Of June 12 and 2023 elections
There is virtually nothing that one has not heard from politicians and their foot soldiers in recent times, in relation to the 2023 general elections that will usher in a new President after President Muhammadu Buhari completes his tenure. To them, June 12 has become some kind of carte blanche or a magic wand to advance banal sentiments to suit their crooked fancies. These enemies of progress will stop at nothing to entrench their sinister agenda to divide Nigeria, based upon their own selfish politics of convenience. The nation is almost at war, with virtually every region enmeshed in one form of crisis or another, yet they see nothing wrong in digging further into the trenches of division.
On June 12 1993, Nigerians from all walks of life voted for Chief MKO Abiola and Alhaji Babagana Kingibe on the platform of the Social Democratic Party, in search of national unity and cohesion, but the military, representing certain sectional interests proceeded to annul that historic mandate, throwing Nigeria into national crisis from which we have not fully recovered even as of today. The same military would then seize the affairs of Nigeria on behalf of this same interest from 1993 to 1998, destroying virtually every fabric of our national existence and in that process imposing upon us a fraudulent document labelled the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999. Having consolidated their hold on power for so long, the Constitution became a document for holding Nigeria down, entrenching a unitary system of government whereby all items of value and national importance are centralized, deploying very dubious criteria such as population and land mass to deny the people of their natural resources.
During the agitation for independence in the fifties, some ethnic nationalities had voiced their concerns about the dominant ethnic groups and their propensity to perpetuate power, using population and other variables to dominate others. These majority ethnic groups are largely a parasitic lot upon the nation, with little or no resources to account for their hold on power save to use it to amass primitive wealth to the detriment of national development. In a way no one but them could explain, they succeeded in pushing one of their own, General Olusegun Obasanjo to take over power in 1999, to continue their hegemonic agenda of dominance, through their fraudulent electoral process by which they joggle and manipulate figures to suit their fancies. Having combined the allure of military and civilian rulership and being the first to partake of the dictatorship codified in the fraudulent 1999 Constitution, Obasanjo was to plot his stay in power beyond the eight years granted to him. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar rallied round the National Assembly to defeat the third term agenda, forcing Obasanjo to hand over power to Alhaji Umar Yar’adua, to continue the dominance of the majority ethnic groups.
By stroke of luck only, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan was to assume power in circumstances that they did not prepare for, with the golden opportunity of dismantling the status quo but he chickened out and became an instrument of perpetuation of the corrupt elite instead. As expected, they would not allow him the opportunity of his second term in office, propounding all manner of arguments, chief amongst which was the need for power rotation, since Obasanjo already exhausted the maximum eight-year tenure purportedly on behalf of the South. The power monsters, in a bizarre show of greed and intolerance, even yielded their own political platform to the opposition in 2015, in order to actualize their craze for power shift. Notwithstanding that General Muhammadu Buhari was a lone ranger, with no coherent agenda for national development, economic revival or even their much trumpeted unity, they did all that was possible to perpetuate him in office, even at the risk of their own lives and failing health. It was purely a politics of convenience, so long as there was somebody in power on their behalf.
The corrupt elite have no interest of the people at heart, they have no plan for the improvement of the lives of the masses of our people beyond perpetuating poverty, misery and total dependence upon them. Nothing will change. So it is that after eight years of this corrupt administration, this inept and totally bankrupt contraption, it is convenient for them to canvass merit, in order to jettison the concept of power rotation. They even claim most unashamedly that religion does not exist in Nigeria any longer, as if the war by Boko Haram and ISWAP is to entrench ecclesiastical rule.
They make desperate reference to the Muslim-Muslim ticket of Abiola/Kingibe, in a country where it has become so dangerous to even reveal your baptismal name, where attending a church service to worship freely has become a nightmare. We hear these things in hushed tones, of conspiracies to Islamize Nigeria, of meetings held across continents with specific agenda to impose religion and keep others in bondage. That any leading member of the All Progressive Congress will openly and shamelessly propound such an idea smacks of the greatest hypocrisy for a party that boasts of a Manifesto of secularity.
This corrupt elite, found nothing wrong in electing the Chairman of the opposition party from the same region as their presidential aspirant, just so as to capture power and continue the regime of primitive accumulation of ill-gotten wealth at the expense of the nation. Just sit down and count the rate of defections from the ruling party to the opposition, since the emergence of their grandmaster. And how they did everything possible to install their leader in the ruling party, as their presidential aspirant, so that head or tail, the people will be the loser.
The concept of June 12 has no bearing with the chicanery, the clannish and prebendal chess game that power opportunists are currently toying with. June 12 represents justice, equity, fairness, national cohesion and above all, power to the people. The Muslim-Muslim ticket of Abiola/Kingibe of 1993 was far much better than any Christian-Christian ticket that either APC or PDP may spin out now. This system has become so rotten and balkanized that it cannot produce anything better than what we have now, except to keep recycling their spent forces over and over again.
To be continued tomorrow
Adegboruwa is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN).