MUHAMMADU BUHARI SCARES GOODLUCK JONATHAN BY DURO ONABULE
In this period of seeming total nationwide helplessness in the face of gross misgovernance at national and state levels, heightened by the criminality and impunity of looting of public funds, it is relieving that someone can still frighten President Goodluck Jonathan into some semblance of his efforts if not achievements in ruling Nigeria.
That man is General Muhammadu Buhari. Otherwise, there cannot be any other explanation for Jonathan’s misplaced and hysterical self-assuming aggression in reacting to General Buhari’s comments on, as it is, the state of the nation, in the build-up to 2015 elections. We had a similar state of helplessness in the past under the regime of National Party of Nigeria (NPN) and Obafemi Awolowo assumed the voice of helpless Nigerians. He was similarly labelled in various terms and by the time the ‘come came to become’ (sole attribution to K.O. Mbadiwe), Awolowo stood tall.
Jonathan has thrown Nigeria into a rehash. Any Nigerian can exercise his constitutional right to express political views including the 2015 elections, and Jonathan will not be bothered. But the moment Muhammadu Buhari joins the argument even with an opinion earlier expressed by other prominent Nigerians, and in a language far less than the gloom or alarm raised by others, Jonathan’s reaction is always instant and petulant.
Events and prospects in the country naturally concern any serious-minded Nigerian. Not the least, 2015 elections. Even Jonathan’s colleagues in the PDP are restless.
No sitting president or ruling party in any genuinely democratic world can expect to be returned to office on the present performance of Nigerian government on any score.
America’s Barrack Obama, from the landslide victory four years ago is now conceding the reality that his re-election bid next November will be a close-run thing with his Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Obama was only responding to the declining economic situation under his administration, and he knows he cannot rig the election.
In Europe, people have been reacting to very harsh austerity measures and governments have been falling like autumn leaves at local and national levels – France, Greece, Portugal, Britain and Germany. In those countries yielding to hostile public reaction, the political situation is not as disastrous as in Nigeria where there is no grip on security (first duty of any government) economy, financial crime and moral conduct of public office holders.
Worse still, public revulsion is not just against theft of public funds but the unwillingness and inability of the government to take punitive action. So angry and demoralized are Nigerians that everybody pins hope on 2015 for a peaceful change. That was the background of General Buhari’s observation.
Goodluck Jonathan should not be scared. Instead, he should be grateful that some people are speaking out. General Buhari is not the only one. Genuine opposition parties – specifically ACN and CPC as well as civil rights groups – have remained constant in their criticisms. Quite noticeably, Jonathan shied away from the blackmail of the past that 2015 was still far away for politicians to start campaigns or that he, Jonathan, was thereby being distracted. Which long way? At a time independent-minded members and obviously his potential rivals in the PDP are being dislodged one after another, so as not to oppose Jonathan in 2015?
Again, which long way? At a time Nigerians are being defrauded with the subtle 2015 election campaigns of his wife, Patience, disguised as thank you tour of thirty-six states, a year after 2011 elections? It is even misuse of public funds that government picks up the expenses of these campaign tours of Patience Jonathan.
When did Barrack Obama’s wife ever embark on “thank you tour” of fifty American states in appreciation of her husband’s elections four years ago? Did the wife of David Cameron, British Prime Minister ever embark on “thank you tour?”
Is General Buhari the first to express concern about the prospect of people’s revolt in Nigeria? Instead, such is the clarion call of prominent Nigerians at strategic public functions. By the way, only for the purposes of this argument can it be conceded that General Buhari actually expressed fears about “bloody revolution” IF 2015 elections are rigged. Goodluck Jonathan himself should reflect how variously his “off the cuff” remarks had been reported by the media.
Virtually, Jonathan must have noticed one hundred versions in one hundred different media reporting his single verbal remarks at public functions.
In the instant case of General Buhari, especially speaking in Hausa, we have read different translations from bloody revolution, to crisis and trouble or chaos depending on each reporter’s fancy and the innocence of the editor in his office in Lagos, Ibadan, Kaduna or Abuja.
Jonathan picked on “bloody revolution” for his reaction only because he considers General Buhari as a cheap shot. Otherwise, where was Jonathan when the deputy chairman of his defunct Presidential Advisory Council, Ben Nwabueze openly called for a bloody revolution in Nigeria and was so widely reported by Nigerian media? He was expressing his anger over poor governance and corruption among public office holders.
General Buhari was even more restrained by making his fears on the condition IF 2015 elections are rigged. Is anybody planning to rig elections in 2015? Only those planning to rig elections in 2015 can be threatened by Buhari’s observation. Jonathan should re-read General Buhari’s comments to grasp the message that only IF the elections are rigged will revolution (some prefer crisis, trouble or chaos) follow. Another prominent Nigerian, Tunji Braithwaite, hardly suppresses his feelings anytime he foresees disaster (revolution) ahead.
In any part of the underdeveloped world, people wake up suddenly to resist poor and corrupt government. If such regimes were privileged with public-spirited men like General Buhari to issue warning notice, surely, they might have survived. Did Nigeria’s Muhammadu Buhari incite Tunisians against President Ben Ali who escaped into exile in Saudi Arabia in 2010? Did General Buhari incite Egyptians against Hosni Mubarak fifteen months ago after thirty years in office?
Libya’s Muammar Gadaffy is in his grave today only because he was not blessed with a critical Muhammadu Buhari. And when Libyans rose in violent revolt against Gadaffy, was Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan not the ONLY African leader to back the bloody revolution leading to the mob lynching of the Libyan leader?
Goodluck Jonathan may keep on roaring about the post-election revolt in Northern parts of Nigeria in 2011. Such violence in any part of the world is never instigated. Instead, it always spontaneous, a people’s instinctive reaction to the provocation of political criminals stealing their votes. However, if Jonathan insists on blaming General Buhari for the 2011 post-presidential election violence, was the same Buhari also responsible for Kenya’s post election violence a couple of years ago?
Russia’s ex-Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was reportedly re-elected President last December but scores of thousands of his fellow citizens, believing the election was rigged, took to the streets in Moscow violently protesting for days. In fact, Putin’s inauguration last week was marked by continued violent public protest against the alleged rigging of the elections. Jonathan’s foreign backers, the very same vested interests who endorsed our rigged elections and condemned the post-election violence in 2011, turned round to enthusiastically observe the post-election violence in Russia last December, and obviously hoping the violence would not subside.
Did General Buhari instigate the post-election violence in Russia last December? Again, early this year, Democratic Republic of Congo’s President Joseph Kabila rigged the elections to stay put in office. Naturally, the electorate who felt defrauded of their voting preference rioted all over the country for over a week. Will Jonathan blame General Buhari for that instant violence against rigged elections in Congo?
In the violence against rigging of the 2011 presidential elections, General Buhari was also a victim. Did anybody care to sympathise with him?
There is this problem. Does President Jonathan realize that his kinsman, Henry Okah is alive even if in a South African prison custody? What does Jonathan make of Okah’s serious allegation (since 2010) that Aso Rock solicited him (Okah) to implicate prominent Northern leaders (obviously including General Buhari) for the sole responsibility for 2010 October 1st bombings in Abuja? If Henry Okah had played ball, the inevitable fallout would have been violent attacks on Northerners resident in South- South if not entire Southern Nigeria.
Incitement of public hatred by Aso Rock against a major section of the country? Was General Buhari also responsible for that? And then flaunting purported endorsement of his rigged 2011 presidential elections by foreign bodies and countries? Nothing could be more self-serving for Jonathan. Did the United States, Jonathan’s chief backers not cite what it referred to as “inordinately high figures” returned from certain parts of the country? Did the United States not call on Jonathan to probe such figures? What did Jonathan do about such figures? Till today?
True figures of the election could have been ascertained if the judiciary were not manipulated to unseat the presiding judge who was replaced by a compliant substitute. The unseated presiding judge of the election tribunal had compelled Atahiru Jega’s INEC to produce the computer database to justify the millions of votes concocted to ensure Buhari’s alleged defeat. With the removal of the election tribunal presiding judge, his replacement capitulated to return his verdict.
How funny can human beings be? Jonathan describing Muhammadu Buhari as a regional leader? Nigerians know who that cap fits. The constitutional crisis over the Yar’Adua succession made the figure clear beyond all doubt. Led by Edwin Clark, all Niger Deltans in politics, economy, academia and the professions (except Prof Tam David-West) ganged up and threatened secession unless “their son” Goodluck Jonathan was made President. If database of voters had been produced as requested by the presidential election tribunal, the falsehood of millions of votes recorded for Jonathan in northern parts of the country would have been exposed. Northerners voted massively for Buhari as Southerners voted for Jonathan. It’s a question of numbers.
General Buhari was asked by the reporter why Northern leaders were doing nothing to ensure security in the light of Boko Haram violence and Buhari explained rightly too, that Northern leaders are not in charge of army, police or security outfit. Buhari is a regional leader for answering a straightforward question?
Who (is that Niger Delta leader) that has come out to rebuke MEND for vouching to make governance impossible for Goodluck Jonathan? Or is General Buhari also inciting MEND? General Buhari limited his campaigns in South West because of some political understanding including limited campaign costs.
Unfortunately, even the understanding did not work out on the election day. Both sides have since learnt their lesson. Buhari’s party officials in South East hardly awaited election results than they were paraded by the PDP at a press conference at Abuja and on the NTA network as dissociating themselves from Buhari’s election petition. An entire zonal executive of the CPC. Imagine their performance during the presidential elections. The day General Buhari commenced his campaign in Bayelsa, there was a bomb explosion in Yenagoa. Nobody in PDP or Abuja condemned the explosion. Buhari’s bid for the presidency is not a do or die affair.