Why Jonathan Will Still Lose Badly, By Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú
All political careers end in tears, said conservative British MP, Enoch Powell, in reference to the departure of former British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, from Downing Street.
He could have been referring to President Goodluck Jonathan, who has poured a lot of state resources into his election war chest and is still facing humiliating defeat. Is money everything? No! Nigerians are fed up and are determined to end Jonathan’s political career by sending him into the political wilderness at the polls. Did he get the memo? I doubt it. The awful thing about Nigerian politics is that the political leaders never learn from history. Where is Abacha today?
By forcing the election forward, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has chosen to tie an entire country’s fate to one man — Goodluck Jonathan — thus sentencing us to living a political disaster.
Who is in charge of Nigeria?
By Jonathan’s own admission, he is not in charge. In his media chat of last week, he said he was not aware of the postponement nor was he informed. He told us the military did it. Same week, AIG Mbu redefined impunity and authoritarian recklessness by telling us he will avenge the death of any one policeman killed while on election duty by killing 20 civilians. In the creeks, economic terrorist are beating the drums of war with escalating pitch everyday and no one cautions them because they are on Presidential errand.
Where are we headed?
The lingering fear is that the political crisis could turn to a crisis of nationhood as bonds of trust between various political forces are growing more loose. Nigeria risks going into a new surge of sectarian conflict by subverting the electoral process. The President does not care, actually he’s prepared to throw everything, including the kitchen sink. There are tells in his body language that shows he does not care if he bursts a pipe and bring the house down. Add to that are his skin of looters, the expanding band of chorus singers goading him on! Telling him what they told Babangida, Abacha and Obasanjo before him.
From all indications, the political gladiators within the ruling party are not ready to free themselves from their internal pressures of corruption, personal enrichment and abuse of power. They do not want to draw a line between the contrived necessities of internal pressures and the urgent imperatives of national interests. In their selfish interests, Jonathan must remain the President at all costs or it is – Anyone But Buhari.
Jonathan will lose any election in Nigeria today because we know a lot about him now than ever before. He has been exposed as a scheming and treacherous politician whose obsession with power is almost infinite. In the days leading to the postponement of the February 14 elections up until now, we have seen him actively aiding, promoting and abetting political criminality. We are seeing Mr. Jonathan for who he really is; a subversive. He has become hostage to his inordinate ambitions and the obligate parasites of Aso Rock.
The same man who rode to power on the backs of civil society groups determined to uphold the constitution now finds it convenient, using state resources to subvert the electoral process, using every instrument of the state to engineer a constitutional crisis and chase this great country into a political cul-de-sac. He must not be allowed to succeed. Nigerians must be united in their resolve that Jonathan must be rejected along with any alternative he proposes other than a free and fair contest. The country must be determined to let this cup pass it by and leaving it intact as one country.
With the cancerous cell of Presidential hangers on and a President hooked on sycophancy, it is not particularly difficult to understand their hook or crook approach to the scheduled elections. It is not difficult to understand his strange delusion of militarism by dreaming of handing over to an Interim government. For us, it is no longer difficult to understand how this multiple narratives fits into his ingrained opportunistic life which seems to fit his way of working. It is not difficult to understand that the PDP has morphed into a Janus-like party, with one face as a revived party of the people at every level of government and the other as a party buried deep in the use of the oppressive model where only a few actors determine the quality of Nigerian lives and how they live.
It is for these lack of difficulties that we have grown wiser. Buhari’s ascendancy in our consciousness is the galvanization of our frustrations. Buhari is our symbol because it concerns us that the nation is facing perilous times. We embraced the change Buhari represents because we know Nigeria is going through a difficult and challenging financial time when we should be in the midst of plenty. Buhari continues to be popular because we recognize the need for a strong, honest and decisive leader who is able and prepared to take the difficult decisions to get Nigeria back on its feet.
We want a government that respects civil liberties, one that is fair to those on lower incomes, and that which recognises the importance of protecting our resources from stealing. The lost lessons on the PDP as a party and their leprous candidate is that voters want a government that avoids extremism, does not elevate stealing to an art and able to work in the national interest and not beholden to oil thieves, militants, Pentecostal Pharisees and ethnic warlords.
Nigerians are a patient people. Jonathan in spite of his denials stationed armored tanks everywhere pre-postponement announcement, but he read Nigerians wrong! No one talked of any protest. Everywhere was calm. The great people of this country knows no power can govern with this kind of dysfunction. They knew, it just won’t work, and are prepared to wear them thin and wait them out. Years after the cup of Jonathan must have passed this nation by, Nigerians will study these times with a detached sense of incomprehension, how political wolves hijacked the country so brazenly and how a greedy conglomerate replaced logic and pragmatism with the raw emotion of individual ambitions. We will learn from it and grown stronger.
Buhari on his part knows what is at stake. He has remained cool, reasoned, and more of an intelligent candidate and leader than Jonathan. Buhari, under pressure, has shown a lot of grace and a lot of thoughtfulness, and that’s going to serve him well. Whosoever we hire, we can fire!
Bamidele maintains a weekly column on Politics and Socioeconomic issues every Tuesday. She is a member of Premium Times Editorial Board.