ajagunna

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Tag: PDP

BreakingNews: MIN Ambassadors Visit President Buhari in London!

“Agba to so agbado modi, lo so ara re di alawada ediye” Yoruba Proverb

Buhari is clinically dead. No, Buhari is dead. No, Buhari is dead and his handlers wouldn’t let us the people of Nigeria, we voted for him overwhelmingly in the last presidential election, mourn a good man in peace. He actually was an evil man, but one doesn’t talk ill of the dead. He deserved all the good and badwill, he worked his life off gathering them in tons. He was part of Nigeria civil war by the war, a repeat of which Nnamdi Kanu is not calling for, but this same president is encouraging with all his body language and actions, right from Nigeria to London in his dying hours.
Meanwhile, two people from MIN, don’t ask what that is, just Google, (MIN is a very powerful group feared by the Aso Rock Cabal on and off Facebook, if that description epps)they visited Buhari in London, the same Buhari that the Cabal prevented our Dearest Aisha, the wife of our dying president, from seeing. The two MIN ambassadors saw him.

buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari

First of all, he’s taking his Nigerian drugs, I mean Buhari is taking his drugs, no fears, the ones that our doctors packed in his aeroplane parked in London hanger, very expensive place to sleep for a Nigerian aeroplane and strange too. No sun, no rain, nothing, nada for the poor aeroplane. We will come to that later.
Meanwhile, Nigerians, knowing what hell the poor creature is facing, have been calling for his immediate retrieval home, I mean the aeroplane, not the person it carried across the ocean, but Femi Adesina, the mouthpiece, whose son is now a pilot, not that the son flew Buhari to London o, he’s not involved, but his father has been talking about him plenty of times these days since Buhari absconded office, it was this Adesina who said Buhari is not dead, as if we needed any confirmation of his being alive, and that tje aeroplane should wait there, not considering what the people are saying. He said many more things which this book cannot contain.
Back to MIN, they saw him and laughed out loud, with the president of course. Who wan die laughing at a sick president! One of the MIN ambassadors is a man disguised as a woman, the president didn’t notice, he’s so sick. If not, he would have been wondering who brought a kitchen material into a hospital space. No respect. Our president is that tactless, no respect for Angela Merkel, Germany’s powerful Chancellor. It was in her presence Buhari shamed his own wife, the wife he married in the right way, Yoruba will say, nisuloka, with yams and yamflower. Poor Aisha I cried when I heard the news and saw the video for myself .
Anyway, this is not about my emotions, back to the president matter. He’s hale and healthy, even Asiwaju is short of words at the moment, Asiwaju The Great. Yoruba oni gbagbe e lailai! It was Obasanjo who gave us Yaradua. Asiwaju topped that in record time. Another dying president sold to us in a beautiful package! APC! The packaging powerful! How did we buy the elephant in the house?! Just how?! All our great people, the intelligentsia in America and Europe and the abroad, they are now calling it what it is, a bad market, but before now, they swore on their own lives that we had no better alternative at that moment.
Meanwhile, one MIN member back then was shouting so loud he lost his voice. He said and I quote: “my people, vote for Jonathan and go and vomit thereafter, it will not kill you if you vomit early enough.” He said so many other great things, like, let me quote again : “APC and PDP are latrines, my people, I advice you as a proud MIN, choose the latrine with two P in it, the one that featured Jonathan as president.” End of quote.
Not that Jonathan was the best Nigeria had to offer, but this MIN member was sincere enough to admit we were already screwed and Jonathan would screw us slower than this unlimited screwing we have been enduring from Buhari since that we can’t take it no more. As I was saying, many many quotes, check them out yourselves on Google, they are everywhere. They littered everywhere some Cabal blocked this selfless Nigerian self for the great effort to save Nigeria from us. That’s history.
Now back to the visit. Buhari spoke not in Hausa this time. He was polite he chose Edo, the language of the Gods, a dialect of The Great Yoruba Language. Alright. Alright. Is alright. No quarrel, yet is not about language or dialect that is not dialect or important, that discussion will come later. For now, it’s about the body language of the president. He’s suffering from speech impairment. Sahara Reporters don’t do fake news. They are real. To be sincere, the president is in bad shape. I have known and seen people in his condition. He deserved all the pity and prayers in the world.
The latter will help no more though. He cursed the Gods too many times they have chosen to ignore any of the latter that involved the name of our president. A tip: When saying a prayer for him, do not mention his name. I repeat, avoid mentioning his name. Just pray.
Some badbelle people are saying the photos from the MIN people are photoshopped. Others say, and so what?! We are okay with them like that. All we are saying is for President Buhari to come home hail and hearty. We love him that much. Dead or alive, just bring hin home, his family doesn’t deserve this shame. Let a good man be brought home with dignity. President Buhari is not like this. It’s people who have been laundering his image since he happened to our public consciousness decades ago. And till today. Lies! Lies!! Lies!!! Imagine how quick bad names stick. Only that in this case, Buhari did all the bad bad things people said. At least, this presidency is a nightmare already, and people are saying this is even childsplay, it pales in comparison to the terribleness of Buhari’s first coming. Is like, the more we are screwed, the juicier it gets for the old and new brigade alike. The politicians and their sidekicks, the people.
I am speechless but not speech impaired. Thank goodness. Anyway, before we lost thread of the conversation, we are still looking for our President, someone said he’s in hiding, seeking asylum in London, some said he’s dying. We are not sure sha, but we know he’s dying. All our Great Dibia from the North are not seeing good things. Imams from the East are speaking with one voice, not seeing anything different. According to Ifa priests from where they are from, there’s tunnel at the end of the darkness. The Babalawo of Osborne is at rest, he believes the Imams and The Dibia and The Ifa priests. Nothing evil, no evil shall happen to our president. Ten thousand shall fall by the right, tens of thousand by the left, none of this shall befall him. I believe too, like the #halleluyahchallenge, Nigeria will survive it. Let us pray.

Finally! Mr Muhammadu Buhari is President!

President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari

President Buhari is Inaugurated. For the first time in 16 years Nigeria will today inaugurate a president who emerged from the opposition in the March/April 2015 General Elections. The hithero ruling party PDP will occupy the opposition- a role it has thus far despised as being responsible for badmouthing Nigeria’s huge achievements while the party ruled the country into the mother of all ruins. The realization of a dream it is for the new president, but a larger dream come true it is for Nigerians because they worked tirelessly to vote out the incompetent incumbent. The till yesterday incumbent President Jonathan was the worst president to ever happen to Nigeria by all standards. We congratulate President Buhari on his inauguration and wish him a successful first term in this historic presidency.

Tanimomo’s Piece of Mind (TPoM): Three-And-A-Half Thoughts

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).

Many thoughts on my mind, all seeking for attention, I will develop them into something more elaborate in the future, but in the meantime, these thoughts outdid others.

Thought 1: Nigeria is not a bad country because we are bad people, Nigeria is bad because we have no structures. This thought seems trite but let’s look at it this way. As a student at Obafemi Awolowo University, someone who looked like a professor chided us for trying to cross a lawn through a clearly cut footpath around the faculty of Social Sciences. He took us all the way to America and Germany; places he claimed he had visited and he did not find such footpaths on lawns. So today I saw on German soil, one highly organized country in the world and I am like ‘this professor can lie for Africa sef!’

It proves that as humans, we all want the fast route. What sensible governments have done is to place rewards and punishments for law upholders and law offenders respectively, at least to a very large extent. It has not been as easy as getting LaCasera in a hold-up though – it’s a process that has undergone trial and errors, re-workings and adjustments.

Thought 2: Let the search for an alternative opposition party begin; the PDP is a bad party bereft of initiatives and sound arguments. Innovation is as scarce in their meetings as finding a man of integrity is in their party. Since after elections, they seem to have lost their voices until the president-elect took a wrong step by barring AIT from reporting his activities. Nothing on the PWC report, not that APC was that constructive as the opposition but you could find an atom of constructive criticism and intelligent hooliganism in their oppositions.

In the light of this, the All Progressives Congress needs close monitoring. I don’t know about other states but Lagos, which has the poster-boy of APC’s good governance (Gov Fashola) as its governor, has on several occasions experienced the high handedness of the bespectacled barrister-governor. Apart from the LASU fees which was rescinded after the party lost in Ekiti, the government has not been known to withdraw on its decisions. Think of the toll gates.

Thought 3: Can we talk about this ethnicity business? It is an open-secret that the various nations that make up Nigeria have not seem themselves as one yet. The last elections are testimony to this. So, should we revert to regionalism or form our own system of government the way we like it not necessarily within the scopes of what Western powers call democracy. This system of government and federalism should be built to recognize all the nations that make up Nigeria.

Also, the pretense and hypocrisy around the civil war has lasted a long time. In my opinion, there has been no other period in our collective history as a country when an overwhelming number of Nigerians have followed a conviction to that extent. So we have been thinking that the horrors of the civil war that saw extra-intelligent minds like Christopher Okigbo could be wished away General Gowon’s 3 R’s a la Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and ReCONciliation (You google that! 🙂 ).

The recent reference to this horrific event by a number of opinion writers and intellectuals is a reminder of what is wrong with us. The war has no closure, the earlier we accept and retrace our steps the better. We are one big pretentious country! I read that at least 10,000 books have been written on the American civil war. We run away from our past praying it won’t catch up with us. I shake my head.

Thought 4: Why do girlfriends ask their boyfriends (and vice versa) to scream ‘I love you’ in crowded places? Most times, ‘victims’ of this emotional bullying know it is not for affection but a stamp, a roar to scare intruders away!

SundayStarter: Buhari to Kill Corruption! Elrufai to Chaseout Poverty! FOREVER!! Chai!!!

“@OakTVOnline: “I ask you to join me to chase out poverty forever”- Nasir El-Rufai @elrufai #KadunaState #FocusOnElRufai”

So, now that change has come, I can tell you a story. E ma ba mi kalo!

This morning was a reminder why I returned to Dortmund. Till today some friends and family would not stop joking my zealousness and positivity for Nigeria. I would not be told otherwise that Nigeria was not worth it! I was a strong believer in that country! I still am 🙂

Tumi ran up to me, cry-shouting while trying to let me know something was wrong. I could not figure out what could have gone wrong, so I shouted instruction at him. “You talk to me now so I know what is happening here! Talk! Talk!! Talk!!!” I held him in my arms. In my panic I was trying to figure out what could be wrong.

He had swallowed a sweet in error. It was painful and the stonelike sweet might be stuck in his throat or lungs. I left him standing, dashed into my room, grabbed my mobile phone to call the emergency service. I told the officer about my boy. I gave him my address and family name. “Yeah, that’s the name on the doorbell…Yeah…Thank you…See you.” I hung up.

When my babysitter rang, I knew it was not the emergency. I let her and her boyfriend into the appartment. I let them in on the incidence. We all waited together for the emergency to arrive. And they arrived! Less than ten minutes after my call for help. A young woman emergency doctor led the way. They were five in all.

Andre was surprised they came with two ambulance vehicles to attend to my son. He saw the vehicles when we got downstairs, on our way to Essen. I had been about to leave for Essen when the sweet incidence interrupted me at the kitchen-sink. I nodded and and answered a simple yeah to his wonderment.

Three and half year back. In my apartment. In Nigeria. Midnight. I had thought I was the only one who heard the sound of a gun. I refused to shake. Deep down I was scared like shit. Come to think of it, I had barely ten thousand naira in the whole house. A pregnant woman and other people’s children in my care. What would I have done if the thieves we heard came calling in the middle of the night had happened on us?! My worry cum fear knew no end.

When day broke and the pregnant woman in my house told me she heard the gunshot the other night, my worries notched up many inches. I could bear it still that Ibukun was mosquito-bitten. The big bite-wound would heal up soon enough to leave only scars and memories. But how would I deal with a pregnant woman inflicted with potential thief-visit hypertension?!

The last straw that broke my camel’s patience was a ride in a BRT enroute to Sango-Ota.

So, the driver switched on the airconditioner. It was yet to circulate the whole bus. We were lucky to be on this bus. Yes, lucky that the driver deemed us worthy our busfare to turn on the thing. What shall we have done if the thing was bad?

I thought it was a joke when two people began this argument. The other had opened the window, and the other argument-partner wanted him to close the window! Before long, other passengers joined. Some wanted more windows opened so the airconditioner could work better! Others joined the fight of the person who thought it good for us if the windows were closed. After a while, we did not know what the problem was, we were all shouting and cursing this-or-that.

I said “we” not because I was part of the madness. Of course not. The “we” is alone an indication of my presence on the bus. I was beginning to realize I was in the wrong place almost all the time.

I was deep in thought. Only days back I fought in a bank because they would not pay me my money because a friend had paid in the big money the same day. On a bike to work, I tried to make my rider understand why he deserved better than he had. He did not understand. Another woman exchanged harsh words with me because I had insisted on sitting comfortably on a seat I paid for on a bus etc etc.

I ran back to Europe disappointed, broken and broke!

Back home, I was beyond happy. Here I could be who I was: A poor teacher who earned so much I could afford the kind of comfort reserved for the likes of Buhari and the Lion of Bourdillon in Nigeria.

So, you think I am interested in political office or feel better when I shout on social media why no senator deserves a better life than a (homeless) child living in Ijoko-Ota or Igasi-Akoko with a secured future in poverty etc?!

No, I am not. I am fine without one.

I only wanted the wife of my uncle (your uncle too) with ten children or even more to know where to run to when a newphew swallowed a sweet in error. Even if his father has no money!

Yes! And it is not your grandfather’s fault he did not choose to die when he was young! After all, those would-be-grandfathers who did the other time lost their life in the immigration job scam!

Our cultures love old and young people, no matter what their background is. They deserve to live their old and young age in peace on a dignifying pension and secured social system!

After all, Jonathan will too. As of now, he is making plan to return to Otuoke with our stolen wealth. Like all PDP’ers who shall become APC member anytime soon, for loot and convenience sake.

Truth be told, Nigerians who are poor do not deserve the kind of poverty that torment them at present. They need not be this poor to begin with.

So, now that change has come, it must begin with the fulfillment of what El-Rufai promised on twitter yesterday (or at least what oaktv twittered that he said): I ask you to join me to chase out poverty forever! in Kaduna state.

Why wont I just believe the promise?! The forever part?! I don’t know.

Think of change this way: Two years uninterrupted electricity for all in Nigeria, LOYOLA/ABTI-standard schools for all and sundry, hospitals good enough to repair (yes! repair!) Tinubu’s leg and your legs in Nigeria etc etc.

Impossible?! Then, we might be in  for another PDP-arrangement of 16 year-democracy-scam! Achieved by 2019?! That will be kicking out poverty FOREVER and that is change!

WeekendStarter by Isiaq ‘Deji Hammed: Buhari’s Presidency is a Dream Come True

General Buhari

General Buhari

As some rightly put it, on the 1st of the Fourth month of the year, Muhammadu Buhari became the Fourth elected President of the Fourth Republic at his Fourth attempt. Mere coincidence!? Certainly this ascension to the highest office in the land by the first Opposition leader since Nigeria’s Independence in 1960  is jinx-breaking. The advent of the Nigerian Abraham Lincoln has forever demystified the Almighty incumbency factor at the central government.  The self-styled Africa’s largest political party, the PDP, taunted to rule for sixty consecutive years has been rebased to the “Africa’s largest opposition party”, albeit after just sixteen years. Perhaps they misheard their Seer’s prophecy and mistook six-teen for six-ty, or the said Seer is simply non-seeing.

One thing is definitely certain. Nigeria just opened a new page in her democratic history. A new dawn has broken. As the President-Elect aptly captured it in his acceptance speech : “You voted for change and now change has come”. And if these heavy-laden words are anything to go by, then Nigerians have just succeeded in replacing a bloody revolution à la Arab Spring with the broom revolution through the ballots.

Talking of averting bloodshed, and that will lead to the President Jonathan’s phone call, concession speech, and the subsequent heroism hoopla that trails them, records must be set straight here.  Indeed there was a pre-presidential election and also a post-presidential election. Concerned citizens counseled  President Jonathan not to thread the Gbagbo’s path and not to yield to unpatriotic pressures from the hawks in his entourage. Mr President hearkened to the warnings. And by that singular show of sportsmanship and display of humility in defeat, President Jonathan doused tension and saved the lives of innocent Nigerians. And if that is not commendable, nothing else should. President Laurent Gbagbo refused to concede defeat in 2010 to his rival, President Ouattara. The consequence of which was a full blown post-election violent conflict which sent over 3000 Ivorians to their early graves within the space of four months. If we would condemn him for his obduracy and self-centeredness, and treat him as a villain, then for doing the opposite, Jonathan should be commended. Fairness and not being hypocritical require nothing short of that from us.

Isiaq Hammed An elephant does not pass by and you describe his presence with a wave of hand. Isiaq Hammed came to us READY-MADE! He is a giant contributor.

Isiaq Hammed
An elephant does not pass by and you describe his presence with a wave of hand. Isiaq Hammed came to us READY-MADE!
He is a giant contributor.

However, commendation has a limit. There was indeed a Pre-election Jonathan who descended to the lowest of low in his desperation to clinch a reelection. A President who, together with his spouse and their cronies, threw all known decorum, modesty, morality and Presidential restraints to the dustbin. Under no circumstance should President Jonathan become a national hero overnight and through the backdoor. That will amount to a brazen denial of the pre-presidential election and  a sordid insult to our collective memory. Beatifying him as some have taken it thus far is tantamount to a reckless and heinous betrayal of the Chibok girls, the dozens of youths who lost their lives in the immigration job screening sham, the coldblooded murder of the Boni Yadi school boys, the over thirteen thousand massacred Nigerians, several millions others maimed, rendered homeless, hopeless and helpless therefore living as refugees in their own country and elsewhere, the stolen $20 billion and a whole lots of other financial frauds and scams under his nonchalant watch. The list is just endless. Unless we are a people who are so heartless as to forget their recent past, a people condemned to demand so little from those in to whose hands so much is entrusted,  and cursed to celebrate and sing the praise of their underperforming callous rulers to high heaven.

His was a trying time for our nation, second only to our excruciating experience during  the civil war. And we are so eager to turn this painful page of his and usher in a new era in our nation. And Providence, through our well-utilized votes, has confided that onerous task of heralding that national rebirth in to the hands of General Muhammadu Buhari. We believe he will not let us down. His several failed shots at the Presidency and his succeeding at the fourth attempt is a testimony that such a rare determination  can only come from a patriot who has noble dreams and plans for his compatriots. For the first time, Nigeria got a leader who truly wanted to be one and toiled for it.

To succeed where his immediate predecessor failed, Mr. President-Elect only need to be the direct opposite of what Jonathan Presidency was. Our out-going President gave no damn. You, give a damn. His cluelessness went beyond what anybody could have a clue of. Sir, take a clue from that. His was Presidential insensitivity at its peak. General Buhari, be sensitive. He surrounded himself with confused sycophants who in his own words confused him the more. President-Elect, surround yourself with our best hands and our best brains. He was most unfortunately a spendthrift. Muhammadu Buhari, nothing stops you from being our Jose Mujica. He hobnobbed with fugitives, thieves and criminals and kept them within his inner-circle. Sai Baba, we know you can’t be comfortable in the midst of the worsts of us. In short, he was simply incredibly unpresidential. Your Excellency, be Presidential.

We can only imagine how far the legendary Pa Obafemi Awolowo, our first and foremost opposition leader, would have taken our nation if he had the chance that you have today. The same dream Late Chief MKO Abiola had and almost actualized but was denied of unjustly. This is a golden opportunity for General Muhammadu Buhari to become the Father and Architect of Modern Nigeria. A rare come-back and a chance to  become the Nigerian Nelson Mandela and why not a Lee Kuan Yew that will put Nigeria back on the path of stability, growth and unprecedented development.

We have the All Progressive Congress party’s manifestoes and  your various electoral promises held close to our chest. They will either testify for or against you. We will surely judge your performance based on your delivering on them. It did not take us more than 6 months in to the Jonathan Presidency in 2011 before we realized that we have entered “one chance”. He refused to declare his assets publicly and scornfully threw it to our face that he does not give a damn about it. His first derailment was shadow-chasing a self-serving six-year single tenure when the hope of the Nigerian masses who identified with his “shoeless” humble background was at all-time high on him. The rest is history.

One sure way by which you can achieve so much within so little time is forgetting about 2019. Be the President of our national reforms  and renaissance. Bury the idea of a reelection and you will go far. It will make you care less about stepping on big toes, all for the sake of Nigeria and Nigerians collective interest, if the need be. Leave your reelection fate in our hands. Let us beg and implore you to go for it when 2019 comes. For this is because the historic March 28 and the heroic Professor Attahiru Jega have taught us that power indeed belongs to and emanates from us. We give it and we can as well retract it when we so will. And to whom much is given, much should be required.

Chatham House Full Speech of APC Presidential Candidate Muhammadu Buhari

Permit me to start by thanking Chatham House for the invitation to talk about this important topic at this crucial time. When speaking about Nigeria overseas, I normally prefer to be my country’s public relations and marketing officer, extolling her virtues and hoping to attract investments and tourists. But as we all know, Nigeria is now battling with many challenges, and if I refer to them, I do so only to impress on our friends in the United Kingdom that we are quite aware of our shortcomings and are doing our best to address them.

The 2015 general election in Nigeria is generating a lot of interests within and outside the country. This is understandable. Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and largest economy, is at a defining moment, a moment that has great implications beyond the democratic project and beyond the borders of my dear country.

So let me say upfront that the global interest in Nigeria’s landmark election is not misplaced at all and indeed should be commended; for this is an election that has serious import for the world. I urge the international community to continue to focus on Nigeria at this very critical moment. Given increasing global linkages, it is in our collective interests that the postponed elections should hold on the rescheduled dates; that they should be free and fair; that their outcomes should be respected by all parties; and that any form of extension, under whichever guise, is unconstitutional and will not be tolerated.

With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, the collapse of communism and the end of the Cold War, democracy became the dominant and most preferred system of government across the globe. That global transition has been aptly captured as the triumph of democracy and the ‘most pre-eminent political idea of our time.’ On a personal note, the phased end of the USSR was a turning point for me. It convinced me that change can be brought about without firing a single shot.

As you all know, I had been a military head of state in Nigeria for twenty months. We intervened because we were unhappy with the state of affairs in our country. We wanted to arrest the drift. Driven by patriotism, influenced by the prevalence and popularity of such drastic measures all over Africa and elsewhere, we fought our way to power. But the global triumph of democracy has shown that another and a preferable path to change is possible. It is an important lesson I have carried with me since, and a lesson that is not lost on the African continent.

In the last two decades, democracy has grown strong roots in Africa. Elections, once so rare, are now so commonplace. As at the time I was a military head of state between 1983 and 1985, only four African countries held regular multi-party elections. But the number of electoral democracies in Africa, according to Freedom House, jumped to 10 in 1992/1993 then to 18 in 1994/1995 and to 24 in 2005/2006. According to the New York Times, 42 of the 48 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa conducted multi-party elections between 1990 and 2002.

The newspaper also reported that between 2000 and 2002, ruling parties in four African countries (Senegal, Mauritius, Ghana and Mali) peacefully handed over power to victorious opposition parties. In addition, the proportion of African countries categorized as not free by Freedom House declined from 59% in 1983 to 35% in 2003. Without doubt, Africa has been part of the current global wave of democratisation.

But the growth of democracy on the continent has been uneven. According to Freedom House, the number of electoral democracies in Africa slipped from 24 in 2007/2008 to 19 in 2011/2012; while the percentage of countries categorised as ‘not free’ assuming for the sake of argument that we accept their definition of “free” increased from 35% in 2003 to 41% in 2013. Also, there have been some reversals at different times in Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Cote D’Ivoire, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Lesotho, Mali, Madagascar, Mauritania and Togo. We can choose to look at the glass of democracy in Africa as either half full or half empty.

While you can’t have representative democracy without elections, it is equally important to look at the quality of the elections and to remember that mere elections do not democracy make. It is globally agreed that democracy is not an event, but a journey. And that the destination of that journey is democratic consolidation – that state where democracy has become so rooted and so routine and widely accepted by all actors.

With this important destination in mind, it is clear that though many African countries now hold regular elections, very few of them have consolidated the practice of democracy. It is important to also state at this point that just as with elections, a consolidated democracy cannot be an end by itself. I will argue that it is not enough to hold a series of elections or even to peacefully alternate power among parties.

It is much more important that the promise of democracy goes beyond just allowing people to freely choose their leaders. It is much more important that democracy should deliver on the promise of choice, of freedoms, of security of lives and property, of transparency and accountability, of rule of law, of good governance and of shared prosperity. It is very important that the promise embedded in the concept of democracy, the promise of a better life for the generality of the people, is not delivered in the breach.

Now, let me quickly turn to Nigeria. As you all know, Nigeria’s fourth republic is in its 16th year and this general election will be the fifth in a row. This is a major sign of progress for us, given that our first republic lasted five years and three months, the second republic ended after four years and two months and the third republic was a still-birth. However, longevity is not the only reason why everyone is so interested in this election.

The major difference this time around is that for the very first time since transition to civil rule in 1999, the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is facing its stiffest opposition so far from our party the All Progressives Congress (APC). We once had about 50 political parties, but with no real competition. Now Nigeria is transitioning from a dominant party system to a competitive electoral polity, which is a major marker on the road to democratic consolidation. As you know, peaceful alternation of power through competitive elections have happened in Ghana, Senegal, Malawi and Mauritius in recent times. The prospects of democratic consolidation in Africa will be further brightened when that eventually happens in Nigeria.

But there are other reasons why Nigerians and the whole world are intensely focussed on this year’s elections, chief of which is that the elections are holding in the shadow of huge security, economic and social uncertainties in Africa’s most populous country and largest economy. On insecurity, there is a genuine cause for worry, both within and outside Nigeria. Apart from the civil war era, at no other time in our history has Nigeria been this insecure.

Boko Haram has sadly put Nigeria on the terrorism map, killing more than 13,000 of our nationals, displacing millions internally and externally, and at a time holding on to portions of our territory the size of Belgium. What has been consistently lacking is the required leadership in our battle against insurgency. I, as a retired general and a former head of state, have always known about our soldiers: they are capable, well trained, patriotic, brave and always ready to do their duty in the service of our country.

You all can bear witness to the gallant role of our military in Burma, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Darfur and in many other peacekeeping operations in several parts of the world. But in the matter of this insurgency, our soldiers have neither received the necessary support nor the required incentives to tackle this problem. The government has also failed in any effort towards a multi-dimensional response to this problem leading to a situation in which we have now become dependent on our neighbours to come to our rescue.

Let me assure you that if I am elected president, the world will have no cause to worry about Nigeria as it has had to recently; that Nigeria will return to its stabilising role in West Africa; and that no inch of Nigerian territory will ever be lost to the enemy because we will pay special attention to the welfare of our soldiers in and out of service, we will give them adequate and modern arms and ammunitions to work with, we will improve intelligence gathering and border controls to choke Boko Haram’s financial and equipment channels, we will be tough on terrorism and tough on its root causes by initiating a comprehensive economic development plan promoting infrastructural development, job creation, agriculture and industry in the affected areas. We will always act on time and not allow problems to irresponsibly fester, and I, Muhammadu Buhari, will always lead from the front and return Nigeria to its leadership role in regional and international efforts to combat terrorism.

On the economy, the fall in prices of oil has brought our economic and social stress into full relief. After the rebasing exercise in April 2014, Nigeria overtook South Africa as Africa’s largest economy. Our GDP is now valued at $510 billion and our economy rated 26th in the world. Also on the bright side, inflation has been kept at single digit for a while and our economy has grown at an average of 7% for about a decade.

But it is more of paper growth, a growth that, on account of mismanagement, profligacy and corruption, has not translated to human development or shared prosperity. A development economist once said three questions should be asked about a country’s development: one, what is happening to poverty? Two, what is happening to unemployment? And three, what is happening to inequality?

The answers to these questions in Nigeria show that the current administration has created two economies in one country, a sorry tale of two nations: one economy for a few who have so much in their tiny island of prosperity; and the other economy for the many who have so little in their vast ocean of misery.

Even by official figures, 33.1% of Nigerians live in extreme poverty. That’s at almost 60 million, almost the population of the United Kingdom. There is also the unemployment crisis simmering beneath the surface, ready to explode at the slightest stress, with officially 23.9% of our adult population and almost 60% of our youth unemployed. We also have one of the highest rates of inequalities in the world.

With all these, it is not surprising that our performance on most governance and development indicators (like Mo Ibrahim Index on African Governance and UNDP’s Human Development Index.) are unflattering. With fall in the prices of oil, which accounts for more than 70% of government revenues, and lack of savings from more than a decade of oil boom, the poor will be disproportionately impacted.

In the face of dwindling revenues, a good place to start the repositioning of Nigeria’s economy is to swiftly tackle two ills that have ballooned under the present administration: waste and corruption. And in doing this, I will, if elected, lead the way, with the force of personal example.

On corruption, there will be no confusion as to where I stand. Corruption will have no place and the corrupt will not be appointed into my administration. First and foremost, we will plug the holes in the budgetary process. Revenue producing entities such as NNPC and Customs and Excise will have one set of books only. Their revenues will be publicly disclosed and regularly audited. The institutions of state dedicated to fighting corruption will be given independence and prosecutorial authority without political interference.

But I must emphasise that any war waged on corruption should not be misconstrued as settling old scores or a witch-hunt. I’m running for President to lead Nigeria to prosperity and not adversity.

In reforming the economy, we will use savings that arise from blocking these leakages and the proceeds recovered from corruption to fund our party’s social investments programmes in education, health, and safety nets such as free school meals for children, emergency public works for unemployed youth and pensions for the elderly.

As a progressive party, we must reform our political economy to unleash the pent-up ingenuity and productivity of the Nigerian people thus freeing them from the curse of poverty. We will run a private sector-led economy but maintain an active role for government through strong regulatory oversight and deliberate interventions and incentives to diversify the base of our economy, strengthen productive sectors, improve the productive capacities of our people and create jobs for our teeming youths.

In short, we will run a functional economy driven by a worldview that sees growth not as an end by itself, but as a tool to create a society that works for all, rich and poor alike. On March 28, Nigeria has a decision to make. To vote for the continuity of failure or to elect progressive change. I believe the people will choose wisely.

In sum, I think that given its strategic importance, Nigeria can trigger a wave of democratic consolidation in Africa. But as a starting point we need to get this critical election right by ensuring that they go ahead, and depriving those who want to scuttle it the benefit of derailing our fledgling democracy. That way, we will all see democracy and democratic consolidation as tools for solving pressing problems in a sustainable way, not as ends in themselves.

Permit me to close this discussion on a personal note. I have heard and read references to me as a former dictator in many respected British newspapers including the well regarded Economist. Let me say without sounding defensive that dictatorship goes with military rule, though some might be less dictatorial than others. I take responsibility for whatever happened under my watch.

I cannot change the past. But I can change the present and the future. So before you is a former military ruler and a converted democrat who is ready to operate under democratic norms and is subjecting himself to the rigours of democratic elections for the fourth time.

You may ask: why is he doing this? This is a question I ask myself all the time too. And here is my humble answer: because the work of making Nigeria great is not yet done, because I still believe that change is possible, this time through the ballot, and most importantly, because I still have the capacity and the passion to dream and work for a Nigeria that will be respected again in the comity of nations and that all Nigerians will be proud of.

I thank you for listening.

MidWeekSpecial: Cote d’Ivoire Parallelisms in Nigeria’s Presidential Election by Isiaq ‘Deji Hammed

Isiaq Hammed An elephant does not pass by and you describe his presence with a wave of hand. Isiaq Hammed came to us READY-MADE! He is a giant contributor.

Isiaq Hammed is Nigerian and political activist. He shares his time between Nigeria and Saudi Arabia. He is a passionate believer in Nigeria and discusses Africa, particularly Nigeria and Cote d’Ivoire. He writes extensively on many international issues affecting the continent and the Middle East. He guestblogs on AhjotNaija.

Saturday, February 7, 2015 can definitely not be said to be a day like any other. It was indeed a historic day for Professor Attahiru Jega with several brainstorming sessions and negotiation with the various political actors and stakeholders in the electoral process. The INEC Chairman finally surfaced on that fateful night to the full glare of the waiting  gentlemen of the press. Millions of Nigerians and perhaps friends of Nigeria, home and abroad, were equally glued to their television sets. Those who were not lucky with the electricity distribution companies resorted to their generating sets. Others who could not access live streaming settled for the instant briefing on the social media platforms (Facebook, twitter etc.) The issue of the rumoured postponement, true or untrue, must be laid to rest. As Nigerians wait to hear directly from the horse’s mouth, the tension was palpable… Prof. Jega, using the security report from the service chiefs as a force majeure, finally officially extended the Presidential election by six weeks, during which the Nigerian military and the Federal Government vowed to crush the Boko Haram sect once and for all.

On hearing of the new March 28 and April 11 election dates, many were disappointed. For some, nothing much to worry about. As long as the May 29 handing over date remains sacrosanct. Yet some were of the opinion that the new development will allow more Nigerians who are yet to collect their permanent voters’ card (PVC) to do so.

Personally as Nigerian, I did not know what word(s) I could use to describe my feeling: betrayal, embarrassment, anger, disappointment, scepticism… It was definitely not that of relief or indifference. Indeed the stakes were and are still high. And I have a stake in the (un)becoming of my nation. Every Nigerian should in fact have. Like many others I settled for calm and vigilance. I ruminated on any similar event in history that I could remember. With historical retrospection, one can peep and permit oneself an introspection in to the future. As Providence would have it, exactly twenty four hours after, the next capital of call for the African Nations’ trophy will be Abidjan, just two years after it was in the Nigerian federal capital, Abuja. Cote d’Ivoire, a country still recovering from the vestige of a deep politico-military crisis that threatened its very existence, narrowly defeated the Black Stars of Ghana in a keenly contested penalty shoot-out at the AFCON final. A lot of political pundits will agree that Nkrumah’s Ghana has become a model of democracy in governance, albeit in a politically unstable West African sub-region, having succeeded to have civilian to civilian intra- and interparty transitions. From the likes of John Kuffour to Late John Attah Mills and then to the current President John Dramani Mahama.

As the euphoria of seeing the Elephants of Cote d’Ivoire becoming the new African champions waned, the perplexing and tensed Nigerian situation reared its head again in the mind. The new itinerary of the AFCON trophy seems to pass a warning signal. Will Nigeria go the Ghanaian or Ivorian way in the days and weeks to come? Eternal vigilance is the watchword! Let me digress a little. Cote d’Ivoire used to have two political gladiators too, especially before, during and after the 2010 presidential elections. We will draw some interesting yet shocking parallels in subsequent lines. It is an axiom that those who forget history are condemned to repeat it.

Alassane Ouattara, like Muhammadu Buhari, was born in 1942 to Ivorian parents of northern extraction. After completing his primary and secondary education, he proceeded to Philadelphia in the United States where he bagged his Bachelor degree, Masters and Ph.D. in Economics. Ouattara later rose to become the Director of Africa at the International Monetary Fund before he was then nominated by President Felix Houphouet-Boigny as the Prime Minister and Head of Government in 1990. He held this position until Houphouet-Boigny’s demise in December  7, 1993… Let us also do a quick panorama on Laurent Gbagbo before going back to the crux of our analysis.

Laurent Gbagbo was born in 1945 in Gagnoa, a city in the southern part of Cote d’Ivoire. He obtained a degree in History at the University of Abidjan in 1969 and proceeded  in 1979 to complete his Ph.D from Paris Diderot University, France. He lectured at the University of Abidjan for many years before finally joining politics and forming his opposition party Front  Populaire Ivoirien (Ivorian Popular Front) in the 80s. He contested and lost to Houphouet-Boigny in the 1990 election. Gbagbo later actualized his Presidential dream in 2000 in an election which saw Ouattara disqualified on the ground of not being an Ivorian descent and hence his nationality certificate was cancelled. A legal decision that can be said to be the genesis of the country’s decade-long crisis.

Laurent Gbagbo whose tenure was supposed to end by 2005 had the general elections postponed several times. He disbanded or caused to disband several electoral commissions. Mr. Youssouf Bakayoko, ‘the Ivorian Jega’, who finally organised the 2010 election was also threatened and frustrated. And when the elections finally took place and Bakayoko was set to announce Ouattara winner, Gbagbo rejected the result and refused to concede defeat. The International community (ECOWAS, AU, UN, US,  France etc.) all accepted and aligned with Ouattara as the rightful winner. In fact, Mr Soro Guillaume, the  Prime Minister under Gbagbo accepted the ballot’s verdict. Gbagbo kicked. He manipulated and managed to secure a contrary verdict from the court. Hell was let loose. The Ivorian national TV and radio stations became instruments of propaganda. Independent International news media like Rfi, TV5 were stopped from transmitting. Pro-Ouattara news media were muzzled. And that was how far Gbagbo went in his desperation to keep power at all cost. Several thousand Ivoirians and foreigners paid with their dear lives in the ensuing post-election violence which ended only after Gbagbo’s capture on April 11, 2011. And he is presently cooling his feet at the ICC in the Hague… The rest is now history.

The similarity in the opposition parties’ strategies is equally worthy of mention here. Just like Muhammadu Buhari’s Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) merged with other opposition parties to form the All Progressive Congress (APC), Alassane Ouattara also formed a coalition alliance, Rassemblement des Houphouetistes pour la Democratie et la Paix (RHDP) in order to have a common front against the incumbent and his party. This indeed proved effective as it really made the election a keen contest and not an easy walk-over that the power of incumbency always breeds. And that in fact brightened the opposition’s chances at the polls. Alassane Ouattara finally ascended to power in 2011 since his expression of interest for the Ivorian highest office as far back as 1995.

Watching current happenings in Nigeria with the various legal cases seeking to disqualify Muhammadu Buhari from contesting the 2015 Presidential election on the ground of his school certificate (remember Ouattara’s birth certificate saga), the recent postponement of the elections, rumoured plans to have the electoral umpire removed and replaced or even the outright scuttling of the Nigerian democratic processes via the search for an extension of the incumbent’s stay in power, institution of an Interim National Government or instigating a coup d’état etc. all make one to wonder if indeed we learn anything from history.

As we seem to be at the crossroads now, and yet as our nation seems to hold her breath, we can’t help but ask if  Nigeria will go the Ghanaian or Ivorian way in the days and weeks to come. And that is the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question to which the Nigerian political class must give an answer, most especially the two major political gladiators: President Goodluck Jonathan and Rtd General Muhammadu Buhari. The actions and inactions of the duo  together with those of their individual foot soldiers and sympathizers will indeed determine in what direction our national pendulum will swing. Verily, the thin line separating the two nations scenarios will be determined by how far the two Nigerian heavyweights choose to go. Alas, only our proverbial thin line separates the Hague from the West African coast. Both Charles Taylor and Laurent Gbagbo know better though, as they are both living testimonies whereas we the poor masses are living witnesses.

Our fingers are more than crossed!!!

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

General Elections 2015: Preliminary Geo-Political Permutations

Nigerians are permanently fired up when it is election time; at least the majority. They know election is the best tool to rid themselves of failed governments and particularly politicians who promised what they cannot fulfill. This is exactly the reason why they do not take it lightly when it is election time. They know it is their only chance to try again.

There are those among them who collect money for their vote and vote the other way, and some vote the party who bribed them. Nigeria’s electorate is one dynamic phenomenon that must be understood. There are times they even vote to make a statement- think of Ekiti. Apparently, those on ground knew something was not alright with Dr. Fayemi’s approach to governance. Governor Fayose was not the best hand on offer on election day, but Dr. Fayemi was neither a of messianic material, so he was let to fall. Fayose cruised to victory carried on the back of the people, plus supported by President Jonathan’s band of army and police officers. Shared rice or similar incentives are of secondary relevance in this matter. After all, both camps shared rice.

In the ongoing campaign for the presidency, the voice of the people cannot be mistaken. It is clearly a total NO to a government with no clear-cut approach to anything. Truth be told, President Jonathan has no agenda at all. He is only interested in sitting out his terms of office. Everything about him is a confirmation of this fact. The people do not want him. If they really wanted General Buhari is a different matter entirely. President Jonathan’s grave incompetence is the best reason to replace him, even if with a carbon-copy of himself, so far it is not a return of the original person!

Lets get real for once, the supporters of the incumbent are not doing so based on the quality he has to offer. Not all at. I agree with Mr. Olumhense’s submission on the matter- awon-ajegundujera i.e. profiters of/from Jonathan’s ultra-corrupt government are the only elements in that camp. Add to that, many stand with him notwithstanding his enormous failure based on personal principles, herein comes the eyele-principle very handy to describe their plight. This proverbial faithful bird will not desert his master no matter what. Think of Dr. Abati and the picture is perfect. I respect this careless choice. But I respect Nigeria and care about her way too far. Another group of teeming supporters are the PDP-remnants, the die-hard core PDP-ers. PDP is way too strong to not have this kind of fight-till-death-membership. All these people shall vote the PDP and Jonathan in February. Are they enough to win him the presidency? Capital NO.

Lets permutate geopolitically: The Southwest is securely in Asiwaju Tinubu’s pocket. APC shall win with a landslide in the Southwest. The mood right now is comparable to 1999 when Alliance for Democracy (AD) won nearly all seats leaving remnants for the PDP. If you don’t believe me, ask the person beside you to wake you up to reality.

The Southwest as a voting bloc has a history of voting and sticking together. Call it anything, this is who they are. At the moment, this geopolitical zone is best insulted when a party throws Jonathan at them for another four years. They voted, on Tinubu’s prompt, overwhemingly for Jonathan, not PDP, in the 2011 election. The incumbent did not deserve a return because he failed woefully. Add to that, this strongest political voice at the moment, upon whose body language Jonathan was elected, is no more in doubt that Jonathan is a big shame. In short, Jonathan and PDP’s political death are surer than night and day in the Southwest, at least till 2019.

PDP shall win minimal votes in the North. The North has three geopolitical zones. These zones shall vote overwhemingly for General Buhari. The reasons are far too obvious to be debated. Think of General Buhari coming from Katsina (Northeast). Jonathan only helps the ease of deciding finally for Buhari in that part of the country with his failed attempts to secure the freedom of the stolen girls, fight Boko Haram and stop the bombings threatening to destabilize the fragile peace in the states. We must not forget also that Kogi and Kwara, two states in Northcentral are most likely to vote along the Southwest bloc. The likelihood of a landslide victory for APC in the North is at an all-time high. Political betters who bet on General Buhari in the North may start counting their political chickens.

The Southsouth is presently not in Jonathan’s grip alone. Not only Rotimi Amaechi, but far too many politicians in the region envy the incumbent. And they do not hide their beef for him. Yes, beef is allowed in politics! And by the way, is there anyone, who is not beefing President Jonathan at the moment? Even his staunchest supporters are in short supply of good reasons for their support. So, while one may want to call the Southsouth for the president already if PDP’s rigging-machineries worked well enough, there are far too many hands that will ensure APC won the zone. Mind you, among APC’s sponsors and moneybags are riggers per excellence! This geopolitical zone shall be hotly contended and the smartest will carry the day.

The sway-geopolitical zone, i.e. Southeast shall be won on a state by state basis. No bad-belle intended, but these states shall politically sell their votes to the highest bidder. Selling in this light does not involve money changing hands alone. Mark the qualifying adverb- politically! The idea is, since the Igbo will have neither the predidency nor vice, they will vote the party likely to give them better representation at the centre, plus improve the lot of the region via investments in infrastructures. Jonathan promised the Southeasterners too many things in 2011. That he practically spat in their face by not keeping the promises is a fact. Religion will play a decisive role in this part of the country, no doubt. However, this will be minimal. It is not going to be as decisive as in 2011. Plus there are indications the zone shall likely pay Jonathan back in his own coin, i.e. spit back at him in the face! Rev. Father Mbaka’s sermon is a wake-up call to reality.

Away from geopolitics, lets round-up on Jonathan’s campaign team. Two extremes in the team shall busy us shortly as jaara in this piece.

Chief Anenih, the cunniest and election-rigger-in-chief has met a match bigger than him in Chief Tinubu and APC combined. Sam-Ndah Isaiah’s piece on Chief Anenih is a worthy piece about a dishonourable end. A good slogan sums up the beautiful article: May our end not be like Chief Anenih and may we know when to die politically in peace!

Zeroing in on the most unfortunate choice in the team, Femi Fani-Kayode. That he made the team confirms the incumbent’s desperation. Fani-Kayode is a bastard, in that he has ruined all political goodwill of his father. I am sure Chief Fani-Kayode of blessed memory is weeping in the grave-beyond for his son’s political gone-haywire-lifestyle. Femi successfully destroyed whatever is politically left of the goodhouse he came from. He is presently a political-no-weight and thief. Here are two prayer-slogans derivable from Fani-Kayode: May we never be accursed with children like Femi Fani-Kayode’s directionless waywardness! And may fate not make us fathers of political longthroat and potential prisoner!

I will not pity Femi if after PDP’s loss, Jonathan or Madam Patience decided to sue Femi for campaign fraud. Plus his EFFC file reactivated, there shall be no escaping prison for Femi Fani-Kayode. His crying way too loud and acceptance to lead Jonathan’s assault are his last hope before a sure political-death. Chief Obasanjo knew him well. Hear OBJ: Femi is my boy, he will do anything once you give him food (paraphrased). Fact is: Femi Fani-Kayode has never won an election and is no strategist. His political greenhornery plus naivity far outweigh that of Ribadu.

So, why and how did President Jonathan end up in the hands of two counrtywide political thief and pretender? The answer is the mirror: The president is best advised to get one for himself!

Nigeria’s Need for a Mind-Overhaul

Governor Ogbeni Aregbesola, the face and agent of APC-driven change in Osun state

Governor Ogbeni Aregbesola, the face and agent of APC-driven change in Osun state

We need not only an overhaul of Nigeria’s physical infrastructures, there are strong reasons to propose a complete mind-overhaul for Nigeria. Reform starts in the head. Prof. Adesanmi’s call for a psychological rewiring and demand for a reintroduction of civics in Nigeria are, in my opinion, not unconnected with a desire for a mental-overhaul of the Nigerian. I suppose the reason being this: Somehow we know that there can be no true freedom without mental freedom. We tout the popular Reggae quote which demands Blacks to free themselves from mental slavery, but reality confirms that we understand these words to be true but care less for practical realization.

Our sense of what is acceptable is noticeable already in little things. Take for instance, we readily accept to be moved with a goat-cargo from point A to B. After all, they are just goats! Chickens and other domestic birds scratch waste-hills in front of houses with stinking open gutters. After all, they disturb nobody! Chickens are beautiful and goats are the least of my worry. The open-gutters worry me more than the threat of a potential bird flu-outbreak. After all, the goat will move-on and the chicken will go away, but the open-gutters and their many deaths are part of our daily lives!

The problem is this: Humans and goats for transport do not belong in the same train or lorry, bus or car etc. It is a matter of health, and dignity too. Chickens and these other wonderful birds deserve to live in peace, no doubt, but we need accept we live better/safer when they are reared and transported separate from humans.

Lets move away from goats and chickens. In talks/chats it can be seen many Nigerians condole abuse. Political abusers know this. So when Nigerians fight (back) in protest, they needed only to be given time and they shall justify their own sorrows in ways that beat the imaginations of their abusers and tormentors. Many times, they find reasons to blame themselves for the failure of politicians and leadership.

Talking about justifying/supporting abuse from the leadership, here a practical example: Bishop Oyedepo slapped a worshiper in full public glare and he got away with it! Did I tell mention someone said the victim deserved to be slapped? This is the justification: She said she was witch for Jesus! Does Jesus have witch ni?! It did not stop there: After all, he won the case in court paapa.

I was short of words. 1. How do I explain Bishop Oyedepo erred when he slapped? 2. How do I explain I do not dislike him but his action, so that faithfuls do not only see shit-storms thrown at a man of god? etc etc.

Our willingness to self-explain plus justify abuse is a cool alibi exploited by politicians in matters of national importance. They have always bet on Nigerians to (1) either self-explain injustice and (2) forget completely or overlook crimes as if they never happened. The consequence is visible countrywide.

This state of mind explains why public school children learn in the most undignified conditions. Over the years, the practice has always been to give an already dilapidated school complex a face-lift. Whereas somewhere in faraway Yola or Ota some children learn in air-conditioned classrooms with Western grade teaching/learning materials.

Incredibly strange, but true, many poor (wo-)man readily accepts it is “our lot” to be poor. They are quick to conclude that someone somewhere has it worse! Well, no doubt about the relativity of poverty. The question is, do I have to die of hunger because I am poor and if my children had to be taught in spaces not fit for a pigs?!

Governor Okorocha in a badly equipped classroom. He is the face of APC's breathe of newness in Imo state. His speech was lauded one of the best at the APC convention that threw up General Buhari as the next messiah

Governor Okorocha in a badly equipped classroom. He is the face of APC’s breathe of newness in Imo state. His speech was lauded one of the best at the APC convention that threw up General Buhari as the next messiah

This kind of problematic acceptance of evil fate is another reason for the necessity of a mind-overhaul.

To advocate for an outright eradication of poverty in the land will be Utopian, but like Nelson Mandela said, there is a level of poverty that should be unacceptable to Nigerians (paraphrased). This unacceptable descent below the acceptable is the problem. This unacceptable poverty level is best daily noticed in the wealth-flaunting-mentality of the Nigerian noveaus-riches. Many in this group are probably least interested in oppressing the already-downtrodden. They only confirm that Nigeria’s poormen and -women are kept real-hard down, so they show it when they finally “made-it”! Add to that a mentality that these children deserve the kind of classrooms photographed in Arinze Primary School in Edo State. A poorman’s descent into the hottest part of hell is then complete. Arinze Primary School with different shades and grades litters the nook and cranny of the country.

Arinze Primary School in Edo state is typical of dilapidated public school facility in Nigeria

Arinze Primary School in Edo state is typical of dilapidated public school facility in Nigeria

Crazier it is when one imagines a woman who scoops water from a real dirty mud-pool, but covers her nakedness with a wrapper demanding the reelection of President Jonathan or the installation of General Buhari as the change we earnestly demand! Could there be a starker nakedness than this display of ignorance! Let me put it banally: it is a wishful hang-on to life yet begging to be raped harder by a killer. Such contradictions?! Yes! We are talking Nigeria. Really, we live in strange times in that beautiful and yet strange space.

How we see ourselves matters on the road to charting a way out of bedeviling problems. Allow me to illustrate a point. Governor Aregbesola was in a classroom dressed in a school uniform. Governor Okorocha followed suit. He was photographed in a classroom. What is the problem? Here: Mr. Okorocha was in a terrible classroom. Apparently, he was only interested in the photographs, and not the teaching conditions. The blackboard speaks volume.

See for yourself!

govs

If a governor thought that kind of blackboard good enough, then I need not tell us there is trouble. Governor Aregbesola’s attempt to beautify public primary schools (new uniforms, benches etc) apes woefully what is good. Mind you, these are performing APC-governors. I wonder what terrible governors would show for performance!

Add to these two a visit to a typical classroom in a public primary school in Lagos state to get the picture of the bigger trouble with Nigeria. My choice of Lagos is obvious. APC and particularly Governor Fashola are the present paradigm of good governance in Nigeria. Compare what you see with a five-star private school in the same state. Be sure to upload on social media your report before you break down in holy-tears and anger! Our children do not deserve to be abandoned like this!

Morning shows the day. That is a public school in Edo state, an APC controlled state. Exactly why many conclude APC is PDP. Positive change is compassionate and not wicked.

Morning shows the day. That is a public school in Edo state, an APC controlled state. Exactly why many conclude APC is PDP. Positive change is compassionate and not wicked.

I once wrote a piece on the need to see our school complexes/buildings in the right historical context. Chief Awolowo rightly pointed out in his autobiography that the structures were decided for considering finance and urgency of the moment. That was over five decades ago plus government was financially much “poorer” than today. Definitely, Chief Awolowo intended to improve/replace these public school buildings/complexes with structures like those in present day The Bells, Winners Chapel Secondary School and other five-star private schools all across the country. We however lost that vision and are stuck somewhere in the past.

In this light, if there is any set of Nigerians that needed the mental rewiring most urgently, it is the leadership. I agree with Achebe, partly. Nigeria has a leadership problem, not a followership problem. One of the biggest problems is a leadership surviving on over-hyped achievements while it abandoned many things that matter. For every 10km of road constructed, for which a governor “hired” journalists to robustly media-report, there are more than ten over-congested plus badly equipped classrooms which the governor pretends not to notice. Many problems and more rot stare the leadership in the face. Its choice of looking away makes the mental rewiring in these leaders more urgent than ever before. So, while the rewiring of the leadership cadre is but most urgent, the people, i.e. followership must not be spared the difficult road down the house of the mental-overhauler. We just cannot afford to live on without it.

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