The “Penkelemesi” of 2015 Presidential Election by Odusote Oluwakayode
Words are strong and it could serve a peculiar mess to issues of importance. The phrase “peculiar mess” has history. It started with a fierce Ibadan politician, Sir Adegoke Adelabu who is often mentioned in Yoruba and Nigerian political history as the author of that expression “penkelemesi”.
“Penkelemesi”, is the Yoruba design of “peculiar mess” which Sir Adegoke Adelabu used on an occasion to describe the opposition in the Western Region House of Assembly. Not understanding what he meant, the non-literate section of his audience translated the phrase into vernacular as “penkelemesi”
The SA to the president on Amnesty Programme, Kingsley Kuku made some remarks regarding President Goodluck Jonathan’s political future and he unfortunately made a peculiar mess of his message and his kinsman’s ambition. I have maintained in my opinion that most of our problems are tied to the quest for political and economic power by our elites. We have been made as citizens of a country whose future is dependent on their selfish interest of ego to conquer. They have of course been able to device “Poverty” as a means to enslave frustrated minds who are readily willing to carry out their evil schemes in the battle for political dominance.
The news passed but I could not just swallow it for a usual boast from politicians. I interpreted the news as a threat to Nigeria’s existence. It was an illogical statement that is inimical to the progress of a nation in search of peace. According to a report by Premium Times, Kingsley Kuku, said insecurity will return to Niger Delta if President Jonathan quits. I was startled by the report and wondered what is so golden in the need for Jonathan to continue in office.
Mr. Kuku was said to have spoken at a session with officials of the U.S. State Department led by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State (Bureau of African Affairs), Donald Teitelbaum, that only Mr. Jonathan can guarantee peace in the restive region and hence, the compelling need to persuade him to seek re-election in 2015.
For proper analysis, I’ll quote Kuku and put up an interpretation a logical mind would attach to his words.
“It is true that the presidential amnesty programme has engendered peace, safety and security in the sensitive and strategic Niger Delta. Permit me to add that the peace that currently prevails in the zone is largely because Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, who is from that same place, is the President of Nigeria. That is the truth. It is only a Jonathan presidency that can guarantee continued peace and energy security in the Niger Delta”.
Amazing words from the President’s confidant and adviser made possibly to gain political support for his tribe’s man and pay master; perhaps he is speaking the mind of the man who rules and not the one in service. It is a pity that a government representative could make such absurd remarks.
Nigerians are alive to the history of Amnesty granted the Niger Delta militants during the regime of Late Umar Musa Yar’adua when he declared June 26, 2009 that “the offer of amnesty is predicated on the willingness and readiness of the militants to give up all illegal arms in their possession, completely renounce militancy in all its ramifications unconditionally, and depose to an undertaking to this effect.
This offer of amnesty is open to all militants for a period of sixty days.
Yar’Adua, in his amnesty proclamation, said after due consultation with the National Council of States and in exercise of the powers conferred upon him by the provisions of Section 175 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, “I hereby grant amnesty and unconditional pardon to all persons who have directly or indirectly participated in the commission of offences associated with militant activities in the Niger Delta; the pardon shall take effect upon the surrender and handing over of all equipment, weapons, arms and ammunition and execution of the renunciation of Militancy Forms specified in the schedule hereto, by the affected persons at the nearest collection centre established for the purpose of Government in each of the Niger Delta States; the unconditional pardon granted pursuant to this proclamation shall extend to all persons presently being prosecuted for offences associated with militant activities; and this proclamation shall cease to have effect from Sunday, 4th October 2009”.
It is reasonable to agree that the offer of Amnesty must have in one way or the other been influenced or supported by the then Vice President – Goodluck Jonathan, however, ascribing the huge success and the programme’s long term existence to him because he is from the Niger Delta is an economical truth.
If it is agreed that he had a beggar influence, how do we swallow the bitter assertion that “It is only a Jonathan presidency that can guarantee continued peace and energy security in the Niger Delta,”? I think Kingsley Kuku with this statement should be sacked. He should more than an illiterate know that government is an institution that does not depend on any man. Musa Yar’Adua’s regime saw to the peace in the region and Goodluck Jonathan inherited the goodwill.
It is sound to commend him for maintaining the amnesty programme designed by Yar’Adua even though it had been perceived that the expected success has been rudely hijacked for selfish reasons to produce pardoned criminals turned “sudden” billionaires.
We must be very careful as a fragile nation in making careless statements. Kuku’s statement could be easily interpreted as saying the Niger Delta militants have been programmed to unleash terror the moment Goodluck Jonathan is voted out of power in the 2015 presidential election.
So far the Boko Haram insurgency is perceived to be politically motivated by some Northern elites to bring down Jonathan’s government; Kuku’s statement could therefore be adapted as a tit for tat designed to reciprocate the violent gesture from the northern Boko Haram in the eventual dethronement of GEJ.
A perceived need to draw international sympathy to Jonathan’s political course could also be a possible reason for Kuku to lie that “However if we allow anything to hurt the peace in the Niger Delta, Nigeria’s economy will be endangered and energy security in Nigeria and even America will not be guaranteed. The attention and interest of the U.S. in Nigeria must remain the stability of the Niger Delta and the easiest way to ensure this is to encourage President Jonathan to complete an eight-year term,”.
The interest is of course the oil in the Niger Delta region and the US will be interested in keeping such interest to the benefit of their country’s economy. Maybe a Kuku’s statement is saying “to be fore warned is to be for harmed”.
The simple interpretation is that Goodluck Jonathan must serve 8 years in office or else hell will be let loosed. The major source of our income is the oil in the Niger Delta; therefore, the region must be served. If the issues that led to militancy in the first place are yet to be properly addressed, who is to be blamed? Goodluck Jonathan is almost in his third year as president and the region is still wallowing in continued lack of development, unemployment, insecurity etc.
What the region has always been known for has mostly been the clamor for resource control. With a Ministry to its advantage, a Niger Delta Development Commission and higher revenue accruable, the region is one of the poorest in Nigeria with her leaders stupendously rich.
If a nation that has 250 ethnic nationalities is being tossed for personal glory, then we must begin to prepare for unbridled unrest in a nation already forced to breaking up. Kuku’s statement have consequences and unless addressed seriously by security agencies, the prophesy that Nigeria will cease to exist in 2015 may eventually come to past. I do not understand the agitators when he said, “However, the agitators are prepared to patiently await development as long as one of their own, Dr. Jonathan remains the President, and I think this is one thing the American government should reflect seriously on.”
Kuku’s statement has given us reason to remember a peculiar mess that is seriously impregnated with uncertain security consequences and it must be taken serious. Nigeria is for all of us and it is pertinent that other people’s feeling must be respected. Statements of threats must be condemned. All regions have a reason to govern.
The 2015 elections should not be decided by threats of war and rigging, it should be decided by performances of government and electorates votes.
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