Friday, January 16, 2015

2015 Nigerian Elections: Jonathan Will Not Win!

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 Nigeria 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.


Indeed, I would like to see the term “progressives” completely banned in Nigeria’s 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. 

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 Nigeria’s 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 Nigeria’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.

*Who cares for these "leaders of tomorrow"

Again, in the interview he granted TheCable’ in October 2014, a 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. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Mocking Jesus And The Poor As We Celebrate

By Banji Ojewale 

In Nigeria’s Northern State of Gombe, a crowd of excited citizens at a motor park clusters around a bus revving to take them to a holiday destination for Christmas and New Year celebrations. But a female Jihadist bomber thinks otherwise. Feigning to be passenger, she sneaks into their midst and detonates the lethal luggage on her body. She is blown into a thousand and one pieces. Scores of others suffer the same fate. Those who don’t die instantly, will die slowly, maimed, scarred and glued to gory memories of anguish for life. Are they luckier than those who experience prompt dispatch to the great beyond?


Same scene in Bauchi: at the town‘s busy central market, an explosion rocks the shops and sheds, sparking an inferno that kills many of those shopping for Christmas and New Year. Health personnel race the wounded and the dead away in ambulances to medical centers and mortuaries. Global news agency, Reuters, tells the world “there are unknown numbers of casualties” in the tragedy.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Is Buhari The End Of Tinubu Politics?

By Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye

One of the most astounding surprises of the current political dispensation is the ease with which the National Leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has allowed himself to be convinced that in the event of a General Muhammadu Buhari win in the February 2015 presidential election, that there would still be anything like another “national leader” of the APC aside from Buhari himself.

Tinubu and Buhari
(pix: ThisDay)

I have not read the APC constitution, but even if there is a provision in it fueling such a grand assumption, such an office can only exist in name. It would amount to the greatest delusion of the century to imagine that any other “national leader” can co-exist with the President and Commander-in-Chief of Nigeria’s Resources, and that such a “national leader” would still be able the wield enormous influence and retain the loyalty of the governors, other elected officials and party leaders, even those he anointed and installed who had all along been very loyal to him.     

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Why Should I Read Obasanjo’s Book?

By Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye

I must congratulate myself on successfully avoiding virtually all of Gen Olusegun Obasanjo’s usually ego-massaging and attention-craving books. I have, for instance, NOT read Obasanjo’s My Command, Not My Will, Nzeogwu, and his other little-known titles.

*Olusegun Obasanjo
(pix: magazine.tcu)

But when his first wife, Mrs. Oluremi Obasanjo, published her book, Bitter-Sweet: My Life With Obasanjo, I went through a lot of stress to purchase a copy. I also wasted no time to read and review it.  Obasanjo had been talking about other people and cutting them down with self-righteous zeal, so I wanted to hear what somebody who had intimately shared a greater part of his life had to say about him.  Indeed, this is one book Obasanjo would not like to be in circulation. But   most people who have read the book would readily recommend it as a background study to anyone interested in reading Obasanjo’s books where he usually presents himself as one of the world’s most righteous human beings and competent leaders. Like one reviewer said and I agree, in societies where the law is alive and active and treats everyone equally, “the allegations against Obasanjo [in that book], if proven in a court of law, would have earned him a long stay in jail.”    

Now, Obasanjo has published another book which he called My Watch and I seriously doubt that I would want to read it. There are several wonderful books lying in my study and begging for my attention, so I would consider it a complete waste of my time to read Obasanjo’s new book, which judging from the snippets published in the media is nothing more than unappetizing potpourri of cassava-market gossip, careless hawking of vicious, libelous allegations, and further futile attempt at self-canonization. His aim, it appears, is to settle some scores with his real or imagined adversaries, undermine President Jonathan’s chances in the February 2015 elections and raise an ear-deafening controversy that would turn the book into an instant best-seller.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Under Obasanjo’s Watch

By Ikechukwu Amaechi

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo released his autobiography, My Watch, on Tuesday, December 9 at the Lagos Country Club, Ikeja.

President Jonathan and Obasanjo 

He defied an Abuja High Court order obtained by a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, Buruji Kashamu, barring him from releasing the book. Rather than obey the order, Obasanjo wanted Justice Valentine Ashi sanctioned.   The judge had ordered that the book launch be put on hold over claims by Kashamu that the three-volume series contained details of a libel case involving a drug trafficking allegation Obasanjo made against him, which is already before the court.  Obasanjo’s excuse that the book had been published before the order was made is as ludicrous as it is bizarre.

But that is quintessential Obasanjo, who has no respect for others, who revels in desecrating hallowed institutions.   Holding him in contempt of court, Ashi on Wednesday, December 10 gave him 21 days to demonstrate why he should not be punished for publishing the book.  

“The fact that the book was published in November is irrelevant. As long as the substantive suit is not yet determined, no party is entitled to publish or comment on material facts that are yet to be decided on by the court,” the judge said.  

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Convicted, Executed For Murder At 14, Exonerated 70 Years Later

It took 70 years, but a 14-year-old African American boy from Alcolu, South Carolina who was executed for allegedly killing two white girls has now been exonerated of murder.

George Stinney Jr
In a ruling issued Wednesday by Circuit Judge Carmen Mullen, the murder conviction against George Stinney was vacated over concerns that the young boy’s constitutional right to a fair trial was violated to the point that his name should be cleared, WIS TV reported.
Stinney, who was so small at the time of his execution by electric chair that he had to sit on a phone book, is often cited as the youngest American to be put to death by the state in the 20th century.
During his trial in 1944, Stinney’s white lawyer did not present witnesses or cross-examine witnesses presented by the prosecution. In 2009, Stinney’s sister claimed in an affidavit that her brother could not have killed the two young girls because he was with her at the time their deaths occurred.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Guinea’s Other Emergency: Organising Elections

Africa Briefing N°106

Guinea's President Alpha Conde

Guinea is due to hold presidential elections in 2015. The country’s electoral history, the failure of dialogue between the government and the opposition and the indefinite postponement of local elections originally scheduled for early 2014 are all bad omens. With a divided political scene split along ethnic lines, and in the grip of an Ebola epidemic that has weakened Guinea’s economy, the government has two options. It can either promote dialogue and establish a credible framework for the second free presidential election in the country’s history, a framework that could include a negotiated postponement; or run the risk of instability and inter-ethnic violence. Given its control of institutions and the political timetable, it must work with the opposition and international partners to build minimum consensus on electoral arrangements in order to reduce the risk of violent protests in the lead up to, during or after the vote.
Such a consensus must be stronger than the one reached for the September 2013 legislative elections, held after a delay of almost three years. Those polls were preceded by fierce controversy and violent demonstrations. Although the conduct of the vote was peaceful, the opposition accused the government of fraud and called for the elections to be annulled. Many foreign observers questioned the integrity of the polls. The government managed to contain tensions only because the opposition felt that legislative elections were of secondary importance, and because international partners mediated between the two sides.

Obasanjo Lies Like A Badly Raised Child - Gen Alabi-Isama

I implore Obasanjo to stop lying before he dies...
By Godwin Alabi-Isama
I am gravely pained to be trading words with General Olusegun Obasanjo once again on the history of Nigeria-Biafra War. He is an elder and a former ruler who, ordinarily, should be treated with utmost respect.

*Alabi-Isama (pix: vanguard)
But how can one genuinely respect an old man who tells lies like a badly raised child? Obasanjo has obviously not recovered from the shock inflicted on him by my book, The Tragedy of Victory in which I exposed the tissues of lies in his civil war memoir, My Command. It is said that a lie may travel for a thousand miles, but it takes just one step of truth to catch up with it.

I’m alive to stand up to him on the lies he has told on the war because I was a major participant in it.  I kept records.  With facts and figures at my finger tips, I have debunked Obasanjo’s lies in part three of my book, consisting of one hundred and sixty five pages, sixty nine pictures, thirteen military strategies and tactics, maps and documents.  This was the same Obasanjo who published a fake Federal Government gazette that I was found guilty by the Army when I was never tried.  I have proved that Obasanjo was an incompetent commander. I have proved that he was a wily and cunning fellow, and an incredible opportunist who reaped where he did not sow.
I have proved that he was an ingrate and a hypocrite. More importantly, I have proved that he was a coward, who ran away from the war front to go and look for phantom ammunition.  Rather than respond to my claims the way a gallant officer should, he has now responded like a motor-park tout, impugning my person and questioning my ethnic lineage. I never said I was from Ibadan. I only schooled there.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Central African Republic's Hidden Conflict

International Crisis Group

Away from the international spotlight, the Central African Republic’s rural areas are turning into fields of violence as war over territory and livestock hits a highly vulnerable population, with effects increasingly felt in neighbouring Cameroon and Chad.

“The country’s crisis has exacerbated old conflicts and produced new ones. Rural Central African Republic is now the stage for a violent competition over livestock, the wealth of the poor”.
Thibaud Lesueur, Crisis Group’s Central Africa Analyst

In its latest briefing, The Central African Republic’s Hidden Conflict, the International Crisis Group examines a dangerous conflict-within-a-conflict requiring urgent action by the transitional government and its international partners. Targeted by anti-balaka militias and ex-Seleka fighters, many pastoralist communities are left in extreme poverty and forced to flee. Tens of thousands cross the border to Cameroon and Chad where, in turn, land pressure intensifies. Many of the victims seek retribution or join armed groups to survive, becoming actors in a conflict that divides communities and damages a pillar of the traditional economy.

Friday, December 12, 2014

The Gospel According To St. Obasanjo (1)

By Dan Amor 

For all it may be worth, the last tirade against President Goodluck Jonathan by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, is certainly one of the salvos intended to weaken the support base of the President as his enemies led by Obasanjo plan to hit him below the belt. But the reactions of Nigerians of varied backgrounds to Obasanjo's old tricks show that Nigerians are no fools. The people's condemnation of Obasanjo's arrant hypocrisy has been overwhelming. The first reaction came from no less a personality than the traditional ruler of Lagos, His Majesty Oba Rilwan Akiolu,  who said that Obasanjo's government was the most corrupt in the history of Nigeria. The respected monarch cannot be more correct. Amidst Obasanjo's catalogue of anti-corruption verbal interventions, the question that now begs for an urgent answer is: is Obasanjo among the Saints? 


Due largely to the lamentable short memory of homosepiens, it seems as though we have forgotten so soon about the person of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and his recent past. But the poor boy from Owu Village in Ogun State was led by fortuitous and opportunistic circumstances to have a rendezvous with history and destiny. Against his will and command, Obasanjo became head of state after the assassination of his boss, General Murtala Muhammed. He was said to have been the man who launched Nigeria into the estranged comity of heavily indebted nations when he took the first ever N1 billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan in 1978 when the Nigerian currency was 75 kobo to the United States dollar. It was said that more than half of this money was not accounted for by General Obasanjo while a fraction of it was left for the incoming administration of Alhaji Shehu Shagari in October 1979.

2015 Presidential Election: Where Are The Women?

By Banji Ojewale

In politics if you want anything said ask a man. If you want anything done, ask a woman – Margret Hilda Thatcher, ex-British Prime Minister

Last year the government in Romania heeded this counsel from the late British leader, Baroness Thatcher. The authorities, gravely worried by high profile corruption slowly killing the country, appointed a woman, Laura Codruta Kovesi, to man the nation’s National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA). Within a very short time this 41-year-old 1995 law graduate has turned the  formerly  quiescent agency into a viable attack dog mauling down those who had themselves been bringing down the economy and politics of Romania with their corrupt practices.

*Laura Codruta Kovesi

She has become the most feared public office holder on account of her exploits in an attempt to do what was thought to be impossible: battling graft in high places to a standstill and arresting its spread. Although as in Nigeria, she is horrified that the citizens have expressed  distaste for corruption, they still keep voting for politicians suspected or convicted of larceny.  “ It is extremely difficult to explain this contrast,” Kovesi laments.

But according to an international news magazine report last week, this depressing situation has not discouraged  the woman. A New York Times writer, Andrew Higgins, says: “Since Ms. Kovesi took over D.N.A last year, what was a trickle of high-profile arrests and prosecutions has become a flood. Nearly all have ended in convictions, with her prosecutors recording a success rate of over 90 percent.

Buhari Can Only Offer 'Tired Ideas, Provocative Utterances' - PDP

Press Statement

December 11, 2014

2015: PDP Welcomes Buhari To The Race, 
Insists Jonathan Is The Best 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has welcomed the emergence of former Military Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari as the Presidential flagbearer of Bola Tinubu's All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2015 general elections.


This will be the fourth time General Buhari will be contesting in the presidential elections. On each of the three previous occasions, he failed to articulate a vision of the future that was acceptable to Nigerians. On each occasion his brand of politics was rejected across Nigeria. Apart from changing to a dinner suit, General Buhari, has not changed the tired ideas and provocative utterances that Nigerians rejected in previous elections.

We hope that this time round, General Buhari will conduct a campaign that is issue based and devoid of ethno-religious sentiments.

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