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Posts tagged ‘INEC’

Not An All-Propaganda-Congress By Sonala Olumhense.


 

Columnist:

Sonala Olumhense

As a writer who has questioned the heart of the All Progressives Congress (APC), I am pleased to notice that it is clarifying its mission and character.

On December 1, 2013, I asked the question: “Is APC Less Dangerous Than The PDP?”

At that time, five governors elected on the platform of the People Democratic Party (PDP) had just joined the APC, thereby granting the latter a vast acreage in relevance and credibility.

It is a political currency called defection, and since then, the APC has made a mint of the word, which now seems to hold the exclusive meaning of someone joining the APC from the PDP.  Somehow, a defection from the PDP is being made to sound as if it justifies itself while it demonizes the PDP.

I write this article to clarify one point: that to criticize the PDP is not to justify the APC.  Every party, especially one which claims to stand for change, must earn its credibility.

It is not news that the APC hopes to become Nigeria’s dominant political force.  There is nothing wrong with seeking to replace the PDP, produce the next President, run the National Assembly and produce a majority of the country’s governors.

All of that is legitimate; it is precisely what the PDP has done since 1999.  But the PDP progressively became richer and more insensitive to the tears of our people.

It is in those tears that the APC wishes to swim on its way to political dominance.  “Those compatriots who have lost faith in our dear country because of insufficient and corrupt leadership; count on us for we represent an Agent of change for committed, transparent and focused leadership,” it says in the preamble to its manifesto.

“As a change Agent, APC intend to cleanse our closet to halt the dangerous drift of Nigeria to a failed state; with a conscious plan for post-oil-economy in Nigeria.

“To achieve this laudable programme APC government shall restructure the country, devolve power to the units, with the best practices of federalism and eliminate unintended paralysis of the center.”

These claims market the APC pretty well.  As I observed in previous comments, however, a new party can basically place anything in its shopping basket in a bid to acquire power.  The PDP did, and for 15 years, it used every such craft and every trick to snatch power, knowing it could then do whatever it pleased.

That is how we found ourselves with the monster of impunity, corruption and bad governance to which the APC says it is an answer.

Can the APC do it?  In terms of winning political power, the party is on the ascendancy, but as we have seen, winning power is not the same thing as using it for the public good.  If Nigerians have learned anything from their recent history, it is that words are not the same as intent, or even of ability.

On this count, the APC seems to be saying to Nigerians, “Trust me.”

Only a fool would trust the APC, as currently established, to be any different, let alone better than, the PDP, which is currently collapsing on its head.

However, while the opponent’s own goal may be enough for you to win the semi-final, it is not proof that you are capable of winning the final.

Let us remember that some of the APC-ers who are currently gushing with a certain pseudo-patriotic spirit were well-known clean-up men in the PDP and other parties.

In other words, if the APC is an answer to the PDP, is the APC also an answer to the APC?  Can the APC discipline itself to serve Nigeria and not the APC?

“Democracy, to be stable and meaningful, must be anchored on the principle that government derives its powers from the consent of the governed,” APC says in its manifesto.

“This means that governments are instituted on the basis of free, fair and credible elections, and are maintained through responsiveness to public opinion. In addition, the exercise of political authority is rooted in the rule of law. APC believes in the doctrine of social contract between the leaders and the led; which means that the public office holder is a trustee of the people and that power must be used in the interest of the people rather than in the interest of the public office holder.”

It is unhelpful to argue with this analysis.  In fact, those members of the ACP who travelled in through the New PDP made a stronger case during their journey, repeatedly stressing the necessity of a “democratic temperament.”  They demanded a democracy inspired by free choice, the rule of law, transparency, and accountability.

As one of those who challenged the APC to reach for enduring an enduring platform, I am pleased to learn the party will use the Uwais Report to change the electoral law, and seek to make the Independent National and State Electoral Commissions (INEC) truly independent.

If elected, the party says it will institute an anti-corruption response through deploying the relevant agencies as strong and independent bodies. Some of us also thought the APC should institute an aggressive grassroots voter-registration scheme, which it put into play last week.

While I commend the APC for these proposals, the truth is that they do not go far enough to protect Nigerians should the party win power, and it must be clear that this is the heart of the challenge.  What happens should the APC be elected and it begins to protect its looters?

Only by the establishment of clear internal standards and mechanisms, from the beginning, can the party hope to answer this question.

While it has accepted the need to provide a code of conduct, the party says such a document will be prepared by a body that has yet to be established.

That is unacceptable because such a code is the only way to tell those who genuinely want to use the APC to shield Nigerians from the rain from those who want to use it to shield themselves.  It is the only way to guarantee the level playing field the APC has often spoken about, as opposed to a level playing field for the APC to compete with other political parties.

The battle for integrity is not the battle between political institutions, but the battle between right and wrong.  That is why it is vital for any political party which proclaims change to demonstrate that it will have even higher standards for itself than is demanded by law.  That is how desperate our situation is.

This is why, in a previous article, I called on the APC to “set clear standards, and demonstrate that those standards are higher than partisan politics and the APC itself. “

This is more important now than when the APC started out.  The party is attracting an assemblage of people who ought to sign this code, as a pledge, so they know they are really committing themselves to true patriotism.

If they do not pledge to serve the people openly, they are almost certain to serve themselves privately, and that is the standard to which the APC says it objects.

Let every top member, every official at every level and every electoral prospect sign such a pledge and be judged by history.

All those who sign should get a party button which proudly proclaims: “I SIGNED!”

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

2015: We will make Nigeria ungovernable if Jonathan fails to return – Asari-Dokubo.


Asari-dokubo-004

Leader of the defunct Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force, NDPVF, Alhaji Mujaheeden Asari-Dokubo, yesterday reaffirmed his position over 2015 ambition of President Goodluck Jonathan , warning that if Jonathan fails to return in 2015, Nigeria would witness a heavy bloodshed.Asari-Dokubo in an interview with the National Mirror said the people of the Niger Delta would not accept even if Jonathan is defeated in a free and fair contest, adding that the President must be allowed to rule for eight years.According to him, “If it is war, the North wants, we are ready for them because Jonathan must complete the mandatory constitutionally allowable two terms of eight years.“At home, we have regrouped and we have put our people at alert.“In less than one hour, the way we would strike, the world will be shocked. If anybody does anything against Jonathan, we will retaliate. What we will do will shock the whole world. We will cripple the economy of the country not only in the creeks, but also on the nation’s territorial waters, no vessel will be allowed to enter Nigeria’s territorial waters.“Let them not try anything. If they abuse Jonathan, there is no problem, he is their President but anything that will affect the interest of the Ijaw people and the interest of the entire people of the Niger Delta will be resisted at any cost.”Asari-Dokubo also vowed that the defeat of Jonathan in a free and fair election would trigger crisis.He said: “Jonathan cannot be defeated, they cannot defeat him, they don’t have the right, every part of the country must have equal stake in the presidency of the country.“Let them go and sleep in their houses. If they don’t, they are looking for trouble and we are going to give it to them. “It will make better sense if APC picks its presidential candidate from the South- South. With that, there will be no battle for us to fight and it will make it easier for us.

Whichever way it goes, it will enable us to continue our right of uninterrupted rule of eight years, which is the minimum constitutional requirement.“They cannot take that from the South-South and we will not accept it because every part of the country must have equal access to the various institutions of government, especially at the federal level,” he added.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Elections Must Be Free And Fair, Says Buhari.


Three time Presidential candidate, and chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC) General Muhammadu Buhari, today said that elections must be free and fair as part of deepening democracy in Nigeria.

Buhari, in a live stream interview with Liberty Radio SaharaReporters, followed in New York, also said that Nigerians deserve credible and responsible leadership.

He said, “Elections must be free and fair. We have been to court three times in 2003, 2007 and 2011, not because we were convinced that we were going to win. We went because we want to make sure that this multi-party democracy takes a firm grip on Nigerians.

“If we can come and go, the system will be strong enough to guarantee security for this country and guarantee prosperity for this country. This is our objective. All we are fighting for is to have proper democracy. What I mean is that whatever people say, whether they reflect briefly on it or not, Nigerians are now well aware of their right and what they expect from government.

“Like I have said, we have to properly secure and manage this country. You cannot deny citizens their rights to express their own opinion or you allow some people to brazenly threaten the cooperate existence of the country, and instead of inviting them and asking them to explain themselves to the nation, they are given a ride in a Presidential jet.”

General Buhari also lamented over a recent spate of harassment of citizens over freedom of expression:

“When others do it, you go and lock them up or you harass them. That is not the way to do things. For example, when the seven governors decided to break out from the PDP and we went and visited them; five of the governors took the risk.

“One of the governors still have problem with the police, his children were arrested, and the bank officials that transacted business with his children were locked up. Those are children of governors. You can imagine what will then happen to children of ordinary Nigerians.”

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

Billionaire House Helps By Okey Ndibe.


Okey Ndibe
Columnist:

Okey Ndibe

Nigeria’s (misnamed) Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has released the schedule for the 2015 set of general “elections.” The presidential and National Assembly “elections” will be held on February 14, 2015, followed by state “elections” on February 28, 2015.

I have put elections in quotes to underscore a given: the electoral exercises are bound to be another Nigerian-made mess, a fraud fest, a classic of rigging. Even INEC has signaled this by warning Nigerians not to expect a “perfect” election. That’s a Nigerian shorthand that translates as, “Expect a massively rigged election, as usual.” When a Nigerian (politician or a politician’s apologist) announces, in reaction to accusations of corruption, “Nobody is perfect,” it’s a coded way of saying, “Yes, I (or my oga) stole, but who doesn’t?”

It’s become settled practice: every four years, INEC puts together an obscenely expensive show called “elections.” But the point of the bazaar is to enable the various political parties to exhibit their varying levels of versatility at rigging. Yet, at the end of the show, determined to dress up the event in borrowed garbs, INEC and the “winners” declare that “no election is perfect.” Or, to explain away the more mystifying aspects of the hollow exercise, the “winners” declaim that God, not the electorate, voted for them.

Many wonder whether Nigeria will survive past the 2015 “elections.” It depends on what they mean by survive. Nigeria has subsisted as an increasingly lawless place for decades now. Post 2015, the degree of lawlessness will be compounded. Violence, already the currency of Nigeria, will be writ larger. The endangered species called the Nigerian citizen will be further diminished and crushed. The instruments of the Nigerian state, at the local government, state and national levels, will be hijacked anew by a set of buccaneers. Filled with disdain for so-called citizens, driven by the singular mission of transferring public funds to their private pockets, unable or uninterested to legitimize themselves through the popular consent of citizenry, the hijackers of state power will resort, more and more, to the use of violence.

INEC’s timetable for the next set of a rigging jamboree is not the only source of foreboding in Nigeria. Nigerian politics—which is often reduced to politicking—is amazingly bereft of issues. Yet, it is a country that has a lot of issues.

The organized scam that bears the name Nigeria has not addressed the most basic of questions. With the exception of the few who run the shop, Nigerians can’t claim to possess any rights as citizens. I know: somebody is going to flip through the pages of the Nigerian constitution and read the bla bla bla it says about the rights of citizens. But the words are baloney. The fact is that, all too often, the Nigerian constitution wilts and the law courts shiver when the occupant of Aso Rock sneezes. It doesn’t matter what the constitution says, any sergeant in the Nigerian police can arrest, beat up, and lock up any poor Nigerian who crosses a big oga. The security detail of a any Nigerian state governor can wreck the car of any driver slow to move out of the governor’s way in traffic—and expect not to be called to account.

The recklessness of the police is matched by the timidity and corruption of the Nigerian judiciary. Many of my Nigerian lawyer friends despair of the willingness of too many judges to cheapen their bench by accepting lucre in exchange for judgment. In a country where custodians of the most exalted offices are the boldest, grandest thieves, few are tempted to stick to the right path. To insist on doing the right thing in Nigeria is to risk losing your job, being passed over for promotion, being jeered at by peers, friends and relatives, and being excluded from the list of recipients of national honors.

Nigerian “elections” are such violent affairs because political posts are a sweepstakes. The Nigerian president, governors and local government chairmen rake in billions each year in a scam called security vote. The Nigerian president and governors enjoy immunity from prosecution, even when they commit grave crimes. Nigerian legislators have become legislooters in popular parlance, and for good reason. Elsewhere, political office holders function as servants. In Nigeria, they exchange knowing winks as they announce, in jest, that they are our servants. Americans pay President Barack Obama $400,000 per year for the job he does. Each month, each Nigerian governor pulls in five to seven times Mr. Obama’s annual salary as security votes.

Nigeria’s public officials are like domestic house helps who have been allowed to set their salaries, and have set them at billions of naira. Yet, they are house helps who don’t know their right from their left. Their pay packets may dwarf Mr. Obama’s, but they and their hired hands are first to protest that they must not be held to American or European standards of performance.

It works for Nigerian politicians not to set any store by issues. Ideas-based politics is the graveyard of hollow politicians, the surest way to expose their mediocrity. That explains the recourse to such trite, boutique phrases as “dividends of democracy” and “moving the nation forward.” The Nigerian politician’s worst nightmare is to be challenged to specify what s/he means by “dividends of democracy” or to articulate the particular means as well as philosophic underpinnings of “moving the nation forward.”

It is this absence of discursive rigor in Nigerian politics that has brought the country to yet another absurd moment. The absurdity lies in the way in which a faction of the PDP establishment has joined an opposition coalition, and is now presuming to represent a fundamental alternative to the ruling party. With each passing day, the All Progressives Congress (APC) resembles a re-baptized PDP. In fact, a part of me suspects that the APC is something of the PDP’s Plan B, a part and parcel of the PDP’s threat to run Nigeria for a minimum of sixty years, or until the country collapses and dies.

 

Please follow me on twitter @ okeyndibe

(okeyndibe@gmail.com)

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

APGA in fresh leadership crisis as court sacks Umeh, Shinkafi.


 

APGA

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, yesterday sacked the National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Chief Victor Umeh and its National Secretary, Alhaji Sani Shinkafi, from office.
The trial high court, in a judgment yesterday, held that the duo were not only invalidly elected into office by voice votes instead of secret ballot as stipulated by Article 18 (3) of the Constitution of APGA, but that the party’s scribe had overstayed in office contrary to the provisions of the constitution.
The verdict signposts the return of fresh leadership crisis in the party.
The presiding high court judge, Justice Abdul Kafarati, who invalidated the election of both the national chairman and secretary of the party, however, endorsed the Maxi Okwu parallel executive committee as the authentic leader of the party.
The case, which has the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, as a codefendant directed the electoral umpire to comply with the court judgement.
But moments after the verdict was delivered yesterday, the duo of Umeh and Shinkafi declared the judgement as incompetent, null and void and mere an exhibition of judicial rascality.
They urged party faithful and the Nigerians to see the judgement as an anomaly which would be corrected on appeal.
The duo, who were affected by the judgment yesterday, had also filed a notice of appeal and an application for stay of the judgement pending the determination of their appeal.
They, however, vowed to proceed against the trial judge, Justice Abdul Kafarati, whom they claimed willfully delivered what they called the “fraudulent judgment” to unsettle APGA, a political party which controls governance a state of the federation.
It will be recalled that the founding leader of APGA, Chief Chekwas Okorie was fought, in law courts, to a standstill by Chief Victor Umeh’s executive committee for many years.
Chief Okorie, who accepted defeat recently after the Supreme Court declared that he had been expelled from the party and could therefore not claim to be the leader of the party, had since formed another party.
The acceptance of the judgement of the apex court then, had brought peace into the party.
But yesterday’s judgment seemed to have unsettled the peace being enjoyed in the party.
The background to the brewing crisis in APGA is that a chieftain of the party, Chief Maxi Okwu had dragged Umeh, Shinkafi and INEC before the court, challenging their continual stay in office beyond what the constitution of the party provided for.
Okwu had instituted the suit on August 19, 2013 seeking an order directing the second defendant (Shinkafi) to vacate his office as the national secretary of the party having been first elected into office on January 10, 2003.
He prayed for an order directing the first and second defendants and all officers they represented to vacate their offices forthwith not having been elected in accordance with Article 18 (4) of the constitution of the party, which prescribed that election into the offices shall be by secret ballot, and an order directing INEC to deal with Maxi Okwu’s leadership of APGA.
Counsel to Umeh, Patrick Ikwueto, SAN, had urged the court to dismiss the suit for lack of jurisdiction.
He submitted that the three plaintiffs, Ibrahim Carefor, Gbenga Afeni and Abubakar Adamu, had withdrawn from the suit, leaving Okwu and Dickson Ogu as plaintiffs.
Counsel to Okwu, Maduabuchi opposed the preliminary objection and urged the court to uphold that Sani Shinkafi’s tenure as national secretary had since expired having been elected to the position on January 10, 2003.
Maduabuchi urged the court to direct INEC to recognize and deal with the Okwu leadership of the party.
The case was fiercely prosecuted by both parties.
Delivering judgment in the case yesterday, Justice Abdul Kafarati held that the plaintiff had the locus standi, going by the affidavit in support of the originating summons to institute the suit as against the objection brought by the defendants challenging the legal interest of Okwu in instituting the suit.
by ISE-OLUWA IGE

BREAKING NEWS: PDP Chairman, Bamanga Tukur resigns at last.


 

Jonathan Tukur

Information according 247UREPORTS has it that, a source from at Wadata Plaza in Wuse 5, Abuja reveal that the embattled Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP], Malam Bamanga Tukur has submitted his resignation letter to the PDP and to the Presidency. The resignation is to take effect Wednesday January 15, 2014.
The source according to 247UREPORT has it that the embattled Chairman was forced to step down following a brief meeting with Mr. President who impressed on him that he must resign of face the consequences. As gathered, the President had reminded the embattled chairman of a letter from the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] stating that the national executive council of the PDP was illegally constituted. Mr. President told the embattled Chairman that the letter can be recalled into play.
The embattled chairman was reported to remain adamant until it was revealed to him that the national executive council and the national working committee were readying to cast a vote of no-confidence on Thursday January 16, 2014 against him. To avert the vote of no confidence, Bamanga Tukur hurried a resignation letter – and dated his resignation for January 15, 2014 – after the Muslim holiday.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Democracy Versus Demon-Crazy: Why America And Nigeria Will Always Be Poles Apart By Dr. Wumi Akintide.


By Dr. Wumi Akintide

I spent much of my free time these days watching news analysis on television by the best in the business around the world. It’s been that way with me for years but more so for close to one month now due to a breaking news first aired on MSNBC by Rachel Maddow whose sexual orientation has been the subject for gossip in my circle of friends but who I so much admire for her guts and brain power. She suggested in her analysis  that the brilliant but abrasive New Jersey Republican Governor may have abused his powers and therefore will have some queries to answer on the rumors that his closest aides taking their cue from their boss or just trying to please him, might have done something unethical with regards to the 4 day hell of a traffic hold up around Fort Lee.

A trusted associate of the 2 term Governor had chosen to close down few of the major lanes to the Washington Bridge to deliberately embarrass a democratic mayor who has refused to  endorse the Governor for his second term bid. Evidently, the Governor was not satisfied with the number of democrats crossing party lines to endorse him because he wanted to send a message to  the Republican party he  should be their nominee for President in 2016 if the don’t want to lose by double digits again to the Democrats who have always been on the right sides of all the issues that are going to determine the outcome of that election.

The rumor started like a storm in a tea cup which was initially dismissed  as mere speculation or a fishing expedition  by some liberal reporters to dig up some dirt on Governor Christie the Republican front runner. The Governor and many people had thought the report would go away or fizzle out in a few days but instead of going away it has been gathering  momentum ever since because Rachel Maddow and much of the news media in America would not let go. That is the nature of American democracy. Unlike its Nigerian counterpart where a candidate can commit political murder or blunder and still go ahead to win a landslide victory  because elections are won or lost in Nigeria before the first vote is cast. It only takes a Houdini like Obasanjo or his political son, Jonathan who feel  the can  brow-beat or intimidate their opponents by  using their power of incumbency. In America such a behavior would have been a knock-out punch for them regardless of who they are.

The Fort Lee scandal has since been elevated from a storm in a tea cup to a tempest and could yet rise to a Tsunami pretty soon from depending on what Governor Christie does or does not do. The report has assumed a new dimension since January 8 because of a new revelation that the Sumo wrestler Governor  could only ignore to his own peril in a vibrant Democracy where  American voters expect anyone who would be President to be totally above board like Caesar’s wife. If you compare the 4 day traffic jam on Route 95 North to what routinely occurs on Ibadan-Lagos Express where the monthly Holy Ghost Night  and religious activities have become a public nuisance and nightmare that can only be tolerated for so long only in a third world country. Not even Saudi Arabia with her feudalistic Sheiks would tolerate such a traffic hold-up in Mecca, their city of faith during their Hajj operations.

Nigerian journalists, legislators and public officials, Ministers, Governors, Senate President and Speaker of the House and Mr President who frequently ply that so-called Express in their bullet-proof cars would not say a word because they are scared to death to say anything that could offend Cardinal Olukoya or Pope Enoch Adeboye and because the Nigerian Democracy is so terribly flawed. Rather than raising the type of alarm being raised in New Jersey today, such an uproar if it ever occurred in Nigeria would have been quickly swept under the carpet in a few days and that would be it. Don’t get me wrong. I love and respect General Overseers Olukoya and Adeboye, but in America their Mega Churches without anyone telling them would have taken the traffic situations on that road into consideration before hoping to get more than several millions of their followers disturbing the peace of other travelers on that Express the way they have always done in the name of God and without have any conscience about it.

In Nigeria, a fiery investigative journalist and whistle blower like Rachel  Maddow would have been quickly silenced or put in jail or intimidated and harrassed by hired assassins paid for by tax payers money. The whole Federal Government led by our clueless President is shaken to its pants by the one man battalion of a young man named Omoyele Sowore from Apoi in the Riverine areas of  Ilaje, Ese Odo in Ondo State. Unflappable and fearless Omoyele like Kenule Tsaro Wiwa or Jasper Adakar Boro before him, has had the courage of his convictions to challenge Mr. President for only paying a lip service to fighting Corruption in Nigeria. He is probably able to successfully do that because he lives in far away New York where his freedom of speech is guaranteed and protected by the Law. I am able to write a lot of what I write today only because I share the same privilege.

President Jonathan’s actions and body language suggest that he has become the real problem and not part of the solution to the Nigerian problem. The President could care less about all the noise the Nigerian Press and Omoyele and his Sahara crew have been making on the Nigerian Aviation Minister who has now dared the President to remove her if he can. The tail is wagging the dog in the Nigerian Democracy. The President is moving forward with his so-called transformation agenda which is a joke given all the scandals his Government is facing right now. In America he would have been impeached and his kins man from Delta who is telling Nigeria that hell would break loose and Nigeria made ungovernable if the ijaw President did not win in 2015, would have been kept under surveillance by Law Enforcement.

The President recently authorized an exchange of prisoners with the UK, one British prisoner for more than 165 Nigerian prisoners in his bid to finally help a PDP chieftain Ibori who can then be granted a state pardon like Alimiyeisegha once he is sent back to Nigeria. He could begin his freedom by being admitted to the Incentive Care Unit of St Nicholas for the remainder of his term in prison while effort is made to arrange a state pardon for him and the highest honor the country could bestow on any of his citizens. The President needed filthy-rich Ibori to bankroll his re-election bid in 2015 in pretty much the same way the terribly corrupt Governor has bankrolled Yar Adua’s election in 2007 with his loot from Delta State. Such a move would  have been seen as a heresy in America.

President Jonathan has again ordered the Nigerian Military to grant a general amnesty to suspected and actual terrorists who have done so much havoc in Nigeria because he now needed to appease voters in those segments of Nigeria including his own backyard in the Niger Delta in preparation for his re-election prospects in 2015 now that his megalomaniac father of the nation and his erstwhile mentor has disowned him. Such a move would never have been tolerated in America without the president paying a high price.

It is now clear that Governor Christie is being cleved by half when he gave the impression he was fully cooperating with the investigation because he had nothing to hide. What the Governor does about the “sub poena” powers of the New Jersey Legislature which is expiring next Tuesday would now have to be the litmus test to determine if the Governor would survive the Tsunami coming after him in the weeks and months ahead as preparations for the primaries gather momentum. If the Governor is dead serious about his promise to let  the chips fall where they may, he would not hesitate  to order the re authorization of the “sub poena” powers which would make it impossible or even illegal for most of the witnesses in the scandal to plead their 5th amendment rights against self incrimination. He would be seen as the “King of Kings” and “the Lion of Judah” if he could do that in America, a country governed by the rule of Law.

The third tier of Government, the Nigerian Legislatures were always more interested in sharing money or getting a Governor or a President to settle them to pass any bill the President or Governor has sponsored. They are ever so ready to sweep any scandal under the carpet if the price right just like the deposed Deji of Akure is today appealing to Governor Mimiko to reinstate him on a quid pro quo basis because he was sure the Akure king makers are ready to forget and forgive his transgressions if he is able  to grease their palms. Selection of the next Deji would probably be the first and the last the Olusoga Administration in the Akure Council of Chiefs would ever make because majority of the Chiefs including Olusoga himself  are in their late 60s and 70s and their chances of surviving the next Deji are very doubtful in a country where the average span of life for men is 46 and 49 for women. I am watching very closely what Sao Adebayo probably one of the appointees of the deposed Deji in the Akure Council of Chiefs is going to do. He would have a whole lot of explaning to do to those of us from Irowo Quarters who have as much stake as he has in that title.

If you factor in the shoddy manner most of the President’s or Governor’s nominees in Nigeria are confirmed or denied confirmation by the Senate in the the Federal and by the Legislature in the 36 states,, you will understand what I am talking about. Many of those nominees like the current Aviation Minister with all the scandals in her past including a certificate forgery was confirmed by a useless Senate which could not scrutinize her credentials and her deposition to be sure nothing they ought to know has fallen thru the cracks. They went ahead to confirm her thus giving her the license to commit murder so to speak. Our clueless President is today rambling and playing Russian Roulette with a Minister who has been irredeemably damaged and should have been let go a long time ago.

The President could not do it because the Minister is the one helping him to raise funds  for his re-election in 2015. Part of whatever money she may have made from the 255 million she paid for 2 bullet-proof cars might have gone to the re-election funds of Mr. President. Such a revelation should have been sufficient ground for impeachment of any American President. The President’s whole world now depends on his holding on to office beyond 2015 or else hell is going to break loose. His first lady would have a heart attack if for any reason her husband’s re-election is derailed. That is precisely why Nigeria is riddled with stench and corruption the end of which nobody can predict as the country is sinking deeper and deeper into oblivion from all we can see.
What Governor Christie and his aides in New Jersey are being vilified and pilloried for right now is a daily occurrence that nobody would have paid any attention to in Nigeria, based on our own variation of Democracy which I define as “Demon-crazy.” While the ideal Democracy in most developed countries preaches social equality and justice, “Demon-crazy” merely pays a lip service to those ideals as mere slogans. What Demon-crazy does is oppress, intimidate and perpetually keep Nigerians in perpetual bondage as our Government is actually run by demons, misfits and the mediocre masquerading as leaders.

As a retired political science major domiciled in the greatest city in the world, my daily routine is predictable. I wake up every morning Monday thru Friday at exactly 6 AM even if I went bed as late as 3 AM. I wake up to watch BBC News from 6  to 6.30 AM to have a glimpse of what has been happening around the world in the previous 24 hours. I then quickly switched over to “Morning Joe” and his amazing panel of pundits and political analysts which frequently includes many of the American news makers of the past and present. I do that from about 6.30 to 7 AM. If I am not going anywhere since I am now retired and have more time to myself, I either go back to sleep till 9AM when I have to  get up to watch the “Daily Rundown” by my favorite White House Correspondent-in-Chief, the one and only Chuck Todd of the United States.

I get all the analysis and information I need to last me till 5 PM to watch MSNBC  Ed Chultz and “Politics Nation” by Al Sharpton, “Hard Ball” by Chris Matthew at 7 PM, Rachel Maddow at 9 PM and Lawrence O’Donnel by 10 PM. I get everything I need to make an informed analysis or take a position on any topic that captures my fancy.

I cannot be happier about my life in America because if I never left home, I could predictably have been dead by now not just because of what I write and how I live my life, but because of other  pressures, frustrations most Nigerians have to endure from their own leaders and Governments in  all nooks and corners of Nigeria from Okrika to Baga on Lake Chad. A scandal like Oduahgate and numerous scandals our embattled President Goodluck and his aides have to routinely  live with, would have run me crazy and totally insane. When I add that the pressures from not  getting my pensions paid on time in Abuja  to my responsibilities as the first born in my family, I feel  forever grateful to America because those are some of the factors that would  have killed me in Nigeria where kidnappers and hired killers are two for a penny. All our docile, incompetent and corrupt President could do about it is take the 5th or send his mouth organs like Edwin Kiagbodo Clark or his hatchet men like Reuben Abati and Doyin Okupe to start defending the indefensible as they struggle to explain to the world what the President has been doing a how well he has been performing his duties and meeting his obligations to Nigerians. It was all a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury but signifying nothing, if you ask me.

You will never have a President Jonathan coming out like Governor Christie  did yesterday, taking the bull by the horns, showing contrition, and answering questions for no less than 2 hours in a Press Conference  and leaving no one in any doubt that the man who has had a reputation for throwing punches is finally taking a hit himself, and making the best of it like great Mohammed Ali did when he survived 15 brutal rounds of hell with late Joe Frazier in their epic thriller in Manila or the rumble in the jungle with great George Foreman in Zaire. Governor Christie had to do that to salvage his credibility in American politics.

Everything that was good in American democracy was in display in the awesome exchange the self-opinionated Governor had with the Press and most of the best whistle blowers in America who are ready to jump on him like a junkyard dog. They all look the Governor straight in the face,  telling him  before television cameras not what they think he wanted to hear but what he needed to hear loud and clear as a public figure.. “You stay out of the kitchen if you cannot take the heat.”  Political leaders in America  do not toy with public opinion and dissent the way our leaders do in Nigeria. They instinctively know and understand that the Opposition is the Government-in-waiting and therefore a must in a Democracy. They cannot think of any party holding on to power for 100 years as canvassed by Obasanjo who calls himself a “democrat” and the self-appointed father of the nation.

Can you believe that Governor Christie who is yet to openly declare his intention to run for President in 2016 is being given such an intense scrutiny roughly 3 years to that election. If you compare that scenario with how our own President Goodluck emerge as a running mate to Yar Adua in 2007, you will be amazed. Our own Baba Mero just woke up after being lobbied by our current first lady to please allow her husband to become the running mate to the terminally-sick Yar Adua on the platform of the PDP which already knew it was going to win the election even before the first vote was cast. The same Obasanjo is again arrogating to himself the power to pick the successor to Jonathan in 2015 based on his own calculus and self interest. Obasanjo fully understood that Goodluck Jonathan who was going to be only a heartbeat from the Presidency, could suddenly become President if Yar Adua were to die in office. Be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it. Yar Ardua died in office roughly a year or two to the end of his first term. That was how Goodluck became President.

Not once in the Governor Christie Press Conference did I hear the Press call him” Your Excellency”, a title which every Governor and every President in Nigeria love so much that they would have a serious problem if any of their children or family members including their first lady forget to address them as such. Governors and Presidents are not subjected to such indignities in Nigeria because by our calling them “Their Excellencies” every now and them, we are letting it sink into their consciousness that they are superhuman  even though we all know they are not. We do the same to our senators and Assembly men by describing them as honorable even when we know a great many of them were actually rigged into office and they are making more than 100 times the remuneration for their peers and counterparts elsewhere around the world.

Ibori of Delta State was “His Excellency” before he looted his state treasury and before commencing his 13 year jail in London for money laundering. D.S.L Alimiyeisegha was “His Excellency in Bayelsa and the boss of our current President before jumping bail in London, dressed as a woman to escape justice. He returned to Nigeria to be given a state pardon on a platter of gold by his former Deputy who was catapulted to the  President of the country by default. The same Obasanjo is nows engaged in a brawl with the President because he now seriously regretted picking him to begin with and the rest of us are now supposed to roll out the drums and to start cheering the same Obasanjo who has bragged so many times that his PDP was going to rule Nigeria for 100 years because Nigerian voters are dumb and because their rigging formula are going to be perfected by Professor Jega and his boys at I.N.E.C.

Has any of you reading this ever heard of a Democracy where one party is allowed to dominate  a country for 100 years and where the Opposition is never given a chance to have its own day in the sunshine. How do you tell if the Opposition will perform unless you give them a chance to prove their mettle. In the ideal Democracy which has now been embraced in Ghana, Jerry Rawlings to his everlasting credit had allowed the opposition party to taste power and to show that no one political party has a monopoly on wisdom and good government. In the UK and in America, the British or the American voters would never have tolerated a government however good to dominate power for as long as the P.D.P has done in Nigeria. Never. I don’t care what  the P.D.P may be saying about the new A.P.C, it is time for the P.D.P to go. If A.P.C does not keep their promise, ii too should be thrown out in 4 years. That is the way Democracy is supposed to work.

Obasanjo is back again at his game by flying a kite that Governor Lamido would be his handpick for 2015 while Governor Amaechi would be his running mate. Where for God’s sake did Obasanjo learn his punditry to be picking and choosing for Nigeria from one election circle to another. That was the guy who picked Shehu Shagari and his N.P.N over and above Obafemi Awolowo and his U.P.N in 1979. Look at where his judgment has led Nigeria. The man was released from an Abacha dungeon to come lead the PDP. He lost very badly to Chief Oluyemi Falae even in his backyard in Owu. Such a man would not have been allowed to become President in more civilized polity, but the PDP had their own agenda.

They wanted to use Obasanjo but he ended up using them to consolidate his power as President by fooling his Yoruba kith and kin to vote for him to be in a position to assert himself as a PDP nominee. Once he got what he wanted he threw the AD Governors under the bus, got rid of the only A.D leader, Uncle Bola Ige who could have stopped him. The PDP took over the whole of the Southwest until “Ololu” of Lagos, iron man Tinubu assisted by Chief Bisi Akande beat Obasanjo to a retreat taking back the Southwest from the PDP, a feat that only Awolowo could have achieved. They routed Obasanjo at his game and may well repeat the same scenario in 2015 if their new mega  party can prove or demonstrate it is different from  the PDP which has lost all credibility in Nigeria as far as I am concerned.

Demon-crazy is what we practice in Nigeria. It is time for Nigeria to uphold the real tenets of Democracy as practiced in America. If I have to choose between the  American and the Nigerian model, the choice is clear. Need I say more?

I rest my case.

 

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters

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