarus for the crumbs.
Despite the persistence of a large degree of political decay and rot in the country, there are impressive signs of democratic progress and consolidation. The party system has become more stable and balanced even if political actors continue to engage in acts of irresponsible vagrancy and ideological promiscuity.
There has been a phenomenal growth in the political consciousness and sophistication of the people. The electoral system is systematically gaining greater autonomy from executive control and partisan influences.
Recent decisive and landmark judicial decisions in some states shows that the judiciary as an arm of government is in reality steadily growing in stature and authority in spite of the passing, transient and ultimately futile aberration in Ekiti state.
Against this background, everything is set for an epic battle in 2015 for the country’s presidency with the real possibility of change being effected through the ballot box. All eyes are thus on the APC and the configuration of the presidential ticket it will present to confront Jonathan of the PDP. One of the party’s leading aspirants, Atiku Abubakar has an expansive political network and a stupendously deep pocket. Yet, the goodwill he enjoys in certain influential elite circles does not translate into massive grassroots support in any part of the country. Furthermore, despite his formidable media machinery, Atiku has not been able to dispel negative perceptions of the source of his wealth.
Another notable aspirant of the APC is Kano state governor, Engr. Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso of the Kwankwasiyya fame. By several credible accounts, he has acquitted himself and raised Kano state to higher pedestal of excellence than he inherited from a clueless leader. He is articulate and impresses Nigerians as the only state governor that consistently publishes minutes of Kano State weekly executive council meetings including all contracts awarded and cost implication. But then, a key determinant of the 2015 presidential election will be the ability of the parties to maximally mobilize the electorates to turn-out to vote in their respective strongholds and protect the votes against rigging.
In that case, Kwankwaso may not be the greatest electoral asset that APC has to mobilize the highest number of votes from the north although he can deliver the required votes of Kano, Jigawa, Kaduna, Sokoto, Katsina and few other states in the region.
In the same vein, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, another presidential aspirant, has made his mark as a dogged trade unionist, a brilliant labour economist, an articulate debater and a genuine transformational governor. But what would be the incentive for the average South-South voter to prefer him to Jonathan from the same zone and is already in power? Probably Jonathan’s failure to deliver positive results may give Oshiomhole an edge.
On the other side, if capacity to galvanize massive voter turnout in his political base is a major consideration, then General Muhammadu Buhari is the aspirant that can lead APC to victory. Even though he is not a money bag, Buhari enjoys cult-like support among the masses of the north as demonstrated in 2003, 2007 and 2011 presidential elections. What he lacked in 2011 was substantial support outside his stronghold. The APC as a national platform helps to remedy that deficiency and makes him a formidable presidential contender.
Chief Rochas Anayo Okorocha is equally a crowd puller and can successfully deliver positive results to the APC in its effort to wrest power from PDP.
Nevertheless, if APC can concentrate its efforts in the states to field credible personalities for gubernatorial race, it stands a good chance of controlling government even if it is rigged at the centre.
Again, APC should stand firm to resist any rigging attempt no matter the threats and consequences that may be dished out by a compromised security system. Let Nigerians unite to salvage their country from perpetual bondage. A cabal is destroying the country steadily.
Lest I forget, those who actively participated in destroying Nigeria and now deceiving themselves as credible persons for elective positions should be consigned to the bottom pit of hell. The electorates should reject and disown them. That is the beginning of a new dawn for a better Nigeria. God Save Nigeria for sincere Nigerians.
But more important than where Buhari comes from is who he is. His anti-corruption credentials are impeccable and incomparable. He is disciplined and ascetic and stands in sharp contrast to the monumental corruption and impunity that defines the Jonathan administration. A distinguished and tested General he has the experience and courage to tackle the insecurity that is paralyzing the country. Another advantage of a Buhari presidency is that since he is now 74, he can be persuaded to be a one-term president like Nelson Mandela. Indeed, that should be a pre-condition for key stakeholders of the party to give him their support. Once Buhari gives his words, he can be trusted to keep it.
If Buhari eventually emerges as APC flag bearer, who will then be his running mate? The party has a rich pool of competent and credible persons to select from. They include political figures like Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Babatunde Raji Fashola, Kayode Fayemi, Rotimi Amaechi, Yemi Osinbanjo etc.
As opposition parties strategize to oust the notorious PDP from power, we can bold say that PDP presidential candidate is a stark illiterate but an educated one who passed through the four corners of classrooms. A respected novelist, Tolstoy made a distinction between those who went to school and those who benefited from going to school. That makes a perfect reference to Jonathan as a leader in desperate need of enlightenment because he is at the head of a barbarian horde in the name of democracy.
Jonathan seems to be turning into unidentified brute as 2015 approaches. He flexes muscles where there is no fight and shrinks at the sound and smoke of gunpowder.
Boko Haram is pounding the soldiers out of Nigeria’s territories and local hunters are fighting back to victories in the troubled areas. As insurgents unleash terror on Nigerians, Jonathan was busy cutting a flimsy birthday cake among his fawning followers and wants the votes of Nigerians in 2015 for continuation of insensitivity.
As an insult to Jonathan and his blind followers, their hired foreign image launderers out of ignorance and mischief thought they could deceive Nigerians to believing Jonathan is achieving any positive result as we patiently watch the mockery of television screens.
Since his assumption of office in 2010, Jonathan received neither an international award nor global recognition. During his tenure, unemployment increased from 5.8 percent in 2008 to 29.5 percent in 2013. In 2014, more than 5.6million youths are unemployed with Nigeria ranked as the third poorest country on earth by the World Bank, despite being Africa’s richest and biggest economy.
In his tenure, Nigeria’s poverty rating jumped from 67 million in 2008 to112 million people in 2013 while the country has the third lowest healthcare system in the world and every year, more than 250,000 children die in the first month of their lives. 300,000 Nigerians die of malaria each year, the highest in any country while Nigeria rates second in road fatalities in the world as more than 110million survive on less than N200 per day and only three million Nigerians earn N76,000 per month yet Jonathan and Namadi Sambo have a budgeted food allowance of N1billion a year.
Jonathan in his usual exuberance, had severally announced a defeat of Boko Haram insurgents, yet the insurgents are better equipped and continue to unleash mayhem on helpless Nigerians without any sign of defeat or remorse.
The 276 Chibok school girls abducted by Boko Haram since April 14, 2014 are still in captivity despite Jonathan’s several announced release dates.
In August 2014, Amnesty International indicted the Jonathan administration of human rights abuses including torture of suspects by security agencies. Amnesty asked the government to publicly condemn war crimes, arbitrary arrests, incommunicado detention, enforced disappearances, torture and other ill-treatment as well as extra-judicial executions carried by security agencies under the watch and approval of Jonathan.
In his usual style of deceit, Jonathan at the inauguration of the Roadmap for Power Sector Reforms on August 26, 2010 stated that by December 2012, Nigerians will not only celebrate one day of interrupted electricity supply, but would celebrate one week, one month and so on of uninterrupted electricity supply. He promised to go on self-imposed exile if his administration fails to complete second River Niger Bridge before the expiration of his tenure on May 29, 2015.
As usual, the bridge is far from nearing completion and the promised uninterrupted electricity supply is as dismal as ever. Even the Presidential Villa operates on generators. But the same Jonathan wants Nigerians to rate him with accomplished leaders the likes of Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King Jr, Barak Obama and Lee Kuan Yew just for 2015 election as he knows from his inner self that he is far below those respected personalities.
Nigerians have never had it so bad since creation. With all honesty, I weep for Nigeria as a country, although blessed with all it takes to prosper but lacks good leadership. It is time for fervent prayers to rid the country of bad leadership if the citizens yearn for aggressive development and steady security to lives and property.