2-4 Zone Now That The Pendelum Has Swung In Buhari's Corner
The majority of Nigerians have spoken. Buhari is the new president-elect.
He is not my flavor of the month. Never was, as anyone who has followed my position on the elections knows. But that matters little now.
Frankly, I had anticipated an election outcome with parallels to the 2000 U.S. Presidential elections in which the closely contested polls and its disputed results from strategic, big-populated parts of the States pitched the Republicans against the Democrats. At the end of the day, Al Gore, the VP of the outgoing Bill Clinton administration was, some political scholars say controversially, defeated by the Texas State Governor, George Bush Junior.
Jonathan's phone call changed all that. In retrospect, perhaps that was a good thing. The tension was getting dangerously high; the mighty swing of the Northern states tilted the cart to APC's corner and from all indications, Nigeria's democracy was unready for close runs. UNWHOLESOME FORCES might have capitalized on a run-off. Hopefully, we can prepare for the April elections with a calm frame of mind.
This is the time for all Nigerians, no matter where you stand politically, to get on with the business of filling in the huge cracks this election put in the walls of Nigeria. Ask yourself: now that GEJ has conceded victory to GMB what is the worth of supporters of either man who died in the run-up to March 28? This military analogy may help us understand: let the ordinary soldiers rage and kill each other. The generals will meet at peace conferences and drink champagne because the spoils of war must be shared.
This election has taught me that Nigerians are the wackiest people on earth and their wackiness extends to their desire for change for a better country. Never underestimate the Nigerian.
I will not appeal to the social media warriors to sheathe their swords. The next round of elections, which is more shaped by localized factors, may be hot in a few states. These armchair fighters, armed with a computer or phone, are too crazed by blood to realize peace is in their interest. But the sane Nigerians on and off social media vastly outnumber them. Psychos like the fellow who sent out tweets calling for the killing of the Igbo for backing Jonathan deserve this response: all Nigerians and their true friends should go on with the project of building a democratic Nigeria.
Whenever the history of the Nigerian democratic dispensation is written, Jonathan will have his name engraved in hundred karat diamond, not just gold. He was not the best of presidents; in my opinion, he did not deserve my vote- I would have only considered him if there had been a run-off to spite the lunatics- but let us say the truth, knowing the kind of power-hungry maniacs that dot the African landscape. The international community could not have stopped him if he disrespected the wishes of Nigerians. All they will do is sponsor ineffective peace talks and milk our oil with any side that favors their interests. GEJ did not use incumbency to thwart the election. His record in states where the PDP WAS TROUNCED IN PREVIOUS ELECTIONS UNDER HIS WATCH ARE THERE. Sir, go in peace because history will be kind to you.
I was afraid of Professor Jega and INEC's antics in the run-up to the election. Whether the system was deliberately or inadvertently skewered to favor the North I do not know. But the commission and its boss taught the world a lesson in how an election should be presided over, shortcomings notwithstanding.
Let me be frank about our president-elect. Majority of those who voted for Buhari did so because they believe he can anchor the transformation needed in all spheres of Nigeria. I pray they are right. I refused to back him because of my distrust of many of the APC stalwarts hobnobbing with him and his antecedents. I wish Buhari proves me wrong by running an accommodating administration; having no truck with ANY persons, groups or parties who would foist a one-party state on Nigeria (read your history: Hitler rode on the wave of the yearning by Germans for change to become leader through a democratic election. Once in place he destroyed the country's democratic institutions and became a nightmare). He has promised to be the president of all Nigerians. May his acclaimed team of technocrats give us sound policies.
It is not easy. Many Nigerians, especially the youth, are bursting with impatience. Many of those fat cats canonizing Buhari will start showing their diabolical tendencies when he needs them most. Has the bid for a restructured Nigeria died on the platform of APC's political expediency? Should people like me who will beam search lights on the new government start preparing for detention? Or is this a born-again GMB?
I pray for him and his team, especially now politics must give way to governance. God bless you, Your Excellency.
Henry C. Onyema is a Lagos-based writer and historian. Email: [email protected]