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February 14 Explodes: ‘Blame my death on Attahiru Jega’

•Explains conspiracy in INEC
•Decries North/South dichotomy
•Wants Nigerians to be sincere in all they do

By Jide Ajani

In this animated interview, we present February 14, 2015, with some tough questions. This was first done sometime in 2013 when we presented 2015 as an angry guest.

Today, with the hoopla generated by the argument on both sides whether or not to kill February 14, we present thoughts that will add a fresh perspective to the entire debate.

You must feel like a star – everyone is talking about you?

Yes o. It’s fun being the centre of attraction.  More importantly, I told you I would come and, when I come, it would be with a bang, a big bang.  We spoke in 2013 and you raised quite a number of concerns.  Some of the concerns were real, some were misplaced.

Misplaced?  Which of the fears were misplaced?  Can you imagine the overheated polity that we have today?

Yes, the polity may have been overheated but if you remember two years ago, I warned about the attitude of the Nigerian politician.  Rather than disappoint the critics, they have even raised the bar to very ridiculous yet dangerous levels that I never even imagined.

Even I, the sole personae, cannot believe what these charlatans and silly people are doing in my name. They predicted doom for your country by 2015 and everything the politicians are doing is to work hard for the actualization of that doomsday. You Nigerians are just a bunch of impossible people.

Okay, now that you’re upon us, you’re here with us, let’s pick the issues one by one.  First, the National Council of State said INEC should go and make up its mind about you?

Which National Council of State? Which State?  You Nigerians are a very funny bunch. Good thing you asked but let me educate you.  Nigeria has 36 states; add the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja, to make it 37. Of that 37, 20 are from the North while 17 are from the South.  That cannot be described as a fair arrangement.

Secondly, there are past Presidents who are members. Count them: Yakubu Gowon, Shehu Shagari, Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Babangida, Ernest Shonekan, Abdulsalami Abubakar, Olusegun Obasanjo.  Of these seven, five are northerners and had Abacha been simply overthrown and not died, he would be sitting there with them – mind you, Obasanjo did not attend.  Then, add the former Chief Justices who are all from the North.

cartoon-inecSo, whoever designed the Constitution that allocated the membership of that contraption, called National Council of State, took the people of the South as fools.  If anybody was expecting anything meaningful or sensibly unbiased from that body, the person must be a total idiot.  Forget that joke.  Lest I forget, the APC governors have been boycotting its meetings and Buhari, the presidential candidate of the APC, only attended last Thursday after a very long while.

So, having laid that premise, what were you going to ask about the Council of State?

I was going to relate the question to the premise you laid but, honestly, it would have been tangential because I wouldn’t have brought that broad, analytical perspective to the matter.  But wait, how come the North is always holding the ace?

Ask those who allow the North to always hold the ace.

Do you think Papa Obafemi Awolowo, a man who did not focus on aggrandizement as the self-styled champion in the South West focuses today, a man who refused to join forces with the North, you think he was a fool?

Those who have joined forces with the North now, especially because of the current mess that Jonathan has created, would realize in the fullness of time how unthinking the move is. Let me tell you the truth, the type of resistance put forward by the National Democratic Coalition, NADECO, is what makes a nation strong.

But then a certain Matthew Okikiolakan Aremu Olusegun Obasanjo, a very selfish individual as packaged for the Yoruba people of South West by these same northerners and foisted on the nation to be head of state, has put a wonderful definition to the phrase, ‘evil machination’. The question is, whose interest did Obasanjo serve from 1999 to 2007?  Remember the man wanted to be life President. It is only in a country of morous like Nigeria that such a selfish elder would still be relevant; a man who cannot even run his family – what with the public insults poured on him by his children.

Now, by twist of fate, Goodluck Jonathan, who is described serially as clueless, became President but turned out to be an ineffective leader, thereby allowing so many untoward things to pass.  That is what has brought your country, Nigeria, to this sorry pass.

When you say ineffective leader, give instances?

The cheapest happened just two weeks ago.  John Kerry visited Nigeria and your President came all the way from Abuja to Lagos to meet him. Was it that Jonathan was in Lagos and, for convenience, the meeting had to hold in Lagos?  Can you imagine Kerry visiting France and holding a meeting with Hollande in Nice and not Paris?  Worse still, the man threatened Nigeria not with serious sanctions but simply visa denial.  Is that how cheap Nigeria has become?  And we all kept quiet!

This same international community pushed them in Syria; what has become of Syria today?  Look at Ukraine! It was this same so-called international community that kept pushing them and giving them all the assurances that it would back the opposition; but look at how Donetsk and Luhansk have been destroyed by Russian-backed rebels and now America is just talking about sending military assistance.  Look at what has become of Libya. Yes, they appear to mean well when they try to guide us to do what is right but when the chips are down they move on or look the other way.

Secondly, look at the issue of the Chibok abductions!

You want me to continue?  Look at his wife!  The measure of the strength of a man starts with how well he puts his wife on a leash – yes, a leash!  But from what the naked eyes can see, you people have a collegiate presidency (husband and wife) – and in some cases it appears the wife overrules the husband.

Whether it was inappropriate verbalization or a warped reasoning, how can the President of a country open his mouth and say ‘ordinary stealing, they call it corruption?.

Pray, if stealing is not corruption, what is corruption?

Now let’s come back to you.

I am not done! What I expect you to ask next is the man being proposed as the alternative.

Okay! What about General Muhammadu Buhari?

Please pronounce that name again – General who?

General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd)?

Good!  You did not call him Mohammed Buhari – that was the name on the certificate that was eventually produced, but which is alleged to be a forgery.  Look at the indecency with which the so- called opposition has gone about its campaign and you people clown about, claiming you want a free and fair election.  This election is already flawed because an illegitimate candidate is seeking the highest office in the land.  It is even all the more indecent when you have a crop of young men, state governors at that, queuing behind what is obviously a flawed process.

I am not going to parade the silliness of the Jonathan campaign but I am going to base my analysis on facts.

First, look at the form he filled and submitted to INEC: The only organisation to which he claims to belong and of which he is the African President, Pastoral Association of Africa – these are the Fulani herdsmen who have been on the rampage for a while.

And since 2003, Nigeria has treated Muhammadu Buhari as a special candidate, never submitting any personal document apart from a court affidavit.  But now, INEC’s form specifically requested that documents be attached, he did not.  When asked, he disdainfully said Nigerians should go and ask the military authorities.  What arrogance! When the military said they didn’t have it, he unashamedly came out to say something like ‘I did not want to address the matter but for associates and friends who prevailed on me to do so’.  That is a man who is not yet your President.

He then said Nigerians should wait for his school to publish the result. And when the result was published, it was not the result of Muhammadu Buhari but that of one Mohammed Buhari. You people are not being careful and thorough. Did you take note of what the General said three weeks ago, that his document was with INEC’s legal adviser? When did his document suddenly reach INEC? It was common knowledge that he never submitted anything.  Was it submitted within the stipulated time as permitted by law?  If it had been one Chukwuebuka or an Alagbe who behaved like that, what do you think the North would do?

INEC-CARTOON3But you know that a time will come when such incongruities would come up in the future and Nigerians would simply tell the Yoruba people of South West to go and sit somewhere and shut up.

What point am I making here? When we have a law or a process, let it work for all times; let us not bend it because it serves our interest today. Nothing lasts forever.

With what INEC tried to do under Jonathan regarding the 30,000 Polling Units, what do you think the Commission will do when you have a northerner as President – especially a Buhari who, even without being President, treats Nigerians disdainfully?

You touched on a fine point, the 30,000 Polling Units, PUs?

Yes, what about it?

Is it conceivable that Attahiru Jega, our Mr. Integrity at INEC, actually meant to use that allocation to pursue a northern agenda?

Capital YES!  You people have been hurled into what Lagos people call ONE CHANCE.  The children and grand children of today’s champion will never forgive him when all the mess being created comes full circle.

Referring to Tinubu!  How do you mean?  He’s not related to Jega neither are they on the same page?  Even Tinubu has had cause to accuse Jega of working with the PDP government in Abuja?

(laughter, loud laughter)  The North is decades ahead of you people in the South.

Let me educate you and please fault me if you think I’m wrong or if you think I’m exaggerating.

I will connect Tinubu to the North and to Jega for the right or wrong reasons.

Firstly, Jega said he wanted to delimit constituencies.  He was advised against it but INEC still commenced the project before it finally dropped it.  Before then, and you must give it to Jega, INEC planned to clean the voter register but, in carrying out the exercise, goats, sheep, cows and crawling insects that had been allocated voting rights in the North were removed, leaving the region with far less voting population contrary to what it had always claimed.  What to do?  They came up with a very clever idea of allocating PUs.

The excuse for that, genuine as it appeared, was that people in the North and a few other parts of the country needed to be closer to the PU for ease of voting.  But in doing that, Jega and some northern elements in INEC allocated over 21,000 to the North and gave just a little over 8,000 to the entire South.  Worse still, of the 12 states that got over,1,000 PUs each, Lagos State is the only state in the South.  Some of the states in the North with the over 1,000 PUs each were not deserving, these were mere phantom allocations.

The idea was to slice off the 1,000 across those 11 southern states and when you have not more than 500 persons per PU, that comes to 500,000 per state – multiply that by 11 states, you end up with 5.5million. Now, add that figure to any presidential candidate’s votes and the lead will be unassailable.  That was the ultimate agenda of lopsidedly allocating 30,000 PUs in the manner Jega’s INEC did.

But how does this concern Tinubu or the South West wing of APC?

Good question.  Consider that this fraud was exposed by your newspaper before it was finally dropped.  Consider that even as the conservative North, which is behind the agenda, knows that it was in alliance with Tinubu’s South West, they still went ahead to deprive the South West enough PUs because in future, had that exercise not been stopped, the North may no longer necessarily need any alliance with the South West to win a presidential election.

Consider that the real logic of PU creation and allocation was supposed to start with Registration Areas which, in turn, determines PU allocation.  Consider, also, that one Dr. Lisa Handley, renowned consultant on delimitation, advised that INEC required a minimum of three years in-between general elections to commence and conclude a review including managing the challenges and securing National Assembly approval.

Consider that for the delimitation, whatever you do would require Senate approval; just as the Ward Review and then the creation of PUs.  The two lead to PU creation. Consider, also, that Jega only claimed to have abandoned the Delimitation and Ward Review exercise in its bulletin of August 20, 2014.

So, why prepare an answer in the mold of PUs when the Delimitation and Ward Review exercise were yet to be done?  That could have been part of a grand plan to influence the coming census exercise.  Jega’s planned Delimitation and Ward reviews were to be based on the unreliable 2006 census figures.  Worse still, what was his hurry when just next year fresh census would be conducted?

If Tinubu and his people cannot see through the grand design of the North, that is their problem.  Once the North gets what it wants, it may not even need South West in 2019.

No!  Haba, that analysis is too cynical and wicked?  Tinubu and Buhari have very strong bond of partnership in this APC thing?

Wicked?  You people in the South are shallow – very, very shallow.

Tie what I have just explained now, to the Council of State lopsidedness.  The head of state that gave you that Constitution is from the North.  Do you think the National Conference report would be attended to again should a northerner become President?  Considering the lopsided nature of the Senate and House of Representatives, how many amendments do you think would be done under a northern President!

Let me tell you, don’t be surprised if, for instance, a Buhari becomes President and the APC Chairman or some of the leaders cannot access their President again.

You are an irredentist; a jingoist!  You cannot go on and on labeling a section of the country…

(Cuts in)  Truth is bitter.  If the APC leaders were sincere, why didn’t they pick a broad-minded Atiku Abubakar as the candidate; or a young Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso or even Nda-Isaiah, the publisher of Leadership?  That is where Tinubu comes in.  The thinking is that a Yoruba deputy to a Buhari comes with the tantalizing prospect, though morbid scenario of a Yar’Adua/Jonathan.  It is about having access to the centre.  God forbid but even if that happens, what do you think the North will do? Sit and watch? How did Buhari emerge as APC candidate?  It was the votes largely from the southern states and not from the North.

That is the Tinubu agenda within an agenda.  Fayose must have been on something when he caused that morbid advert to be published. That was wrong.  But those who worked to ensure that Buhari becomes their candidate know why they did what they did.

But some people are bent on dumping you?

Dumping me how?

As in, that they want to kill you; they want to cancel you and settle for another?

I have come to stay.  They cannot succeed.  I am February 14, Valentine’s Day, election day.

What if INEC doesn’t provide you with your life-line drugs and food in the form of all the materials you need to function?

File photo: INEC officials
File photo: INEC officials

That would be Jega’s problem.  It would mean that Jega cannot be trusted. If I die, blame Jega.

Jega gave me life when he announced my coming but he, in some cases, inadvertently allowed distraction and, in other instances, should be held responsible for pandering to his northern base.

That is why I am shouting loud that if I die or if I’m allowed to be killed, please blame Jega, hold Jega responsible.  I will not say more than that.

Okay, talk to Nigerians?

It is high time you people understand what these politicians use you. They bring their problems to your doorstep and ask you to fight their battles.  They will settle and move on. Didn’t a party leader dump his presidential candidate and urged his people to vote for Jonathan?  Do you know what happened?

What about this problem of PVC?

Don’t mind Jega. The problems confronting Jega are more than the problem of PVC. Although he will not admit, he has more internal problems at INEC than that of PVC.

* This conversation was prepared before INEC meeting of yesterday.




Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.