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Where is the honour in Nigerian politics?

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By Dele Sobowale

“Politics without principle
Wealth without work
Knowledge without character
Business without morality
Worship without sacrifice
M.Ghandi, founder of modern India, 1869-1948.

Because I am a Christian Evangelist and have boldly made several predictions on these pages, which have turned out to be true, unlike those who wait for a disaster and then call a press conference to claim they predicted it, let me start with the last among the things which Ghandi predicted would destroy any nation – “Worship without sacrifice”. In my entire life, and my family was deeply involved in politics since the First Republic, I have never known of a religious leader, Muslim or Christian, who had ever, so openly, wrapped himself around a Prime Minister or President as the present CAN President.

The man has so compromised Christians as to leave little room for doubt that he is partisan. Before Jonathan, there was Yar’Adua. None of us can remember a Muslim cleric who was seen so often with the late President. Who was photographed with him when he went to Mecca on Holy Pilgrimage? In whose mosque was he shown to be worshipping? The CAN President has simply carried his support too far. And, many are beginning to think it cannot be for nothing. As the late Chief M.K.O Abiola had observed, “Nobody stands in the rain all day long for nothing”. Is it not possible for CAN to sacrifice whatever they (I have excluded myself from the nonsense) are getting to regain some sense of self-respect? More to the point, the CAN President, like any Nigerian, enjoys the protection of the constitution to support who and what he wants. But, he cannot presume to represent all of us in his choice of politicians to support. Where, for Christ’s sake, is the sacrifice – when the benefits are so openly advertised?

Then permit me to go straight to the top – “Politics without principles” – which is the real focus of this column. The bungled Anambra State Governor’s election had merely served to illustrate the total absence of principles or honour among our political classes; and sections of the media.

In the last line to last week’s column; titled BEHOLD THE WORLD’S LARGEST SLAVE REPUBLIC, I predicted that despite the violation of our rights to free movement through Anambra State, the election would still end up inconclusive.

I was writing that column on the morning of the election. Today, we have an inconclusive election on our hands and most of what will follow is predictable – starting from what the INEC Chairman, Professor Jega, would do. Jega promised us the “best election ever”. For this, he got the Police, with the President’s approval, to violate the constitution by restricting free movement in an entire state to Nigerians. Weddings, funeral ceremonies were messed up – just for this. That was a coup. Even, if the election was perfect, allowing a Police coup would have been a steep price to pay because we allowed a precedent which might haunt us in the future. What if the Army decides to do the same? The reader can see how we dig a hole on a road we intend to travel through in the future because we don’t think.

As predicted, the election was a disgrace. Where principles and honour count for anything in public service, the officer, who promises great results but delivers an electoral disaster does not wait to conduct inquiries into what went wrong. Honourably, he would resign and allow someone else to conduct that inquiry which must necessarily start with his own role in the calamity. Professor Jega falls far short of the global standard when such calamities occur. Already, the likely losers don’t trust him to conduct a better supplementary election when the main event is so obviously replete with irregularities.

INEC, deliberately or inadvertently, had played into the hands of politicians and political parties, as well as media commentators by conducting this sham election. But, INEC had never conducted a perfect election, as we all know. I ran out of space in last week’s last line. I wanted to add that all the political parties, especially APC, and the contestants themselves would only accept an election as free and fair only if their candidate won. Furthermore, their media practitioners could be trusted to have written two articles – one praising and the other denouncing INEC, depending on the outcome – before the results are released. Thereafter, every columnist, writing for the paper, tailors his submissions to fit the party line. None dares hold a different opinion. Where is the honour? Is it humanly possible for twenty well-educated and erudite people to hold the same position on every issue (National Conference, Justice Salami etc) on which they are called upon to write comments?

Anambra Supplementary Election: INEC Chairman Prof. Attahiru  Jega addressing pressmen , announcing November 30 for Supplementary election at  Anambra State  while National Commissioner Lawrence Nwuruku looks on in Abuja. Photo by Gbemiga Olamikan.
Anambra Supplementary Election: INEC Chairman Prof. Attahiru Jega addressing pressmen , announcing November 30 for Supplementary election at Anambra State while National Commissioner Lawrence Nwuruku looks on in Abuja. Photo by Gbemiga Olamikan.

My family was blessed with Nigeria’s oldest set of female surviving triplets, until one died three months ago at 55. Even the three never agreed on everything. The worst part of it; the minute some of these fellows cross to another media house their tunes change. Where is the honour?

If religious leaders and members of the Fourth Estate of the Realm are so openly partisan, what else can we expect of the political class who are generally shameless?

APC’s position was predictable and, to be candid, it is becoming boring. The only election lost by the ACN, a major partner in APC, and which was not denounced by its media mouth organs, was the 2011 Presidential election.

Nobody asked how PDP, which had lost all the other elections in the Southwest, suddenly won the Presidential elections by a landslide – because they all knew the truth and it did their reputation no good. In fact, they helped to elect the Jonathan who they now loudly insult every single day. If GEJ is a disaster, as they claim, they helped to create that calamity. They should tell us what was the inducement for asking their supporters to switch their votes to Jonathan in 2011. It was not for nothing.

If, however, there is a pathetic political organization in Nigeria, indeed, the entire world today, it is the PDP. It prides itself as the biggest political party in Africa. It is quite possible that, one day, the rest of Africa might not want to be associated with Nigeria – on account of PDP alone. The election was declared inconclusive by INEC itself and the electoral body was getting ready to conduct an inquiry into what went wrong. Yet, the Publicity Secretary of PDP, Mr Methu, whose entire family could not vote, had already declared it “credible”. Meanwhile, the PDP candidate and the Labour candidate, who until the last minute was in PDP, had rejected the results announced and asked for the elections to be repeated; meaning, our rights to free movement will be violated again for another sham election.

Who on earth is the leader of this rabble called PDP? Where else on earth had this experience been replicated? The largest black nation on earth is also the greatest disgrace to black people worldwide. Now Jonathan, who had, so far, failed to solve the problem of ASUU strike, unemployment, security, power supply, food security and terrorism, as well as 2014 Budget, must now find time to sort out the mess in Anambra State. If crude oil has become a curse, what is PDP?

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