2015 Election and Issues From The Gallery

By Mike Akpati

Suddenly it is 2015 and this is the long expected year of our general elections. Several voices have made entry into the dialogue boxes for and against parties and candidates of their choice and hate as they like.

It has been difficult for some of us to state the obvious in the face of the series of fire bombs being thrown at each other as if most of these people were ever sworn enemies before they joined their different political parties. But how I wish our current political players were attempting issues as in the era of Alhaji Ibrahim Waziri of Borno State, the founder,
Chairman and Presidential candidate of All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) whose motto was ‘Politics without Bitterness’. There was an internal squabble between late Zik and Alhaji Waziri as parties were falling heads over heels to take Zik as presidential candidate. Waziri thought that having formed and funded the party he, naturally should be the candidate.
The turn of events threw up Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe as the beautiful bride and Presidential candidate of NPP- Nigerian People’s Party. Waziri naturally went his way with the lesson learnt too. BUT he did not fight nor was he ever to use any foul language against his former associates now opponents.

President Ebele Goodluck Jonathan has in the past looked at the various sections of the press and opponents misunderstanding of his program and concluded that he is the most criticised President in the world and rightly so too. What with an Obasanjo who contributed in no small way to his election as President being his worse critic today rightly or wrongly. As
far as I am concerned, Obasanjo has written himself off the books of who ever had the slightest affection for him through his many poisonous venoms he has recklessly thrown at anyone who is slightly opposed to his mean views on any issue.

Goodluck Jonathan has been branded as clueless by many. But is that true? How could he have been in the saddle of office for the fifth year running and there is nothing to show for it? I consider all who are strong critics of the president as those who would have also been placard carrying if he had been as brutal as the expected.

The Buhari that is being hailed now was the same Buhari crucified during his time in office. Ditto Babangida who was accused by Obasanjo of running a government without human face, Shagari was seen as weak because he was not corrupt but had corrupt ministers, Obasanjo himself was to return as the worse opportunist in government.

Buhari it was who, on arriving office immediately cancelled the Monorail project of Alhaji Latif Jakande. Drawing Lagos 30 years backwards and increasing the cost of the same project to the mountain top.

The same Jakande was arrested and imprisoned for no fault. His only sin was his contribution to the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) for a verified amount. A practice that is common place now!

Despite having the advantage of a Muslim –Muslim leadership structure viz himself and General Tunde Idiagbon, he took no advantage of it to better the lots of the people.

Accusing the Shagari administration of corruption, he put Dr. Alex Ekwueme in Kirikiri as second in command, and put Shagari under house arrest! That is the lopsided saint Buhari! How could Ekwueme the second in command be in prison while the major operator was under house arrest?

If the man is a true honest fellow why is he seeking fund from the United Arab Emirate? How will the loans be paid?

If Buhari was not inept, how come major policy decisions in his government were taken by late Idiagbon? A reason it took an Idiagbon trip to Mecca for a few day and the government was toppled?

Since Buhari left office, where else has he demonstrated his competence in leadership except in encouraging riots and killing of none Muslims?

During his tenure as Petroleum Minister, the nation lost $2.8 Billion Oil money. How did we recover the cash till today?

Governments before GEJ had more than the money he has but never fixed the roads around the federation; the rail tracks all over Nigeria had been dead some thirty years ago. But we have Abuja Kaduna Railway commissioned now, Kano Lagos functional, Lagos-Illorin also functional. Can you imagine that people in Port Harcourt who blocked the rail line because it has not functioned since the 80’s were shocked to see the Train on the rail track when they paid rent periodically to some hoodlums who thought that the rail line at D-Line was their own dividend of democracy? We have just finished the Holiday season, and there was neither scarcity nor increase in fuel price throughout the period. The clueless president made it so.
The entire market in Nigeria for the first time witnessed stability in price of food stuff during festive period only this year and last. A member of my church who wedded last November bought Rice in August at N10,500.00 (Nine Thousand Five Hundred) Naira and kept it in my house for fear of price increase during the ember months. But alas, Rice sold at N8,500.00 (Eight thousand Five Hundred Naira) in December a sharp drop of two, thousand. When was the last time that price of any item came down in Nigeria? What other food item was priced high during this Christmas period? That is the quiet transformation of the clueless president.

This article is not about praising the president or admonishing the opposition. But it is pertinent to note that I would have liked the APC should they have remained a team not defiled by a band of frustrated PDP members. Did APC Governors of Rivers State and Kano State achieve their success under APC or they were hired hands? It is on record that former
Vice President Alex Ekwueme under Shagari’s government became poorer while in office than as a professional Architect that he is to date. Which of the APC governors serving or not that is not as corrupt as their counterparts in other political parties?

When APC came on board, I was in full support of it. My reason was simple. This is a formidable group which will seat the PDP up and cause it to perform. The party was doing well until it began to admit other frustrated party faithful’s. Immediately, I knew that they have lost it.

Rick Warner is an American clergy man. After observing the goings on in series of churches he has attended, he decided to start a standard undiluted Church. He told his founding members that during evangelism, only those out there who do not associate themselves with any church would be reached out to. Today, the church has blossomed with more than fifty thousand members who are sufficiently schooled in their belief and faith. I expected this of APC. But it failed. It started to play to the gallery and began to claim the glory of other parties and structure.

What was the reason behind Buhari’s leaving ANPP? CPC and now APC?

What is the Buhari project to redeem Nigeria immediately if he wins the election? What are the economic indices to convince anyone that three years after election Nigeria will be under repair?

Today we have politicians without principles parading themselves as kingmakers! It is a shame. A shame that one wants me to follow an Otunba Bola Tinubu who destroyed Alliance for Democracy (AD) on whose back he rode to Governorship to form the Action Congress of Nigeria (CAN) which he dumped when it became obvious that it would not make him relevant and jumped ship to APC to dine with a Buhari who he hated with disdain, and suddenly would be seen with an Obasanjo who muzzled him up all through his tenure as Governor of Lagos state and with whom he never talked face to face as Governor. Or an Atiku who has nowhere to run to again, having transversed the PDP, PDM, CAN and back to PDP. The question I have for himis simple: are his followers’ mumu and without head? What did he think his most ardent followers would be telling their faithful’s?

I liked and followed Tinubu all his days as NADECO Executive because I saw his fight against Abacha as genuine; I followed him in his fight against Obasanjo. The reason was simple, OBJ was only victimising the governor and Tinubu showed strength in ignoring the then president and marched on with his programmes. But I cannot follow him for making Maroko people homeless only to buy up all the land. I followed former Vice President Atiku all the
days he fought Obasanjo because the same OBJ was guilty of all the Offences he accused Atiku of. I accepted that he left the PDP to CAN when the going was very bad between him and his former boss, but I refused to be a Mumu as he transversed all the parties as if his followers have no brain. I enjoyed Buhari as the fmr head of state of Nigeria and his fight against indiscipline, his almost zero tolerance to corruption and simple nature.

That did not make him a saint Buhari and I never looked for a saint in Nigerian politics. But I will never vote a Buhari into government for his known religious stance. Religion is opium and once taken, it drives the faithful to any end of the divide. I am not ready to surrender my religion on the guise of political freedom. Nigeria remains a circular state and no one can change it.

From the gallery, people are presenting a Buhari without blemishes. That has failed now because who would have thought that this man who benefitted from the system from birth to date could promote violence the way he will continue to? I leave his certificate saga to the INEC. That is Nigeria for you. He enjoyed the covering of his academic qualification until those who know him better exposed him. If disqualified now are they going to accuse
the PDP, INEC or Buhari himself for the deceit?

As things stand now, we have only either of the two choice to make – Jonathan or Buhari. If you have not made up your mind, you still have up till early morning of February 14 to decide. For me it is Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan full stop.

The struggle continues.

Mike Akpati is a Public Affair Analyst based in Port Harcourt

Mike Akpati Ph.D
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