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THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION: Lamentations and the song of joy

By Adisa Adeleye

As expected, INEC under Prof Attahiru Jega has performed above average in giving millions of Nigerians a credible election which has become satisfactory to both domestic and international observers.

The ordinary Nigerians deserve greater applause for their determination in ensuring that the multibillion electoral processes went on well last Saturday.

The 1993 presidential election won by late Chief Moshood Abiola could rank with the recent one in terms of fairness and reflection of peoples‘ choice.  Political analysts agreed that the 1993 experiment when a Southern candidate won the presidential crown by popular votes was too radical for the conservative forces to allow and the election had to be annulled by their military wing, represented by the former military president, General Babangida.

Although since 1993, another Southern General (Chief) Obasanjo had contested and won the presidential elections twice, it was achieved through the support of the core North.  Chief Obasanjo himself admitted that in 2003, his people (Yoruba) did not vote for him, but the Northerners did.

The core North (old Caliphate) had for a long time dictated indirectly, the direction towards political power in the country.  Against a Southern opponent, the core North (North_West), would always support their own son.

In 2003, Chief Obasanjo could only make 25 per cent in Sokoto and Kaduna while his opponent, Gen Buhari (then ANPP Candidate) carried the zone effortlessly.

The allusion to past event is to understand the present structure of voting in the country and to point to President Jonathan‘s victory as being divinely inspired.  He got the required 25 per cent in other states except in the four core Northern States.  Unlike Chief Abiola, he could not take Kano, but he traversed the slippers South_West terrain smoothly.

President Jonathan‘s victory could be ascribed to his general acceptance as an understanding intellectual, ready to listen and willing  to learn; the superb party structure of his party (PDP), and of course, the belief of many Nigerians in his leadership.  His goodluck is the inability of the opposition parties to see wisdom to forge a common front.

There is no doubt that President Jonathan‘s sweet victory was achieved through block votes of South_South, South_East and Delta while Gen Buhari‘s votes were gathered mainly from the massive support from North_West and North_East zones.  It is a pity that at this moment of our political evolution, the voting pattern is structured along the North and South divide line.

The former President, Chief Obasanjo saw the danger and tried to draw his people (Yoruba) and the ‘Caliphate‘ into the mainstream of Nigerian politics through the ‘carrot and stick‘ approach.  His failure which is regrettable could be attributed to his crude method.

At his last rally, Gen. Buhari was reported to have shed tears, presumably, not for himself, but for the Nigerian people who continue to wallow in poverty and misery without any hope or means of early escape.

The courageous general in his third and final attempt to lead this nation again (he was a former military head_of_state) lamented the curious inability of Nigerians, through poor leadership, to rid the country of visible factors affecting development.  In fairness, even those who did not intend to vote for the greatly misunderstood CPC candidate could not fail to see sense in the lamentation of the former Head of State.

The main problem of the CPC candidate is that many Nigerians who had been under his iron rule before would hesitate to give him another chance even if his tears fell on some crucial issues.  Many Nigerians were, perhaps, conscious of the saying, ‘ Beware of the Greeks, even when they bring gifts‘.  Also, some analysts saw in Ribadu and Shekarau, candidates of ACN and APP as good materials of the future.

The victory of President Jonathan is seen in many enlightened sectors as a song of joy with a melodious stanza of hope.

His acceptance throughout the country is a recognition of his tact, patience and doggedness in the face of daunting odds when he was the Vice_President, acting President and later, the President.  He bore his humiliation with unqualified dignity, absolute confidence and divine hope.  Many Nigerians saw a man to be trusted, a leader with vision and charisma to bring the necessary change to the nation‘s hazy horizon.  The sweet victory of President Jonathan raises hope in the future.

As my laymen would say, to whom much is given, much is expected.  This saying is true of the elected President who has received tremendous support throughout the country.  The lamentation of General Buhari on the condition of the country could not be divorced from the unimpressive performance of the ruling party in the last twelve years of democracy.

Power has become a demon that has gone crazy while economic infrastructures have suffered cruel and unpardonable neglect.

It is a matter of joy that the elected President has promised to solve electricity supply problems and fix the economy.  It is assumed that if power problem is solved, fixing the economy would be an easy task.  Power, it is generally agreed, fires the engine of continuous growth which is the foundation of economic development.  Many sources of power – water, oil, gas and coal are abundant in the country for any good leader to exploit.

The past situation shows a lack of serious commitment to change.

Many Nigerians believe that our poverty is a direct result of the palpable ignorance of the rulers on the combination of factors that aid economic developments.  In a country naturally endowed with human and mineral resources, it needs the judicious marriage of fiscal and monetary measures to stimulate effective demand for goods, strengthen domestic industry to produce goods for home consumption and export, and expand agriculture to feed the nation.

It is a pity that fixing the economy in reality and not on papers has not been properly discussed during the electioneering campaigns.  Full employment in the face of mass unemployment, especially among numerous secondary school leavers and university graduates is a topic glibly discussed.  The prospect of a full employment situation in a harsh fiscal environment and tightened monetary stance has not been fully explained in the recent past.

The economic uncertainties have been worsened by Security threats, Bomb explosions, riots, wanton destruction of innocent lives and properties and constant violence of Boko Haram are always with us.

However, President Jonathan has promised the nation to bring a change for the better.  Many Nigerians believe he could, and he would.

In the Easter season of joy, I congratulate the newly elected President and remind him of these words, HOSSANA TODAY, CRUCIFY HIM TOMORROW!


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