President Goodluck Jonathan seems to have taken personal abode in the southwest in the last three weeks. With little or nothing to sell to a people he has treated with absolute contempt in the last six years, he has, according to his political detractors, been distributing loads of naira and dollars to youth, religious and women groups, and even traditional leaders. And for his pains and despite his abysmal record of performance, is counting on these groups to win the coming presidential election with farcical endorsement after endorsement.
We have seen him surrounded by traditional rulers receiving blessing with royal walking sticks menacingly pointed at him. Last Monday, of all days, his paid supporters, led by OPC leaders, alleged to have received N9b contract along with others, visited untold sufferings on Lagosians as they ‘wielded broken bottles and knives; destroyed bill boards while walking, on foot and in about 100 buses on the ever busy Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Ikorodu Road to Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere’.
Penultimate Tuesday, PDP governors had complimented the president’s desperate efforts. They assembled in Eko Le Meridian hotel; Victoria Island where, as an answer to PDP’s six years of baleful legacy, ditched out hideous lies, told horrific tales and made odious comparisons. They spoke of Jonathan and PDP commitment to democratic values. They claimed: “PDP abhors corruption in all its ramifications”. They insisted: “PDP has done a lot in the fighting of corruption since the inception of democracy to date.” They therefore sought Yoruba support to ensure the “Sustenance of Democratic Values and National Development”. These PDP governors seem to have forgotten they were not addressing Nigeriens, Chadians or Cameroonians but the direct victims of 16 years of PDP mismanagement; of documented PDP mindless looting of our common wealth through such self serving policy thrusts as PPPRA and fuel subsidy regime, privatization programme described by the House of Representatives’ report as ‘giving away of national assets at next to nothing”, and monetization policy that allowed the sharing of our national patrimony dating back to the colonial period by few members of the governing elite and their friends.
At the head of PDP governor’s team was Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom, the generous giver who has acquired all professional honours and chieftaincy titles money and influence can buy. Others include Reverend Jonah Jang of Plateau who lost the original Governors Forum election by 16 to 19 but lacking the grace to concede defeat, crowned himself winner and proceeded to church to thank God for giving him victory. There was Babangida Aliyu of Niger, the self styled ‘Chief servants of the people,’ who talks more from both sides of the mouth; Sule Lamido of Jigawa, Obasanjo anointed successor to Jonathan whose ambition collapsed following EFCC arrest of his two sons for money laundry. Also on the team was Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo, the serial defector who is often attracted by the highest bidder and of course there was Ayo Fayose, a former impeached governor of Ekiti who has found his way back to the Government House through a flawed election as shown by the ongoing ‘Ekitigate’ and who is yet to establish his innocence after 53 appearances in court over his EFCC charges of mismanagement of N19b Ekiti state fund.
Speaking at the event, Governor Akpabio talked vaguely about what he termed the president and PDP achievements on war against corruption. But for Babangida Aliyu, the Chief ‘servant of the people’, probably realizing Jonathan is a bad product, chose to attack APC and Buhari, its flag bearer. APC, a party he once hobnobbed with, he said was ‘a product of hate, frustration and anger’. He accused some of its leaders of ‘corruption’. He alleged money was used to influence the emergence of Buhari as APC candidate. And finally, he mischievously claimed Buhari was planning to spend only one term and this according to him will amount to shortchanging the north that should ordinarily be entitled to two terms.
I think Nigerians and northerners in particular should be ashamed of leaders like Babangida Aliyu. Here is a northern leader who is unwilling to confront President Jonathan he had accused of reneging on an agreement with northern governors but now wants northerners to believe he is fighting their battle by fabricating lies to stop Buhari, another northerner contesting on the platform of another party. Groveling Babangida Aliyu not too long ago told Nigerians that he was the custodian of the secret document allegedly signed by President Jonathan to spend only six years. If he needed help, Obasanjo who publicly accused Jonathan of reneging on an undertaking to spend six years has strengthened Aliyu’s case.
But curiously, Aliyu, who was part of northern governors who sold out in 2011 when Jonathan secured PDP ticket by default, Aliyu who is the leader of today’s incoherent Northern governors; and who like all PDP leading light, are dealers and wheelers, now says they and Jonathan, their nemesis, are the true friends of the north while Buhari who most Nigerians today are counting on to rescue our nation is the enemy of the north. He is saying the interest of the north can only be protected by stopping Buhari a northerner from becoming president and not by stopping Jonathan he had claimed betrayed an agreement he signed with northern governors. With friends like Aliyu Babangida and the groveling northern governors, the north doesn’t need enemies.
Just like incoherent Aliyu Babangida, Sule Lamido avoided dissipating energy on a bad product which will be a hard sell among enlightened people of Lagos and south west. He chose to introduce a game of mischief instead. He accused Buhari of keeping quiet as chairman of PTF while Abacha looted the nation’s treasury. But Nigerians know Buharis’s oversight functions, as chairman of PTF did not cover the CBN. In any case, it is now facts of our history that the then CBN governor and Abacha’s minister of Finance, Chief Michael Ani aided Abacha in looting the CBN. Lamido avoided the painful fact that today, our country is adjudged one of the most corrupt nations on earth and that he has been part of PDP’s 16 years of locust. If we needed any proof of that, the politically motivated arrest of his two sons for money laundering at a time he expressed interest in the presidency was all president Jonathan needed to remind Nigerians that Lamido is a loyal member of PDP family that lives on the blood of Nigerians.
As for Ayo Fayose, he has never been interested in selling Jonathan. He is haunted more by the prospect of a Buhari presidency. And we can understand his apprehensions. It is only under a Jonathan presidency we can have an Ayo Fayose with his liabilities, who but for the slow pace at which the wheel of justice grinds in our country,’ -apologies to President Jonathan, could have been behind bars, pontificating over how and who rules Nigeria. And Olusegun Mimiko, his Ondo state counterpart, whose attempt at dragging Yoruba Obas to partisan politics is a reflection of his lack of understanding of Yoruba culture, has nothing he holds sacred. If Buhari wins the coming election, as a survivalist who believes in nothing, he will crawl back to APC.
On March 28, President Jonathan will reap the wages of investing on miscreants and those the Yoruba describe as ‘akotileta’ (seller of clan for a pot of porridge). As Awo observed in his autobiography, the Yoruba will not vote for you just because you are Yoruba if you have no manifesto that maps out strategies to address their future fears and anxieties. Those miscreants who are accomplices in today’s desecration of our land must remember Yoruba have a way of ensuring those who sow the wind reap the whirl wind, no matter how long it takes.