FEATURE ARTICLE

Thursday, February 14, 2019
[email protected]
Bonn, Germany
2019: AN INTERESTING POLITICAL YEAR
(PRESIDENT BUHARI, THE MASTER OF DISASTER, DESERVES NO RE-ELECTION) (CONCLUSION)

Continued from Part 13

Buhari has zero integrity (Buba Galadima)

The presidency uses insecticides" to fight corruption among those outside his circle, but only "deodorant" on his allies (Senator Shehu Sani)

Voters may ignore election when they feel there is no real difference between the candidates and the results will have little effect on themselves and their families (Margaret Peil)

About 100 students from the village of Chibok are still being held captive by Boko Haram. Mr. Buhari had promised to bring them back but has barely mentioned them on the campaign trail (Yomi Akinola)

Boko Haram and its factions had grown to as many as 5,000 fighters and "taken large pieces of real estate" (Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, the leader of United States Africa Command, said during testimony before the United States Congress in early February 2019)

igeria, just like a sinking ship, is going under, and this 2019 presidential election might help take it down to the bottom faster if care is not taken. This Nigeria's presidential election has evoked lots of interest, considerable controversies, and criticisms even before its conduct. Millions of Nigerians and the international community are already skeptical that it will be free and fair.

In fact, the whole gamut of problems and issues with which Nigerians and the international community are concerned about in this election should have been sorted out, before now, for it to be a credible exercise. Many are apportioning blame on President Buhari, his ruling APC, and on their plans to make the election unfree and unfair.

The fear expressed by many Nigerians and the international community, nevertheless, is not based on sentiments. There are glaring irregularities and malpractices already in place which should be sources of worry to any discerning mind. The issue is that this administration has taken several steps which show that it does not want the election to be free and fair. As many people have already noted, the presidential election, on Feb. 16, will be a sad frustrating day for democracy, and it might as well be a prelude to the disaster that will consume Nigeria. Make no mistake about it, if care is not taken, this presidential election might as well be the worst election ever conducted in the annals of Nigerian politics, if it ever holds.

Apart from Buhari's machination to perpetuate himself as president, there's no sign that INEC is even well prepared to conduct a free and fair election. The Body's inefficiency due to its sloppy administrative arrangement will be glaring on the Election Day. There's the fear that Buhari and the APC will use INEC to rig the election as he has perfected plans to sabotage the democratic process in order to remain in power, and that's why INEC appointed Amina Zakari, President Buhari's relative, as head of collation center for the election (she shall be responsible for the national collation center, the International Conference Centre, from where results of the presidential election will be announced).

More to that, Buhari has been taking dictatorial and anti-democratic actions for his own electoral advantage! He suspended the chief justice, under a pretty flimsy excuse, thereby removing from office the judge who would rule on any issues, if there will be legal disputes all the way to the Supreme Court after the election. This action has been condemned by the United States, Britain, the European Union, and others. In addition, election malpractices, violence, and poor security arrangement will definitely be commonplace during and after the presidential election. Many have already given up by saying that the election will only be a farce. No doubt, from what I noticed when I was in Nigeria, these few weeks, there will be lapses, fraud, iniquities, deaths, and bungling during this presidential election. Many have died even before the election, as the APC brings death wherever it goes for campaigning. The latest was the death of 15 people (8 others injured), in Rivers State, when Buhari went there to campaign on Tuesday, Feb. 12.

It's unfortunate that despite our very chequered history of elections - severe problems have marred elections in the past - and still no genuine efforts have been made to improve the conduct of future elections or to put bulwarks in place which will minimize electoral malpractices and violence.

Unfortunately, elections in Nigeria have not adequately reflected the cherished traits of democracy, and it has not contributed to the material and socio-political wellbeing of the masses. Now and in previous elections, most Nigerians cannot look forward to a significant change in the material conditions of their existence. Apart from the crumbs which politicians throw to them at election time, Nigerians have been through one election after another, even before independence, without noticing any major change, for the better, in their material conditions. In fact, there's hardly any material advantage gained by electing representatives at all tiers.

One can say without any fear that elections in Nigeria are irrelevant to the improvement of the socio-economic well being of the vast majority of Nigerians, rather, elections have brought untold hardship to the people. Look at the violence and thuggery unleashed during every election that has caused havoc to the lives and property of Nigerians. Elections like this one coming up usher in only the general atmosphere of intimidation, victimization, abuse, hostility, and the denial of the right of free speech and assembly to opponents. Do we need to talk about the loss of societal moral compass, in that the values, cherished rules, norms, regulations, and cultures of the nation have been corrupted or watered down by politicians competing among themselves to win power at all cost? Elections in Nigeria is seen by politicians as warfare in which all is fair that brings victory, making pervasive indiscipline to be inescapable and the call for the moral regeneration of Nigeria to fall on deaf ears.

What I'm saying in effect, based on what I experienced in Nigeria these few weeks I was there, is that this presidential election will be seriously flawed and cannot by any stretch of imagination be considered free and fair. There will be massive rigging and people's names will be missing from the list. Already, the fire has gutted the electoral materials for Anambra State, meaning that many in the state will be disenfranchised (about 4695 card readers were destroyed by fire, few days to the election). From my observation, while in Nigeria, INEC is ill-prepared and ill-equipped for this year's elections, both in terms of logistics and personnel, as it seems to have been caught on the wrong foot.

Another thing I found disturbing, apart from the ill-preparedness of INEC and its biased posture, is that Nigerians have refused to grow politically. They still base their voting on religion and place of origin and not on candidate's character or promises. The security forces seem to be biased also.

The international Community has put this government on notice that it is watching, with keen interest, what will happen on Feb. 16. Do you know that this 2019 Nigeria's presidential election is of strategic national importance to the western governments - in fact- it's of their national interest that the Nigerian presidential election will be free and fair, and will go well without any problem? The western world is interested here because, if Nigeria should be in a pandemonium due to the conduct or outcome of the election, the catastrophic chain reaction will be felt all over the globe. After all, at least, one in every four or five Africans is a Nigerian, and so the western world will not be able to grapple with the influx of Nigerian refugees that will hit their respective shores. No guns or bullets or walls, no matter how high, will keep away desperate and determined Nigerians from reaching Europe and America, if there should be another civil war or major crisis, and so it will be of the western world's best interest when everything goes fine during the election.

Now that the chips will soon be down, I must say that I don't live in a utopia; I'm a realist who will make do with what I have at hand. I don't plan with what I don't have. We all know the saying that one does not give what he or she does not have. Why am I saying this? The 2019 presidential election will boil down to a clash between Buhari and Atiku, pure and simple. Our political system has made it impossible for another person, other than Buhari or Atiku, to win the election. So, there's no need trying to live in a fantasy, but rather, we should discern who's better out of the two and then elect him. There's no need trying to build a castle in the air, as that will not work. The reality is that we have two defective candidates to reckon with, and the only choice we have is to choose the least bad candidate out of the two.

The Sunday Punch wrote that "of the 72 presidential candidates on the final list recently released by the Independent National Electoral Commission that is eligible to contest the presidential election, two contenders are generally believed to be the front-runners. They are President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress, and former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party".

President Buhari has been a failure, and as I have written previously, one is forced to ask how we managed to make the mistake of electing such a dunce as president. He even underperformed beyond the imagination of some of us who vehemently opposed his candidacy in 2015. As I noted elsewhere; now, we can see that President Buhari is not even qualified to be the head MaiGuard (head of security) of a small estate, not to talk of ruling a large entity like Nigeria. He is not even qualified to be the leader of a local meeting.

The New York Times, in its article of Feb. 11, wrote:

"Muhammadu Buhari won the presidency in a historic election in Nigeria four years ago by promising to crush two scourges that had plagued the nation for years: endemic corruption, and a war with Islamist extremists. Back then, Mr. Buhari, a former military general, rode a wave of voter desire to impose greater accountability on the government, end a brutal war with the extremist group, Boko Haram, and bring back the hundreds of female students taken as captives.

Now, as Mr. Buhari is in the final throes of a bruising re-election campaign, he stands accused of falling short on all fronts. Critics say Mr. Buhari has used his antigraft mantra to crush adversaries. Boko Haram is gaining ground, launching sophisticated attacks on weary, underequipped soldiers. And many of the captive students are still missing.

As voters prepare to go to the polls this weekend for what appears to be a tight election in Africa's most populous country, the electorate has increasingly lost hope that the government will ever be free of graft. Instead, voters are fixated on mounting violence in pockets of the nation and everyday issues like having reliable electricity. "Corruption was there before and it continues. But what of security? What of employment? And food?" said Debbie Okochi, who on a recent afternoon was selling electronics at a market in Lagos, where the streets were lined with cardboard cutouts of candidates. "Everything has become worse."

Both leading candidates are slinging accusations at one another while traveling the country for last-minute rallies. The European Union is sending observers. Meanwhile, outside the country's most populous cities, security has become a major worry and will likely affect whether tens of thousands of people are able to cast votes".

We have tried Buhari for almost 4 years and we have found out that he's as empty as a blank page. So, we need to try another person, and the only choice we have here is Atiku. Let's give him only 4 years, for now, and if he fails like his predecessor, we will then vote him out next time. We will continue searching for the best until we find one, no matter how long it takes. Let's resolve now that everyone who has the opportunity of being the president of Nigeria will get only 4 years to prove himself and his capability, and we will vote him out, if he fails, after the first term. We will continue giving only one term until we get the right person who will then be rewarded with re-election.

I know that time is of the essence here, but we have no other choice than to take time to make it right, unless the military will disturb such move by taking over, which will be the most stupid thing for them to do at this point in time, or Nigeria breaks up, which is no longer impossible. But before any of these happens, let's know that we don't have, in Nigeria, a person such as Nelson Mandela of South Africa or Bill Clinton of the United States or Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad of Malaysia or Deng Xiaoping of China - people who led and transformed their countries in many positive ways. What we have, in this election, are two imperfect candidates, who are the major candidates because of the defective political system and structure in place in Nigeria.

Atiku has not been tested, as president, even though he was a vice president for eight years. Since he is the next choice we have between the devil and the deep blue sea - the least bad option - let's give him a try with the warning that he dares not seek re-election if he fails to live up to our expectations.

Finally, let's just look at these uglier scenarios (nothing is impossible here):

There is a remote possibility that neither Buhari nor Atiku will become the next president of Nigeria despite the fact that they are the major candidates. For unforeseen factors - litigations, divine intervention etc, there is a remote possibility, I repeat, remote possibility, that neither Muhammadu Buhari nor Atiku Abubakar will lay claim to victory after the election - meaning that any of the other 72 presidential candidates who managed to garner the third highest number of votes might become the president (only a miracle can make this happen).

Another remote possibility is the nullification of the whole exercise due to irregularities, and then, an interim government will be appointed that will thereafter conduct a new presidential election.

To end this serial, let me quote the UK based Economist Magazine that predicted that President Muhammadu Buhari of the APC will lose the 2019 presidential election to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the PDP. According to the Pulse, The Economist forecasts that "both candidates are from Northern Nigeria, where Mr. Buhari's support base lies, presaging a fierce contest there. With the vote likely to be split in the north, Mr. Abubakar will find it easier to garner support from the country's south, which has traditionally been a safe haven for the PDP. This gives Mr. Abubakar an edge, as does popular frustration over the rise in joblessness and poverty (two of the biggest voter concerns) on Mr. Buhari's watch, as well as growing insecurity in central Nigeria.

"Nonetheless, strong incumbency advantages in Nigeria imply that it will be a very tight race. If Mr. Abubakar loses-a distinct downside risk to our forecast-there may be a rejection of the result by the PDP, which is convinced the election will be rigged. In this scenario, a state of national paralysis could arise with severe national security implications." The Economist says Atiku will handle the economy better. The Paper also praises Atiku's "free market and reformist agenda," while decrying Buhari's poor management of the Nigerian economy".

This conversation is concluded (you can send your opinion or feedback to [email protected])!

Please read what Dele Momodu, who supported Buhari in 2015, wrote in 2019:

https://www.nairaland.com/50179/100-reasons-why-buhari-must

TIT BITS

President Buhari has even asked Nigerians not to elect him by passing a vote of no confidence in himself.

Mr. Ogbuefi sent this to be share: While speaking at the Presidential rallies in Lokoja and Warri, President Buhari advised Nigerians to reflect on where the country was in 2015 when he took over power and where the country is today, before deciding on whom to vote for.

Here are the situations then, and now:

  1. In 2015 fuel was N87/litre and now N145/litre

  2. In 2015 exchange rate was N187/Dollar and now N360/Dollar

  3. In 2015 a bag of rice was N7000 and now N18000 a bag

  4. In 2015 a mudu of garri was N120 and now N600 per mudu

  5. In 2015 kerosene was N50/litre and now N350/litre

  6. In 2015 killings were limited to North East now it's everywhere.

  7. In 2015 Fulani herdsmen were hardly heard of, now they are reigning, killing at will in Taraba, Benue, Plateau, Enugu, Nasarawa, Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara, Sokoto, Niger, etc.

  8. In 2015 we hardly heard about a group called Miyetti Allah. But today Miyetti Allah reigns supreme; they boast of extra-judicial killings.

  9. In 2015 Nigeria was the fastest growing economy in Africa but today Nigeria is the poverty capital of the world

  10. In 2015 Nigerian youths were described as great, intelligent and innovative but today they are described as lazy Nigerian Youth.

  11. In 2015 freedom of speech and rule of law were taken for granted by Nigerians but now these are rare, threatening our hard earned democracy.

  12. In 2015 Nigerians were much more united, but today Nigerians are more divided than ever

  13. In 2015 youths were being offered jobs, but presently 4 million Nigerians who had a job, have lost their jobs and no replacement.

  14. In 2015 all sections of the country were represented in the nation's Security Council, but now, it is almost 100% one ethnic and one religious group all from the North.

Etc etc.

So anybody expecting Buhari to come out openly to tell Nigerians not to vote for him must be unfair to him. He has said it all; compare 2015 and now and decide who to vote for.

The No 1 citizen has warned, we must heed his warning!! A vote for Buhari is a vote for famine, insecurity, and unemployment.

He has already advised us on whom to vote for. Therefore it is our collective responsibility to ensure we vote Buhari out of Aso rock and return him back to his village of Daura.

Listen:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DDG9XkuvK0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XPkBtSAzaVw

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFgBQ-4Q7DY

THE THANX IS ALL YOURS!!!

Continued from Part 13


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