Senator Babafemi Ojodu is not known for crying wolf when none exists. In the dark days of military dictatorship Ojodu, one of the founding editors of THE NEWS magazine, and his colleagues had carved a niche for themselves mass “gorilla journalists” on account of their unbending principles and courageous exposure of the ungodly antics of the-powers-that-be. So much so that THENEWS was banned or proscribed in the heat of the clampdown on opposition by the Babangida and Abacha regimes.
It therefore came as little or no surprise when since waltzing to the National Assembly in 2011 as a Senator representing Ekiti State, Ojodu has to some extent, maintained his firebrand fundamentals. Unlike most of his colleagues, this Journalist-turned-politician is never shy of telling truth to power nor blowing the whistle whenever he has reasons to believe that actions or policies that are inimical to the nation’s interest, are about to be taken
Penultimate week, the All Progressive Congress (APC) Senator had resons to be concerned about Nigeria’s immediate future vis-à-vis the alleged shenanigans of the Goodluck Jonathan administration, and he characteristically cried wolf. According to him, plans are to reportedly in the offing for President Jonathan to extend his tenure for at least two more years. This option is allegedly going to be implemented as a result of the president’s fear of imminent defeat in the forthcoming presidential poll.
Not surprisingly, Aso Rock has dismissed Senator Ojodu’s startling revelation as a “ tale by an idiot, signifying nothing” According to the presidency, Ojodu’s allegation is nothing more than the opposition’s effort to discredit Jonathan and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by “fabricating baseless allegations” in their usual relentless propaganda.
That may be so, but discerning compatriots are likely to be disturbed that the governing party had earlier dismissed talks about postponement of the polls initially scheduled for February 14, as “propaganda” But lo and behold; barely a few weeks to the Election Day, both the presidency and PDP started peddling excuses on why the general elections must be shifted. And the rest is, to borrow a well-worn phrase, now history: True to the opposition’s Propaganda,” the elections were shifted for as much as six weeks.
Against this backdrop, not too many people are now very eager to dismiss the tenure extension plot with a wave of the hand. On the contrary, speculations are rife that the same permutations that have compelled Jonathan to force the Service Chiefs and INEC to postpone the February 14 poll would eventually compel him to seize the tenure extension carrot.
According to knowledgeable sources, as far back as October 2014 a series of subterranean random polls sponsored by Chieftains of the ruling party had indicated that were the general elections to be held in February, PDP would lose woefully. Consequently, they were said to have concluded that the only way to avoid such a dire fat was to either rig the polls as extensively as was done in Ekiti State few months ago; or to postpone it indefinitely (as in tenure elongation).
But how can GEJ pull off this potentially risky stunt given that, as stipulated by the constitution of the Federal Republic, elections can only be shifted indefinitely when Nigeria is at war? As hinted by Senator Ojodu, Aso Rock is reportedly scheming to rely on the presence of Foreign troops on Nigerian soil (in the Northeast, that is ) as evidence that Nigeria is truly at war.
The nation has in a manner of speaking, been truly at war since 2009 with the Islamic militants, Boko Haram. But this “war inhibited the 2011 general polls. Granted, Boko Haram’s Dare-devilry and scale of operations hadn’t snowballed to the present level then. Even then, the presence in Nigeria of troops from Niger Republic, Sudan and Cameroun to help checkmate the terrorists, can hardly be used as evidence of foreign invasion or war.
But, alas, as the world has since taken note, President Jonathan is not shy of bending or misapplying the law in order to have his way by foul means. Recall, for instance, how the law was cynically bent to ease out the then Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) helmsman, Sanusi Lamido. In the same vein, the government had minted a fairy-tale security excuse in order to stop House of Representatives Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal and co. from gaining access to the National Asembly as part of an aborted plot to impeach him.
According to insiders who spoke to DESERTHERALD in confidence, officialdom’s calculation is that if between now and the next few weeks signals from across the nation continues to indicate that PDP would fail come March 28, the military and security chiefs would be “mobilised” with a view to ensuring that the polls are shifted indefinitely.