Friday, April 01, 2011
WHAT IF PRESIDENT JONATHAN LOSES
Yes I could hear that voice yelling: impossible. Many Nigerians are not ready to countenance the above expression. Afterall it has never happened before where a sitting president seeking reelection is not reelected in Nigeria. And they don’t think it will start with Jonathan given his party PDP, a juggernaut of a political party that aspire to rule Nigeria for the next 60 or more years, and all his opponents who do not look serious as winning the election talk-less about governing. The only exemption is Buhari who has demonstrated through this campaigning of his seriousness and if the voters oblige him to govern again.
In 1984 through a military coup Buhari bouted out the inept leadership of Shehu Shagari and became the military Head of State. Buhari only lasted one year and half when he himself was also overthrown by Babagida in a military coup. During his time as a head of state Buhari made a lot of mistakes that many of his critics are using to point out his unsuitability for the role of civilian president of Nigeria. They point out that he was too dictatorial and rigid; that he showed extreme preference in policies to the Northern section of the country. That he does not understand the complexities of national laws and how it is supposed to be implemented and to buttress this they point out the fact that he executed some drug dealers who committed crime before the law authoring their executions for such crime were even enacted, and in spite of the world wide appeal to stay their execution Buhari ignored all that, and authorized their executions. Furthermore they point out that Buhari is a religious extremist.
While am not holding brief for Buhari I will like to point out that Buhari is proud of his religion but may not be described as an extremist because the evidence is rather scanty. It was not Buhari but Babadiga who initiated Nigeria into the membership of Islamic countries.
Being a military head of state is different from being an elected president with national assembly to hover over your head and debate and scrutinize the national policies and laws. Buhari will be a team player and will not arrogate all powers to himself unlike Obasanjo who will unilaterally change budgets and insert clause to bills already passed by the national assembly. Buhari has shown that he’s a much more decent personality than Obasanjo. Buhari will bring a sense of responsibility and mission to government.
His government will have direction and purpose. So far where is the direction of Jonathan’s government? It was to his credit that during his short stint at the helm Buhari was able to diagnose correctly one of Nigerian’s cardinal sins: indiscipline. He declared a total war on it and he was winning as far as anybody could attest until his regime was toppled. Nigeria needs a president who will commit to a clear goal and roll up his sleeves to accomplish that goal.
We have not seen that type of commitment from President Jonathan. At times Jonathan seems clueless and detached given Nigeria numerous problems and entrenching the impression many of his critics have of him that he’s playing in a league above his ability.
President Jonathan has not given a single clear reason why majority of Nigerians should vote for him instead of one of his opponents. Even his advisers are hard pressed to come up with a good reason for Jonathan to continue in office. For instance, in an interview with a key Jonathan adviser – Oronto Douglas – he was unable to impress on Nigerians why they should vote for Jonathan. He managed to come up this reason that Jonathan was very poor growing up. This is his attempt to play up the fact that Jonathan came from humble background but this is like singing to the choir. Most Nigerians share that background. Over 80% of all Nigerians live on less than two dollars a day and this percentage was much higher during the time Jonathan was growing up.
Mr. Douglas further pointed out that president Jonathan has eliminated the fuel queue line but was never able to say what specific policy initiatives that resulted in that. Of course Presidents take credit or blame for whatever happens under their watch but there are instances when strong forces humble things along that are beyond the control of anybody including a president. Should Nigeria President take credit for the current high price of oil in the world market? President Jonathan has not done any significant thing in domestic and international matters one can point to as evidence of a leadership that understands its role to make life better for the common man. He has cocooned himself with thieves, looters and crooks.
Should President Jonathan lose the election not too many Nigerians would be unhappy because with the time he has at the helm he has failed woefully to define himself and his priorities. Many see him as a stooge of PDP machination and the imbecility of the party’s lack of vision.
One person I know for sure that would be greatly distressed and distraught is Obansanjo, who foisted Yaradua and Jonathan on Nigerians in the first place. Obasanjo would cry blue murder. In order to forestall that from happening. Obasanjo is campaigning as vigorously as he can for Jonathan. In campaign rallies, if one is not informed, you would think that Obasanjo is the candidate and not Jonathan. As visible as Obasanjo is in this campaign, and has been throughout Jonathan’s administration, he will crawl into a hole and retire in Abeokuta the moment another man is sworn in as the new president. Regardless of what you may think of Obasanjo you must concede this to him: He knows how to read the political environment of Nigeria and he’s a master at self preservation. Sensing any unfavorable political situation he will discipline himself to remain quiet and mute because he hates humiliation and embarrassment especially when he does not have the political clout to get even.
Chief Tony Anenih may not be too sad if Jonathan loses because “Mr. fix it” has a plan B. He would immediately distance himself from Jonathan and make overtures to the new President. Tony Anenih does not care about any principle. All he cares about is Tony Anenih and how he can maximize his leverage to loot more and more from our common wealth. Tony Anenih is very good at marketing himself and can change color at the snap of fingers. Please ask Abiola.
Current controversy surrounding Mrs. Bianca Ojukwu’s appointment as Diaspora minister will come to an end. Her tenure will be brief because she will not be reappointed by the new president. This will have nothing to do with her qualifications or lack thereof, but it will testify to a new direction and a new vision of the country.
Contrary to the feeling of many Nigerians, Niger Delta will not blow up should Jonathan lose. Yes, some hearts will be broken, MEND will threaten fire and brimstone and may even blow up some pipe lines but this event will be brief and will not last long. It will also depend on how the new president will address their issues. But the greatest threat to the new president will come from the PDP honcho men, men of privilege and influence, beneficiary of the current system, men who have looted Nigeria for twelve years and suddenly find themselves outside the main stream of lootocracy. They will agitate and may even sponsor riots in various cities and towns hoping to create crisis and destabilize the new government. Nigerians are much wiser now; the military will not dare come back because dictatorship is out of vogue.
The only question now is if President Jonathan loses who will take the trophy. Given the paucity of credible candidates in this dispensation it seems logical that Nigeria will greet a new President Buhari if and only if the election is not rigged.
This is my thrust.
BY Olisa Adigwe