I DARE JONATHAN AND ATIKU
The moment I saw the PDP observing a week of laughter, I knew we were in trouble. First it was ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo laughing at ex-Vice president Atiku's emergence as the Northern consensus candidate. The decision had him in stitches and he didn't laugh behind closed doors. He did it on tape. He was not worried that long before Christmas and thousands of years after the three wise men visited baby Jesus Christ in a manger, nine wise men had surfaced in his party the PDP. The former strongman of Nigerian politics didn't see the appearance of the nine wise men from the north as a bad omen.
He simply laughed, shaking in his agbada. Some days later, Atiku had his retaliatory laughter. Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola had been unseated as governor of Osun state by an Appeal Court in Ibadan. Atiku also found it funny. He promptly guffawed, 'I dey laugh too o'. How could the loss of one more state by the PDP be anything but funny? Of course, Atiku was obviously oblivious of the glaring fact that one more state would be difficult for him to win if he eventually gets the PDP ticket. It didn't occur to him that one more state had just slipped out of his designer basket.
Like a ball rolling away, he will soon find out that he'd have to get on his knees, probably roll after that ball to catch it. But he laughed. Obasanjo also laughed as the house he built (never mind the quality of his building materials) was gradually becoming another man's property. Room-by-room, Obasanjo's children are being evicted by court bailiffs. The PDP, right under the noses of the two men who ruled this country for eight years, is being scrambled for and partitioned by serious men who know that this is no laughing matter. If a man built five houses and gradually loses four to his tenants, should he still find something to laugh about at the Landlords Association Meeting? But Atiku and Obasanjo find everything hilarious.
Now, tell me what Tinubu should be doing, rolling on the floor? He's the one providence has given cause to laugh but he's too serious minded to join comedians on national television. Asiwaju means leader and leaders don't laugh when there is a war to be fought. As I write this, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is in his war room fine-tuning his war plans. Smart old man. Well, I guess it is different strokes for different folks. The PDP elders should laugh. Their umbrella is looking very funny indeed. I'm laughing too. I'm laughing at the PDP. And laughter is good for our health.
Now, if I was worried about PDP's elders laughing when they should be weeping, they have conspired to shock me even further. Now they have moved on to trade tackles on dangerous grounds. They are insinuating treason, felony and rolling up their sleeves to fight over land that does not belong to them. I am still searching for words, the right adjectives to describe two elders fighting over a property that does not belong to them. Please send me a few adjectives as soon as you find appropriate ones.
Instead of Mallam Atiku telling us specifics about his plans for Nigerians if he wins the Presidential election, he's busy quoting Kennedy on how peaceful change and violent change are interchangeable. And Mr Jonathan being allergic to foreign quotes and subtle threats decided to let Atiku know who was in charge. The State security Service also realising who signs their pay cheques promptly did what they had to do. Do we need Primate Ayodele or Olabayo to tell us we are in for a long session of passes and back-passes, dribbling and showmanship? Do you need me to tell you editors are loving this to death? We just sit in front of our systems or fix our gazes on our Blackberry, waiting for statements from each camp. As soon as one camp fires a salvo, we notify the other camp and urge them to react because we are about to go to bed (that's what it's called here). They react. We merge, cast great headlines and smile to the bank. Ah ah ah, I dey laugh o.
So when are we going to start real campaigns? When are we going to move from talking zoning and threatening felony to making campaign promises? When will those who want to rule us realise Nigerians don't think much of them because they aren't sounding like leaders at all? That is why I'm throwing this challenge. I dare the two main PDP front runners to try to outdo each other at constructive campaign instead of trying to bury the hatchet in each other's back. Wouldn't we finally be happy on the day we start having debates like this?
Jonathan: As soon as we are sworn in on May 29, 2011, we shall launch OPERATION-FIX-ALL-THE-ROADS. Working with all the governors, we will award contracts and ensure they are executed. No more abandoned projects. The Minister of Works' job will be to move round the states. He or she will be a project manager and his or her achievement and how long he or she lasts in the office will depend on how he helps us deliver on this promise. Nigeria is rich enough to have good roads. Nigerians deserve good roads. Jonathan will deliver good roads.
Atiku: We inherited railways, now they are all gone. By May 30, 2011,In sha Allah, the trains will begin a gradual return. Our government will fix the rail lines across the country. We'll do light rails. We'll take the strain off the roads. We will ensure our roads are safe again by decongesting them. Vote Atiku, bring the trains back.
Jonathan: At least five million Nigerian children are schooling outside Nigeria, from Togo to Thailand. We must stop the shame. We will overhaul our tertiary education system. Lecturers will be given the tools they need and treated with respect. ASUU strikes are over for good. That's a promise I'll keep, so help me God.
Atiku: For a nation that exceeded its OPEC quota in 2010, how can we explain that our children learn under trees and in classrooms with leaking roofs? We cannot build a great nation with poorly educated children and poorly remunerated teachers. Education will take centre stage from May 29, 2011. Vote Atiku and end the siege .
Jonathan: Imagine never ever having to go abroad for medical attention. It is a dream the Jonathan administration will make come true. We will build one specialist hospital in each state. We'll become a medical tourism destination too. We can do it. We will do it.
Atiku: The Niger Delta has sustained this country. We have milked the region to build Nigeria. It's time to give back. Whatever we have given the other states of Nigeria must be given to the goose that laid the golden eggs. I solemnly declare that Niger Delta states will take their pride of place in Nigeria with effect from May 29, 2011. The siege is over. It's time for reparation.
Can anybody tell me if these promises, this kind of campaign require rocket science? Why can't Nigerians count for something in this campaign for once? But then we don't matter in this equation, do we? I dare Jonathan, Atiku and the others to start making campaign promises instead of threatening each other because we are so totally unimpressed.