Election Postponement: The Resurrection Of Anti-Democratic Forces By Segun Tomori

Election Postponement: The Resurrection Of Anti-Democratic Forces By Segun Tomori


 

Even the most strong-hearted incumbent President would have been scared to death by the rampaging momentum with which “hurricane Buhari” moved and saturated the length and breadth of Nigeria in the run-up to February 14.

Like a force propelled by some unseen supernatural powers, all weapons formed against the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential candidate, Maj. Gen Muhammadu Buhari simply refused to prosper, even tongues that rose against him in judgement ended up in utter condemnation to the chagrin of Jonathan and his spin doctors.

Jonathan-and-Buhari

 

Every mudslinging and campaign of calumny, some very vicious and scary instead of halting the Buhari advance, made him more popular. What a vast majority of Nigerians waited for was his coronation on “FeBUHARI 14”- the valentine’s day that was dedicated to “loving Buhari” . But Jonathan would have none of that! After all other options failed, he played his last card which was using the service chiefs and his National Security Adviser(NSA) to stop the elections.

Pronto, the service chiefs and the NSA wrote to the Chair of the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC), Prof Attahiru Jega that they couldn’t guarantee security for the elections if it was held as scheduled. This was the final straw that broke the camel’s back as Jega’s insistence on the sanctity of February 14 caved in to pressure. His hands were effectively tied, blackmail became the most potent weapon, lo and behold, the “Jonathanian forces”won!

The dirty job which the National Council of States tactically declined was thus executed by the “politicized” military and service chiefs and it had all the trappings of a coup, this time not against a sitting President but orchestrated by the President himself against his own people! 66% of the Permanent Voters Card(PVC) had been distributed as at 2nd Feb and INEC had put machinery in place to continue distribution at ward level till a day before the elections, if necessary. If the process had continued, an estimated 75- 80% of voters would have collected their PVCs which comparable to the usual voter turn-out of between 50 -70% is remarkably high and sufficient for credible elections.

While Jega ought to be reprimanded for lapses in the PVC distribution and other sundry voter registration hiccups especially since he had 4 years to prepare, but the challenges which he was already surmounting were not enough reasons to postpone the elections. The military and security agencies who for over 6 years reeked incompetence, manifested lethargy and total lack of tact and innovation on how to crush Boko haram suddenly needed time, a contrived one within an election period to defeat terror in 6 weeks! How plausible!

It was obvious the military made itself available as a willing tool to buy time for a President on the verge of defeat,but desperate to cling on to power. The success of the postponement plot which is just the beginning of other devious machinations by Jonathan and his lackeys to continue to hold forte at Aso-rock at all costs exhumed the corpse of anti-democratic forces hitherto consigned to the dust-bin of history in the aftermath of the June 12 struggle and the restoration of democracy in 1999.

Not a few Nigerians believe that the 6 week postponement is part of a grander plot to contrive a constitutional stalemate that will herald the extension of President Jonathan’s administration through the back-door. Jonathan, who has lost all opinion polls including the ones conducted by his aides in the run-up to the elections; who is running on the platform of a fatally fragmented party, and whose woeful performance has earned him scorn across a vast segment of the Nigerian populace knows the elections is his to lose, but will stop at nothing to remain in power.

Already, National assembly members are being lobbied and bribed to buy into the unconstitutional tenure elongation agenda. This much was confirmed within the week by Hon. Rotimi Makinde, APC member representing Ife Federal Constituency. That is allegedly just a part of the plan as insider sources reveal a close-knit military top-shots collusion with the President and his trusted allies to force another 6 months election postponement on Nigerians under the pretext of insecurity. The Okrika-styled shooting at opposition rallies in Rivers State is to be allegedly replicated in selected states, terrorism in North-east might be allowed to degenerate to create an alibi for the declaration of a national emergency that will make the March 28 Presidential elections a mirage.

The forces that scuttled June 12 are at it again. Just like Abiola was stopped by all means from becoming President, they are now set to stop the imminent Buhari Presidency not minding if the nation becomes the collateral damage in the process. The fear of Gen. Buhari is the beginning of wisdom for Jonathan and his marauding band of “locusts in power”. Having milked the country dry and rendered it prostrate, they are now engulfed in morbid fear of life in jail knowing how ruthless the lanky General can be against corruption. Massive corruption which has become the “art of the State” under Jonathan has also permeated the military hierarchy and as such “fat cat” generals who have helped themselves with several billions of defence budgets are in cahoot with Jonathan to stop Buhari.

The danger here is these anti-democratic forces might face stiff resistance from mid-level officers, colonels downwards who are said to be disenchanted with the politicization of the army ; rampaging corruption, and are thus opposed to the plot. This might prove fatal for the country if wise counsel does not prevail. Several lawsuits have also been filed by agents of the ruling party to get Buhari disqualified and throw spanner in the works of the electoral process.

The APC will need to move swiftly to curtail the advances of these forces of evil and counter their machinations. The starting point should be to effectively mobilise majority members of the national assembly across party lines to ensure they side with the people and form a bulwark against any further election postponement or tenure elongation plot. Elder Statesmen across the country and former leaders should be lobbied to prevail on Jonathan to let democracy take its course and allow the elections hold as rescheduled.

Pressure should be brought to bear on Jonathan by the international community through effective lobby of world powers and their congress. The humanitarian crisis of a war-torn Nigeria of over 170m people will be disastrous for Africa and the world at large which any attempt to subvert the people’s will might instigate.

Much of the task of safe-guarding this democracy however rest with the people. We have seen incumbents lose recently in India, Sri Lanka, Ghana amongst others, heavens will not fall if Jonathan is voted out. We must resolve to keep our eyes on the goal of rescuing this country from the shackles of corruption and ineptitude which the present administration represents. The promise of this nation and the future of the generation yet unborn rests on this elections, we must not fail or falter to reward failure with severe censure which can only mean giving the President the red card. Together We Can!

 

Segun Tomori

Public Affairs Analyst

Twitter: @seguntomori, 08062672869

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