APRIL POLLS: THE TYPE OF CHANGE WE NEED
Change is inevitable in life. In life, nothing is permanent except change. This cosmic metamorphosis becomes the central dogma for human development both mental and physical. It is a phenomenon that cannot be over-emphasized and differs from individual to individual.
As important as change is, it is not evenly distributed. The by-product of any change is the merits and demerits. Political change begins from citizens registering to vote, casting their votes, and policing their votes. Insisting that their votes will not be stolen. If citizens vehemently resist rigging, there will be no rigging or at worst, riggers will know that they are in a high risk business which could cost them their lives.
Streets are dotted with billboards and posters inundating the masses with political manifestoes on what to expect should they gain access to power. This is the norm in all democratic climes of the world. The difference is that in other places with defined democratic institutions and credentials, change is real while ours is a basket of water. Check it out since 1999 till date. As I was driving through a major street in the recent past, behold the campaign billboard of a candidate-'I am the change we need.' I stopped, had a close perusal, and to my shock, it was a Peoples Democratic Party's candidate. The party at the centre and that has controlled the majority of the states since 1999 till date. What is he insinuating?
A political party is a group of individuals with common interest and ideology aimed to control the powers of governance. This implies that every member must be loyal and conversant with the aims, objectives and principles of the party. If this is true what other changes will this man offer us contrary to what PDP represents since 1999 till date? It is clear to us all, except those who want to turn a blind eye for whatever reason(s), that PDP is an albatross on the neck of Nigerians. To put it more succinctly, a dog in a manger, leopard cannot change its skin. Think of it, a child of 12 years still crawling. How long will it take him to develop like other children?
No wonder, the respected and impeccable former head of state, General Muhammadu Buhari admonished Nigerians to protect their votes. True to his assertion, methinks this is the solution to the serial riggings at every poll in Nigeria. The suffering Nigerians in the midst of plenty need to elect the party and leaders of their choice as opposed to imposition, impunity and rigging as practised in our political terrain since 1999 till date.
As an alibi to the writer's opinion, hear Engineer Namadi Musa, PDP chieftain from Kaduna State: 'I hate what PDP is doing but I will remain in the party, not for any gains but to try to ensure the right thing is done. As I speak, the party in the state no longer invites me for meetings, because I am a reformed person now and will not participate in any rigging this time around.'
In another development, Mrs. Patience Jonathan in her recent visit to Abia State said: 'whether Abians voted or not for Governor Theodore Orji, he must win the April polls in the state.' She made known to Abians that their votes will not count. She went further in her address to the traditional rulers to request they use their positions to ensure victory for the governor at the polls. How can Nigerians and the international community reconcile all these with the promised free, fair, credible, one man-one vote by President Goodluck Jonathan?
If really power belongs to the people as the PDP wants us believe, Nigerians should implement all the necessary changes they need through credible elections, having suffered misrule for so long. Check it out. From the centre to all the states controlled by PDP, where is the so-called democratic dividends? This is where evil deeds are treated as family affair, while Nigerians suffer. How long will we contend with this?
In response to the statement credited to Buhari on lynching of riggers, Jonathan said in Sokoto, you can protect your votes but need not kill to do so.
What sin is greater than rigging? Bad government changes one's destiny that may lead to death. What is the cause of the hurricane revolutions claiming many lives across Middle East today? Compare the rate of crime in Nigeria from 1960-1998 to same from 1999 till date? When a crime is committed, the culprit is punished according to the laws of the land, why must riggers be left unpunished? A situation where one rigs into office, if upturned by the judiciary, rather than sanction the person, he is encouraged to re-contest and may win again by rigging leads to inept governance. As sinful and shameful as rigging, how has it been addressed in our laws and polity? If a thief can go to jail, why exonerate election riggers? This may be the bedrock upon which the ruling party captures offices and states as they wish to rule dogs, goats and chickens of Nigeria for 60 years.
Since the commencement of political activities, there have been series of complaints of muzzling, intimidation, harassment and embarrassment of opposition parties in nearly all the PDP controlled states. This includes Ebonyi, Kastina, Bauchi, Abia, Oyo, Balyesa, Akwa Ibom states and so on. Why this, if PDP has done well in the states? One who prepared very well for an examination needs not fear where questions will emanate from. This is an ego-defense-mechanism to prevent the masses from seeing the difference. Nigerians are no fools.
The purpose of periodic elections all over the democratic world is to enable the masses choose who should lead them with free mind devoid of coercion, browbeating, or whipping. I laughed when I read Dr. Doyin Okupe asking for the proscription of the CPC. Why are Nigerians not always objective about situations? Someone out there said Jonathan has been given kudos for his support for the sustenance and establishment of stable democratic government in Nigeria. How?
One year in the saddle, no concretized and tangible blueprint for development, or do or die desperado campaign, or insecurity in the land or arresting perceived political enemies or wasting our commonwealth on campaigns. Are these the credentials that won Barrack Obama the confidence of Americans? People said fuel stabilized. Fine! Who uses fuel? The rich. What is the pump price of kerosene? Over 300 billon naira was sunk on roads. Yet travel all over the country, no roads but hell. Also, over 10 billion dollars went for electricity under Obasanjo. but we are living in pitch darkness.
Jonathan is in charge of power ministry today. Electricity is still epileptic, at least where I reside. I don't know about yours. Let's be realistic as opposed to sentiments and ethnic card. Nigerians, enough of praise singing and sycophancy.
In the Middle East where revolution is taking place, at least one can see laudable, marked physical infrastructural developments that makes life easy and comfortable for the people. Ours is sorrow and suffering. Yes Nigeria and Nigerians needs a change but not that of PDP whose antecedent is an open secret.
Dr Omebu writes from Onitsha, Anambra State