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|The Ugly Side Of Buhari And Jonathan By A. Peterside by VolvoS60(m): 5:32pm On Jan 28, 2015|
[b]Guest columnist: Atedo Peterside
Opinion polls commissioned by ANAP Foundation and conducted by NOI Polls (using Gallup methodology) show that President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ) and his main challenger, Major-General Mohammadu Buhari (Buhari) are currently running neck-to-neck in the 2015 Presidential race. The difference between them in terms of potential votes nation wide is statistically insignificant because it is dwarfed considerably by the much larger percentage of voters who remain “Undecided” - and so the race is truly too close to call. This election will therefore not be decided by the loyalists. It will be called by the large number of undecided voters (these are the swing voters) and they have one thing in common - they do not like GEJ, but then they do not like Buhari either (they want change but see Buhari as the type of change that is both alarming and worrisome).
In such circumstances, efforts by both candidates to sell themselves forcefully to their core constituencies may simultaneously alienate the swing voters. When Hausa/Fulani elders and/or retired Generals and Muslim leaders shout forcefully that Buhari must have it, the rest of the nation recoils in horror. The same thing happens when misguided elements from the South-South zone and Christian leaders insist that their zone (or a Christian) must have two full terms in Aso Rock. The truth is that the Presidency is not anyone’s birthright and so it is naive and downright foolish to go down that route. Indeed some of these bold declarations by core supporters are akin to a kiss of death with swing voters.
Buhari publicly declared in 2011 that he will not contest again. Jonathan is said to have privately declared in 2011 that he would only stay for a single term. Let us therefore assume that they have both broken their word by contesting in 2015 and so there is little to be gained with the swing voters by dwelling on this.
Swing voters are moved more by what they do not like about either candidate. At the end of the day therefore they will vote “against” the candidate that they dislike more and their collecive actions will determine who wins. That is why this article focuses on the ugly side of Buhari and GEJ and not on their strengths.
Many of the swing voters are upset. They feel that our two major political parties have “cheated” them by forcing them to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea.
During the course of the 2014 National Conference, where I was a delegate, I made a contribution to the effect that past military rulers, who toppled democratically elected governments, should still be tried for treason so as to serve as a permanent detterent to young and ambitious military officers who will the understand that the long arm of the law may get them even in their old age and even after they claim to have repented. Buhari dethroned a democratically elected government in order to become a military head of state at the end of 1983. Many of the swing voters are true democrats who abhor authoritarianism. Buhari was not a benevolent dictator either. He was a vicious and wicked one who used retroactive decrees to sentence youths to death and to jail journalists who dared to publish the whole truth. Can the leopard shed it’s spots overnight as some would have us believe?
Wickedness and callousness are not matters of style and/or fashion they are a reflection of a real personae. Buhari’s unguarded utterances about him supporting the institution of sharia nationwide and his “famous” statement that Muslims should only vote for Muslims and his threat that the baboon and the dog will be soaked in blood if elections were rigged are all consistent with his unelectable personae, hence his persistent search for devout Christians (with little or no political clout) as Vice Presidential candidates while he is on the capaign trail. Is he simply hanging on to political lightweights that he knows he can devour the day after he gets elected?
On the economy, Buhari was a disaster first time around. He was clearly an economic illiterate and thought he could run the complex Nigerian economy by controlling rations as was done in a military cantonment. He placed everything under import licence and empowered some individuals under him to prescribe what quantity of every good Nigeria needed and also sought to prescribe which individuals would import the item and in what quantity. Ignorance was on display all around and it was exploited through massive racketeering by persons in his government who called the shots. That he was deemed to be personally honest became irrelevant and so many of us cheered when soldiers (not known for honesty) put him out of his misery by kicking him out of office in less than 18 months and before he could torture the nation any further.
GEJ is unliked by many because he is seen as being weak and unable to control the excesses of some of his close aides and party chieftains. YES, he eventually stood up to ex-President Obasanjo (who tries to dictate to every serving President), but then who wouldn’t? All future Presidents (including those unborn) now know to avoid Obasanjo like a plague. What manner of ex-President will divulge details of his one-on-one meeting with a serving President to the general public ( in a book), without getting the latter’s prior consent?
NO, GEJ’s vulnerabilities are from the party chieftains and a few dodgy aides that he accommodates and/or tolerates. He also believed too much in assurances from our Security Agencies, Defence Ministers, Chiefs of Defence Staff, National Security Advisers etc. This entire group have lost credibility in the fight against Boko Haram. His most recent utterances suggest that he has realised now, how deadly Boko Haram are, but it is rather late in the day as the elections are a little more than a couple of weeks away. My own position on Boko Haram (BH) has remained consistent. The entire Nigerian elite continue to under-estimate BH at our peril. I would love to wish them away, but history and my head tell me that, like Colombia’s Farc Rebels, BH will still be around in some form or the other for decades.
Presidents who aspire to have a second term in Nigeria face this paradox; if they stand up to all the party Chieftains, over-bearing Governors and Security Chiefs, they will not get re-elected because the Party will throw up a Challenger. If they succumb to this motley/unholy lot, they will slow down economic reform, secure their Party nomination but alienate swing voters nationwide.
The only reason for the swing voters to vote for GEJ therefore is if he can convince them that he will be free himself from this motley crowd next time around. Afterall, a second Presidential term is a final term and nobody (except Obasanjo) will ever dream about a third term. In effect, GEJ must convince swing voters that, if they give him a second term, he will be man enough to bite many of the grubby hands that lurk around the higher echelons of his party.
Further complexities in the Presidential race arise because some of the ambitious and highly educated politicians from the North East (in particular) do not want an ageing and not so capable Buhari to ascend a throne which they aspire to occupy in 2019. Buhari was rejected consistently by some of his newer supporters when he was younger and more capable. Ironically, the older and less capable he becomes, the more he appeals to them because they hope to usurp his authority. He has agreed to be dressed up in sheep’s clothing now, but they should beware of the wolf in sheep’s clothing. They might be shut out of Aso Rock if he wins.
Ironically, if these power brokers (who are not known for honesty) come out now to publicly affirm that they will have continuing relevance if Buhari wins, then again the swing voters get turned off because they see corrupt persons surrounding an old and infirm “honest” man who is driven by a blind ambition to re-occupy a seat from which he was booted out prematurely in 1985, even though he recognises that he is not clever enough to understand 21st Century economic and financial transactions through which some of his new and unscrupulous friends hope to loot and/or corner the national treasury under his lazy and ineffective watch.
GEJ has also gathered all sorts of renegades unto his campaign ship. The enemies of his enemy have all become his friends overnight. They are strange bedfellows. In his second term (if he wins) he will need to cut off many of these hangers-on. If he does that they will try to resist, but a second term President is hard to bully. GEJ needs to convince the electorate that he can continue with his bold agricultural sector reforms, his power sector roadmap, overhaul and reform of the transportation sector (beyond the celebration of token and/or paltry railway services) etc.
GEJ’s biggest failure on the economic front was his inability to introduce earth-shaking reforms to trim our recurrent expenditure budget at the Federal level by instituting the massive lay-off of idle civil servants. He did not confront the National Assembly either on this thorny issue. Ironically many of those who accuse him of guilt in this area are guilty of the exact same allegation in their respective States and Local Government Areas.
I am sad that GEJ did not simply go all out to transform our economy in his first term at the risk of being a single term President. Instead he slowed down on some economic reform because he was pandering to power brokers within his political party, who would have a say in helping him to secure a second term.
I am sad that an ageing and incapable Buhari refused to play the role of a King-maker by identifying a single well educated and well meaning younger person 2 or 3 years ago (even if he narrowed his search to his own North West zone) whom he could have groomed and backed to challenge GEJ.
If I vote for GEJ in this election it is because his ugly side is less ugly than Buhari’s known and well-documented uglier side and nothing more. If you disagree with me please note that there is no need for us to fight - our only weapon should be the ballot paper and how we decide to cast it. Those who think they can intimidate swing voters, by threatening mayhem if their candidate does not win a close election, do their candidate a massive disservice because their careless utterances send the swing voters in the opposite direction in a race that is currently too close to call.
Before anybody dismisses ANAP Foundation’s opinion polls again, let me add that similar polls commissioned concurrently by us (using the exact same methodology) show Nasir El-Rufai of the APC with a significant lead over the incumbent PDP Governor (Yero), while the PDP’s Nyesom Wike currently leads APC’s Dakuku Peterside in Rivers State, but there is a large “undecided” element in the case of Rivers State.
ANAP Foundation will release more information on all the Polls we commissioned (including Lagos Governorship) over the course of the next few days, using a multitude of media channels.
• Peterside is the President and Founder, ANAP Foundation
Thinly disguised hagiography masquerading as balanced or fair commentary. .
Despite the errors and omissions in Mr. Charles Soludo's article, it was definitely a more balanced and more honest critique than Mr. Peterside's piece up here.
|Re: The Ugly Side Of Buhari And Jonathan By A. Peterside by Nobody: 5:44pm On Jan 28, 2015|
|Re: The Ugly Side Of Buhari And Jonathan By A. Peterside by Curlieweed: 5:47pm On Jan 28, 2015|
However, I think that Mr Peterside underestimates the risks of taking difficult actions like firing civil servants and removing the ruinous oil subsidy. The risks may be beyond the "single term" presidency issue but given how fragile our democracy is (still), military interventions shouldn't be entirely discounted.
|Re: The Ugly Side Of Buhari And Jonathan By A. Peterside by ManUtdholic: 5:56pm On Jan 28, 2015|
Op get some brain
People are entitle to their idea
|Re: The Ugly Side Of Buhari And Jonathan By A. Peterside by VolvoS60(m): 6:15pm On Jan 28, 2015|
True. And I'm also entitled to my idea about his idea. And you are entitled to yours about mine. The possibilities are limitless.
|Re: The Ugly Side Of Buhari And Jonathan By A. Peterside by leke12(m): 6:18pm On Jan 28, 2015|
POLITICAL PROPAGANDA AND LIES IN THE
AIT AND NTA DOCUMENTARY AGAINST
1. Fela never mentioned Buhari's name
in the $ 2.8bn issue. He mentioned OBJ.
The documentarians cut that part off,
said it was GMB
2. Buhari did not expel Ghana from
Nigeria, Shehu Shagari Did.
3. The issue of Gloria Okon disappearing
under GMB is also a Bloody lie. Gloria
disappeared under IBB (Dele Giwa died
4. What has the death of 2 of Buhari's
daughters got to do with a documentary
of Buhari's ability to rule?
5. Fela's mum died after Kalakuta
republic was attacked by Obasanjo's
govt in 1978. GMB didnt come into
power until 1984
POLITICS should not make us lose our
values as a NATION.. Let's our
campaigns be issue based...
|Re: The Ugly Side Of Buhari And Jonathan By A. Peterside by VolvoS60(m): 6:18pm On Jan 28, 2015|
I would like sir, for you to tell me what's so great about Mr Peterside's analysis.
While you are it, kindly give me a response to my questions on fuel subsidy on the other thread.
|Re: The Ugly Side Of Buhari And Jonathan By A. Peterside by Curlieweed: 9:49pm On Jan 28, 2015|
I think it's great because he gave an analysis of some of the key failings of GEJ that have being of concern to some of his supporters. He also correctly listed the failings that make Buhari a very flawed alternative (not all the religious and ethnic nonesense about islamizing and "born-to-rule".
I really didn't want to discuss the subsidy issue in great detail. However, I only started supporting GEJ when he attempted to remove the subsidy. He won my respect for that initiative. I don't see any reason why government should choose to subsidize and control oil products in this country and not Garri, beans or beef for examples.
government control has over the years resulted in corruption and rent seeking. Our position is simple here, remove the government from the equation and investment in the industry will not only increase but also corruption will be curbed. You don't need any Mr "Intergrity" to achieve that. All the corrupt NITEL workers that were selling subsidized NiTEL lines for Hundreds of Thousands of Naira have had to find alternatives sources of ill gotten wealth.
|Re: The Ugly Side Of Buhari And Jonathan By A. Peterside by EMANY01(m): 11:00pm On Jan 28, 2015|
Ironically, the older and less capable he becomes, the more he appeals to them because they hope to usurp his authority[b][size=18pt]
He has agreed to be dressed up in sheep’s clothing now, but they should beware of the wolf in sheep’s clothing. They might be shut out of Aso Rock if he wins.[/b][/size]
This line has always been on my mind in the (hopefully unlikely) event of a Buhari presidency.
The core north will fight to avoid a repeat of the Yaradua scenario.
Mark my words:Six months into buhari's presidency, and the stain of the office begins to tell on his as it will, at the first sign of his reduced vigor and possible breakdown,the hawks will impress it upon him that he can not possibly continue the way he was as his health will be in serious jeopardy.They will convince /browbeat buhari to reduce his work load.
The president will limit himself to presidential things like the weekly cabinet meetings ,meeting foreign dignitaries and commissioning projects.While an unknown backroom committee,will run Nigeria this group,much like the Yaradua days, will be core Northerners wit ones goal in mind keep the North in power by all means.
Our Professor Pastor will find himself very much alone and besieged.
Not being a politician, his case will be worse than GEJ as the cabal would have learned valuable lessons from that period.
Consider that major dramatis personae in that episode are currently active in Buharis campaign organization:
General Danbaba,Tanimu Yakubu and quite a number of other people.
It happened at PTF, it will happen again.
|Re: The Ugly Side Of Buhari And Jonathan By A. Peterside by EMANY01(m): 11:22pm On Jan 28, 2015|
Soon enough the same thing will apply (does apply already albeit gradually) to the thousands of crooked NEPA(Disco)workers.
Remove the "strong man" put in a strong system.
Alot of people are inherently dishonest,if they don't steal,its mostly because they have not had the chance to not because of some penalty.
I would rather vote for the man who emphasizes on removing the opportunity to steal while also strengthening the penalties.
|Re: The Ugly Side Of Buhari And Jonathan By A. Peterside by VolvoS60(m): 12:31am On Jan 29, 2015|
This article by Mr Atedo Peterside is a controversial one. He fires off the first salvo by proposing that, in line with his submissions at the national conference, past military rulers who toppled democratically elected governments should be tried for treason. Fair argument there.
The writer then goes on to describe Mr. Buhari as a vicious and wicked dictator who retroactively decreed death sentences on youths and who jailed journalists who dared to publish the truth. Again, I concede that this is a fair point to make. Mr. Peterside goes further to say that Mr. Buhari’s ‘wickedness and callousness are a reflection of his real persona’. An opinion, but one that Mr. Peterside is definitely entitled to.
The next issues raised are what the writer describes as Mr. Buhari’s unguarded comments about Islamic law being instituted nationwide. There is some merit in that argument. However, after this point, Mr Peterside’s commentary begins to unravel. His criticism of the infamous ‘baboon and dog drenched in blood’ comment has less resonance than his previous points. Those who understand Hausa state that Buhari’s comments were idiomatic and were not meant to be interpreted literally. This point by Mr. Buhari’s supporters should have received more attention by Mr Peterside because it is a plausible explanation..
Mr. Peterside goes further to then describe Mr. Buhari’s persona as ‘unelectable’, hence his search for Christian patsies as running mates. (This is stretching it a bit. It is strange to describe the election as ‘too close to call’ in one breath (see the first paragraph of the article) and then term Mr Buhari as unelectable in another breath. But I digress.)
The gloves are completely off by this point in the article and Peterside concludes his assessment of Mr. Buhari with a scathing description of Buhari as a 'torturer' in chief and an economic illiterate whose economic policy (while in power) was an unmitigated disaster.
Strong words. With the fiery baptism (deserved or not) of Mr. Buhari so early in the write-up, the coddling of Dr. Jonathan in the next few lines simply provokes consternation. Dr. Jonathan is described in mild mannered tones as being ‘unliked’, because of a ‘perception’ that he is weak and unable to rein the excesses of his party chieftains. Inexplicably, Mr. Peterside then goes off on a rant against public enemy number 1, Mr. Obasanjo (a man who for good reason everyone loves to hate, ). But again, I digress. Back to the main business.
The spin doctoring (because that is what it is) continues in the article, full speed ahead. More excuses are made for Dr. Jonathan’s failures - party chieftains, dodgy aides, incompetent service chiefs, inept security personnel etc. are all blamed for the failure to contain Boko Haram. Not once is the buck placed where it belongs on the Commander-in-Chief’s table – it is somehow forgotten that the president has a clear responsibility (along with his powers) to reward success or punish failure. The man with the power to hire and fire in the name of the Republic is conveniently absolved of any blame. Its everybody else’s fault.
Mr Peterside then goes on to describe a so-called paradox facing presidents aspiring towards a second term in Nigeria: stand up to vested interests and effectively commit political suicide at the party primaries, or succumb to these interests and alienate swing voters while limping into irrelevance. This paradox of course, does exist. But its proper resolution is what separates politicians from statesmen. The moral direction of this resolution is clear to all people of integrity. And Mr Peterside knows this. What Mr. Peterside presents as some kind of Sphinxian conundrum facing Mr. Jonathan is nothing more than a failure by Jonathan to resist state capture, accompanied by his inability to hold his subordinates, staff and appointees responsible and accountable for success or failure. Whose side is Jonathan on? Party chieftains, governors and service chiefs? Or ordinary Nigerians in their millions who stood in the sun to vote for him?
Not done yet, the author’s sinister advocacy masquerading as impartial, reasoned analysis then rears its head once more – he then paints a scenario in which so-called swing voters may be convinced to vote for Jonathan on the strength of a mere promise that Jonathan will free himself of vested interests in his second term. Not a word about what Jonathan has actually done in his first term to deserve a second one. No. Swing voters should vote for the man on a wing and a prayer. If I was a ‘swing voter’ I would be very insulted by this.
More scenario analysis: Mr Peterside describes the admittedly very real possibilities that an ageing Mr Buhari, if he wins could very well fall into the same predicament purportedly faced by Mr. Jonathan over the past 4 years in office: being held hostage by vested interests and younger power brokers within and outside his party platform. However, the balanced commentary by the author is again shortlived and the carping and sniping continues with a description of Buhari as not being ‘clever’ enough to understand 21st century economic and financial transactions - transactions through which Buhari’s more sophisticated associates will rob the country blind (if given the opportunity).
The tragedy continues. While Peterside makes assertive, sweeping conclusions about Buhari’s unsuitability for the presidency, Jonathan is given the benefit of the doubt. While Buhari is derided as old and incapable, Jonathan is described as having the ‘potential’ to succeed if he cuts off deceitful hangers- on. While Buhari is blindly ambitious and yet not 'intelligent' enough to run 21st century Nigeria, Jonathan will 'be hard to bully in his second term'. While Buhari will be outsmarted by the roguish hawks and looters around him, all Jonathan needs to do is convince the electorate that he can continue with his 'bold' reforms.
Of course Jonathan isn’t perfect in the writer's eyes. To humanize his preferred candidate, Mr. Peterside backtracks from his partisanship by admitting that GEJ’s greatest failure on the economic front was his inability to reform the federal budget by laying off civil servants and other federal employees. But the author softens the blow by equitably distributing the blame for this executive inertia – we are reminded that state governors and LG chairman also refused to reform their budgets and trim staff. It isn’t just GEJ’s fault, folks. There’s plenty of blame to go round.
Mr Peterside then goes on to express sadness that GEJ did not transform the economy in his first term at the risk of being a first term president. Further grief arises from the failure of an ageing and incapable Mr. Buhari to step down from partisan politics and anoint a younger, more educated successor as candidate. In conclusion: the writer states that if he were to cast a vote for GEJ, it would be because he is less repulsive in the ugliness stakes than Mr. Buhari.
As far as I am concerned, this article by Mr Peterside was a lost opportunity. Because let's face it, this election should be a referendum on Dr. Jonathan's performance after 6 years at the highest levels of decision making (4 of which he has spent as the president and commander in chief). For the author to devote so much time and energy igniting a firestorm on a 20 month old military regime in the 1980s (without any recourse at all to hard data or stats to support his claims) without holding a 48 month old administration (still in power, by the way) to the same standards is simply baffling.
It is instructive to note that Mr. Peterside’s 'treatise' had absolutely nothing to say about the corruption that has defined the Jonathan administration and its predecessors on the PDP platform. Nothing was said about the officially sanctioned graft that has hobbled this country and blighted people’s lives. No reference, (directly or obliquely) was made in the write-up to the incomprehensible accommodation (by the Jonathan administration and the ruling party in general) of grand larceny – a larceny that retards development and costs human lives. Mr. Peterside has absolutely nothing to say about this. Mr. Peterside has absolutely nothing to say about how GAVI’s multimillion dollar funding for immunization of Nigerian children has vanished into a black hole, with very serious consequences for the achievement of development goals. Mr. Peterside has nothing to say about at least 7 government-commissioned white papers of critical importance which to this day, have not been released to the public by the Jonathan administration. The issues which Mr. Peterside willfully ignored in his commentary are legion. And they will not go away.
Mr. Peterside set up and nurtured an investment banking franchise for nearly 3 decades until his retirement. This is not a mean feat. Few people can pull that off. But this article he has penned begs a pertinent question: Would his enterprise have succeeded if it were being run the way the Nigerian Project has been run by this government? Is he just another crony capitalist at heart?
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