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Stats: 1077008 members, 1265539 topics. Date: Wednesday, 19 June 2013 at 11:23 PM
|If I Were Buhari By Tony Iredia by Alxmyr(m): 10:52am On May 20, 2012|
Last week, General Muhammadu Buhari made what looked like a ‘seditious’ statement to which the federal government reacted in 2 ways. First, it cautioned all politicians and not just Buhari against unguarded statements. Second, it used perhaps more unguarded and intemperate language on the former Head of State.
However, no attempt was made to arrest him. Is that what will happen if I were to employ the type of diction credited to the General to write angrily in this column? Well, the reality is that I am neither General Buhari nor do I have the courage of a soldier otherwise where was I when my playmates joined the army?
In earnest, I could never have signed into a profession where as I heard, no one was expected to run away from death! Of course that was not my idea of courage so I went for broadcasting which I imagined also calls for courage. But whereas it needed some courage to ask devastating questions in my television interview programme -‘point blank’- there were too many laws on libel, sedition, treason etc that often diluted my performance.
Thus although I feel I am more entitled than Buhari to be angry with Nigeria since unlike him, I have not been privileged to be a Minister, Governor or hold a lucrative position like the Petroleum Trust Fund Chair, i cannot put any subject across with the force it deserves.
I am indeed convinced that no one should encourage violence on any national topic especially in election matters as violence does not fall into any of the segments of an election process. Elections ought to be free and fair but the threat by any political leader that violence would follow electoral mal-practices is unsportsmanlike.
Whether before, during or after voting, no one should toy with the warning given long ago by renowned political scientist, Professor MacKenzie that if the rules of the game of elections “are not observed more or less faithfully, the game itself will disappear amid the wreckage of the whole system”.
Our politicians need to note that although the victims of electoral violence are never members of their protected families, they are fellow Nigerians. It therefore amounts to evil for any politician to encourage violence when the only legal avenue for ventilating electoral grievances is to submit them for resolution by an election tribunal.
From the nation’s electoral experience so far, it is simplistic for opposition political leaders to raise alarm over the likelihood of electoral manipulation because all Nigerian political parties are the same. They are all involved in election mal-practices.
In the last general elections for example, under-aged voters were observed in all the States where 4 different political parties won the governorship contests. It is thus nothing more than crying wolf for any party that is beaten in the game of rigging to raise any alarm.
It is also incontestable that most Nigerian politicians are mere speculators who hustle for government patronage whether their parties win or lose elections. This is why at the end of an election in Nigeria, leaders of the main opposition party who should lead in checking the excesses of the ruling party, negotiate with it to secure political appointments in what is euphemistically referred to as the government of national unity (GNU).
A good example is what happened to the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) after the 2003 elections. While their Presidential candidate, General Buhari was at the election tribunal to protest his loss, his party executives according to Buhari himself, withdrew from the case, joined the GNU and nominated themselves for cabinet positions.
It is true that our political parties have different logos and emblems by which the players and the teams in the game of politics are to be identified, but it is often difficult for either the referee or the spectators to know which players are in what teams. Meanwhile, our politicians donot know how to collaborate.
In 2011, the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) attempted to form an alliance which according to Chief Bisi Akande, the ACN National Chairman was “to dislodge the clueless Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)”.
The alliance failed woefully because Nigerian politicians are never able to sacrifice their individual urge for office. They are also too selfish to work together. In the election in issue, what the opposition parties schemed to win was not the contest but its incidentals like the presidential debate hence they easily collaborated on that but failed to evolve a working alliance for the election proper.
Without a change of heart, no prophet can effect a substantial departure in the results of the next set of elections from that of 2011. Oh yes, in 2011, candidate Jonathan undertook massive political campaigns across the nation with an impressive media out-reach; he was endorsed by virtually every State Governor.
While the Labour party formally adopted him, others led daily delegations to declare their support for him; he won even in Lagos-the stronghold of the ACN meaning that the latter voted against its own candidate!! His competitors did not even visit some States; they also did not have polling agents in many voting centres which means that they did not have credible knowledge about proceedings in such places and yet looked forward to victory.
In truth, not all the candidates strategized to win through the ballot. Some obviously wanted to win by protest or at least use the strategy to mitigate the shame of failure by whipping up all manner of sentiments.
So, if I were Buhari, i will between now and 2015 build a formidable opposition party not around the self but around a set of ideas. I will constitute the party into a shadow government that would proffer alternative policies as is done in a democracy.
Through the framework, I will engage in massive public enlightenment that would expose the limitations of the incumbent to the electorate. With the high level of political fraud nationwide any opposition party can do this with ease. In one State for example, a governor took credit for the construction of a new project and got applauded for it by the gullible public notwithstanding a sign post which showed that it was the handiwork of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
In another State, the common people ceaselessly thanked and prayed for their governor for building a new road because there was no one to tell them that the construction which by international standards should have taken 8months to complete took 3 years as a result of excessive contract variations leading to the payment of twice the real cost of the project.
What is required to win an election is therefore not threats about the likelihood of a post-election violence. Rather, the opposition should mould and sustain public opinion against poor governance in view of popular issues like fuel subsidy removal, unending poor power supply, high level of insecurity etc. To bank on winning an election by raising alarm about violence as a consequence of electoral manipulation, would only fall within the realm of hallucination
|Re: If I Were Buhari By Tony Iredia by Olaolufred(m): 12:46pm On May 20, 2012|
Tony Iredia has spoken the basic truth.
I see objectivity here.
Oppositions failed because people like Buhari and some others wants to be presidential candidates at all cost.
Buhari should not bother himself contesting but build a more potent opposition and alliances that will pull down the Vampire called PDP.
If not, prof Mackenzie word may mean that the present demon-cracy will run aground giving way to the men in Khakis.
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