Jonathan and the Futility of his Campaign of Attacks, By Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú
Up until the primary election of the All Progressives Congress, Nigerians bore the psychological hazard visited on them by the Peoples Democratic Party well. In the hours leading to Buhari’s emergence at the APC convention, the groundswell of agitation for him to win was unprecedented. When Buhari emerged, his bond with his supporters became a magically transforming marriage that is seductive in ways as to enthrall the skeptical and politically disillusioned youth.
Buhari’s candidacy bred a new class of savvy political consumers who are extremists in their zeal to vote, mobilise grassroots organization to canvas for votes and rally the troops. His persona, as defined by integrity and honesty in public service, lit the fire the ruling party has been trying to douse without any appreciable result.
Buharists are known to have very strong political opinions and beliefs in their principal that are rigid, principled and intolerant of ambiguity. His legendary cult following in the North took a deeper meaning and coloration down South. Within days, he attracted varying demographics of savvy politicos, who are engaged and well-informed based on issues concerning their welfare and the future of Nigeria as a united entity. For the first time in the political history of Nigeria, Buhari’s volunteers are self-funded, strong and youthful. Across Nigeria, they built political assemblies of energetic, thoughtful and engaged citizens with their own set of convictions on good governance, responsibility and accountability.
Political struggle in perilous times is not silly and that is what the PDP missed. They think the 2015 elections is about Buhari, so they went after him and have never stopped. No! It was never about Buhari. He is just the symbol of our frustrations and the face of an idea whose time has come. The 2015 elections is about us, about our future as a country. We recognize this time in history, the time is now and now has come. That is why fear and panic mongering, projection, scapegoating will have no effect on his chances.
Since December, the PDP campaign organization has not given us any break from fear. The idea is to terrify and terrorize Nigerians with Buhari’s candidacy everyday. The idea has been time tested since the time of Goebbels – Nazi Propaganda Chief – because fear and panic mongering is the fastest way to bypass the rational brain. When you strike fear into the hearts of people, they will not be able to think rationally and when they cannot think rationally, they will believe anything. But is it working? No! it is not!
All the ad hominem attacks designed to go after Buhari has not worked because he is Mr. Integrity and the choice of Professor Osinbajo as running mate was a master stroke! With a ticket like Jonathan/Sambo, the Buhari/Osinbajo combo strikes a difference that is as stark as inviting angels to contest the elections. With Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, the religious bigot epithet they hung on his neck disappeared overnight. Of course, no one in the PDP dare question his credibility, motives, intelligence, character, or, integrity. Buhari is above board! That is why the caterwauling Ekiti thug cannot be stopped. Nothing is off the table and no offence is beneath them.
Well, March is here! There is no date set in the life of man that will not arrive. The election was postponed by the President to cripple the opposition, stretch their finances and to give him and his party enough time to hatch a rigging plan. The whole world got the expensive joke and no one was fooled. In the aftermath, a man who refused to attend to insurgency started wearing camouflage and visiting military installations for photo ops. How can a man accomplish what he couldn’t do in six years in six weeks? More often than not, history often repeats itself by the error of man but no one can rewrite history, no matter how hard they try to make the facts fit their worldview.
Why lie about historical facts, when they are demonstrably false? The Okupes and Fani-Kayodes do this because they know that dogmatic minds actually find it easier to reject reality than to update their viewpoints. They are helping Jonathan to rewrite history with such authority that the casual observer will be tempted to question what they knew as fact. Unfortunately for Jonahideens, this President’s underwhelming performance has become a historical fact. A thousand Femi Fani-Kayode cannot change it.
We all are living history. When the history of this period in Nigeria is written, Jonathan will go down as the most divisive politician of our time. He will be remembered in history as the President who spent his entire term in office promoting religious schism for political gains. History will record him as the President who adopted the cheap and easy technique used by totalitarian regimes and cults by declaring himself and his allies as patriots and Nigerians only on the basis of religion. Nigerians were deceived the first time when he did not have to gift the clergies N7billion to buy their votes and the votes of their congregation by spewing hate and fear from the pulpit but by kneeling down, appearing meek and God-fearing. Nigerians are wiser now and such deceptive advertisement is guaranteed to fail.
When this election is all over, it will take us years to heal from the brutalization of our psyche by this President. While the President is distributing money to secure votes, states are finding it hard to pay salaries, foreign exchange rates are going through the stratosphere and the impunity continues. He continues to dip his hands into the nation’s coffers to fund his ambition. The profligacy can be measured by a media saturation that has never been seen in this country. Jonathan has his campaign posters and banners everywhere with his face being touted everywhere repetitively, ubiquitously and consistently at the people’s expense.
Apart from the use of state funds, Jonathan’s campaign is encouraging a disturbing lack of reverence for age and cultural sensitivity as cherished by our cultural traditions. On a regular basis, subliminal messages couched in bigotry as exemplified by the nonissue certificate saga wherein Jonathan bloodhounds reinforced the stereotypes that Northerners are uneducated mediocres. At some point, one of the two lepers of the Southwest took an advertorial on the front page of major newspapers to insinuate Buhari might die in office like most Northern leaders who were President before him.
Indeed it was a new low in attack politics. It is also noteworthy that the President, who spent his entire term in office promoting Yoruba renegades and political rejects to prominence while ignoring authentic leaders, used his right hand to goad Fayose into more crassness while using his left hand to ask for Yoruba votes. The President and his party are disdainful of everything this country once held dear all in a bid to satisfy one man’s ambition. Through its easy looting ideology the PDP has promoted de-individualization and hive-mind mentality as a way of survival.
Does the end justify the means? In evaluating some of the underhand tactics of the PDP campaign, the PDP diehards, the corrupt and their beneficiaries, those who have been given crumbs for their roles and those who troll social media are marked by a sort of collective personality disorder whereby they feel almost as though they belong to a secret society. Their “eating” from the PDP table drives them to defend Jonathan so vehemently at a core level that confounds. While at it, they portray a certain sense of arrogance with a distinguished ability to lie and distort facts. This is the reason they are threatened by the opposing viewpoints and it is this reality that projects Femi Fani-Kayode, Ayo Fayose, Olusegun Mimiko and their co-traveler’s righteous indignation as a symptom of untruth.
Contrary to long-held Omoluabi values, the lepers of the Southwest and their patrons are hostile, angry and afraid because they do not feel confident in their own veracity and they know they are standing on tangled metal. The people will always win in the end. We are waiting for the glorious dawn!
Bamidele maintains a weekly column on Politics and Socioeconomic issues every Tuesday. She is a member of Premium Times Editorial Board.