Goodluck Jonathan: Hero or Villain? By Abubakar Evuti

The anniversary of the sudden end of Late. General Sani Abacha’s regime is always dramatic. The last one was characterized with several controversies. On that day on social network, while many from the North insisted Abacha was a hero, many down South argued Abacha was a villain and that his reign was one of the darkest days of Nigeria.

As a Northerner I sympathized with Abacha but I could not bring myself to white-washing of the military dictator because, even though I cannot clearly recall how life was between 1997 and 1998, I remember faintly that things were terrible back then.

Like Gen. Abacha, Goodluck Jonathan is one of Nigeria’s most terrible leader. Many sympathetic supporters of Jonathan have been shouting themselves hoarse how, for ‘organizing Nigeria’s most credible elections ever’ and for placing a congratulatory phone call to Muhammadu Buhari, Jonathan is now, overnight, Nigeria’s hero, a great democrat and what have you.

But it is not only supporters of Jonathan who have said these. Some who were against the corrupt government have now elevated the man, Jonathan, to the position of Nigeria’s hero. To these people, there can be only two explanations: 1) They are doing this only to avoid the rancor that doing otherwise may cause or 2) they were never in the first place against what Jonathan was doing with power; they only wanted power and are now glad he gave it up without a fuss.

 

I worry that a man who perturbed the nation’s peace by interfering in the Chairmanship election of Nigeria’s Governors Forum when he insisted that 16 is greater than 19, is now going around telling people he is a true democrat committed to free, fair and credible elections. The same man who used the military to rig the governorship election in Ekiti state, and even in the face of glaring evidence bluntly refused to investigate the matter because, according to him, the evidences were false. —He knew this without even investigating!

 

Let us be clear. Goodluck Jonathan is not the man who organized Nigeria’s most credible election, Professor Jega is. If anything, Jonathan is the man who tried to hinder Nigeria’s most credible election yet. He was the cog in the wheel of progress, fairness and transparency. One only needs to remember the unrest and malpractices in Rivers state and ceaseless propaganda he and his party, the PDP, doled out against the INEC chairman and against the use of the card reader —which pundits have opined is the device that made the election this creadible—to attest to this fact.

 

But even if for the sake of political correctness we are forced to reluctantly accept that, because he is the President, Jonathan is the man who organized Nigeria’s most credible election, how does that atone for the five years of corruption, insensitivity, vindictiveness and insecurity? Or have we forgotten so quickly, since we are a Nation of forgetfulness, how when those girls were taken away from Chibok, Jonathan did absolutely nothing—NOTHING!—for 18 days except watching his aids wish away the soul of more than 200 girls? What about the loud silence on the nearly 2,000 people murdered in Baga? What about dancing away in Kano less than 24 hours after Nigerians got blown to pieces right under his nose in Nyaya, Abuja? What about the missing $20 billion and persecution of Sarki Sanusi? What about the subsidy scam? The Oduahgate? What about the almost one-year ASUU strike of 2013? And many are still whispering that he knows a lot about the Abuja Eagle Square bomb attack of October 1st, 2010. How does a single phone call or conceding defeat atone for the pains and betrayal and failure and theft and shame and death?

 

It is true that many African leaders cling to power long after their mandates expires. And it is true that what President Jonathan did is uncommon and commendable but let us not behave as if in conceding defeat he did anybody, but himself, a favor. Whether he had accepted defeat or no, he would still have gone. Nigerians were clearly weary of his incompetent government of corruption as early as January 2012. If he had held on, we would have resisted fiercely and he would have gone the Gbagbo way because we are a new generation. This is a new a Nigeria where no leader—even Buhari—would be allowed to trample upon the people. Yes, lives were saved (including the lives of the wealthy and powerful) and we are most grateful to Jonathan. But it matters little now to those in war-torn areas who will wince when they remember this regime.

As we, the privilege ones still alive and safe in our homes, continue this needless debate on whether or not a single act can somehow wipe away more than 5 years of mal-administration, those who are dead cannot offer their opinion because the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of Federal Republic of Nigeria underrated Boko Haram. If the dead could talk, it would have been interesting to know whether to them, Goodluck Jonathan is a hero or villain.

(Please Plant a Tree Today.)

The writer is on Twitter @ngugievuti

PDP, Victim of Own Impunity By Joe Onwukeme

This piece, “PDP Victim Of Own Impunity”, was first published November last year and the need to re-publish it became necessary following the defeat of the ruling party, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) by the main opposition party, All Progressive Congress (APC) in the March 28th presidential election.

Many ignored what I observed and continued to wallow in self delusion that the ruling party are infallible and will never lose election in Nigeria, four months after this article was published, my revelation has finally come to pass, the reign of PDP has ended and on May 29th 2015 (the hand over date) will be when the self-acclaimed largest ruling party in Africa will be officially prounounced dead.

Below is the piece:

It is no longer news that the infallible ruling party PDP is in serious crisis across the nation as a result of accumulated and reoccurring problems in its fold. This is an indication that the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is on its way to the Golgotha.

The endorsement of President Jonathan as its consensus candidate for the 2015 general elections by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party has worsened the internal crisis in the party. President Jonathan’s decision to context in 2015 and also denying the claim of former president Obasanjo and northern PDP governors and stake holders of the existence of any agreement not to contest after 2011 sustains the division in PDP.

The endorsement and adoption of consensus candidates by PDP governors whose second term in office expires next year and the aspiration of some of these governors to go to the senate after the expiration of their tenures is already dividing the party amongst the affected law makers and their state governors.

On Saturday, 1st November 2014, after the ward congresses that was held nationwide, the ward congress of the PDP was reported to be marred by wanton irregularities designed by state governors to witch hunt some members in their party, the PDP senators which were mostly affected held a close door meeting Tuesday 4th November with the PDP hierarchy including president Jonathan to express their dissatisfaction over the ward congresses which they alleged the governors manipulated to set stage for their favoured candidates to take over their seats, the PDP law makers had on Tuesday threatened to stop all legislative activities and withdraw their support for president Jonathan if last Saturday’s ward congresses were not cancelled.

The defection of Hon. Aminu Tambuwal, speaker of House of Representatives to APC on Tuesday 28th October 2014, after months of speculation and the demand by PDP’s National Working Committee (NWC) for Tambuwal’s resignation as speaker have also unconsciously widened the division in the party amongst its law makers with some House of Representatives members of PDP switching their loyalty to the speaker and threatening to defect with the speaker if there’s any move to impeach the speaker.

The plot to unseat the national chairman of PDP Alhaji Adamu Muazu has been in and out of court over the non-compliance of the party’s constitution and the Nigerian Electoral Act in choosing their national chairman.

Who wants Alhaji Adamu Muazu out as the national chairman of PDP? What is his offence?

All over the PDP states it one problem to another, thereby worsening the division in it’s fold.

In the South East, Enugu, it’s been superiority battle between the Deputy Senate president Ike Ekweremmadu and the governor of Enugu state Sullivan Chime over who becomes the senator, representing Enugu West in the senate come 2015, in South South, Rivers state PDP is divided between zoning and who becomes their governorship candidate in the forth coming elections, in Akwa Ibom state PDP its been war against imposition of governorship candidate, in Cross River state it’s been war of words between governor Liyel Imoke and the senate majority leader Victor Ndoma Egba over eligibility and tenure of senators at the Upper chambers, In the North, the adoption of president Jonathan as PDP’s consensus candidate in the forth coming presidential election is causing rancour in its fold.

How further could the party be divided? Time will tell.

As the series of drama unfolds in PDP and many more in the offing, it is an indication that the architect of the death of many political parties in the past, the master strategist in plotting divisions in other parties and luring other party members to defect to their party and many other sins of PDP is gradually catching up with them.

As we speak, PDP is in near comatose, the implosion is imminent and inevitable, as we await the death of the self-acclaimed largest party in Africa, I have already prepared an epitaph for the ruling party.

“Here lies a party that admires the politics of Western world but when it was given the mandate to rescue the nation from its series of anomalies tenaciously chose to thread the part of impunity to rape, exploit and impoverish the nation of its hard earned democracy by coveting our institutions against its people and empowered Nigerians to take up arms against each other, living us in a state of perdition”.

The same epitaph will apply to all the politicians that contributed to this quagmire in our society.

Joe Onwukeme: Writes from Enugu

Unjoeratedjoe@gmail.com

I tweet @unjoeratedjoe

Congratulations Nigeria, This Victory Is All Yours By Hemenseter Butu

While the collated results from the state collation centers flowed in, my friend Richard Abelagi in his usual wit said “Results from Kano, Katsina, and Kaduna came in like hold on, hold on, pick two, pick three, suspension, give me star, last card”. Those states were enormous for the APC, but for me that was to be expected, it was the results from the North-central states, and South-western states that showed the acceptance of Buhari was truly nationwide. I have written countless pieces asking Nigerians to go to the polls, take to the streets or boycott polls entirely to protest bad leadership and I was beginning to lose hope, then Nigerians decided to make the best choice of them all. I am so cheerful, the pride and joy in me can only be measured with a seismograph; it is that huge. We have persevered, no individual needed to set himself ablaze for us to realize the truth as was the case in Tunisia. We didn’t descend into chaos as Egypt and Libya did. We marched to our polling units and spoke in one voice. From Kano to Oyo, from Sokoto to Benue, from Daura to Ilesha the results were the same.

One man still had to take center stage and set the proverbial ball rolling for this change or social revolution as others are terming it to happen. Professor Attahiru Jega has been immense in the road leading up to this point; his contributions incalculable. He fine-tuned the electoral process, exercised innovation and he didn’t need any gratification to do so. By virtue of his appointment as INEC chair, he took it upon himself to do the job he accepted to do and to do it excellently, with dignity. That is how all leaders and political office holders should be. Jega deserves a national honour, someone ought to institute an “Attahiru Jega Exemplary Leadership Award” soon. To ensure this is not a onetime occurrence, INEC’s independence should be further strengthened and Prof. Jega be allowed to consolidate on the strides he’s made so far.

Without Jega’s decision to use the card reader it would have been business as usual. Without president Jonathan’s refusal to use all means possible it would have been business as usual – yes it would have been. But they chose to stand with other Nigerians and aid/allow change happen respectively. You see despite our best wishes for our national lives to get better we hardly ever go on to fight for the betterment we want. We didn’t put up a mega fight for our independence. We didn’t put up a mega fight for these elections either. In the places where the PDP wielded power, they still subdued our collective will and instituted their game plan as they wished. So this is a victory yes, but we didn’t do enough to deserve it Attahiru Jega was Cristiano Ronaldo, scoring almost 50% of the goals required to get to this stage. We wore the same team jersey and jubilated with him, but no single individual put up the same amount of energy into this general elections.

I am proud, extremely so, because for a long time all I’ve been writing about has been bad national leadership. I am optimistic the new government when formed will give me reasons to write about the budding SME sector, Nigeria’s strategic military position, unprecedented economic prowess exemplified by a higher GDP – per capita, a road network that is built to outlast at least the administration that constructed it and so on.

 

Nigeria I hail thee. I doff my cap for my brothers in Funtua, Potiskum, Ibadan and Gboko. The decision ought always to be yours, it doesn’t matter if the contestant is a blood thirsty vampire the people’s will is the people’s will. (of course the candidate does matter, but I’m sure you get my point). Like Bishop Matthew Hassan Kukah said in January 2012 responding to claims that subsidy was discontinued so the infrastructure deficit in the country can be addressed that: “….democracy is not about infrastructure, it is about the will of the people. If it were about infrastructure, then the world would have celebrated Adolf Hitler……” I assure you, truer words have never been spoken.

While we delight in our new found democratic right, it is worthy of mention that we will again subject the prospective government to the same level of scrutiny if not more. They must start from cutting down the amount of our national budget that the national assembly gulps. They must stop making mundane laws and begin to perform the duties for which they were voted. The president must not appoint his friends and cronies into positions as such he will not be able to berate them when they derail. He must rise above hatred, enmity and sectionalism to unite Nigeria as one. Last of all he must institute peaceful, free and fair elections as culture that has come to stay, that process must begin with comprehensive voter education and move ahead from there.

If we begin on this path afresh perhaps we will be on our way to releasing the potential stored in our huge national catapult. We have held on to potential for too long, we must let go of the strings and take a swipe at something. Good leadership and representation is a superb place to start, my brothers I have high hopes that we have made the right choice in moving forward.

God bless Nigeria

 

Follow the writer on twitter @HemButs

To Our President-elect: “Congratulations Sir, But Today, Your Victory is Not About You” By Olu Onemola

As the dust settles from the single-most competitive election in our nation’s democratic history, I take this opportunity to congratulate the Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari, on his emergence as the President-elect and next Commander in Chief of Nigeria’s Armed Forces.

Sir, your victory in these polls signifies that the fundamental democratic principle of “one man, one vote” can finally take the lead in issues that concern Nigeria’s governance. Your unprecedented triumph must be seen as a precedent that should guide all future political office holders: all non-performing actors will be voted out.

Nigerians: today, we have witnessed ‘Change’ at the center of our democracy. The juggernaut-sized power of incumbency has been neutralized by the dogged-determination and zeal of our countrymen. We finally have a credible hope for a Nigeria that works for the people.

In this regard, without resorting to diminish the Berlin Wall-like fall of the Goodluck Jonathan-led government by the opposition APC, and without trying to make light of General Buhari and the APC’s victory, with all due respect, General Buhari, today’s victory is not about you.

Yes, the victory of our next President will send a message to every young Nigerian that it matters not how many times you knock on a door, what matters is that you do not stop knocking. Because finally, as we have seen today – after three prior attempts at the Presidency – General Buhari has attained the highest seat in the land on his fourth attempt.

Yes, also, General Buhari’s victory will remind the “live-only-for-today” politicians, that after 16 years of one-party rule, the people finally have a say in the affairs that concern their governance.

However, with all the aforementioned being significant, today is about the Nigerian people. Today is about the perseverance of the Nigerian spirit –that tireless quest to survive at all costs. That wholehearted eagerness to remain united, despite the myriad forces at work that continuously insist that we should not thrive beyond the mediocrity that we have witnessed over the past few years.

Permit me to reiterate, today is also about ‘Change.’ Not ‘Change,’ as the political symbol of the APC in these elections, but change in business as usual. In 2015, Nigerians have finally come of age – this can be seen in the fact that despite the competitiveness of these national elections, we are still forging ahead peacefully and almost-unanimously as a single and indivisible entity. What this signifies is that moving forward, we will be able to address our collective bones of national contention as Nigerians first, and people of our ethnic backgrounds last. The issues of the South West must no longer be seen as a Yoruba problem, just as the problems in the South East must no longer be seen as “The Igbo man’s wahala.” If we do not take this ripe opportunity to conceive a “together we stand” mindset, divided, we shall ultimately fall.

Now that the votes have been cast and counted, and the pendulum has swung to select General Buhari to serve our nation, today is for the Nigerian people. Reconciliation is now needed to mend our fences in order to push us into the league of democratic giants. Especially on the African continent, and the West-African sub-region, where we have steadily lost our stool as an powerhouse to be reckoned with.

All in all, our eye must remain on the ultimate prize – the success of Nigeria for all of us. The beginning of any story is always slow, but we must turn the pages together to witness the great story that awaits us on the other side of this our collective history.

The ball is in our court. How will we respond?

Congratulations to the Peoples General! By: Abu Bilaal Abdulrazaq bn Bello bn Oare

They bombed his convoy in an attempt to get him out of the race… They vilified his religion… They sponsored hate documentaries on AIT & NTA to assassinate his character… They criticised his age… They forged medical reports alleging that he suffers prostate cancer and acute asthma… They claim he does not possess a leaving school certificate… They paid for front-page newspaper advertorials to wish him dead… They tried to procure blackmarket court rulings to stop him… They caused him untoward trauma with painful reminders of the death of his daughter and ex-wife. Indeed, they did everything. But alas, none can reverse the decree of Allah. Whatever Allah has released, none can withhold… and whatever He withholds, none can release. He gives power to whom He wills, and takes it from whom He wills.

After trying repeatedly for twelve years, GMB finally wins the presidential election. In truth, Allah is with the patient.

My eyes shed tears in joy and ecstasy for General Muhammadu Buhari.

History has been made in Nigeria. I thank Allah for keeping me alive to witness it. I thank Allah for making me a part of it. Change is here. Change has come.

Dear General, may Allah help you live up to the high expectations of the long suffering masses of our country. May Allah help you to be a leader for both the rich and the poor, and not only the cabals… May Allah help you to be the best president Africa ever witnessed. In your story lies immense lessons for each and everyone of us who are eye witnesses and ear witnesses to this uncommon and hard-won victory.

Our Lord, praise is Yours… abundant, pure and blessed praise. Praises plentiful and blessed as to fill the heavens and the earth and whatever lies between them, and whatever else You please. You (Allah) are most worthy of praise and majesty, and what the servants have said – we are all Your servants.

O Allah, there is none who can withhold what You give, and none may give what You have withheld. And the might of the mighty person cannot benefit him against You.

General Muhammadu Buhari, president-elect of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, kindly accept my hearty congratulations!

Abu Bilaal Abdulrazaq bn Bello bn Oare
sahaabah@aol.com

Meet Africa’s New Chiefs By Peregrino Brimah

Oversea Voting: A Nigerian Perspective By Adeleke Omotayo

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in 2014 Turkish polls won his country’s first direct presidential election. About 2.7 million registered Turks in the diaspora were eligible to perform their civil right. It was the first time the Islamic democratic state would extend the ballot boxes to other countries (in parts of Europe & Asia) in her national election. It’s a talking point notwithstanding that over 7% of Turkish citizens away from home constituted the winning figures that saw the victor emerge in historic fashion.

Oversea voting is an electoral phenomenon that sees citizens, residing outside a country, exercise their voting rights. Like establishment of an independent electoral body in conducting elections (usually in democratic climes), oversea voting, as a model of election, is promulgated strictly by the law. The law describes the intricacies inherent in such arrangement. This confers its legality. Australia, Germany, the United States, Turkey, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom are countries among others practicing such electoral process. Citizens from these countries in the diaspora go to embassies, Consulates or High Commissions, as the case may be to decide their choice at the polls. While the Turkish constitution provides unrestricted rights to all voting eligible citizens outside the country, the Uniformed & Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) allows certain U.S citizens to register to vote and vote by absentee ballot in federal elections. Group of people covered under the act are: members of the seven Uniformed Services, US citizens employed by the federal government staying outside the US, members of the US Merchant Marine etc. In Australia, citizens outside the shores of the continent enroll before elections.

Oversea voting is usually done, especially when unrestricted, to improve projected low vote turnout. On this premise, oversea voting would not be necessary especially when people back home are conscious & ready to effect change through the polls. Numbers won’t mean a thing. Around 68 million registered voters, according to the Independent Electoral Commission’s statement, make up over 40% of Nigeria’s population. Quite a decent number really but that doesn’t look too plausible to justify the direct electoral participation of millions of Nigerians around the globe most of whom egressed to seek greener pastures.

Nigerians back home have the sole right to determine who & how they are governed & the elements that run the various institutions of the state. It is their duty.

One is thus inclined to opine that nations of oversea voters’ are usually developed ones with stable economy and matured democracy (asides Turkey’s infant democracy) that makes the epithet ‘working states’ incredibly apt. Sad thing, that, Nigeria & a chunk of Africa are far below the socio-economic totem in this regard.

Africa’s biggest economy just approached the polls to choose who clinches power, I argue that Nigeria do not need extend the ballot boxes outside, moral reasons could play here too. The 1999 military constitution can be amended to avert electoral excesses as well soothe the functions of the independent electoral body towards delivering democratic & credible elections. Need to mention it was pure excitement to watch Nigerians in the UK, on Channels TV election bulletin who were active in simulated situation rooms gathering info from friends & relatives back home. It is the least they think they could as concerned citizens. No one can however deny their rights if they are back on home soil to vote. Valid to say it could amount to waste of precious resources mounting polling units at embassies, consulates & high commissions. Nigerians at home are well able numerically to decide who governs (no prizes for guessing numbers)… and for Africa’s democracy? We might be miles behind crawling compared with West Europe & North America but certainly, Nigeria is on course. I don’t see the readiness to walk such path as violence & systemic manipulation constantly mar elections & the expressed will of the people. Withal, now is the best time to put the proverbial house in order.

@dexterousjude

Four Critical Outcomes Possible As #NigeriaDecides By Peregrino Brimah

Situation 1:

Goodluck Ebele Jonathan concedes defeat and hands over to President Muhammadu Buhari and Pastor Yemi Osinbajo of the APC.

This outcome holds the best promise for Jonathan who at least will be credited to have done one last thing right. This outcome may be tested with pockets of agitation from terrorist/militant lords. These will be easily controllable by a honest Jonathan presidency.

In this outcome Goodluck Jonathan will be able to “enjoy” two more months at the seat of power; with the keys to Nigeria’s billions.

Situation 2:

Goodluck Ebele Jonathan refuses to concede defeat and rigs all the way, then announces himself as the winner.

This situation is most favored by the heads of service who are interested in holding power as evidenced by their interference in all stages of the electoral process including their prompting its postponement.

If Goodluck Ebele Jonathan rigs to victory and refuses to concede defeat, there will be predictable turmoil in the country and within days the military will over throw the government.

As mentioned, the military prefer this option as they will have officially sat on the throne and they will then pretend to be saviors. Goodluck Jonathan does not like this option so much, as his name and record will be forever tarnished even more with this and he may be jailed even by this very military before they are ousted or hand over to civilians.

Situation 3:

The military takes over before results are announced. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan prefers this option as it will save him conceding defeat and being held responsible ultimately, by the cabal hawks who have been pressing him to fight to finish to save their empires, hold on the nation’s treasury and corrupt, impune lifestyles.

However the military does not like this option as it will predictably deny them of any credibility and support locally and internationally. This approach will also predictably lead to quick military power changes.

Situation 4:

The Military and Goodluck Ebele Jonathan go it together; either delaying the election results, cancelling them all together or announcing the rigged results with the military standing by Jonathan.

In all world history except in Iran (due to the 1,000,000 strong, Basij paramilitary civilian army), every instance an incumbent denies a strong opposition his mandate rightfully or wrongfully, turmoil has almost always soon sacked the incumbent.

Situation 4 will lead to days to weeks to months of bloody civil and military disturbance in Nigeria which will ultimately predictably end only by the toppling of the Jonathan-Minimah government.

In all scenarios the people are implored to exert patience, be organized and united, and use peace as a weapon, ignoring all evil provocation. Not one innocent Nigerian must die. All eyes must be trained on the enemies of the state only.

Dr. Peregrino Brimah; http://ENDS.ng [Every Nigerian Do Something] Email: drbrimah@ends.ng Twitter: @EveryNigerian

Rivers and the politics of Pandemonium By Rahaman Abiola Toheeb

Prior to the election, one would know that election in Rivers would not be of pap and laughter. This is so because the pressure was incredibly towering there among the political goliaths who are ready to strangle the national patriotic spirit for their personal political ego and interest at all cost.

Obviously, the violence in Rivers is not only because we are in the season of lies and sanguinary politics, but also an epiphany of political desperation geared towards do-or-die race on the need to be
in power by some over-zealous politicians.

The arch players knew before that they would never put all their eggs in the same basket. They knew that they would never bury the bayonets and let the sleeping dog lie easily. And when the D-day came, they all dragged the state into violence and carnage.

As at from Satur-day of the election, report at hand is not that pleasing, as many have suddenly met their death in the course of escapism and participation out of and in the turbulence respectively. Very saddening enough, an Hon. was reported accidentally killed, while some INEC officials who were hale and healthy about to do their civil and constitutional duty were sent down the gullet of their grave. Is
the state a safe place?

While all credit should be for Madam Jonathan who has vowed to prove her muscular strenght to raid it all for her husband, Mr. Nyesom Wike, the PDP governorship aspirant in the state and former Minister of State for Education should also be kudosed for his political ingenuity tailored through loyal foul-play of ‘monkarurus’. The incumbent Gov., Hon. Rotimi Amechi cannot be dragged off the line for his high display of political hegemony.

They all fuelled and fanned the ember till it became an inferno burning down the integrity of the state. The manifestation of this is when the APC aspirant for the governorship led a protest down the
office of the INEC with some angry youths who perhaps were not aware of the motif behind their unseemly protest. To me, this is crestfallen and highly indecorous!

Taking a critical look into the present situation of the state at the moment once again, the fact is crystal-clear- that berserk Mr. Wike knows that his governorship ambition will be side-crossed if he fails to deliver for the master, President Jonathan. Likewise, Gov. Amaechi is also well apprised of the need to deliver the whole state for Gen. Buhari, being one of the stalwart generalissimos of his campaign team.
The question is: why can’t the political beowulfs of Rivers take it low with themselves on issue of state concern?

One will be marvelled that these people can’t help but always leave their state at the jawbone of unrest because of their own power-drivenness. It should be stated that before the election, the
state’s politics was always a game of verbal and physical loggerhead. The arch rivalry-makers, APC and PDP exposed the anus of the state to the grin of the world.

Now the state is in pandemonium and disarray as the INEC office was reported burnt by angry ruffians and thugs. Gov. Amaechi does not want to believe that yesterday’s presidential and legislative election held in his state, while the PDP cannot afford to let the horse go with the
rope.

The world is looking. We all hope they will bring sanity back to the state sooner if they don’t want it to go into the history as one of the states riden by political extremists and brigands, prostitutes and
zealous ambitionists.
_Rahaman Abiola Toheeb, a poet and public commentator writes from
Iseyin Oyo State. @DonRabtob on twitter.

Election 2015: While We Officially Await The Final Results By Ogundana Michael Rotimi

The voting process in the long awaited Nigerian presidential election has come and has gone except in few places in Yobe state where the presidential election has been postponed indefinitely for security reasons. Our different and various dreams, hopes and aspirations are becoming clearer and more visible to us as we await the official announcement of the final results. There are no doubt that the election was marred with some technical challenges, most especially from the voters Card Readers, and a little violence and terrorist act in some parts of the country which negatively affected the electoral process. Meanwhile, generally speaking, without bias and sentiments, comparing this election to previous elections that had been conducted in the country since the beginning of the 4th republic, one can possibly say, that the country`s electoral process has improved and our democratic system is getting better.

The fact is, although there are still many challenges to be resolved and many more areas where improvements are needed. But, by and large, the 2015 electoral process is commendable as compared to that of the previous years. Also the people have become more tolerant of the system and process, hence, have portrayed themselves peacefully and orderly during the course of the election.

However, while we await the declaration of the final results, I cannot but comment on the following key events that happened during the process.

President Jonathan`s Accreditation.

Accreditation process started across the country, but the process drew mixed reactions, when President Jonathan and his wife could not be accredited automatically with the card reader in his polling unit in his home town in Otueke, Bayelsa State. Several card readers were tried but his Permanent Voters Card (PVC) and that of his wife could not be read by the card readers for about 30 minutes. And after much trial, he was accredited manually.

The inability of the Card Reader to accredit President Jonathan and wife is worrisome and calls for concerns. As a matter of fact it calls for investigation. Before the arrival of President Jonathan to his polling unit, the card readers were used and worked. While he was at the polling unit, the card readers were used and also worked and after he left they were used and also worked. This indicates that it was the Permanent Voters Card (PVC) of President Jonathan and his wife that were faulty.

The fact that the card reader could not recognise their PVC`s shows that someone might have carelessly or intentionally tempered with it. If the act was intentionally done, it then means that the perpetrator did it to fault the use of the controversial card reader that has been widely criticized by the ruling party and the Presidency.

Confusion in Rivers State

Whatsoever happens in Rivers State in terms of violence and break down of laws and orders should be blamed on the wife of President Jonathan. She must be held accountable for it. During the campaign, she made a lot of inciting statements that paid off during the balloting. She repeatedly called for the stoning of opposition members during her campaign in the region for the Peoples Democratic Party and in support for her husband`s re-election bid. Whether a fresh election would be conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in that state is yet undecided. But the fact is, the whole process in the state can no longer be regarded as being credible.

Curfew Declared In Bauchi State

Absolutely, there are no doubts, that there were security issues in some parts of the state, but despite the security challenges which includes threat from Boko Haram insurgents, the citizen of the state trooped out en masse to perform their franchise and voted for the candidate of their choice. However, for the state government to declare a 24 hours curfew in the state when the election results are in the process of being announced calls for concerns. Meanwhile, I was not shocked when the people defied the curfew order but trooped out to the street and also to INEC office to hear the outcome of their votes themselves. They sent a clear message to the government and to everybody that if they could defy security threats and voted for their candidates, they would do everything and anything to protect their votes.

Election Postponed in 18 Local Governments in Yobe State

Mr Habu Zarma, who is the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Yobe, on Sunday said INEC had postponed elections indefinitely in 18 polling units in Giedam Local Government Area of the state due to security challenges.

This also raises concerns going by the fact that no eligible Nigerian or any parts of the country must be disenfranchised. Would INEC wait until the elections in these areas are conducted before announcing the final results? Or would they ignore the voting and results from these areas and consider it as insignificant? Every Nigerian deserves to vote.

However, generally, People were resolute in their determination to participate in this election, despite long hours waiting to be accredited, and even longer hours waiting to vote. It is also very important to say, that on a relatively high scale, the people have conducted themselves peaceful during the electoral process and it would be of grave offence if out of greed of a selected few they decided to scuttle the whole process and deny the people of their choice. Doing this may result in post election violence and the effect might just be too much to put up with.

 

God Bless Nigeria

Ogundana Michael Rotimi

I tweet @MickeySunny

Letter To Nigeria’s Next President By Amina Aminu Dorayi

Five Things I Learnt From Saturday’s Election By Ojo Adeolu

The much anticipated election finally took place on the 28th of March 2015 after the initial postponement. So far, reports’ reaching suggests the election went on quite smoothly in most states except for a few. However, I noticed quite a few things especially in my polling unit and its surrounding units (University Of Lagos) which has prompted me to write this short piece so we learn from our rights and wrongs.

1) THE ‘SMART’ CARD READER WASN’T A BAD IDEA AFTERALL;

After series of arguments as to whether the card reader would be compromised or not, we finally saw it being used for the first time and its pass rate was quite commendable. In fact most voters described it as a step in the right direction.

Since we are not ready for computerized election, the card reader was more like infusing technology into the electoral process. This truly is a welcome development

2) VOTERS EDUCATION SHOULD BE TAKEN SERIOUSLY;

Quite a number of voters were not well informed about the voting procedures. In fact, most voters used their thumbs instead of the index finger thus causing ink smirch outside of the allocated box. This gave room for arguments as to whether the votes were valid or not.

Much more to my surprise, Professors who I thought would be more enlightened were culprits. Also, while folding the ballot papers some voters didn’t know that ballot papers are meant to be folded longitudinally to avoid duplicated prints on opposite sides. This also accounted for quite a number of void votes.

To avoid these issues in subsequent elections, INEC needs to start educating voters.

3) WE NEED TO MOVE ON TO A TWO-PARTY SYSTEM;

Much has been said about the two party system. However, Saturday’s election re-affirmed the need for it. The difference in the number of votes between the ruling party, the main opposition party and other parties from results emerging has been so much that one would begin to think that these parties are just contesting to make up the numbers. In fact, at my polling unit these other parties had no representative(s) which even shows how unserious they are.

Personally, I feel we would save more resources if we move on to a two-party system and also, it would make our electoral process more direct which is better.

4) NIGERIANS DON’T CARE ABOUT THEIR REPRESENTATIVES;

It’s so sad but we need to do more as citizens. Our representatives aren’t just going to Abuja ‘to share money’. I feel as citizens we need to know who we are voting for and hold them accountable for their actions.

In my polling unit for example, quite a number of people were not interested in the Senatorial & House of representatives elections. Probably why these boxes accounted for the highest number of void votes.

The election isn’t just about voting for the president and governors, our representatives are also key members of the democratic process.

5) TIME WASTAGE MUST BE ELIMINATED ;

Time management was a key issue in Saturday’s election. The electoral officers arrived late in most polling units and also, time spent on accreditation alone was so unnecessary considering the fact that voters had to wait to repeat a whole new cycle of queuing to vote.

To think that we had only about 10 hours to vote and count these votes yet we spent about 6hours on accreditation without voting is quite ridiculous. Little wonder some poling units had to use artificial light sources as it was getting dark and most voters had not performed their civic duties.

I suggest INEC should find a way to incorporate the accreditation and voting process as a single stage of the electoral process, that way we’ll save time.

 

These are just a few key issues noticed while I was at the polling unit. I sincerely hope we learn from these , so subsequent elections would be far much better.

Kudos to Nigerians and INEC for the elections. We can still do much better.

 

Written by OJO ADEOLU, a post-graduate student at the University of Lagos.

Contact: ojoadeoluthearchitect@gmail.com Follow on twitter : @DAY_OLU

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