Why Many Nige­ri­ans are Scared of the Year 2019

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Fel­low Nige­ri­ans, this is usu­ally a fes­tive pe­riod when most peo­ple look for­ward to the New Year, with high hopes and great ex­pec­ta­tions. But not any­more. I don’t know if you have no­ticed, wher­ever two or three Nige­ri­ans are gath­ered these days, the sub­ject of dis­cus­sion is Nige­ria’s elec­tions, es­pe­cially the Pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, com­ing up next Fe­bru­ary. And many an­a­lysts talk with trep­i­da­tion, out of the fear that the APC gov­ern­ment ap­pears des­per­ate and may not wish to re­lin­quish power, vol­un­tar­ily, with­out putting up a fight. “Buhari was a mil­i­tary dic­ta­tor, un­like Jonathan, and it would be dif­fi­cult for you guys to chase him away like you did to Jonathan,” a prom­i­nent Nige­rian told me re­cently. I then asked, “do you mean Buhari will refuse to hand over power even if he glar­ingly loses the elec­tion?” His re­sponse was chill­ingly cold-blooded As the Gov­ern­ment stresses in pro­mot­ing the “mark my word, Buhari’s peo­ple are ready scheme, this is an em­pow­er­ment pro­gramme for war…” he quipped. which is not as­so­ci­ated with any vote-buy­ing

Though the tell-tale signs are there, scheme. One thing is clear though, the petty con­sid­er­ing the un­usual elec­toral mal­prac­tices traders who are re­cip­i­ents of this in­ter­est in Ek­iti, Osun, Kwara and other places free loan are smil­ing all the way to the bank where vot­ers have al­legedly been brazenly and ap­pre­ci­ate the Gov­ern­ment’s ges­ture. in­tim­i­dated, dis­en­fran­chised and dis­il­lu­sioned. The turnout and vis­i­ble smiles on the face It is gen­er­ally be­lieved that the se­cu­rity of mar­ket women where ever the Vice forces, es­pe­cially the Po­lice have been Pres­i­dent, Prof Yemi Os­in­bajo, has vis­ited largely com­pro­mised and that they are in pro­mo­tion of this scheme speaks vol­umes unashamedly do­ing the Gov­ern­ment’s about its ac­cep­tance amongst those it in­tends bid­ding, even if it means that the very to ben­e­fit. Whether there is an ul­te­rior mo­tive tenets of democ­racy are be­ing eroded with will soon be re­vealed es­pe­cially when the the at­ten­dant calami­tous con­se­quences that pe­riod for the in­cre­men­tal in­crease dawns may be­fall our beloved coun­try as a re­sult. and the elec­tions are over. The Gov­ern­ment has not helped mat­ters The other scheme which tra­duc­ers of the much on this is­sue be­cause peo­ple won­der Gov­ern­ment claim is merely a vote-buy­ing why such use of hu­mon­gous force can gim­mick is Npower. The scheme aims at be strate­gi­cally or­gan­ised and po­si­tioned even­tu­ally pro­vid­ing ev­ery­day skills which for elec­tions, which should other­wise be can be use­fully de­ployed by the mil­lions of peace­ful events, when such force can­not be un­em­ployed youths in the Coun­try. Those used against our in­sur­gents who ap­pear to lucky to ben­e­fit from the scheme get paid a be back with a bang and slowly, steadily stipend which the op­po­si­tion con­sid­ers is a and surely erod­ing our ter­ri­tory and our mere bribe to se­cure the votes and sup­port sovereignty. The Gov­ern­ment’s claim that of the job­less, frus­trated youths. its aim in deal­ing with elec­tions in this It is a mark of the times that we are in, way is to pro­tect democ­racy and en­sure and the im­pov­er­ish­ment of the peo­ple, the fair­ness of those elec­tions seems false that these two schemes with the miserly given the al­le­ga­tions of in­tim­i­da­tion and amounts in­volved can catch the at­ten­tion of vi­o­lence made against the se­cu­rity forces. the pop­u­lace. Their in­tend­ment and ef­fect

That is not all. It is be­ing widely de­bated have been likened to the wel­fare sys­tem as to whether or not the gov­ern­ment is which op­er­ates in most wel­fare coun­tries, busy throw­ing money around as a way of with Gov­ern­ment pro­tag­o­nists call­ing it a sub­orn­ing the elec­torates un­der the guise of form of the “dole” which op­er­ates in the em­pow­er­ing the masses through its Trader United King­dom. Those who op­pose both Moni and Npower schemes. schemes say that these are cor­rupted ver­sions

The Trader Moni scheme aims to start of the ben­e­fit sys­tem be­ing prop­a­gated to of petty traders with small in­ter­est free suit a cor­rupt pur­pose by a gov­ern­ment loans start­ing from N10,000 and ris­ing which cor­rupts ev­ery­thing in­clud­ing its in­cre­men­tally on re­pay­ment to N100,000. The so-called sem­i­nal fight against cor­rup­tion. Gov­ern­ment says that the Bank of In­dus­try What is also scary for neu­tral ob­servers of co-or­di­nated scheme hopes to as­sist petty the polity is the fact cy­ber­bul­ly­ing has been traders who would not other­wise have on the rise in dra­matic fash­ion. Ev­ery­where ac­cess to af­ford­able bank loans to grow you turn on so­cial me­dia, there are ra­bid their busi­nesses. De­trac­tors ques­tion the Buhari sup­port­ers, in par­tic­u­lar, who treat tim­ing of the scheme and the amount of their idol like God, such that any form of money that ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the scheme are crit­i­cism at­tracts in­stant vit­ri­olic and acer­bic be­ing paid. It is al­most as if they are be­ing at­tack. On a What­sApp group I was till paid this ini­tial N10,000 in or­der to buy yesterday, a queru­lous and gar­ru­lous young their votes and this was mag­ni­fied by the man who seems to de­fend ev­ery ac­tion of un­founded ru­mours that was cir­cu­lated that APC and Buhari went com­pletely berserk PVC’s were a re­quire­ment to ob­tain the loan. say­ing any­one who sup­ports Atiku Abubakar

THIS­DAY News­pa­pers Lim­ited. must be men­tally de­ranged and re­quires ur­gent psy­chi­atric at­ten­tion, per­haps. An­other one of them said Omoyele Sowore must be sick be­cause of cer­tain ut­ter­ances he made re­cently. I couldn’t take the in­tol­er­ance again and told the at­tacker to change his at­ti­tude “in the name of God.”

As far as these peo­ple are con­cerned, ev­ery­one who has any form of sym­pa­thy for PDP or its Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date is au­to­mat­i­cally a rogue and looter. Yet the same so-called “loot­ers and rogues” are wel­comed with open arms when­ever a mem­ber of PDP saun­ters across to APC so that his sins can be for­given in­stantly, and he can be­come a ‘saint’ in the eyes of these un­rea­son­able and il­log­i­cal fa­nat­ics. It is true that the PDP has cre­ated a long list of loot­ers and per­ceived loot­ers, but the same has al­ways been true of APC. That is why the cor­rup­tion fight has never re­ally got­ten off the ground and it is why the Gov­ern­ment may even­tu­ally lose the war be­cause of its con­cen­tra­tion on this one is­sue while fail­ing to re­alise that the peo­ple want eco­nomic and so­cial eman­ci­pa­tion first and fore­most. For them, cor­rup­tion is ul­ti­mately only at best a dis­trac­tion which will be rel­e­gated to the back­ground when the re­al­ity of the per­vad­ing hunger bit­ing at them strikes home.

Many are won­der­ing how some could be so brain­washed into see­ing the sins of one Party and its mem­bers but are com­pletely blind to the sins of oth­ers who are mem­bers of the rul­ing party. Blam­ing the problems of Nige­ria on the 16 years of PDP is no longer in­ge­nious now that APC is busy at­tract­ing and ac­cept­ing the same demons into their fold, in­dis­crim­i­nately. I do not un­der­stand the au­dac­ity that makes APC feel it can con­tinue to use those lines of call­ing oth­ers thieves when there have been too many in­stances of sim­i­lar reck­less­ness within its cir­cle. Those with dis­cern­ment re­call that it is not all of the 16 PDP years that can be de­scribed as a pe­riod of profli­gacy and reck­less plun­der­ing. In any event apart from pos­si­bly some of the an­tics of the Petroleum Min­istry and the NNPC, few knew about the pil­lag­ing that was oc­cur­ring un­der the Jonathan Gov­ern­ment un­til the Gov­ern­ment fell. Some ar­gue that the same fate awaits the present ad­min­is­tra­tion and that peo­ple will be amazed at the level of brig­andage and dam­age done to our col­lec­tive com­mon­wealth by a ca­bal within this gov­ern­ment and a few other se­nior Min­is­ters. The claim is that Da­suki­gate is child’s play, but that we shall only know the truth when­ever the gov­ern­ment is de­throned. I can­not per­son­ally vouch for the au­then­tic­ity of these claims, but I hear the stri­dent pleas of the First Lady, Aisha Buhari about the need to ex­pose a ca­bal which is mak­ing the Pres­i­dency un­able to ful­fil the Change that it promised.

Also, when­ever they call the PDP Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, Al­haji Atiku Abubakar, a cor­rupt man, I of­ten won­der if Atiku was ever more than a Vice Pres­i­dent and if he wielded more in­flu­ence than the Pres­i­dent. More­over, the only ba­sis for this con­tin­ues to be the fact that his Boss, Pres­i­dent Obasanjo, said so in the past, and an Amer­i­can Con­gres­sional in­ves­ti­ga­tion seem­ingly in­dicted him on some trans­ac­tions as a re­sult of which his visa ap­pli­ca­tion was turned down. What I fail to un­der­stand is why these two mat­ters would con­tinue to be an is­sue when the Boss, Pres­i­dent Obasanjo has whole­heart­edly em­braced the can­di­da­ture of Atiku, warts and all, and the Amer­i­can law en­force­ment agen­cies have never in­dicted him, and the Gov­ern­ment of that coun­try now ap­pears pre­pared to is­sue him a visa. In my view, those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. A lot of re­spect has been ac­corded the Pres­i­dent whose dig­nity and in­tegrity has gen­er­ally been pro­tected by the mil­i­tary and po­lit­i­cal class and the fourth es­tate of the realm. This is un­der­stand­ably so, be­cause we must not den­i­grate our lead­ers or soil their rep­u­ta­tions if this can be avoided. Nev­er­the­less, I think it is about time that the Ad­min­is­tra­tion starts trum­pet­ing its suc­cesses in the eco­nomic and so­cial in­fra­struc­ture sec­tor as well as se­cu­rity. The gov­ern­ment does have laud­able and stel­lar achieve­ments it can point to. The Gov­ern­ment should also fo­cus on its plans for the fu­ture. If the Pres­i­dent al­lows his team to trawl the gut­ter in the al­le­ga­tions they are mak­ing against the for­mer Vice-Pres­i­dent of the coun­try, a time may come when all the gloves go off and fisticuffs or ro­fo­rofo fight be­comes the or­der of the day with ev­ery­body be­smeared and be­smirched.

It is the un­re­lent­ing smear cam­paign against the PDP Pres­i­den­tial can­di­date Atiku, with­out any real re­gard to the is­sues which are para­mount for the masses that is ul­ti­mately the big­gest fear fac­tor. If the APC has noth­ing good to tell us about what it pro­poses to do for the coun­try if it wins, be­yond say­ing that Nige­ri­ans must not vote for a looter, then the pre­sump­tion is that they will take all steps to en­sure that their rhetoric suc­ceeds by hook and by crook. The logic is that the APC is so des­per­ate to cling on to power even though it does not know what to do with it and ac­cord­ingly, out of that des­per­a­tion it will sub­vert the will of the elec­torate by foist­ing it­self on the peo­ple with the might of the se­cu­rity forces at its be­hest and dis­posal. We may not need to get to this stage if APC re­alises that it can cam­paign on the is­sues, and change its ways, so that win­ning the elec­tions is no longer in doubt. I fear how­ever, that the ship has long since sailed in that re­gard and the ma­jor pro­tag­o­nists on the APC are hawk­ish war­mon­gers who do not want to go back into the po­lit­i­cal wilder­ness that they had been con­signed to be­fore the all-conquering APC was birthed.

It is the hope of the gen­er­al­ity of Nige­ri­ans that the Nige­rian se­cu­rity forces will in the end shun par­ti­san­ship and live to the true spirit of their oath to de­fend Nige­ria and not any in­di­vid­ual or Party. Sol­dier come, Sol­dier go! The will of the peo­ple must al­ways be al­lowed to pre­vail and if this means an­other Party gain­ing power so be it. This has hap­pened in the re­cent past and it will hap­pen again. That is the beauty of democ­racy which our se­cu­rity forces have sworn to pro­tect!

Buhari

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