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Tag: 2011 General Election

MidWeekSpecial by Isiaq ‘Deji Hammed: In Quest for True Change

Isiaq 'Deji Hammed. An elephant does not pass by and you describe his presence with a wave of hand. He is a giant social media cum political commentator on matters of the Middle East and Africa, of particular interest is Nigeria. He shares his time between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia. ahjotnaija is proud to have him guestblog for us.

Isiaq ‘Deji Hammed.
An elephant does not pass by and you describe his presence with a wave of hand. He is a giant social media cum political commentator on matters of the Middle East and Africa, of particular interest is Nigeria. He shares his time between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia. ahjotnaija is proud to have him guestblog for us.

Just when you think it is time to take a deep breath and hibernate, albeit temporarily, from political debates and engagements, the Nigerian breed of politicians have their ways of reminding you that your plantains and yams can just not be safe in their hands. Tie those hands. Muzzle the snouts. For where? Theirs is a special specie of rapacious goat, never satiated. Always inclined to pillage and amass tons of yams and plantains which they never need; and never will. They are poised to go to any length in the pursuit of inordinate ambitions, surpassing all imaginable benchmarks of corruption.

There is fire on the mountain. The change project we invested so much in, indeed unquantifiable resources…all for the love of the fatherland…must not be gutted! For months. For more than a year. Increasing in intensity as the historic 2015 general elections drew near. Finally, vindication came. Rightly, the Nigerian hoi polloi saw in the Buhari’s victory the triumph of the enslaved majority over the enslaving minority. The advent of Buhari considered as one of theirs was for them the breaking of a new dawn, of liberation and of life more abundant.

Perhaps still basking in the euphoria and ecstasy of hard-won victory, little did they know that in the journey to freedom, the rain that fell has caused the pigeons and fowls to intermingle. The drama oozing out, for some times now, from the two hallowed chambers and which later culminated in this free-for-all show of shame lay to bare this stark reality. The need to separate the wheat from the chaff becomes an urgent imperative.

There is no mincing words. Having Dr Bukola Saraki as Senate President in this era is a monumental disaster. Senator Ali Ndume as Senate Majority Leader is another national mishap. These folks have heavy moral and ethical burdens which in saner climes require quarantining from public positions until names are cleared. Among other lawbreakers who will make laws, perform oversight functions, approve federal budgets and Presidential appointments aside other critical national duties for the rest of us are Stella Oduah, Buruji Kashamu, David Mark etc. Too much a burden for a people so desirous of change.

One begins to wonder if the President will have enough breathing space in this kind of scenario. Too often than not the masses get carried away with presidential and gubernatorial polls that they forget about the parliamentary leg of the tripod upon which rest the affairs of governance of the state. In short, Buharism has caused strange bedfellows to share a cage. Reason things began to fall apart and everything is no longer at ease. The consequences of that mob-instinct non-discriminatory block-votes are as legion and as catastrophic. The anything-but-this-party mentality born out of the twin brothers of blind love/detest for a person/group explains partly the appalling situation the Osun State economy has plunged into.

In the 2011 general elections, the people of Osun, like most electorates in the recent elections, voted for anyone with the portrait of Ogbeni Aregbesola on his or her campaign poster (and recently for anyone with APC logo). The end result being an Assembly of yes-yes men who (fore-)see not, criticise not, scrutinise not, pre-empt not… thus the ambitious Governor became carried away with the worries of where Osun ought to be, the state began to bite more than it could chew. Among these yes-yes men was no single voice of wisdom to caution the overzealous Ogbeni; particularly on the need to create rooms for days like these! There were hardly debates on the necessity of saving up for rainy days. The consequence stares us in the face: Today Osun cannot meet its statutory financial obligations to its teeming worker. For months. The state economy remains grounded. Such is the price of mob-instinct, blind followership and polity devoid of  constructive opposition.

Back to NASS. With the emergence of these crops of lawbreakers, who are poised to hijack this victory from us, is a clear reminder to the change agents that the battle is not won yet. We have realised our electoral faux pas already. Once bitten,  twice shy.  Saraki and his accomplices must understand that it is no longer business as usual. It will be in their best interest to fall in line, become truly born-again and swim with the tide of change. Buhari’s call for an alliance between the grandparents and the children against their prodigal parents resonated very well amongst the youth demographic. It may need re-echoing here:

In recent times Nigerian leaders appear to have misread our mission. Our founding fathers, Mr Herbert Macauley, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto, Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Malam Aminu Kano, Chief J.S. Tarka, Mr Eyo Ita, Chief Denis Osadeby, Chief Ladoke Akintola and their colleagues worked to establish certain standards of governance. They might have differed in their methods or tactics or details, but they were united in establishing a viable and progressive country. Some of their successors behaved like spoilt children breaking everything and bringing disorder to the house. (President Buhari’s Inaugural Speech, May 2015)

These children of anger have vowed to support anybody that embodies that hope for a changed nation where they will have access to the basic necessities for a decent living and where their future will be secured. They expressed that vow through their protest votes that humiliated the men of yesterdays out of power. And they will not rest on their oars but resist any person or group of persons that try to thwart their dreams. That resistance is palpable in their eternal vigilance and clamour for open NASS, paycuts, reduced numbers of political appointees and other waste in governance.

One step at a time. Ordinarily, it should not be hard to whip the likes of Saraki back to line. Since they have cases to answer with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The presidential declaration “I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody” definitely excludes those that do not want to belong. Those will be the reactionary and conservative forces who excluded themselves from the fatherly open arms of Mr President and his extended hands of fellowship. The President should not hesitate in wielding the proverbial big stick against the recalcitrant who may want to rubbish his good name and frustrate the actualisation of the social contracts he entered into with the Nigerian masses.

The critical role of continued pressure and monitoring of elected representatives by the masses immediately the elections are over cannot be overemphasised. Eternal vigilance is indeed the price of freedom. The processes of impeachment and recall are not just mere clauses of embellishment in our constitution. They are potent weapons of checks and balances of the led on the excesses and arrogance of power-intoxicated leaders. They should therefore be guarded jealously and used when necessary. Needless to tolerate politicians’ rascality for another 4 years waiting for the routine election rituals. A single day in the life of a nation is too important to be wasted, not to talk of years.

Nigerian youth demographic will do well to infiltrate the ranks and files of the two main parties, namely APC and PDP, and redirect the course of things to their advantage. Since they bear the brunt of corrupt governance the most. If democracy is a game of numbers, then they have the numerical advantage in their kitty. They should decide and and not be decided for. Only youth-oriented and  ideologically-inclined parties can provide the needed third force to swing the balance in favour of the masses, especially when the politicopreneurs and gerontocrats are lost in self-serving power tussles and stalemates.

Fast-Forward to FeBuhari 14! 2015

Dear President Buhari,

So, now that President Jonathan finally lost this election, I welcome us all to the new reality. Nigeria has a new president, and he is not a PDP-President! There are lessons to learn, but I will spare us that because I am afraid we just might not care. We are still feeling high from a victory well deserved. Finally this Jonathan is gone! Ibanuje lo!

Until yesterday, President Jonathan was Nigeria’s worst headache. Now that the old headache is gone, I hope President Buhari will not be a worse nightmare. The next 100 days will be decisive in foretelling the course this presidency. The tone of reconciliation struck after your landslide victory is a welcome development, but not unexpected. Humility in victory is our culture.

While we accept that this is our cultural good, we must be willing to hold accountable the past government to her corruption and abuse of office. Perpetrators must not be left off the hook. A precedent is necessary. If anything, it will signal, that come 2019 we shall not be unwilling, just like we welcome you like a donkey-riding messiah, to pursue you out of office once again with our votes if you fell short of fullfilling every promises made.

There is no excuse for non-performance. You knew Nigeria was a liability before you promised heaven and earth to make her work again. My yardstick for a successful Buhari presidency shall be this: A comparable report-sheet to Governor Fashola’s first term in Lagos state. Anything short is epic failure. Governor Fashola WORKED every single day in his first term. Think of this: Fashola was so confident his report-sheet was strong enough to win him a second term. And it did! If Asiwaju Tinubu had dared to play dirty by not returning him for another term, he would have successfully killed himself politically. Here is the thing: Good work speaks for itself! We must hold your presidency to this standard. That is another precedence we must set.

The job of the new president is clearly cut out for him. We need not remind that the last president whom you replace, in fact, made this new job more difficult. For this reason we shall be terribly sincere in our criticism, give little room for error and shout even louder if you tried to force sh*t policies down our throat. Maybe we need tell you that one of the attack dogs of the former president referred to us as children of anger. Yes, that is exactly who we are! Collective children of anger! Call us anything, ebu o so! Abuse nor dey gum body! We are only interested in one thing alone: That you do your job by fullfilling the mountain of promises you made.

At this point, I shall remind of a campaign advert I saw in your name. The video declared: Electricity generation is not rocket science. Well, Mr. President, we know this, previous governments knew this truth. We are happy that a president finally hit the nail on the head. Yes! Power generation and supply is simple as ABC, the thing now is, abeg, fullfill your promise!

We shall hardly be willing to compromise on this matter. I hope you understand what this means and why we shall shift no ground particularly on light. Over 50 years of constant darkness and epileptic supply coupled with uncountable-monies soldier-politicians had embezzled in that sector! Add to that the fact that you were once Head of State to perfect our suspicion and uncompromising stance on this matter.

Well, to help you, and I believe I am speaking for NIGERIANS as a whole, if you give us in your first term TWO YEARS of uninterrupted power supply, in Lagos, Kano, Onitsha, Agbor, Okene and in the remotest/most obscure place in Nigeria, not only is your second term guaranteed, your name shall forever be written in gold even in minds of children yet unborn! President Buhari, we can only enjoin you to think of Chief Awolowo and FreeEducation legacy. I hope two years of constant power supply will be one of your legacy in the next four years.

I will not want to beat the matter on your promises too much, but be reminded that there are millions of Nigerians who are banking on your word. The Awujale of Ijebu is one of your best fans. Hear the king of kings talk about you: You can take General Buhari’s word to the bank and you will get paid! Mr. President, sincerely I do not envy you, because for real, you are in a tight corner right now. If you fuck up (permit my colloqual), you have not only ruined your present presidency and APC’s image, the cult built around your presonality so far is forever shattered.

Remember sir, up till your landslide win in the just concluded election, your past achievements as a soldier and HoS are most controversial. I need not remind you of your dark days. For those who excused your many missteps on the ground of youthfulness, circumstances and other things, they shall forever be silenced and monumentally disappointed. As for those who are certain that you were and still will be a disastrous choice for Nigeria, they finally will be right. In short, Nigerians will finally listen to Ikhide Ikheloa’s warning that APC is PDP! Well, if you don’t know what Ikhide thinks about you, I will tell you now: He is strongly convinced you and your party are a worse latrine than PDP is! I bet you don’t want to confirm his warning cum prophecy.

Another thing: There could be nothing more humiliating for you and your legacy if we have to kick your bottom out of Aso-Rock for underperformance. Remember, Nigerians are fond of sincerely singpraising achievements of past tyrants, rulers and presidents especially if the incumbent is an underperformer! In your case, that would mean, President Jonathan will be better placed and praised for his achievements! I am sure you don’t want history to deal with you this way.

Talking about APC being PDP, I am presently most likely to agree with this submission. Looking away for once from PDP-like corrupt moneybags in the senior rank and file of APC, practically all heavyweight of PDP decamped to your party. Remember, old habits die hard. These are people who are never interested in anything but their own pocket. Chief Obasanjo technically jilted his beloved PDP to get you elected, IBB declared for you. Shehu Shagari self sent spokesperson to disown claim that he was in anyway going the way of the person you replaced! All these people in your carriage are mega-thieves, commonwealth looters and everything-wrong-with-nigeria.

You know this, but your starkest footsoldiers assured the path you followed were simply unavoidable, needed to win you the presidency. I agree, dealcutting is as old as politics. I am only afraid this challenge will stick with you throughout your presidency. If you are not careful, exactly these terrible decampees and weight-givers shall be your undoing.

Many talks will not fill a basket, so I shall address one more matter before I rest. Senator Yerima. In order of relation, he is a closer kinsman to you than me. I heard with one ear that this man is now in APC. They even said he was in a committee who worked for your election. I hope you know too that he was/is married to a 13 year old girl. His justification is simple: he exploited a loophole in the constitution which regards every married female as having come of age. Plus he has many other justufications, his religious conviction being an influence too. This man has your confidence, so we believe you can talk to him in a tongue he understands. Not only that, please we want you to push for a consitutionally standard age and definition of who a child is, male or female in Nigeria.

Abeg, call on the wisdom of your lawyer professor vice president to close this Yerima-loopholes in the constitution. I can only call on your humanity and your high standard of morality to safe our children from constitutionally sanctioned rape and abuse. Our childten, particularly the female ones, have more than enough suffering already to chew, the possibility of being constititionally fucked by a Senator Yerima need not be added permanently to their taste-bud. They deserve to be who they are, namely CHILDREN!

Mr. President, sir, I have on your behalf greeted those who wished you lost the presidency to your incumbent-challenger. They showed strong spirit of sportsmanship in the contest. They deserved to be so well-greeted. That President Jonathan won over 19 million votes clearly confirmed he was a worthy contestant. He had the suppirt base. Omi lo kan poju oka lo!

For the Jonathan supporters, to whom sportsmanship is a strangeness, I have appealed to them to give you the benefit of 100 days in office. Around that time, you will have shown enough color via your statements, appointments etc to determine policy direction of your government. They gave me their word. They will wait till then before they start wishing/confirming your failure.

Also, I did not forget to warn my two friends and brothers who happened to be your staunchest admirers. Babawale Biyi gave me his word that he will not withold from telling it to your face you fail if you indeed fail. Isiaq ‘Deji is not ready to imagine you might fall our hand. These two brothers and supporters, like all your supporters/Nigerians, deserve no disappointment from you, sir!

I heard Fani-Kayode flew hurriedly out of the country few hours ago. You know he was a man of full of political tactlessness. He left nobody in doubt he was fleeing political persecution. He left no word as to destination. Governor Fayose is presently still at large, most likely on medical leave in Germany. He left words that he had wished your death only out of political desperation. He meant no evil and hoped that upon his return his messenger of peace will have reached your doormot!

Madam Petroleum Minister Deziani will not run away. She believes she robbed nobody. Madam Iweala has since been returned to where we borrowed her from. Okojonomics will apparently never work in Nigeria! Madam was undaunted to the end. Your excellency, you need to sight her gele at the airport to confirm for yourself that her head was high and her spirit undampened!

On a final note, I must not forget to remind your excellency, sir, that I have since, upon hearing of your landslide victory, ordered the barman to bring me another two bottles of APC and PDP. Actually, I wanted my usual sepe-mixture to wash your victory, but e nor dey. That was how I washed Jonathan’s victory in 2011. I am not ashamed I did because it was nothing personal. It is a game of politics. Actually, many friends knew I was washing Jonathan’s victory back then in anticipation of this day FeBUHARI 14, 2015! I knew I was going to survive the past four years because I am Naija! I am larger than your predecessors. So that you know, I will survive the next four years too come what may and I am already getting ready for 2019.

Yours sincerely,

Ahjot Naija

Tanimomo’s Piece of Mind (TPoM): Our President Wants Second-Term!

Mr. Tanimomo is a scholar resident in Germany. He guest-blogs on http://www.ahjotnaija.wordpress.com He is author of the popular bi-weekly: Tanimomo’s Piece of Mind (TPoM).

Mr. Tanimomo is a scholar resident in Germany. He guest-blogs on http://www.ahjotnaija.wordpress.com He is author of the popular bi-weekly: Tanimomo’s Piece of Mind (TPoM).

Nigeria is one country that voted for a man because he declared *I had no shoes*. Nigerians certainly forgot in that moment the man in question is a career-politician with nearly 20 years of active naija-politicking. This man came around wearing a bowler hat on black traditional attire to declare he had no shoes. The contradiction could not have been more stark.

An acquaintance once counseled, *don’t ask a politician what he will do. He might lie. Ask him what he has done and you will know who he is*. Apparently, this wise counsel we largely ignored in 2011.

When President Jonathan contested, Nigerians did not bother to ask him how he had spent his nearly 20 years of service as Assitant Director of OMPADEC, Deputy Governor, Governor, Vice President and President.

I suspect the godluck-fever was infectious, the dreams were high, it was desirable, the air was fresh and breathtaking and he was a ‘god-fearing’ man. So, we refused to harken to wise counsel, we refused to judge the man by the work of his hands. En masse, sans rigging, the gentleman from Otuoke became the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.

Recent happenings are pointers to the fact that a large chair does not make a king. This president voted on good intentions has failed the electorate woefully. In spite of the numerous failures trailing the administration of the incumbent, it is unfortunate that our PhD-President is seeking a second term. It is irresponsible to go back to a lender of seed-yams to borrow more seed-yams, justifying/blaming such return on beetles, who ate up the previously borrowed seed-yams!

Worse is, this big fish, namely the president makes an enemy of those who point out the weaknesses in his sense of judgment. He is the proverbial man with head full of lice. Come to think of it: Should the man from whose head lice are being removed be ungrateful?

Personally, I am against baseless judgments and unnecessary comparisons. Like grand-ma would say, *you will kill one child for the other if you compare children*. So, considering objective performance yardsticks in critiquing the president’s, he still is not living up to expectation. Impeaching this president for underperforming would not have been exaggerated.

Since the needful is not being done to expedite the removal of a lameduck president, the electorate is left with the singular option of removal via the ballot box. This last option is needful at this moment of our collective existence as a country.

We don’t want a president, who aids corruption and abates transparence. Corruption at the moment is at an all-time high. Not only are many officials corrupt, the president encourages, embezzlement, bribery and nepotism. Think of Oduahgate, Otehgate, the outcome of the fuel subsidy saga, Nuhu Ribadu’s report etc. Till date there are no clear explanations for the removal of fuel subsidy. Worse still, accountability seems to be the elusive leopard in the oil sector.

It needs not get worse. We must stop this economic hemorrhage. A fastest way to halt this cancer is to deny President Jonathan a second term. His infamous statement *stealing is not corruption* only lends credence to the argument that the president is both unguarded in speech and governance. One can only wonder what statements he shall utter if he won a second term!

See, we all know this: If you watch your pot, your food will not burn. Boko Haram insurgence grew out of proportion mainly because the president delayed the arrest of the situation. It would not have been a bad idea if he had ordered the Nigerian Military to wage a full-blown war on these insurgents.

Furthermore, his late response to Chibok Kidnapping is far from being commander-in- chief-like; it is, to say the least, disappointing and cowardly. Does a man not know when he has pepper in his eyes? Is it not annoying that in spite of the security challenge that we face, with no respite in sight, the president still wants a second term? This president has a full mouth of challenges already, so one wonders what he needs another mouthful for?

A child that will sell on spot-price the family house plus other valuable properties therein shall not hide his bastardly character even as a child. Every time I think of another four years of a Jonathan presidency, the duo of Ohimai and Reno Omokri come to mind. Not only have these two disappointed this generation by churning out blatantly stupid lies, praising to high heavens phantom successes of the president, they continually stifle the voice(s) of reasoning. I can only imagine the enormous power these two moral criminals will wield by 2019 if President Jonathan wins another term.

These two and others who enjoy present windfall will not only have earned millions to step into the shoes of existing corrupt politicians, they will also have religion-power to cajole Nigerians into doing their biddings. Maxims like *Rome was not built in a day*, *E go better* etc will then sell well like widely coveted hot Akara at sunset during Ramadan.

If a load is too heavy to carry, one will do well to give the load to the ground to carry. It seems the burden of the presidency is too heavy for our president to carry, the responsible thing to do is to turn a deaf ear to sycophants who are *begging* him to contest again.

So having said so much, allow me to end on this note: The president should be reminded that no one forgets the discussion of yesternight just because (s)he went to bed. Therefore, we shall not forget the missing 20 Billion Naira, Nigeria Immigration recruitment sham, his incessant travels etc.

Really, in saner climes, President Jonathan’s oral submision of Nigeria’s sovereignty by inviting a stranger *to come and fix Nigeria* would have earned him an impeachment. We have not forgotten this jamtalk too.

The sumtotal of all these matters is evident enough to prevent this incumbent president a second term. He doesn’t deserve it.

GMB or GEJ: If Nigeria had the choice!

Yes, it is no use to cry over spilled milk. But it can be very helpful to discuss how the milk spilled; and particularly what spilled it. The 2011 General Election is the proverbial spilled milk.

If there was a repeat of the 2011 General Election, given the same choice of presidential candidates, would Nigerians have overwhelmingly voted for President Jonathan (GEJ) or chosen to stake a bet on General Mohammadu Buhari (GMB), a man who overthrew democratically elected government? Understandably, the overthrown government was terrible, but fact is, it was elected and GMB coup d’etat-ed it!

The choices with which confronted the people in the election is best reflected in Oladapo Ajayi’s submission, when he wrote,

the voice of the people was clearly heard in a particular election where the winner won less than 45 percent of total votes cast. The other two contestants had lesser percentages, but the winner was clearly not popular enough to have carried the day, and the people were smart enough to confront him with the situation in that they did not vote overwhelmingly for him. The people knew who they did not want, but they did not know who to follow. (Paraphrased)

Same can be said of both presidential candidates in the General Election. President Jonathan would clearly have been nobody’s choice, even in the South-South (his region), and the wider South (South-West, South-East and part of the Middle Belt).

There are obviously uncountable alternatives. Presenting the people with GEJ as flagbearer from these regions was to say they had no better person to offer. It was more than a slap in the face! Southern Nigeria is indeed not so scantily populated with people who are mentally and otherwise better equipped! GEJ was not the people’s choice from the South.

The people had no choice in this matter! They made do with what confronted them. Especially since he was from that part of the country (South-South). The people voted for him singularly because he is one of them. It must not be forgotten that the influence of kinsman’s politics cannot be over-emphasized in the present political formation in the country.

GMB was no better choice/alternative. GMB recognized quick enough he had to sell himself to the Southern electorate (particularly South-West). This informed his choice of a running mate. Unfortunately, the controversial Pastor Tunde Bakare could not singularly win the South-West. By the way, many felt Pastor Tunde was an electoral liability.

GMB was clearly a choice in the CORE-North with mainly Hausa dominance. The North-Central and the Middle Belt were not necessarily fully in support of his candidature. Therefore, calling the two regions for him would be jump-conclusive. States like Adamawa, Borno, Yobe, Gombe and Taraba are not necessarily places one can call GMB’s stronghold. There are elements in those states, who would gladly run him down, if they had their way!

And they did, going by the result from these states. Of course, the abracadabra of PDP politics of election results to favor GEJ was clearly visible. The fact that GMB’s dwindling popularity in these parts of the country worked against him too is plausible.

Beyond opinions and permutations of politics, GMB’s past was (and still is) a liability too big for him to bear. It stands always in his way whenever he declared to run for the president’s office. His atrocities are always published in major national dailies when General Election was just by the door.

His political assailants always REMEMBER NOT TO FORGET. They remind the people of GMB’s true personalities. I would not blame them. Indeed, GMB’s brutality as military dictatorship cannot be brushed out of national memory that quickly. Not even when the sufferers of his brutality are still here to accuse him.

He was, like many other Generals, a looter of national treasure. (In-)directly, the looting was carried out under his very watch. Nepotism, double standards among many other vices were the order of the day during his time in the state house. That he declared absolute intolerance to corruption, while his cronies plundered the commonwealth, made his sins indeed too mighty to forgive.

I certainly would be unwilling to advise memory refreshers of GMB’s (moral) crimes and atrocities to stop. Thank Goodness, freedom of expression is assured. Not that alone, it is in the interest of the country. At least if nothing is achieved beyond contributing to GMB’s continuous loss, it has undoubtedly achieved something worth applauding. The sins of the General are catching up with him! If that might keep him from winning any election at all in the country, one would gladly want to keep doing just that!

Apart from a past as Achilles heel, Nigeria really has had enough of recycled leadership. The country needs fresh minds to occupy political offices; not necessarily the youth. The new leaders can be as old as any of the present household names in the corridors of power, but at least not any of these old criminals! The likes of GMB really have no more good to offer Nigeria. GMB had his chance and he blew it!

Now, considering GMB colossal incredibility, I return to GEJ. He is certainly not new in politics, but not old enough to be categorized as a relevant player in mainstream politics prior ascendancy to power. Of course, Chief Obasanjo’s calculation was to install a marionette. Notwithstanding his relative newness in national politics, he certainly learned enough from his benefactors to make him a terrible choice of a president.

Apart from the obvious handicaps, he is certainly a sell-out candidate, who would be ready to mortgage Nigeria to the lowest bidder. In trying to fight off being a marionette to old benefactor(s), he acquired new masters (more terrible than those he fought off).

For different reasons, some rooted for GMB, some for GEJ during the 2011 General Election. To be fair, the people had no choice. They certainly would have voted neither for GMB nor GEJ. It is not unimaginable that a President GMB would not perform differently than when he was a dictator. Yes, he now has a check (democracy), but Nigerians know better. The legislature as it is, is not a credible discharger of any check and balance. Those Senators and Honorables have too much to worry about than willingly do the job of a watchdog, not even when they can be bribed to keep quiet.

A GMB presidency might be as good a nightmare as a GEJ’s. GEJ’s woes need not be listed one after the other. They are too obvious, even the blind can see!

Now, of what benefit exactly is the point of the analysis so far? It is this: we might not have who to follow presently, but we certainly know those we do not want as leaders or show-er of path! Yes, the electorate is tired of GEJ’s leadership. It must not be left unsaid however, that GMB is no alternative either! The country needs somebody else.

The people know exactly who that person is when they see one. It must be clearly said therefore: WE WANT ANYTHING BUT FAILURE AS PRESIDENT COME 2015!

 

NOTE: This piece was written and published (not on AhjotNaija) over a year ago. This is an edited/bettered version. The original message remains unchanged

Clarion Call: Newer Wind of Change in Nigeria’s Politics Now! by Ides Mildred Aziegbe

Mildred Aziegbe is a Nigerian youth and a very strong advocate for political tolerance, women and minority rights among many other issues. She comments and writes on many issues, particularly Nigerian and the world at large. She can be connected/followed on Facebook and other social media.

Mildred Aziegbe is a Nigerian youth and a very strong advocate for political tolerance, women and minority rights among many other issues. She comments and writes on many issues, particularly Nigerian and the world at large. She can be connected/followed on Facebook and other social media.

I graduated from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife in 2008 after spending 6 years for a four year course. We, the alumni usually like to call it Great Ife, for that, I reserve my comments because this is not the point of my post. In 2004, after about six months stay at home strike caused by rioting students, I accompanied one of my friends to the Student Union Assembly in the Amphi Theater to witness one of their sessions. The session was so violent that students and leaders were hurling stones, pure water sachet and whatever they could lay their hands on, at one another. The bone of contention was that some leaders had embezzled funds and they had to be impeached. In all my life, I had never seen such an unruly crowd. I was lucky that day that I escaped unhurt and I made up my mind never to attend any of their sessions again. That day, almost all the leaders of the Union were impeached including the President.

The same year was an election year. Amongst the contestants was a very fine and intelligent young chap from Computer science. He was never among the crop of so called Union leaders who were part of the old political parties. He was fresh and not politically inclined like the others we used to know. In short, he was a fine boy. Many “ordinary” students were drawn to him. Students who were not usually part of the electoral process were interested including myself. I wanted him to win. With my usual self, I campaigned hard for him although he never knew my name or knew if I existed. I went to all his rallies and encouraged my friends to vote for him. At last he won. That year was the most peaceful year in my six years in that school. However, the old dogs could not stand him. He did not bend to their will neither did he go the way of the formal leaders. Luckily, he escaped unhurt and graduated in flying colours. This was a turning point in OAU because the political consciousness had been awakened especially among females who were instrumental to his win. For the first time, females came out en mass to vote.

Nevertheless, the old goons struck back. In the next election, they supported a candidate who had been suspended several times and was part of the old dogs. A new chap also came on board. He campaigned and behaved like the outgoing president but this time, he was unable the overcome them. The old dogs fought back and fought dirty. On election day, some girls were stopped from voting in some faculties. Ballot boxes were hijacked and stuffed with fake thumb printed electoral voters. These so called student leaders who always fought the school authorities and claimed to stand for social injustice massively rigged the school elections in favour of their candidate. I was gob-smacked at the hypocrisy of the highest order. How could they? I thought they were clean young chaps in school politics. The future leaders of our generation in Nigeria. They claimed to fight for good education, standard facilities, injustice from the school and government. If they could not tolerate losing political power at that stage of politics and their lives, how could they tolerate opposition when they get to the helm of power in Nigeria, I thought. Then it dawned on me that my generation was as guilty as the past. They don’t behave any different. They are not tolerant neither are they uncompromising. I was disappointed. I made up my mind then and there never to trust anyone fighting against established authorities in any name they choose to call it.

Recently during the 2011 elections, I supported GEJ. I openly campaigned for him. Some of my friends were unhappy. I never expect anyone to support or endorse my views. In short, that is why we are different. We see things in different light. The day all of my friends begin to agree with every and anything I say will be the day I re-evaluate their friendship. However, I got to know some people’s true colours. All in the name of political candidacy, a friend called me all sort of names. One deleted me from BBM. Another deleted me from facebook. I was overwhelmingly shocked. Even friends???? If they cannot tolerate another friend with a different opinion without losing the friendship or resorting to name calling, how can they tolerate opposition if they ever get to power. It means they can kill if they have the opportunity to. Hmmm, this democracy and freedom of speech is not an easy thing.

In 2014, I see the same trend. That I openly support GEJ is not news. What is news is that friends continue to delete me off facebook. One recently did that again. Another one set up a fictitious account to say all sorts about me. Kai, on top Nigerian matter when dem no dey even pay us sef? Na wa!!!!! Now, if we as young people cannot tolerate other views and opinions when we are not wielding power, how can we do that when the authority eventually falls on us. And we claim to be the leaders of tomorrow. In a democracy, opposition is crucial. Without it, the government easily falls into dictatorship. Why then can we not tolerate? Why do we always resort to violence, insults or use of demeaning words when people don’t hold the same views as ours? Is it a Nigerian thing? Someone told me that it is because of the years of military rule. Our senses have been bastardized and what we understand is force, that even a past leader continue to be praised for introducing a program that flogs people publicly in the name of discipline. I as a grown woman, do I need to be flogged or slapped before I do the right thing? Is that form of punishment the only way to correct a people or a nation? Maybe it is true. We have been so tormented that we do not even know how to tolerate again. We have been so dehumanized that we only understand violence and force. When students dissent with authorities or decide to protest, the first thing they do is to burn cars and destroy properties. In OAU, some even went as far as beating the vice chancellor. What is wrong with us? I thought as young people, we will be different but we are worse.

To conclude, 2015 elections are around the corner. I only pray that it does not resort to violence. I pray we learn to tolerate. I do not have to like every body but I can tolerate people and learn to live with them peacefully even if I don’t buy their ideas. Young people in Nigeria should be different but it is unfortunate that we decide to tow this path. We need enlightenment and re-education of our minds. Civilised people have learned to co-exist peacefully because the wilderness is for people of unrefined minds who think that the only way to solve their problems with fellow inhabitants is to exterminate them. I only hope I do not live with such animals in Nigeria or have them as friends.

Attention: This piece is a Facebook update. http://www.ahjotnaija.wordpress.com believes very strongly in the public relevance and interest of the issues addressed therein. The opinion and view expressed are those of the writer.

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