By Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye
It is my considered opinion that President Goodluck Jonathan will not win the February 14, 2015 presidential election. But then, he will NOT also lose. And if Jonathan is declared winner after the votes had been cast and counted, it would not be because the people voted massively for him. It would be that Nigerians trooped out to overwhelmingly vote against the All Progressive Congress (APC) candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari.
Although, President Jonathan has performed far better than his predecessors in office, especially, his arch-critic, former President Olusegun Obasanjo (who went all out to impoverish and ground the country despite the unprecedented earnings that poured into the treasury during his tenure from oil exports) and whose regime brazenly institutionalized corruption (thereby, proving that it was indeed possible to beat the solid record left by the Ibrahim Babangida military regime), what cannot be denied is that Jonathan could have done far better than he has done. But, sadly, the APC whose candidate is Jonathan’s major challenger is just incapable of inspiring confidence. Although labouring to present themselves as the “face of change,” the APC people only succeed in making Jonathan more appealing to the people by the way they conduct themselves and their campaign.
And despite all the resources and efforts the party has deployed to market itself as an alternative to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), it has only succeeded in solidifying the egregious impression that it is nothing other than the PDP’s dustbin, where mostly frustrated and disgruntled PDP members seek refuge and are heartily received no matter their past records.
The APC’s major problem is that it is so much in love with its own voice and is often too overwhelmed by its seemingly untamable garrulity that it is not able to realize when it has stopped making sense. For instance, no rational being would buy the naïve and clearly pedestrian theory being religiously peddled by the APC (through its body language and even utterances) that even if a politician was the worst devil when he was in the PDP, once he decamps to the APC, he would automatically become a saint, an attainment he would immediately lose the moment he leaves the APC again to return to the PDP. Yet, when this same APC emerged as a single political party after completing the merger arrangements, its leaders went to former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s home to beg him to come and become the “navigator” of the “instrument of change” they have put together.
Now, if these APC leaders who relish being referred to as “progressives” could consider Obasanjo the person most qualified to serve as their party’s leading light despite what they and other Nigerians clearly know about Obasanjo’s records as a human being, president and politician, and, most importantly, that whatever is said to be wrong with the PDP today is majorly a direct consequence of Obasanjo’s deliberate actions, then the APC, despite its loud noise is nothing but a gang of fortune hunters who believe in nothing and are aiming at achieving nothing, except a change in their personal statuses. In fact, it won’t be unfair to describe them as a band of desperate politicians propelled mainly by some inordinate desire to take over
and prove that they are
worse than their counterparts in the PDP. That several of these same APC people
have in the past publicly castigated Obasanjo for his prominent role in the
downgrading of Nigeria
does not in a way help their image. Nigeria
Indeed, I would like to see the term “progressives” completely banned in
contemporary political discourse in order to save it from the egregious
devaluation and debasement it has been so horribly subjected to for some time
now by those claiming to represent the face of change. Nigeria
The APC megaphones should have by now recognized the urgent need to retrieve themselves from the tight corner they have boxed themselves into which makes them to continue to believe that Nigerians share their grand illusion that “anything but Jonathan and the PDP” can do. Yes, Nigerians are yearning for change, but it would be foolish to think that they would settle for just anything or even something worse than what they already had just because they want a change. That would be stretching political naivety beyond its malleable limit.
Most of the time, when the APC attacks the PDP, it loses more credibility than the target of its attacks. Somebody said recently that even if President Barack Obama found the cure for cancer, Republican Senator John McCain will oppose it. The APC has been unable to hide the fact that its opposition to the PDP is often merely a means of achieving power rather than seeking solutions (which they do not even seem to have) to
problems. Theirs appears to be the best example of opposition not mixed with
patriotism and criticism of the programmes and actions of others without
demonstrating that one is in possession of better alternatives or the ability
to do better if given the opportunity.
If the APC is aiming at winning the minds of Nigerians, it should engage itself more in showing Nigerians how exactly it intends to make their country better. They should stop wasting their time, resources and goodwill in the very futile exercise of trying to prove that theirs is a party of saints while the PDP is a party of devils. Of course, they should know that it is always very annoying when somebody tries to deceive another person (who may even more intelligent than him) with vacuous and unconvincing lies. It is not yet late for the APC to rebrand and adopt a new, edifying strategy.
Now, the APC cannot deny that it is aware that many Nigerians think that its presidential candidate is huge mistake? His infamous religious and ethnocentric credentials apart, the only coherent thing I have heard from General Buhari since he indicated interest to run for president is that “the PDP government has failed.” Of course, anybody can say that – it does not require even less-than average brain to be able to say it, but how exactly do you intend to succeed where the PDP has failed? What exactly is your blueprint for reversing the failure?
Only very few are impressed when all a candidate does is to roll out a catalogue of promises to solve all
’s problems overnight and turn
it into a paradise if elected president. People want to know how exactly you
intend to achieve that. Or should we regard all the promises General Buhari is
rolling out like the bombshell he dropped the other day by promising to “stabilize
the oil market”! Now, if I did not hear this myself during a Channels
TV interview (still available on youtube), I would not have believed that any
politician hoping to be taken seriously would promise to solve a matter that
sometimes even overwhelms OPEC. Nigeria
*Who cares for these "leaders of tomorrow"
Again, in the interview he granted ‘TheCable’ in October
very simple question was asked Buhari to outline his policy direction, to show
how he would do things differently from the current president whom he has been
criticizing and recover the country as he has been promising. When he failed to
give any coherent answer, the question was rephrased two more times, yet the
Daura General continued saying every other thing that entered his head except
the answers required from him.
Buhari announced the other day that if elected president, he would gather some other generals together to help him devise a strategy for ending the Boko Haram menace; in other words, right now, he has no idea how to end the security problem for which he and his party have fiercely attacked the present administration and which they have also made the backbone of the Buhari campaign.
I think, too, that Buhari and the APC should stop promising Nigerians that they would fight corruption. When people look at the characters around him (and who also have joined the anti-corruption chorus), people wonder how they are able to believe even their own lie. Okay, his party has said that all public officers that looted the treasury in the past would not be bothered by a Buhari regime, but only new thieves would be dealt with. Is he now saying that all those APC stalwarts (it was even widely reported that a certain Southern governor was his biggest financier) who allegedly poured out all those wads of naira, dollars and pounds to generously bribe the APC delegates to vote for him at the APC National Convention in Lagos would not want to recoup their investments, plus the profits?
Can Buhari say in all sincerity that he was not aware that corrupt elected officials and party moneybags had deployed huge piles of public and private funds to outspend his co-contestants to purchase him the APC presidential ticket as was widely reported in the media? Now, assuming he was not aware, when he found out later, what did he do? Did he try to distance himself from the horrendous sleaze? Was this what informed the pledge to not probe past corrupt public officers who had looted the treasure pale?
I sincerely think that the APC should, at least, concede to Nigerians the ability to reason and discern.
-------------------------*Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye is columnist with Daily Independent newspaper. His column (SCRUPLES) appears on the back page of the paper every Tuesday. firstname.lastname@example.org