2015 Elections: The Change We Really Need.
- By Uzezi Jerry Edo.
We are in the middle of electioneering campaign and facts appear to be no more sacred. Propaganda and outright lies are being peddled as facts in the public space and the unwary albeit the gullible are buying into them with all religiousness.
Of the two main political parties, the All Progressives Party (APC) is clearly ahead in the propaganda war while its main rival, the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) tags along. The APC propaganda machinery is so well honed and working at optimal level at the moment. It is clearly on the offensive while the PDP is on the defensive.
Preoccupied with sharing the spoils of power, the ruling PDP perhaps paid little or no attention to the media offensive orchestrated against it by the APC in the months leading to the elections. PDP trusted in its achievements under President Jonathan in the past six years believing that flaunting those achievements before the electorate was all that it needed to convince the electorates to vote for the party in the election.
Sadly, the APC does not believe the President achieved ANYTHING in the past six years. The thrust of its campaign is to discredit whatever the PDP lay claims to as the achievement of President Jonathan in the past six years. And in fairness to them, they have succeeded in pooh-poohing whatever achievement the ruling party can lay claim to in power. They have succeeded in bombarding the media space with the CHANGE message and it is really stifling for the PDP. The insecurity in the northern parts of the country occasioned by the raging insurgency becomes the benchmark for rubbishing the achievements of President Jonathan.
While they press on with the smear campaign against the PDP on the one hand, the APC on the other hand is promising us a near state of Paradise where there will be jobs for all the youths, introduction of a social security system, elimination of insurgency within few weeks, stoppage of kidnapping and other acts of criminality and the economy to be put on track as quickly as possible. What is more, their Presidential flag bearer, Mohammadu Buhari performed wonders while he was military head of state and is going to perform such wonders again. He fought corruption to a standstill; built refineries as a Minister; stopped insurgency, blah, blah, blah and the logical conclusion is that he did it before; he will do it again.
But remind APC apologists that Buhari truncated our democracy via a coup d'état; enacted retroactive laws while in office; gagged the press and suppressed freedom of speech; etc, they are quick to tell you that Buhari has since metamorphosed to a democrat or they deliberately distort historical facts to disprove your assertion and portray the retired general as an angel who is only a victim of political blackmail.
Of course, the APC is aware that a substantial number of the eligible voters in this election were not yet born or still toddlers when Buhari was Head of State. They did not witness firsthand the regime of Muhammadu Buhari and be in a position to judge for themselves. Propaganda and brainwashing therefore recommend themselves as tools to be used in capturing the votes of young Nigerians. Frustrated by the social-economic environment of the Nigeria nation, our youths naturally yearn for a change and what could be better than a change that would usher into office a man who fought corruption to a standstill, built refineries, stopped insurgency and performed other miracles while he was Head of State?
Obviously, the promoters of the Buhari enterprise are merely taking advantage of the frustration and seemingly hopelessness that many Nigerians especially the youths now face in the Nigerian state to waggle themselves to power. They have not shown us the blueprint Buhari intends to implement to perform the economic miracle he is promising especially in the face of dwindling oil revenues. Are we to take Buhari serious when he declared on national television that he would stabilize the world's oil market as his strategy to manage the economy?
Buhari's sponsors also know that his anti-corruption reputation is built on sand and would quickly fall when subjected to scrutiny. Buhari as military head of state set up military tribunals headed by military men to try politicians for corruption. Within weeks, trials were concluded and jail sentences ranging from 50 to 300 years were handed to the accused persons by the tribunals. So inglorious were these tribunals that the Nigerian Bar Association staged a boycott of the tribunals as an expression of its disapproval of them.
Interestingly, while Buhari hounded southern governors into prison, he shielded northern governors particularly those of Hausa-Fulani extraction from trial. A notorious case is that of the then governor of Niger State, Awwal Ibrahim who was reportedly arrested at Heathrow Airport in London with huge sums of money in different currencies. He was never tried by Buhari neither was Shehu Shagari the President and leader of the NPN put on trial. These are the antecedents and credentials of the man APC is telling us will come as a civilian president and “wipe out corruption” in Nigeria.
The Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) that Buhari headed under Abacha was also a citadel of corruption. While Buhari himself might not have enriched himself, his cronies and those who worked under him did so handsomely. How Buhari will control the amalgam of visibly corrupt politicians that abound in APC when he comes to power and be able to “wipe out” corruption remains to be seen.
For now, the die is cast. Nigerians would have to choose between two difficult options: Buhari and Jonathan. The Buhari option appears attractive to the populace at least for the sake of change. But discerning minds know it is nothing but an illusion and one that has the potentials to drive the nation backwards. Truth is the Nigerian state is a faulty vehicle with terribly bad engine and electrical system. Merely changing the driver is not going to help. The system needs an overhaul and the National Conference made very salient recommendations that can overhaul this country for good.
Sadly the APC never supported the Confab and has never pretended to be interested in implementing its recommendation. They want us to believe that if we change the driver this dangerously faulty vehicle called Nigeria will take us to destination. Unfortunately, we cannot run away from the truth staring us in the face that the country needs a system format. And that is the change we desperately need and not the change from one ruling cabal to another as envisaged by the APC.
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