Transformation Lies For Sale By Comrade Timi Frank
Even though President Goodluck Jonathan has continued to dither on declaring his intention to contest the 2015 presidential election, Nigerians are no doubt aware that he has since commenced his campaign across the country in outright breach of the electoral law. He and the PDP have held rallies across the six geopolitical zones to canvass for votes, even though INEC has not endorsed the kick-off for campaigns as required by law. Section 99 (1-3) of the Electoral Act says: “For the purpose of this Act, the period of campaigning in public by every political party shall commence 90 days before polling day and end 24 hours prior to that day.” The president has consistently trampled on this law without necessary legal repercussions.
An INEC bulletin had quoted its chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega, to have said: “As at now, none of the parties has held any primaries. It is therefore preposterous and hasty for individuals to erect billboards or print posters urging voters to vote for them.” Specifically in March, Jega repeated the warning and threatened to sanction politicians over illegal campaigns. He said he was tired of politicians breaching the Electoral Act, which stipulates that campaigns can only commence 90 days to an election. He had said: “When you look around, what you see are fundamental breaches against these agreements.” For emphasis, he added: “There is a thin line in rallies. It may be to promote the natural progress of the party and not the candidate. If a party goes ahead there to say vote for me, then you have crossed the Rubicon. You can’t have your poster pasted and you sit back and say someone put it there on my behalf. If someone put it there, why did you not stop him?”
Aside from the open show of impunity by the PDP and the president, the recent inauguration of an 11-member committee to screen and coordinate over 4, 000 unregistered opportunistic groups out to back Jonathan for re-election puts a lie to earlier claims by the Presidency that it was not behind these groups’ unlawful acts. The special adviser to the president on political matters, Prof. Rufai Ahmed Alkali, had said: “As 2015 approaches, we note that the circumstances and fundamentals facing us are somewhat different. The opposition is different; the political landscape is different; the players are different and the issues are different.” He posited further: “To address these issues, the re-organisation of the Goodluck Support Group (GSG) has become imperative. I have, therefore, decided to set up a special GSG reorganisation committee to study all issues concerning the organisation and propose a reorganisation structure that will allow us position for 2015.” The screening and evaluation of the various Jonathan support groups for accommodation under the GSG umbrella, he added, would be carried out in the six zonal centres set up by his office.
The existing and emerging political organs reminds one of similar groups such as “Neighbour 2 Neighbour” which bankrolled billion-naira worth of adverts in different mass media for Jonathan about four years ago. It is regrettable to recall that Neighbour 2 Neighbour was headed by the ousted but not prosecuted controversial former minister of aviation. Intelligence at my disposal shows that one of the leading groups of campaigners for the president is directly being bankrolled by a serving minister who would be unveiled at the appropriate time.
How can these groups seek to make Nigerians believe that corruption is not an issue today in Nigeria? How can these desperate agents attempt to trivialize the monumental unemployment situation in the country? How can these groups fail to see that the people are being annihilated by criminals in the garb of insurgents or militants? Why do these paid praise-singers want Nigerians to believe that the power situation has been transformed? Yes, from no light to darkness at best! Even the privatization of PHCN touted by the present administration as the elixir and cure-all solution to the epileptic power supply situation in the country has failed to yield expected results. For instance, in December 2013, a report by NOI Polls Limited, an indigenous survey agency, revealed that electricity supply in Nigeria worsened considerably, declining drastically to an 11-month low. Ridiculously, the government is, at the moment, raising loans to assist the investors in the power sector to run their businesses. Yet there is no let-up in payment for darkness across the country in the name of increased electricity tariffs and estimated bills.
After 136 days, the Chibok girls are still in captivity. All they at the Presidency have continued to do is spread the virus of political amnesia, which is worse than the Ebola virus disease (EVD). They tell Nigerians that all is well when Nigeria is virtually under siege and at a tipping point that requires urgent action to salvage the situation. Today, most schools are considering the option of extending their resumption dates as a result of the EVD. Some schools, especially in the north-east, have been closed permanently. Those who attempted to remain were brutally massacred and others abducted. Of recent, whole towns and villages have been annexed by the Boko Haram insurgents. Soldiers are today engaging in open mutiny. Wives of soldiers have openly protested against their husbands being sent on “suicide mission” to chase after insurgents.
The “bring back Jonathan” groups claim they are engaged in taking the “achievements of the president to the grass roots”. What grass roots? if one may ask. If there is any achievement at all, the people will see it. You don’t need to go and mouth an achievement that is non-existent and expect the people to be swayed and persuaded. If there was uninterrupted power supply, industries like Dunlop Plc would not need to relocate to Ghana. The gates of textile factories especially in Kano would not have been perpetually shut. The people would know if their children, brothers and sisters have a job to guarantee a take-home pay. If there was an achievement in the health sector, 16,000 resident doctors that were recently sacked would know. Farmers don’t need mass rallies in their localities to know if they have improved seedlings and subsidized fertilizers to guarantee a desired harvest. Market women don’t need T-Shits and fez-cap-adorned youths to know whether the road to the market has been tarred or remains muddy. You don’t need to tell the people that you are not using the military to intimidate them when they see overwhelming deployment of soldiers in a state where an election is about to be conducted. You don’t need rallies to know that hooded security men don’t augur well for the psychological and emotional well-being of the people – they are harbingers of fear and terror. These groups must stop spreading lies and deception. Action, they say, speaks louder than words. Let the people see the achievements. They don’t need to hear what they can see. After all, seeing is believing.
With the open acknowledgment of the over 4, 000 groups by Prof. Alkali, therefore, INEC cannot continue to play the ostrich, if it is sincere in providing a level playing field for all stakeholders in the electoral process. It cannot deliberately overlook these clear infringements on the law by the ruling party and its commissioned agents as the 2015 elections draw near. Notwithstanding, politics in Nigeria today is beyond money and tricks alone. The recent Osun gubernatorial poll clearly attests to this assertion. The people have realized that their salvation lies in change.
Do not hesitate to leave your opinion in the comment section below.
To contact Abusidiqu.com for Article Submission and Advertisement or General inquiry, send a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org