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March 28th 2015: Goodluck Jonathan Defeats Barack Obama

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By Dr. Mohammed Sarki
The just concluded March 28th 2015 presidential election in Nigeria was undoubtedly the most keenly contested ever. In a recent article, MARCH 28TH 2015 IS AN UNFAIR CONTEST BETWEEN BARACK OBAMA AND GOODLUCK JONATHAN, it was explained how the Obama White House, deployed its formidable bully pulpit in an orchestrated campaign against President Goodluck Jonathan, while clearly supporting the All Progressives Congress (“APC”) candidate (now President-elect) Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retired).

One argued, therefore, that the election was effectively a competition between Goodluck Jonathan on one hand and Barack Obama on the other. In other words, General Buhari was not really on the ballot, as far as one was concerned.

President Barack Obama's decision to provide undeclared backing to the All Progressives Congress (“APC”) and General Buhari, violated a long-time American convention of non-interference in the elections of other sovereign nations.

The series of patronizing actions, sponsored by the White House, culminated in a joint statement on March 30th 2015 by the American Secretary of State Mr. John Kerry and British Foreign Secretary Mr. Philip Hammond, alleging that the election results “may be subject to deliberate political interference”.

This broadside was released when the vote collation was still ongoing, thereby casting undue aspersion not only on the entire electoral process and the almost thirty million voters who participated in it, but indeed the nation itself.

This was the second unsolicited and unwarranted diatribe by the American and British pair, the first being the denigrating joint missive authored by the same duo on March 21st 2015, precisely seven days prior to the election. The said election has already occurred, but the repercussions from the historic event shall continue to generate reactions for many days, weeks, months, years and perhaps for all time.

While the “change” mantra of the All Progressives (“APC”) and General Buhari, having seemingly connected with the majority of the electorate, enabled the opposition to prevail, who can challenge the fact that the real hero of the moment is President Jonathan.

In an unprecedented act of grace and patriotism, President Jonathan reaffirmed his commitment not only to transparency and integrity of the electoral process, but his abiding faith in the overarching franchise of the great Nigerian people as the ultimate custodians of power.

Based on the seemingly insurmountable advantage in favour of his opponent as established by the still ongoing collation at the time, President Jonathan reportedly telephoned General Buhari at precisely 5:15 pm local time, on March 31st 2015, to offer his congratulations to the latter, thereby using a gallant spear to pierce the palpable tension that had gripped an anxiously expectant nation.

By this singular act, President Jonathan has contributed perhaps more than any other individual to date, in the deepening of Nigeria's democratic space. What a fitting denouement to a gripping drama that included a bizarre scene starring former Nigerian Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Peter Godsday Orubebe.

For those who were not priviliged to witness the interlude that was actually not intended to be one, here is a summary of what transpired. Mr. Orubebe is one of the two (2) agents of the ruling People's Democratic Party (“PDP”) who was charged to witness the collation of results, a process directly supervised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (“INEC”) Chairman, Professor Attahiru Muhammadu Jega himself. Therefore, Mr. Obubebe and the other agent, Colonel Bello Fadile (retired) were representing the interest of President Jonathan.

Midway into the operation, while the tally was still in progress, Mr. Orubebe suddenly erupted into a tirade. Bombarding Professor Jega with all manner of invective, Mr. Orubebe accused the INEC boss of seeking to manipulate the outcome of the still inchoate exercise in favour of a fellow Northerner and Fulani man, namely General Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (“APC”).

Whether Mr. Orubebe ran out of steam or was somehow subdued by whatever means, the process was eventually allowed to continue. Even after this most disgraceful conduct, the People's Democratic Party (“PDP”) was not done yet.

The PDP – whose spokesman, the voluble Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, had earlier pre-emptively claimed victory on President Jonathan's behalf – was the only party whose agent (i.e Colonel Fadile) refused to sign the final collated result. This happened several hours after President Jonathan had courageously accepted defeat.

Not only did the ruling PDP refuse to endorse the final result sheet, the party has reportedly declared their intention to contest the victory of the All Progressives Congress (“APC”) and General Buhari through legal means. Though it is the legitimate right of the PDP to pursue this course, it only goes further to confirm the uncanny valour of President Jonathan's concession.

One can only imagine the unbearable pressure that must have been mounted on President Jonathan by the Peter Godsday Orubebes, Bello Fadiles, Femi Fani-Kayodes, Ayo Fayoses and indeed the entire machinery of the PDP, urging President Jonathan not to concede defeat, urging him not to attain the heroic summit that he was clearly ordained to attain.

Fortunately for a grateful nation, President Jonathan intuitively recognised his moment of destiny and grasped it. When the history of Nigeria's democracy is told, the name of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan will be recorded as the patriot who stood against Barack Obama, the so-called most powerful man on earth, and prevailed by the sheer force of the former's moral presence.

Dr. Mohammed Sarki April 1st 2015.

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