Stable Nigeria After 2019 Elections: GEJ Conceded Defeat Will PMB Mind?

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GEJ concedes defeat to PMB

By Chris Odinaka Nwedo

“The perturbing question is, if Buhari can allow electoral victories of his party members to be through intensely corrupt processes what more his aspiration for re-election? He made his kinsman the Chairman of Independence Electoral Commission, (INEC) and surrounded the commission with people loyal to him. Most of the Service Chiefs are allegedly his relatives. This undoubtedly contravened constitutional directives on appointments. This is the first time appointment on very key national positions are preponderantly inclined to a section of the country, an affront to national cohesion”.

 Scores of pundits on the 2015 Presidential election denigrated the person of Goodluck Ebele Jonathan not only for alleged cluelessness and incapacity to re-secure his Presidency, but more, for submissively acknowledging defeat in an election that was perceptibly inclined to favour of his main challenger, Muhammad Buhari. Till today, Jonathan is still disparaged and berated for failing to order his own victory unconditionally. In spite of the denigrations, the wisdom and the capacity of the Former President are resplendent in the strength of his convictions that his political ambitions do not worth the blood of any Nigerian. It was the meekly acceptance of the disadvantages of the unmerited defeat that saved Nigeria from destabilisation, disintegration, deaths of the citizens and destruction of properties.

The 2011 brutish killings of tens of hundreds of harmless Nigerian citizens were forecasted as preambles to the violence and credible threat of ‘total destruction’ proposed for the ‘infidels’ in 2015 if Buhari fails to capture and occupy Aso Rock. For those who felt seriously affronted by Jonathan’s concession of defeat may their consolation be that we still have Nigeria intact, notwithstanding, the plagues of insecurity, socio-economic and political afflictions that are swiftly submerging the nation.

The hypothesis was that there were predispositions on the part of the authorities in 2015 for interference free general elections, and that those who subtly subverted the disposition were not substantially state actors. There were reasons for the acceptance of the notion that there were treacherous conspiracies that slanted the electoral processes. However, the varied judgements about the conduct of the election are absolutely the views of the different pundits, therefore, subjective. Here, the specific interest is not to contend the contradictory positions. It means that there is no intention in this reflection to dispute those who are still praising the election as free, fair, transparent and credible, probably, because they were favoured by the outcome or because they had no conviction for otherwise. To argue against the contrary opinions, however, may have one classified among the sympathisers of the so-called bad losers. Many are bad losers. It is in the nature of a typical Nigerian politician to cry brokenheartedly if he/ she fails to win in a fair contest, particularly, if one has no power to reverse the adverse result with violence.

It is not on record that any winner in the Nigeria’s mostly denigrated political processes has ever shown sufficient remorse and returned the victory. Nevertheless, the cardinal interest here is not purely on assessment of the quality of the 2015 presidential election for it has become absolutely concluded and irreversible and those bruised by the aftermath have been punitively chastised according to assorted styles of justice by the government of Buhari.

The interest here is on the re-assessment of the vilification and the depreciation of GEJ’s historic concessions of defeat and letting-go the 2015 electoral victory. The acknowledgement of the defeat in whichever way you may define it is a feat. It is really exceptional using the deportments of third world leaders’ as measuring standards. Even by our national standards, Local Councils’ elections results under the supervisions of the state governors reflect absolutely their intentions, the governors in their various states dictate or write the results of such elections according to their caprices, defiantly.

In Africa, leaders do not give-up their cleavages to power; therefore, they commence electoral processes and superintend the processes to ensure they wine unconditionally. For these unscrupulous leaders, elections are merely instruments for legitimising their continued misrule. Surprisingly, when they become defeated they do not throw in the towel without serious conflicts. The intense conflicts end with the butcheries of thousands of citizens, displacement of millions and dragging the countries’ economy and social lives decades behind. We have sufficient illustrations of these phenomena in Kenya, Ivory Coast, Zimbabwe to the mention the few.

Ivory Coast was wretchedly, figuratively speaking, turned upside down because of electoral dispute. The wrangle was sparked by the contestations of an electoral victory of the incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo, notwithstanding the fact that the nation’s constitutional court validated the victory. But the main opposition candidate was unappeased and sent the country on fire by the power of his invectives. Ridiculous protests against Gbagbo’s re-election were intensified and culminated in the country’s inexcusable humiliation by brutal murder of hundreds of Ivoirians, destruction of properties and tragic displacements of millions. Years after the horrible incidences many of the victims of the insolence still live in the misery.

Kenya may have wriggled out of the endlessly scornful pains of her intensely disputed presidential election. The anger of the power disputants were assuaged after treacherously murdering of thousands of the Kenyans, talk less of those maimed and displaced. It was estimated that the political unrest and uncontrollable violence that deeply fractionalised the nation drained the economy after so many lives were wasted and billions of dollars’ worth of properties destroyed. Logically, if the Kenya must make meaningful progress in terms of reconciliation, time is needed for the wounds to be healed. Structurally, if the economy must grow it has to primarily recover from the man-made frustrations and devastations.

Zimbabwe was at a periphery of extinction, literally, after a presidential election acclaimed to have been won by the main opposition candidate, Morgan Tchangarai. There were problems because the incumbent dictator, Robert Mugabe, who was unable to withstand a humiliating shame of defeat decided to use disproportionate force to take back the power. It was the steaming crisis in fragile the Zimbabwe that brought the attention and determination of the world’s communities to intervene. Mugabe was placated to stem the intensifying upheavals. Mugabe was persuaded to give peace a chance and to consider the plight of his long-suffering people. It was on the bases of the intervention by the ‘World’s Powers’ that a dysfunctional Government of National Unity was constituted in a haste. The cosmetic arrangement that forcefully brought incompatible disputants together ended in futility because the injustices prompted by the pacification formula continued to wreak havoc at the veneer, and the nation continued to suffer covertly the effects of the tension and dissention. Until today, the problem of that election has continued to be obstacle deploring the nation’s quality development, though Mugabe has vacated but the mark of the improper behaviour has done the damage. Scores of countries in North Africa, South America, Middle East and particularly Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan have been forced into unending genuflections by chastening electoral protestations and terror inspired violence.

There is the impression that many of those that spanked GEJ are appreciating progressively how hasty and imprudent they were, unable to appreciate the unparalleled wisdom and statesmanship in the former President. Remarks on various fora across the length and breath of national discussions continually attest to the modest instrumental roles of the former president in sanitising Nigerian politics and elections. The applause is more when his humble political disposition is juxtaposed with that of Buhari.

Buhari is said to be upright and incorruptible but there is nothing around him as dependable evidence of these virtues and besides, so much are going wrong under his supervision. He has just re-introduced in the polity nepotism, impunity and the dirtiest of all of political dirtiness in our national history. This development explains scandalous electoral out comes in Edo, Anambra, Ondo, Ekiti and Osun states under Buhari.

In the current dispensation, we are confronted with critical substantiations of swiftly diminishing prospects of cleaner politics and decent politicians. Particularly, in reference this factor, a commentator said, “a very dangerous dimension is developing in our nascent democracy which, if not curbed and reigned in, may torpedo our democracy. The menace of vote buying and selling as well as other anti-democratic actions by state and non-state actors may derail our hard fought democracy. While the use of money to manipulate electoral process had long been with us since the return of democracy in 1999, the menace of direct vote buying where you have “vote and collect money” at the polling booth is a new and dangerous development which some claimed started from the Edo State governorship election in 2016”. In his reaction to the worsening situation in Nigeria, a former President, Olusegun Obasanjo lambasted the Buhari’s government saying he “ believes that only a fool will sit on the fence or be neutral when his or her country is being destroyed with incompetence, corruption, lack of focus, insecurity, nepotism, brazen impunity and denial of the obvious.

The perturbing question is, if Buhari can allow electoral victories of his party members to be through intensely corrupt processes what more his aspiration for re-election? He made his kinsman the Chairman of Independence Electoral Commission, (INEC) and surrounded the commission with people loyal to him. Most of the Service Chiefs are allegedly his relatives. This undoubtedly contravened constitutional directives on appointments. This is the first time appointment on very key national positions are preponderantly inclined to a section of the country, an affront to national cohesion.

For almost four years, Buhari’s government has spent time and wasted national resources in construction of impenetrable personal empires for himself and a very few close associates than on issues of collective national interest. The attitude of Buhari to issues of national interest does not suggest he intends to hand over power to anyone peacefully. Again, the styles of Buhari’s chastisement of the former president and people close to the administration do not show he is impressed by the electoral impartiality and magnanimity of the immediate past government. Buhari seemed blind to an exceptional noble mindedness of Jonathan that provided opportunity for him to capture and occupy Aso Rock. Buhari appeared to have approved the use of machineries of the state to further his political and power related ambitions. Security agencies have seemingly adopted APC, the Buhari’s party and are feverishly strategizing for the successes of the party however treacherous. Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is used by the government to hound, terrify and torment prominent businessmen, women and politicians moving-on without APC broom.

With few days to the general election, Nigerian Security Forces seemed to have been instructed to take turns in frightening prominent members of PDP, the main opposition party. ‘Yesterday’ the Presidential candidate of PDP was scandalously humiliated at the airport and ‘today’, the Vice Presidential candidate has his account confiscated by EFCC. It is not just enough that Army, Police and DSS have taken over the work of INEC because the Chairman has not shown enough proficiency and despatch in the methods of delivery of victory to APC. The elections in Ekiti and Osun presented clear evidence that the INEC Chairman is slow in carrying directives from APC. In a ceremony organised for signing of Peace Accord ahead of 2019 general election that a number of presidential candidates shunned, the European Union delegation advised “the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and security agencies to be neutral in the election”. The EU noted “Nigeria set a record of credible and transparent election for Africa and the world to emulate in 2015, advising that such gain recorded should be consolidated”.

It is clear that by conceding defeat and letting-go, Jonathan distinctly spiced his incomparable class of statesmanship, and set a new standard for what it means to care and prioritise the needs of the Nigerian people. Nigerian people need a conscientious leader, an inclusive government and a stable society free of ethnic and religious divisions, repression and violence.

It was incontrovertibly not in interest of Nigerian people to challenge the flawed presidential election result in 2015, because such challenge amounted to extensive damage to the nation. Will Buhari accept 2019 election results if they fail to go his way? Will it be easy for PMB to let go in interest of the Nigerian people if he is rejected in 2019 presidential poll? GEJ’s action in 2015 was comprehensively sacrificial. Nigerians want PMB to do the same if the results do not come as he expects in 2019.