GEJ: The New Maradona? By Comrade Timi Frank

President Goodluck Jonathan’s conspiracy against
this nation has not finally unfolded. What we have
seen so far appears to be like a child’s play
compared to the written script from which this
fraction has been unfurled. Many have described
the recent forced postponement of the February
election as shocking.
However it is not surprising. A friend of mine
contesting for a seat in the Imo State House of
Assembly said the action had messed all the
candidates up. But I was not surprised because
even though people are quick to accuse me of
‘hating’ a brother in an exalted office, I had
never failed to draw the attention of the present
administration to the various ills in their
administration for which require urgent redress.
However, I was scoffed at and branded a rebel. I
cannot say that I am vindicated because Nigerians
are being set on the path of political turmoil again.
Often people refer to the dark days of military
dictatorship in this country. But today we have just
entered the dark days of civilian dictatorship and
I don’t know how many of us are ready for the
‘wonderful new things’ ahead. The postponement
of an election in a democracy in Nigeria is new. A
further shift of a postponed election will also bear
the quality of newness in our own context. What
about more postponements? The race we have just
been conscripted into is interminable.
In 2012, Nigerians flooded the streets in protest
against a few individuals that had fraudulently
commandeered the wealth of the nation in the
name of fuel subsidy. Today it is clear that this
administration has done nothing but is doing
everything to protect the subsidy thieves at the
expense of the poor, weak and vulnerable in our
nation. Whether you talk of ‘KERO CORRECT’ or
‘KERO DIRECT’ the average housewife who uses
kerosene as her cooking fuel still buys kerosene for
upwards N150 to N200 per litre. Where is the
subsidy?
Corruption today is an industry under this
government. They don’t deny it. They engage in it
with impunity. The convicted thieves have been
pardoned. The big fraud cases have been
withdrawn. If the economy and the political
landscape has been handed over to ex-warlords
what remains?
It is laughable that Jonathan postponed the polls
because the security chiefs said they cannot
guarantee security during the election. A cursory
apparaisal of the reason being adduced for the
postponement show that a more sinister plot is
afoot. Two weeks ago, the National Security Adviser
(NSA), retired Colonel Sambo Dasuki, while speaking
at a forum at the Chatham House in London first
broached the subject of postponement apparently
to test the waters. Then, he said the shift would
allow for proper preparations and distribution of
Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) by the Independent
National Electoral Commission (INEC). However in a
letter to the Chairman of INEC, Prof. Attahiru
Jega, last week, Sambo now raised security
concerns instead of PVC distribution. Jega
categorically said: “Last Wednesday, the office of
the National Security Adviser wrote a letter to the
commission on the issues of security in the North-
East. The letter stated that security could not be
guaranteed and this was re-echoed at the council
meeting.” Are we to surmise that if there is any act
of aggression against Nigeria in the next six weeks,
other than in the North East, that our security
chiefs would not budge? Who is supposed to give
orders and who is supposed to carry out orders
when they are given? If Mr. President is still in
charge, has he ordered the security chiefs to assist
the police and other security agencies to provide
adequate security for men and materials during
the election and they refused? If they refused
such a lawful order, is that not tantamount to
mutiny? Can we say that the military chiefs are
also in open revolt against their Commander-In-
Chief by this pick and choose attitude? The truth is
that our military has of late become shy of their
duty to protect the territorial integrity of this
country and or to help stamp out internal
insurrection. The state of Borno was under
emergency rule when Boko Haram attacked and
carted away over 200 school girls from the Federal
Government College, Chibok. Sadly, this
administration has totally forgotten the 219 Chibok
girls in the captivity of Boko Haram. The Federal
Government Colleges in Gujba and Buni Yadi in
Yobe State were attacked during the state of
emergency, yet the insurgents had a field day to
kill, maim and destroy property? When would our
security chiefs be ready for this election?
For the NSA and the security chiefs to say that the
military cannot guarantee the security of Nigerians
if elections are conducted this month amounts to a
total abdication of duty by President Goodluck
Jonathan. The first duty of Mr. President is the
“welfare and security of the people.” To fail in
that responsibility calls for impeachment.
For six years, he could not sufficiently mobilise the
armed forces and the police to vanquish a so-
called ‘ragtag army’ of insurgents. For over two
weeks he lived in denial when Chibok girls were
kidnapped. For six years he presided over the
crippling of the nation’s economy by refusing to
tackle massive corruption and unbridled oil theft;
he watched while ex-Niger Delta warlords were
elevated to de facto officials of state. He could
not effectively tackle corruption because stealing is
not corruption. He spent billions without being able
to generate additional 100 mega watts of
electricity. Today the only agenda of Mr. President
is how to ingratiate himself with the armed forces
and other security agencies to enable him cling to
power through the manipulation of the electoral
timetable or otherwise.
Moreover, the forced shift in the elections amounts
to total disrespect and disregard for the eminent
members of the National Council of State (NCS) –
comprising former heads of state and presidents;
Senate President, Speaker of the House of
Representatives and the 36 State Governors. The
NCS had rejected the proposal when it was tabled
before them by Jonathan. By this unholy ambush on
INEC, Jonathan has scoffed at the esteemed
statesmen and flagrantly disregarded
international advice on the altar of self interest.
One implication of this sudden shift of the goal
post at the middle of the electoral game is that
humongous resources have gone down the drain.
Will the Federal Government compensate
candidates who have spent all but their last kobo in
electioneering campaign across the land in the
belief that the elections will hold as scheduled on
February 14 and 28 respectively? Through trickery
and unpardonable malevolence, they now seek to
weaken their strong opponents who have committed
most of their resources to the elections and now
handed this faux pas.
Another implication is that this may just be a
foretaste of a repeat of the IBB indeterminate
transition odyssey which culminated in the
inglorious annulment of the June 12, 1993
presidential elections. However, if history is a good
guide, nobody would attempt that now because
Nigerians have since risen from the ashes of that
ignoble era and would not tolerate a repeat. Above
all, it is most apparent that Jonathan is out to
truncate democracy. The postponement of the
February elections is a clear indication that the
military are today ruling by proxy. They are
capitalising on Jonathan’s apparent reliance on
them for self-preservation. So whatever they say,
Jonathan would concur?
In the next few days, I can see plots and more
plots aimed at ousting Jega. Chief Edwin Clark and
his assemblage are already baying for his blood.
There will definitely be calls for probe of electoral
expenses at INEC even though the elections have
not been held. The courts are going to be busy as
well seeking loopholes to disqualify opposition
candidates. But in all, the spirit of change and the
resilience of our people will thwart their ignominious
efforts. Nigerians are insisting on change in spite
of the postponement and Nigeria will change for
good. Thirty days is not forever. The late dictator,
General Sani Abacha did more than this but
Nigerians overcame. IBB did even more, earning
himself the sobriquet ‘Maradona’ but he had no
choice but to step aside. The will of the people
triumphed. If history today repeats itself, then
Nigerians must again reenact their undying love
for democracy and true democratic ethos by
unanimously rejecting any form of dictatorship –
be it in ‘khaki’ or ‘agbada.’ Nigerians must rise up
to the political uncertainties ahead by ensuring
that our democracy is not overrun by a corrupt
bunch of opportunists now parading themselves as
messiahs. Nigerians desirous of change are not
deceived.
Even if the elections were postponed till May 28,
Nigerians would remain invigorated in their quest
for change. Again, Nigerians must be vigilant and
determined in the struggle for change otherwise,
those presently occupying Aso Rock are bent on
instigating cataclysmic incidents across the country
in the next few days to give them the needed alibi
to continue to rule and ruin our nation and
economy.
On this note I dare say that the reaction of the
Presidential candidate of the All Progressives
Congress (APC), Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, to the
premeditated and forced postponement of the
February elections is not only instructive but timely.
“Our desire for change must surpass their
desperation to hold on to power at all cost,” Buhari
said. Adding: “We are clearly dealing with people
who feel they can get away with placing their
personal interest over those of our nation and its
citizens. What is at stake is the very survival of our
country. We must not allow this temporary delay to
abort this great opportunity. While I share the
pains and frustrations of my fellow citizens over
this development, my deep faith in the democratic
process assures me that this country, with your
support, will overcome.”

views expressed are not necessarily the opinion of blog author.

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