What can be described as President Jonathan’s Freudian slip occurred during the breaking of Ramadan fast with senators and members of the diplomatic corps at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, last Thursday when without necessarily claiming to be a mind reader said to his visitors: “one thing that is dear to your hearts is what the elections in this country will look like next year; it will be very peaceful in nature, that it will even surprise the whole world”. That was all sceptics needed to confirm their fears that nothing else matter in Abuja besides obsession with 2015 election All pretence to governance and other government projects including the inconclusive N8 billion Confab that many had thought was designed to address most of the problems bedevilling the nation before the election were but a ruse to divert attention.
But if you asked me, I would say the concern of many Nigerians who today entertain fear about their future and those of their children is not 2015; that their concern and indeed the worries of the international community today are the over 200 impressionable school girls marooned in Sambisa forest 100 days after their abduction from their school dormitories. It is about sense of guilt, daily anguish and nightmares which all Nigerians who have daughters share with the parents of the abducted girls. It is about finding solution to daily harvests of deaths in north eastern states of Nigeria and in particular the Chibok district where rampage and killing accompanied with destruction take place unchallenged nearly on daily basis. It is about monumental corruption in government. It is about the missing $20 billion as alleged by Lamido Sanusi the former CBN governor, or the over $10 billion yet to be accounted for as admitted by government through the minister of finance. It is about our army of unemployed university graduates roaming the streets. It is about the outcome of the Confab Nigerians had hoped would chart a better future for them and their children.
If Nigerians have a choice between addressing their current worries and 2015, they will probably wish 2015 away. Many now believe the scheming for 2015 by those who have indicated they will win “whether the people voted for them or not” (apology to Chief Remi Fani-Kayode for this infamous threat made and actualized in the first republic) is not about them. Many leading lights of PDP have continued to boast the party would rule for the next 60 years and that it would do anything to ensure power doesn’t slip off their hands. Only few days back, while the president was admitting that Muhammadu Buhari has a massive following in the country, an admission that should ordinarily pose a threat to those who have faith in democracy as a game of numbers, Olisa Metuh the PDP national publicity secretary also issued a statement dismissing Buhari and his massive support as posing no threat to PDP. “He lost three times to our great party in the past presidential election and will lose the fourth time if he emerges the candidate of the APC”.
Tarry a while before questioning the basis of this overconfidence. To Metuh’s boast, add that of Tony Anenih, the celebrated PDP Mr. Fixer who recently arrogantly reassured his PDP members by declaring “when it is time for election, PDP will do what it knows how to do-win”. Add that to the president’s “it will be very peaceful in nature, it will even surprise the whole world”; then you can start to interrogate if indeed these men are talking about democracy and election as games of numbers.
And more. When you now imagined this feeling of ‘force majeure’ or we have won even before candidates are known is coming from a party that has an unenviable record of having many of its past chairmen, and elected governors either in jail, in court, or on the run from justice, on charges of corruption; whose flag bearer’s record in office has been less than impressive whether in fighting corruption, arresting infrastructural decay or ensuring security of life and property, and who was recently described by New York Times editorial as “Mr. Jonathan, who leads a corrupt government that has little credibility and whose deeply troubled government cannot protect its people, attract investment, lead the country to its full potential and cannot contain a virulent insurgency” – a damning verdict that instead of being contested, led the government to hire a Washington based Public Relations firm- Levick Strategic Communications to assist in promoting “transparency, democracy, and the rule of law throughout Nigeria”, it is only then you can appreciate PDP probably plan an improved version of Obasanjo’s “do or die election” for 2015.
When a party with despicable antecedents openly boasts of winning election even before candidates declared interests, they are probably not thinking of democracy where elections serve as verdict for performance or failure. What they have in mind is probably the replication of Ekiti’s unique form of participatory democratic experiment where a performing governor was defeated by deeply tainted candidate in an election where 200,000 voters decided the fate of about two million people under the combined supervision of card carrying PDP ministers of defence and police affairs leading 35,000 military and other security personnel, armed with a list of opposition members to be put under house arrest on the eve of the election.
Morning as they say shows the day. With the lawlessness of a few PDP lawmakers in Port Harcourt, Edo and the gale of impeachment in Adamawa and Nasarawa of governors for misdemeanours they perpetrated as PDP members three years before their defection to join the opposition party, with EFCC that for seven years was unable to successfully prosecute former governor Boni Haruna now a minister or an Ayo Fayose now a governor elect and a body that has for close to three years failed to make appreciable progress in prosecuting the children of PDP former chairmen Ahmadu Alli and Bamanga Tukur for their alleged involvement in oil subsidy scam, now embarking on a frenzy of freezing account of opposition governors even before they are served with notices of impeachment, one can no more take the determination of PDP to secure a landslide victory in 2015 for granted.
By his actions, inactions or acquiescence, the president is not in a haste to disabuse the minds of sceptics who insist that neither ethics nor morality matters in the battle for 2015 which started with the president’s curious support for Pastor Jonah Jang who lost the Governors’ Forum election by 13 votes to Amaechi’s 16. Jang did not only go to church to celebrate his victory but accompanied the president on pilgrimage to the Holy Land probably to celebrate victory as well as atone for perfidy. The president has also maintained a dignified silence as lawless lawmakers who claim to fight in his name make Rivers and Edo states ungovernable. In Adamawa, 2015 more than Nyako’s unfounded allegations against the president over his handling of the war against the Boko Haram insurgency led to his ouster In neighbouring Borno State where everything -from setback by our ill-equipped military to the abduction of the Chibok girls which PDD and the president’s wife initially claimed was a ruse to discredit Jonathan presidency, was blamed on the governor.
And now the president’s good gesture of providing armoured utility vehicle that finally saved Buhari’s life during last week assassination attempt has been described as a Greek gift to prepare the ground for explanation of the result of 2015 election by sceptics who think that for the battle of 2015, no conspiracy theory no matter how bizarre or tenuous should be thrown away. In the event of an expected curious landslide victory in 2015, a humble godly president-elect of a discredited party can turn around claiming his efforts after all once saved Buhari’s life, if he is defeated the fourth time by those who currently control our lives and insist on controlling our tomorrow.