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Fear and fury

By Donu Kogbara

I’ve spoken to quite a few PDP people since the election was postponed; and most of them have told me a) that they support the postponement ONLY because it will provide INEC and our armed forces with more time in which to solve logistical and security problems, b) that the PDP has provided Nigeria with top-class governance in recent years, c) that they don’t regard Buhari as a force to be reckoned with, and d) that they’re 100% sure that Jonathan would have won by a substantial margin if the February 14 election had gone ahead.

I have found the above claims very hard to swallow. And a small handful of PDP pals have assured me that I’m right to be sceptical. According to one of them:

“Any nonchalant talk about Buhari is a big pretence! Same with any boasting about what we have supposedly achieved! To be candid with you, the PDP has failed in so many ways and intelligent PDP members know it and have lived in fear for the past few weeks. Watching the Opposition go from strength to strength across the country has been a frightening experience. APC would probably have floored PDP if Nigerians had been given a chance to vote this weekend. We are now praying that the postponement will work in our favour.”

I guess that publicly dismissing a rival as irrelevant – and insisting that you and your political cronies possess no faults and have made no mistakes – is a valid psychological warfare tactic at a critical juncture like this.

President Goodluck Jonathan
President Goodluck Jonathan

But it is obvious that Buhari IS a big deal on the current political stage; and it’s good to know that even within the notoriously dishonourable and delusional PDP, there are honest individuals who can differentiate between reality and fantasy….and tell the truth, even when the truth is mega-embarrassing.

The truth is that the highly respected British Economist magazine recently published an article that described Buhari as flawed but superior to Jonathan (since the Economist has nothing to gain from a Buhari victory – one feels compelled to view its endorsement as objective and take it seriously).

The Jonathan administration is not famed for soul-searching and issued a crude rejoinder that made a lot of educated onlookers laugh or throw their hands up in despair. The truth is that we will never make progress in this country if we do not accept constructive criticism.

The truth is that Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Jonathan’s Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy (whatever THAT means within the context of a regime in which the Prime Minister is the Minister of Petroleum!), who is meant to be the star of this show because of her posh World Bank background, is not performing at the level some of us expected her to perform at….and has just been “finished” by former CBN Governor, Charles Soludo.

Okonjo-Iweala started off as the jewel in Jonathan’s crown. Now she’s widely viewed, at best, as just another attachee. And, at worst: As a culpable passenger on a very unsavoury gravy train.

The truth is that taped evidence has just emerged to prove that the Ekiti State gubernatorial polls were rigged by the PDP with help from Ogas at the top.

The truth is that Jonathan gave a national honour to Abba Moro, the Minister of Interior who presided over many deaths during a botched recruitment exercise.

The truth is that Jonathan has spectacularly failed to improve his home turf. The Niger Delta Ministry and Niger Delta Development Commission have become jokes that are routinely bled dry by various PDP stalwarts.

The truth is that the United Nations Environmental Programme’s recommendations for pollution-ravaged Ogoniland have not been implemented.

The truth is that Nigerians have plenty of reasons to vote against Jonathan and the PDP…and are furious about the election postponement.

I once supported Jonathan but have decided to switch my allegiance to Buhari because I think that an ex-soldier who isn’t interested in expensive baubles and doesn’t even own a house in Abuja despite also being an ex-President and former Petroleum Minister – can destroy Boko Haram and aggressively tackle the deep-seated corruption that Jonathan inherited and enhanced.

Some Vanguard readers have insulted me for losing interest in Jonathan and accused me of backing his main rival for financial reasons. They think that my APC Governor, Amaechi, has bribed me to take the position I have taken.

Let me say now that though I’m a member of a Rivers State Government Board, it is not a particularly lucrative Board membership; and various Jonathan acolytes have offered me much larger sums of money to contribute to the PDP election campaign and launder Dame Jonathan’s ailing image; and I have said “no thank you” to both offers. And nobody has compensated me for rejecting them.

I follow Amaechi because I believe in him; and I have given up on the Jonathans because I feel that they are not capable of providing Nigeria in general and the Niger Delta in particular with inspirational and ethical leadership.

As far as I’m concerned, it is NOT the North’s “turn” to take over because Northerners already ruled for 38 out of the 50 years that elapsed between Independence in 1960 and the nation’s 50th anniversary in 2010.

Left to me, Jonathan would have generated so much confidence by now that Northerners would have to jolly well wait another four years to reclaim the Villa. Left to me, I would be pushing for Jonathan, not Buhari. But my conscience will not allow me to carry Jonathan on my head for purely regional reasons.

Only time will tell whether an election will still take place this year; and, if so, whether Buhari can win it and, if so, whether Buhari can be the saviour I crave.

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