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NIGERIA : 16 years of unbroken democracy



  • A victory Nigerians, Jonathan can cherish

I would like to begin this note by borrowing the title of yesterday’s editorial of this newspaper, Elections Nigerians must win. Despite our cynicisms nurtured by culture of low expectations, there is a sense in which we can say that the national elections that begin tomorrow with Presidential and National Assembly’s are not just ordinary events. They are elections all of us must win. They are not about the two major candidates: Goodluck Jonathan and Muhammadu Buhari.

These elections like no other, are about the future and survival of Nigeria, generally believed to be the most populous nation of black people in the world. In other words, the success of the elections will affect the profile of the black people in global context. That is also why our expectations, our glimmer of hope should not be cut off.

Lest we forget, we are aware that some of the elders of the land who have always exploited our culture of impunity to loot our treasury and kept their children in some of the most expensive schools in the world would have travelled out of the country by the time this article is published. They may even be airborne escaping to safe havens!

Some of the rent seekers that are complicit in ruining the nation may be celebrating the life and times of Lee Kuan Yew that passed on barely a week ago at 91. The world’s revered statesman and the longest serving prime minister in history (31 years) is a steady reference point of most of the actors that have assisted in under-developing us. I mean even well known bandits that have become wealthy without work but are in politics as business, are quoting the unusual Singaporean public officer and resourceful leader who took his country from Third to First World.

These elections remind us of the famous June 12, 1993 political episode. The historic election then was not about M.K.O Abiola and Othman Bashir Tofa. It was about the urgency and expediency of voting out the military that had dominated our politics for decades then. I am fully persuaded that these 2015 elections are not about GEJ & GMB.

We will troop to the polling stations tomorrow to vote for the survival of Nigeria and if we flunk in the trials, we all have ourselves to blame.

How GEJ can win the country too…

In a good clime where democracy is not a government of a cabal and rent seekers, where bandits are sponsoring bandits to do business with government’s monthly allocations and IGRs, we should have been prepared to celebrate the incumbent president who is also a candidate. This is the thing: on a good day, we should not have been too anxious about the possibility of President Jonathan losing the presidential election. There is a sense in which we can claim that the electoral reforms that Professor Attahiru Jega’s regime has been implementing as an election management agency, are enough reasons for celebration of president Jonathan. I would like to say that despite the current ‘demonization’ of INEC, the commission has prepared the country for the best elections in our history. What we the people will make of this background tomorrow is not a matter for determination in this note. But then, what most of the president’s men and indeed the ruling party’s traditional rulers would not like to hear is that even if the president loses the election in a free and fair election, he can still be celebrated as the best president Nigeria has ever had. If things go well as planned, the innovations that have attended INEC’s recourse to modern technology will impact positively on the image of the country. In other words, but for the poisoned chalice that we see today, democracy should be more robust if the ruling party loses to the opposition in Nigeria, hailed as the most significant African country. Would it not have been glorious for democracy and Nigeria if a president Jonathan could lose gallantly and say to the people of his country that: ‘my people, you have spoken and I have run a good race and I will enjoin everyone to support the Party that you have chosen to lead this great country.’ In the same vein, would it not have been excellent for Nigeria, if General Buhari too could lose and say; ‘my people, my people, you have spoken again and I have finished my course in political contest. Please, cooperate with the winner for the good of our dear country… none of my supporters should be more Buhari than General Muhammadu…God bless Nigeria!’ But more important, if president Jonathan loses the presidential election that promises to be keen and he accepts defeat in good faith, he will be the ultimate winner of Nigeria and its people. He will not only win the next edition of MO Ibrahim Leadership Prize, he will certainly be the automatic successor to Mandela. He will then be greater than General IBB who annulled our joy in 1993. Besides, he will be taller than General Obasanjo who relishes in calling a thief to raid a farm and at the same time alert the farm owner. I think too that GEJ will be more celebrated than General Yakubu Gowon who seems to be enjoying the accolade of being the last good man standing. But I hope this is not just an exercise in intellectual masturbation in a country that Ambassador John Campbell, a former U.S envoy to Nigeria says is “on the brink”.

Fear of the almighty Card Readers!

As we go to the polls tomorrow to shape the future of our great country, I pray that the bogeyman called “card reader” will read our cards well and in good time for us to vote for our dealers, sorry leaders. Please, don’t be carried away by my rigmarole and circumlocution. Please go through our special edition for our 16 years of uninterrupted democracy. Congratulations, Nigeria! Let’s wish ourselves safe journey!

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