FEATURE ARTICLE

Saturday, February 16, 2019
ifeanyi_mmoh@yahoo.com
Jos, Nigeria
MR PRESIDENT, GET IT CLEAR, THE CONSTITUTION DID NOT SAY YOU MUST RETURN AFTER THIS TENURE

he political activities that has dominated thepolity in the build-up to the 2019 general elections; particularly the February 16th presidential elections leaves much to be desired. The manner inwhich principal gladiators are carrying on simply suggests that either they didnot understand relevant provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) orthat they by their attitude are clearly unwilling to uphold our nascentdemocracy as their legacy.

For the two major contenders; campaigns should beabout mudslinging rather than about issues affecting the federation. Mostculpable in this style of politicking are members of the All ProgressivesCongress (APC) and their presidential hopeful – General Muhammadu Buhari. Mr.President, just last week you were quoted as making inciting statements to theeffect that indigenes of Zamfara state must feed well and then they couldfight.

Shortly before then, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai – yourstrong ally – was also quoted as making threats to the lives of observers offoreign descent should the elections go wrong – that is, should your party theAPC fail to return – and that they would go from Nigeria in body bags, if theAPC fails. My concern with all these threats is the fact that as the ruling party,you have failed to realize the position that you should maintain as thegovernment in power.

You fail to understand that your position as thegovernment in power as well as that of an interested party was a position thatshould be about reinforcing the confidence of the Nigerian people in ourdemocracy. Yesterday – February 13th 2019 – another peace accord wassigned, making it the second to be signed in the build up to the 2019elections. Today, 16th February INEC postponed the exercise in arather callous manner.

The question is: Is your government truly sincerewith the promise to deliver a credible election? That said, I decided to writethis just so I could remind Nigerians particularly you; Mr. President and yourpolitical party about what the constitution meant when it talked about a secondtenure of 4 years for the incumbent. Many years ago, two things did happen thatmade the need to understand and rightly interpret the constitution a necessity.

The first was when then President Obasanjodeclared the office of his Vice as vacant in 2005. The second was when the INECconducted elections in Anambra state in 2007 during another election year and maintainedthat the election year superseded the provisions of sections 180 subsection (2a&b) of the constitution. In the first instance, the Supreme Court ruledthat according to sections 45 of the constitution, a presidential candidate andhis vice ran for office on a joint ticket and that meant that the presidentlacked powers to sack his deputy.

In the second instance, the Supreme Court ruledthat according to sections 180; following the oath of office and oath ofallegiance, the office of governor shall be held by the governor for a periodof four years. Meaning that the election year did not in any way supersede theconstitutional provisions. This respective precedence will remain a standard tofall back to in the event of any constitutional crisis.

Now, drawing strength from the aforementioned itis unlikely that with the arrogant posture that you (Mr. President) and your partymen and women have carried this re-election thing; you (Mr. President)understood what sections 135 subsection (2)a of the constitution meant.Sections 137(1)b of the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria isvery clear and it NEVER gave hope to the incumbent for a second term in officeneither does it DISCOURAGE the incumbent from trying his/her luck.

Sections 135 (2) states: Subject to theprovisions of subsection (1) of this section, the President shall vacate hisoffice at the expiration of a period of four years commencing from the date,when - (a) in the case of a person firstelected as President under this Constitution, he took the Oath of Allegianceand the oath of office. And Sections 137 (1) A person shall not be qualifiedfor election to the office of President if - (b) he has been elected to such office at any two previous elections.

Mr. President; you and your image managers havegone about town bombarding the airwaves with developmental achievements theadministration has so far recorded. You have reminded the suffering masses thatyou have been able to do more with less. In like manner, your street managersthat included thugs, riff-raffs and jobless drug addicts who I am made tounderstand – according to Mohammed Shehu – are beyond your powers’ to control, brandishmachetes, daggers and dangerous weapons amid war songs.

They do this with a body language that suggestedchaos if you fail to return to power after the elections. What you have failedto grasp is the fact that the Nigerian masses aren’t so interested in knowingwhat has been achieved in your 3 ½ years in office once they’d discovered theheart of the man they called their president. By all standards, the Goodluckgovernment did more but was voted out because they failed to carry the peoplealong.

Your government came to power with the promise ofCHANGE but in all that the country has gone through in the 3 ½ years of yourstewardship; you have failed WOEFULLY in carrying the people along. Your bodylanguage suggests contempt for the people and the demeanor of an emperor whenit should’ve rather shown the servant-leader quality that would’ve enabled you assuagethe hurting of the masses.

The likes of Senator Dino Melaye opposed yourpolicies and you attempted severally through your former IGP Ibrahim K. Idris todo away with him. The very obviously confused Nnamdi Kanu came up against youand was banished from the land. Proponents of restructuring came on board andyou told them they wasted their time. You made appointments into very sensitivepositions without respect for the Federal Character Act and when reminded, youclaimed it mattered less.

The DSS ordered the barricade of the Benue stateHouse of Assembly under your watchful eyes and you did nothing. When itgraduated to the National Assembly in your absence and your deputy actedpromptly; you quickly returned and the next thing we saw was the removal of MattewSeiyefa as acting boss for DSS.

Before then, the security of the respected RedChambers of the National Assembly was breached in the Sen. Omo-agege case andyou did nothing to the IGP. You once blamed the system as responsible for theslow progress of your version of the anti-corruption war but we saw howpowerless the same system was when you hurriedly shoved aside the CJN WalterOnnoghen.

Now, the unthinkable has happened. INEC haspostponed the elections. Really, the reasons for that action is not my concernrather I am troubled that the same manner in which you have related with yourcitizens since you came on board as president is the same callous and indifferentmanner that INEC has done this. They did not care about those who have madesacrifices by way of travelling to vote just the same way you cared less aboutit.

Mr. President, to be honest with you; yourcountry men and women are not concerned about all those achievements andpictures of achievement you displayed on both the print and electronic media.Hence, the deciding factor for whether they will vote you again or vote you outdepended less on those. DO NOT BE DECIEVED MR. PRESIDENT, your attitude/mannersis the prime reasons why Nigerians are poised to vote you out.

If you ask me, I think you should prepareyourself to retire to Daura from now. Don’t bother to improve yourself – it’snot necessary – just continue in that holier-than-thou manners of yours; Iguarantee that you’ll soon be dying to have a life-coach in your personalemploy. I thought that you’d learn from Goodluck Jonathan’s experience and dobetter but no; you thought that Nigerians are so dumb that you could abuse themas you liked.

Goodluck Jonathan was a gentleman by every meansof it but his posture on the removal of the fuel subsidy in 2012 as well as theshabby strategies he had to tackle the Boko Haram war; sealed his fate as onewho did not understand the people he governed. A few months ago, the governorof Borno state – Gov. Kashim Shettima – came to see you in the villa and was intears.

He said something prophetic that I now believeyou did not pay attention to. He said that when you came to power in 2015, thepeople of Borno and indeed the Northeast saw it as a sign from god but 3 ½years after, they are in doubt as to what has gone wrong. According to him,they are more ravaged by the Boko Haram and especially by the corruption thatis the order of the day in the several IDPs than they had ever been before.

Governor Kashim Shettima has echoed the minds ofordinary Nigerians who unfortunately may not have the opportunity to eitherwrite you or meet you in person. You are asking for the votes of Nigerians fromBenue, Plateau, Southern Kaduna, Taraba and Adamawa. How did you show love tothem when the Miyetti Allah challenged constituted governments? Mr. President; THIS ELECTION IS NOT ABOUT ACHIEVEMENT BUT ABOUT THE MAN THAT CAN CONNECT WITH THEPEOPLE. I am sorry to say this.


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