Wednesday , 22 February 2017

GHETTO ASSEMBLY (iv): On 2015: The Clamor for a Better Nigeria By Modiu Olaguro

President Muhammadu Buhari

With the APC-led federal government exhibiting characteristics in similitude to those which rallied conscious Nigerians against the Jonathan administration, Ghetto Assembly dips into the archive to refresh the memories of the sycophants (Buharists), and choristers of the #BringBackJonathan campaigners on the dangers of youthful senility in the democratic process.

“As such, I make these five pledges regarding the government if we are elected next Ferrum ary: We will govern Nigeria honestly, in accordance with the constitution; We will strive to secure the country and efficiently manage the economy; We will strive to attack poverty through broadly-shared economic growth and attacking corruption through impartial application of the law; We will tolerate no religious, regional, ethnic or gender bias in our government; We will return Nigeria to a position of international respect through patriotic foreign policy; We will choose the best Nigerians for the right jobs.”—Time to rebuild Nigeria, an acceptance speech by Muhammadu Buhari.

As the 2015 election approaches, the major contenders jousting for the highest office have been at loggerheads to sell themselves to the Nigerian people. While members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) urge the electorates to vote the incumbent president in the spirit of continuity, the opposition party—the All Progressives Congress (APC) has to a certain extent, based their campaign on a scathing rebuke of the Jonathan administration.

While the PDP government has over the years played politics with religious underpinnings—exploiting the volatility of the Nigerian state, the tribal tendencies in the land, the stack illiteracy of a sizeable number of her citizens, the uncritical thought processes of energetic but dis-educated youths—it behooves on every conscious citizen to read between the line and work assiduously to dispel the inimical politics of the ruling party. For, if religion was a yardstick for measuring performance in public service, public conduct and public business, Nigeria under Dr. Jonathan ought to have been a paradise on earth with the way and manner he travels to Israel for prayers and worship.

General Muhammadu Buhari is anything but a saint. No one is. No one has ever been; leading the country between 1983 and 1985 with military decrees and records of human rights abuses—integral characteristics of military rule—contested and lost three times for the presidency in the fourth republic, some Nigerians feel it’s time he bids farewell to democracy. But in fairness, old age, just like religion, tribe or color should neither be a criterion for eligibility or ineligibility of anyone to vote nor be voted for.

What should actually influence our decision on our choice between Gen Buhari and Dr. Jonathan is to reflect on those clear-cut achievements of the Jonathan administration in the last five years. Achievements that have directly impacted our lives; economic policies that have made life worth living for every Nigerian, determined the price mama Mulikah buys a Derica of rice in Oyo, the number of jobs created in Aba and how much Mallam Yaro coughs out to buy a litre of kerosene in Sokoto; Those are clear-cut, meaningful achievements.

With the devaluation of the naira, the depletion of the foreign reserve, the 2012 increase in the pump price of petrol, the gargantuan subsidy scam, the administration thirst for scandals, the indiscipline of the first lady, the spat on the speaker of the house of representatives, the non-compliance to the rule of law and the treating of the constitution with both indifference and contempt, the Jonathan government has metamorphosed into a fascist, combining in him the worst of the undemocratic attributes in Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, the maradonic tendencies in the gap-toothed Ibrahim Babangida and the lethal, corrupt and sinful traits in Gen Sanni Abacha. Dr. Jonathan, more than any of his predecessors has shown in clear terms how unfit he is and has been to govern not only in the modern world, but in a messed up, choked up society like ours; a society that has been so defiled that anyone has to either be a problem or cure.

Nigeria, at this time more than ever is in need of a charismatic leader, a moral reformer and a role model. One that exudes forthrightness and willingness to accommodate naysayers, give a listening ear to opposing views, and provide a framework for a better and enlightened society. These are attributes that defines democracy.

Gen Buhari should win the presidency next year. The man not only banks on the feebleness and lawlessness of the Jonathan presidency, he has, for over a period of years in the public service—either as a military officer, governor, head of state or petroleum minister—displayed discipline, prudence, frugality, patriotism and an unmatched element of empathy towards the Nigerian people.

In his acceptance speech titled ‘Time to rebuild Nigeria’, Muhammadu Buhari took his audience through the rot in the present administration manifesting in the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), calling on all Nigerians to discard the notion of voting along religious and ethnic lines.

With the situation of things in the country, any discerning Nigerian that truly seeks to live in a better society would pitch tent with any candidate except Dr. Jonathan for reasons I highlighted above. In blunt terms, the presidential election of next year ought to be a pointer to political non-performers and underperformers that a new era is here.

If I’m to score the president based on his performance in office, my bet is that of the over 70 million registered voters in the country, only president Jonathan would vote for himself come February 2015. For, the others—with the exception of the fuel importers, the NNPC directors, the political warmongers, the business monopolists, the religious fanatics—would impress their fingers bearing in mind the number of hours they live without electricity, the amount they spend on bore holes due to a poor water facility, the number of their loved ones that have died on the pot-hole ridden federal roads and the number of deaths recorded due to the inefficiency of the government to fight terrorism.

The fallacious thoughts that the country was made ungovernable for the president smacks intelligence. Did the president think leadership was all about signing checks, awarding contracts, giving speeches and pardoning fugitives? From time immemorial, great leaders across the world attained greatness through the courage they manifested in trying times as there is no single leader who does not face enormous challenges from friends and foes alike. Presiding over a complex country like this is not bread and butter. It requires readiness, brilliance, firmness and astuteness.

The urgency of now calls for a new approach in politicking. The clamor to unseat this clueless government should not be left in the hands of card carrying members of the APC alone, it should transcend Facebook and Twitter. This is partly because the mind of an average Nigerian has been so corrupted with religious and ethnic filth that every person who desires change in this country ought to preach the anti-Jonathan gospel to all and sundry. In the school, at work, church, mosque, and even in the shrine. It behooves on us to sit with our fellow countrymen and women and engage them on the dangers of not expressing their civic duties in electing the right candidate.

This is not a call to enlarge the APC camp as this writer has several reservations about the party himself. On the contrary, it is a wakeup call to my fellow citizens to come out en masse and take our country from the hands of the usurpers. The greatest enemy of Nigeria is not Bokoharam as more portent ones lie amidst us. They are those who said corruption is not the same as stealing; they are the ones who sit as commander of the armed forces that extra judicially kills at least five of us every day; they are the same people who share private jets to their friends and appoint others who buy bullet proof cars with our collective wealth. Those are the real enemies of the state. And now more than ever, is the time to remove them via the ballot.

Editor’s Note: This essay was first published two years ago in Kosofe Breeze newspaper.

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