President Jonathan’s Victory; ‘A National blessing not a Curse’
I Congratulate the President-elect, President Goodluck Jonathan. I also wish him and the Vice-President-elect, Vice-President Namadi Sambo best of luck as they enjoy their mandate for the next four years as President and Vice-President; may Nigeria be better for this new political order. It is very obvious that the pattern of the voting this time around indicates that Nigerians ostensibly voted individuals as their President and not for PDP as a party. The scripture says, people rejoice when a divine leader is on seat, to GOD be the glory for the outcome of the election.
The President once again in his usual manner showed good display of tolerance and statesmanship when he paid tribute to his political opponents, Major-General Buhari; Mallam Shekarau; Mallam Ribadu and others, and called on them to run the government together. “The progress we seek for our country is in our hands. I am confident that with this new spirit of national re-awakening and our sense of collective ownership of the Nigerian project, a firm foundation has been laid for participatory governance and progress. Together, we will build a new economy that is strong and dynamic and underpinned by a patriotic work ethic. Together, we will make our society to emphasise the most noble of our national values and, together, we shall recreate a great nation wielded in unity and harmony; a nation marching towards collective progress in which no one is left behind,” he said.
Some have argued that with the end of Military rule and the enthronement of democracy and true federalism, there is a shift in the balance of power from the North to the South, the people in power yester years are still living with the mentality that power must reside in a particular ethnic group and are finding it difficult to embrace the philosophy that the society is changing positively. I truly avail myself to be identified with this stand point. The present day government should impact purposefully on the people, they must be accountable to the people and all their deeds must be transparent. As we can see that the power of the electorate is great in our present day Nigeria and not otherwise, we must start to educate our people to take advantage of this new love. Corruption impedes economic development and erodes trust in public institutions. The President-elect Goodluck Jonathan must start to build institutions with credible people at the helms. All lazy public servants, political appointees should be shown the exit door. He should start to address Nigerians on process developments of his government, step by step budget implementation, what revenue accrued to the federal government. Every kobo should be accounted for and funds should be dispensed in a most frugal and prudent manner. Nigerians should be vigilant this time around on the issue of budget deficit or surplus as the case may be. Thankfully the passage of freedom of information act had just been made by outgoing parliamentarians (House of Reps & Senate). The people are the watchdog; and would endeavour to expose the misdeeds of government irrespective of whose ox is gored. No more religious and ethnic sentiments.
However, the European Union Election Observation Mission to Nigeria had on Monday reacted to the allegation by some dissatisfied Nigerian politicians that the last Saturday's presidential election in the country was rigged and that “sophisticated rigging system” was deployed to perpetrate electoral malpractices during the polls. It would be recalled that it previously alleged last Saturday that there were reports of planes delivering what was suspected to be presidential voting card already thumb-printed in several states of the federation. But the representative of the EU team, Alojz Peterle, stated that; “I don't know of reports of direct rigging.” He maintained that ballot boxes were better sealed during the election when compared to what obtained in the previous elections. He further noted that collation was well organised, “I saw arithmetic problem; they (INEC official) have to check how the figures were done together.” Earlier in a briefing same day, Mr Peterle, while presenting a preliminary report, stated that there was considerable improvement in Nigeria's quest for democracy and asked aggrieved parties to explore legal options in venting their grievances. He observed that the overall desire of Nigerians in 2015 should be to achieve zero violence before, during and after elections.
Election is just like a football game while you play it to your best ability and you still fail to win, what do you do, lamenting or preparing for the next match? The best answer is to forget failure or blaming around but to rectify the faults and start to prepare better for the next game. Those who do not succeed to win this particular election should sum up their mind, to reset and update their schemes and work well with those who are successful and by doing so Universe will remember them for success promptly next time. Abhor or detest what is good will never produce good fruits. It is not the best to shed blood as a sign of defeat. There must be a winner and also a looser. Let's all accept the good work done by INEC and stop jeopardizing innocent Nigerians, wasting of resources etc. Everyone should come together, those who emerged as winners and those in the opposition, for the development of our Nation; a lot needs to be done to revive the fortunes of Nigeria.
However, I strongly condemn the attitude of those who are calling General Muhammadu Buhari names, he is a patriotic leader with many distinctions to his credit, and has always displayed dispassionate stand in different capacity where he had served especially in the fight against corruption and indiscipline. I also salute his courage and timely intervention when he called for calm when the uprising in the North became intense and disturbing to Nigerians and the international communities. I think he should be commended particularly when he said: ''We condemn any statement or attempt by any individual to throw the North in the flame of ethnic or tribal politics or any action that will create tension and violence in the North.'' In the general overview INEC under the leadership of Professor Attahiru Jega has delivered an indisputably credible Presidential election. Though not completely hitch-free, but it recorded a substantial compliance with electoral guidelines and rules. However, whoever that is aggrieved can approach the court of law, armed with evidence to establish a breach, otherwise silence may be golden here.
Moreover, the media should be widely seen in playing the role of agenda setting and to also be socially responsible in terms of qualitative, objective, and investigative style of reporting with strict adherence to the ethics of the profession. Headlines, opinions, feature articles, reports, cartoons and even pictures that are capable of inciting the people against one another under political, ethnic or religious lines should not be used for publication, things like this can trigger reprisal attacks and further break down of law and order in the country. As the watchdog and fourth estate of the realm much is expected of the press to promote peace and harmony which ultimately will work for overall good of the nation. Goodluck to Nigerians and God bless Nigeria.
Emmanuel Ajibulu is a social commentator, critic and Communication consultant based in Abuja.