Goodluck Jonathan: Negative Press Propaganda And The Progressives
2014 is certainly a very significant year for every Nigerian irrespective of whether you are a lover of GEJ or not; whether you are a progressive or not; in fact whether you like it or not! One thing is certain – no one will stand aloof this year just watching event unfold. We will all be participatory for evil or for good and God will deliver justice.
As we begin the navigating journey into the year, significant and landmark issues are becoming clearer as we are beginning to settle down.
For a starter, the Centennial celebration has kicked off. Earlier this January the landmark presentation of the 2014 Budget was concluded by the Minister of the Economy and Finance Dr. Ngozi Okonji-Iweala in the presence of top government officials, astute business personalities and the men of the Press among others. In the same token, most of those at the Budget presentation must have had a busy day as they would have been at the swearing-in of Former Governor of Bauchi State Alhaji Adamu Muazu as the New PDP Chairman.
In the eyes of the Democrats especially those of the People's Democratic Party (PDP), it was a full week. Just before the week could run to a close, INEC rolled out their drums as time table for the next year general election. Not wanting to be out shined in the opposition did not disappoint too. They rolled out more threats; by instructing their member in the National Assembly to block the approval of the 2014 budget!
With these classic events coming to pass one is expected to take a look at the way Nigeria and Nigerians would navigate the year 2014 and see if we are really learning from our past mistakes and experiences as a people or a nation.
The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, right from inception to office had looked back at events leading to his present position had looked back and told the world that though he is the most criticised President in the world, Nigerians would wake up one day to appraise him positively.
Ok. Today, the elected President GEJ who was a godson to the former president OBJ has come of age. Time was, when the two would walk in all fours to all party meetings contacting themselves for sundry issues of mutual interest. Not so anymore, these have become things of the past. Things have fallen apart and GEJ through his reply to former president OBJ has shown that he has come of age full stop. The young man has matured and as an adult, he needs to take decisions and take his future in his hands. That is a natural right for every adult.
For instance, no parent can deprive their children their right of marriage for long. Any attempt to do so, certainly meets with necessary stiff resistance and may not only lead to quarrel; it may end up with lifelong enmity. It is to be expected that the boy in his desire to assert himself may decide to stay aloof and unconcerned about family matters for a while. Never has it been heard of a father excommunicating himself from the entire family he breathed to earth because of the stubborn attitude of his kids even if they were thieves! And if the father can deny his child, any wonder then, that GEJ now says that anyone who can insult the president is a progressive? But let us take stock of this most insulted President. For OBJ, and like he too would always say, the chicken has come to roast!
Alhaji Bamanga Tukur joined the wagon of PDP as the Chairman of the party by an election that did not look so acceptable. But there was a script underlying his entry. I dare say that this gentleman now seen as a villain, was though elected in a controversial circumstance, he held on to the office and defended the president till the end. But for him the gang of a faction of the Governor's forum would have check mated the president and made leadership very difficult for the President.
He saw it coming and stood by GEJ and in doing so, offended many. No thanks to the offended, but kudos for Alhaji Tukur and the President who in appreciation, honoured Alhaji with the Chairmanship of Nigerian Railway Corporation. You can be relied upon any day by the president. For me that is politics with integrity. Not what we see of jobbers who take the next exit at the slightest provocation.
Dr. Ngozi Okonji-Iweala is the next hatchet man (woman)! The Minister of the Economy and Finance is a well-known and respected economist. At least it must be acknowledged that it is not an easy ride to becoming the Chief Executive Officer of Wold Bank! She was already there before we saw the qualities in her, and sorted to use her to turn around our own economy. Dr. Okonji-Iweala did not fail. She single handily cleared the nation debt owed the G7 nations - the debt which had become an albatross to every regime in the country. That feat remained the water shed in Nigerian Economy. But what became the crime of the poor Dr.? she dared to be different!
Why is it that Dr. Okonji-Iweala is always a celebrated banker abroad but very vilified at home? The reason is not far-fetched. She is bent on leaving an indelible mark for the good of the nation. When she assisted to clear our dubious debts owed the G7 nations for many years, she was good woman. But when she recommended a bitter pill for the economy to turn around, ours having developed to be a one income economy, she is seen as evil. She will not bend the rule to give rooms to the rouges and for this reason probably, she is not a progressive! She fell out of favour with OBJ only because she refused to be used, so she left with honour and never allowed herself to be blackmailed out of office! Wicked people!
Now the progressives. A healthy political environment is one where everyone participate in the leadership in any which direction. There exist no political leadership without opposition. So, it is not new that we have opposition group in Nigeria. In the days of true civil right, the opposition groups consisted of the likes of the late Fela Anikulapo Kuti through his music. Where he to be alife today, he would have been confused at the rate he would produce lyrics in condemnation.
Late Tai Solarin, Gani Fawehinmi, Beko Ransome Kuti to mention just a few!!! These fellows never exchanged hand shake with any government in power and had good cause never to. Former Military President Ibrahim Babangida once acknowledged late Gani as a most respected activist! That came from the mouth of a man who ensured that Gani was perpetually under lock and key!! Today what do we see? The more you insult the person of the president of Federal republic of Nigeria, the higher is your position in the hierarchy of the seeming opposition – or better called political jobbers! The president himself acknowledged that now, anyone who can insult the president is seen as progressive. What a shame!
Who are the progressives if l may ask? Any simple trail will convince the doubting Thomas's who they are and their final destination and my take of them is as follows:
The main man Senator Bola Tinubu. This is my main man any day. I like a man who is defined at any point in time. You can almost predict him in certain matters of common interest. I supported Tinubu until recent time when l discovered that his reasoning has been beclouded by his drive to be who he will never be – the president of Nigeria! Tinubu has thrown caution to the wind and in his drive; he has forgotten even that his enemies are on the table with him.
One thing is certain of this man; he will not give a thought to views other than his own because his mind is made up already and it is – destroy Jonathan at all cost! The fact remains that Jonathan will not die in office: he is not as desperate to remain there and has said that his ”political ambition is not worth the blood of any man”!!!
Retired General Muhammadu Buhari. This is another man l usually called a man of honour. Professor Tam David West would die for him, and justifiably so. A man who gave him a free hand to handle the Oil industry in Nigeria and never queried the minister? This par in Nigeria would have been a set of saints. But unfortunately Buhari entered the waters of politics and so exposed his weaknesses. Buhari does not see anything and any reason why he must not be the only choice any which way. I once wrote that Gen. Buhari was a great Soldier but a bad politician – l stand to be corrected.
Here is a man who was sorted out to be the leader and Presidential candidate of All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP)! Wait a minute. Do they know how the name came about? That name was a creation of late Alhaji Waziri Ibrahim, who as the chairman of Nigerian People's Party(NPP) fell out with the Zik of Africa the late first president of Nigeria and then presidential candidate of NPP. When the centre could not hold again for the pair, Waziri formed ANPP with a motto: Politics without Bitterness! Buhari was a two time presidential candidate of the party. He failed to clinch the presidency against Obasanjo twice. On his third adventure, the party rejected him.
He saw no reason for that and formed the CPC as both Chairman and Presidential candidate against Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. I was glued to the Television on the day of presidential election when both GEJ and Buhari went for both accreditation and voting and this was what happened. GEJ was first focused on, and the commentators where worried that he had too many aides who followed him to accreditation at his village Otu-Oke. I dare say that the crowd that was perceived to be too many was about fifty persons including his wife, ADC, CSO COP and few others. But when Buhari was viewed at Daura, he was with uncontrollable crowed!
Then came the election. Goodluck came simply voted and was asked his view of the election his answer was simple 'let the best candidate win' But when Buhari was seen again at the voting centre where he finally had to escape, he was asked same question and hear him- 'we have rumours that an aircraft was seen carrying loaded voters card. If we are not pleased with the result of this election, we will make the country ungovernable.'
He was asked again if he would contest the election in court as usual, or contest again. He said he would not go to court and was firm in not yielding to another contest. What do we have today? Buhari easily will win the award of the most contesting presidential candidate ever in Nigeria. If he desires this slot in APC he and the party will be doomed!! He is already fighting the battle of his life within the APC as his former team members have rejected him from the ANPP flank of the APC.
Alhaji Atiku Abubarkar was the former Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under the leadership of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. He learnt the political ropes from the late Shehu Yar'adua. This was a good student of politics who has refused to put to proper use his political gains. With his as the PDM leader in the house of PDP, the only option would have been to be one of the determinants of the goings on in the Party. But no. No organisation will leave its leadership to any unreliable fellow which Atiku has now become. I liked and enjoyed his fight with his former master OBJ because he proved a point, that he cannot only challenge the status quo, but also has what it takes – the people - I mean supporters. But he has carried his luck too far.
I cannot support any man who do not have a steady mind set. Atiku was frustrated out of the PDP and he left to the then CAN. Good. I expected him to remain there and prove a point. But no! he soon found that they men there were strange bed fellows and swallowed his spittle, returned to the old PDP. Now he is back to the APC. The question is: if his followers were to be principled where would they be now? Does he expect that as of now he still have the loyalist which made him thick in his early days in politics? No way! Many would by now go their separate ways.
Other members of the APC for me are not relevant. It does not matter if they are foundation members or not. Most of all others are disgruntled, self-seeking and irresponsible politicians without ideology, who have lost out in the leadership equation of the PDP and so, are seeking relevance in the now APC were they want to assert themselves. That is good radiance. Let us see what becomes of the APC after their congress at all level then we will know the real opposition.
It is evil not to expect these alignments and realignments. But it is most abominable, and I consider it the deception of the century, for an Obasanjo, Buhari and Bola Tinubu to ever meet on an even ground with a view to saving Nigeria. No! it is a false union and must not be seen beyond that. Obasanjo has no interest in Nigeria for as long as he is not favoured in the political equation. Buhari has no interest in politics if he is not the leader. Emove the Asiwaju of Lagos from the leadership of APC and he will sing a new song. How did he get there? He destroyed all the parties and structures through which he climbed to limelight. If it is false, ask him what has become of UPN, Alliance for Democracy (AD) through which he became the governor of Lagos state.
As for GEJ and the dumb president, l am afraid to recall the Whiteman in 'Things Fall Apart' of late Chinua Achebe. He said nothing even when he was being killed and his white horse (bicycle) was confiscated. When the evils of the Whiteman visited Umuofia, Okonkwo had the tale of woe to tell. A word is enough for the wise.
So what is my take on all these? Next election is around the corner. The time table is already out. APC is crying wolf and it is expected. Even if all the elections were to hold on the same day they will still complain. They did not complain when the local government election in Yobe state was in their favour. But everything in Anambara state was BAD because popular Ngige did not win. They did not remember that APGA is the soul and spirit if the Igbo man and that they wanted to defend it with their blood. APC did not remember that their ever hard working Governor Fashola shot the party in the legs when he sent trailer loads of Igbo trader to Niger bridge head at Onitsha and dumped them as beggers! Igbos paid Ngige with that coin for joining a group that wanted her people to go hungry. The next election will come.
Goodluck Jonathan will and APC and any remaining mosquito parties will challenge the election. Jega will be called all names under the sun. But the real issue is this: Jonathan will win because of his party's comparative advantage over any would be presidential candidate of other parties. Oh yes! The elections will be rigged. Why not? Nor be Nigeria we de? But all the parties will rig in their areas of comparative advantage as they have all been doing in the past. ACN rigged in its strong hold in the last elections, so did PDP, CPC, ANPP, Labour etc.
Even me, I rig elections in my house hold between me and my children or wife! The courts proved that all elections were rigged when they upturned results in many state and even now some cases are still there. The negative press propaganda against the president by the seeming progressives can only be traced to the mere fact that the south west own the press and justifiably so. What we see remains the politics of newspapers. We will soon leave the drawing board to the field of play where justice will be done.
Finally where do I stand come election 2015? Mine is very simple. I am not going to vote PDP or APC or even any other party which may be registered tomorrow. I am voting personalities not party. APC PDP and any other party in Nigeria are all the same - No ideology, greedy and stealing leaders, crosses capeters. Na these one I go follow? Tufia!!!. APC with all its noise will not make a new heaven of Nigeria automatically. We will still be in the process. Any party promising to fix Nigeria in a jiffy lies to us and is not worth any vote.
I am a very proud Nigerian. I love Nigeria and will help fix it no matter what. As is usual Haruna Adamu would say '… the struggle continues.'
Mike Akpati is a public Affair Analyst based in Port Harcourt