Former Heads of State — Chief Ernest Sonekan, General Ibrahim Babangida, General Muhammadu Buhari, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, General Yakubu Gowon, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, Speaker, House of Representatives, and Senate President, David Mark during the National Council of State meeting held at the State House, Abuja, yesterday. Inset: From left: President Goodluck Jonathan, Shagari and Babangida, discussing after the meeting. Photos: Abayomi Adeshida/State House.
Ogbeni Lanre Banjo, three-time National Conscience Party (NCP) gubernatorial candidate in Ogun State and currently the state representative in the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN), denounces the postponement of the general elections. He blames President Jonathan for engineering the shift, describes INEC as an ineptitude institution, calls the Service Chiefs pawns in the hands of the President, accuses the past Heads of State who attended the recent Council of State meeting of lack of vision and failure to prepare to deal with Jonathan.
JONATHAN’S ADMINSTRATION INCOMPETENT
It is no doubt that the emergence of General Buhari sent fear down the spines of our corrupt rulers. Consequently, it is an open secret that all sorts of plans have been hatched to stop a whirlwind which is beyond General Buhari. The shift, however, glaringly exposes the administration of President Jonathan as weak, unpatriotic, incompetent and extremely selfish.
Having being in power for six years, the President, as the one who appointed INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega, should have met with him frequently to establish a deadline for the distribution of permanent voter cards to the electorate at least a year and a half before the 2015 elections. The frequent meeting should have resulted in plans to make the registration of those who turn 18 on daily basis a routine exercise. This does not impair the independence of INEC because it is the joint responsibility of INEC and the executive arm of government to please Nigerians. The President and Jega’s failure to adequately plan for the elections contributed to this mess, and this is where INEC as an institution and not Jega can be solely blamed. But because the President did not want smooth processes, he was negligent in his duty by failure to request Jega to submit a monthly report on the status of any issue that could hitch INEC process for solutions. The fact is that the President has never been reported to have admonished INEC for the shoddy way the PVC was handled. Nigerians continue to cry loud because of the pains they undergo just to obtain PVCs, the President uttered no word because he plans to rig himself into power. He loves it because of his own selfish interest, thus sending signals to the Service Chiefs and INEC that he wants to win at all costs.
The Service Chiefs are unpatriotic appointees of the President who do not behave as if they were appointed to serve Nigeria. In the pursuit of Jonathan’s naked interest, they are at work strategizing on how to please their master. How could the Service Chiefs not tackle uprising in 14 local governments out of 772 local governments in Nigeria since we have foolishly ceded two local governments to Cameroon?
One cannot blame Jega when the Security Chiefs expressly stated that they cannot guarantee the security of the Chairman and his staff, election materials and the electorate? Jega had to cave in. Jega had done his part by saying that PVC is not the issue. In all the affected areas of the 14 local governments, the least PVC that has been distributed is 68% while the highest is 80%. He acted patriotically by telling the Council of State that INEC was ready for election despite his knowledge of his boss’ unwillingness to conduct the elections as scheduled.
FAILURE OF THE PAST
The meeting of the Council of State had Generals Yakubu Gowon, Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Babangida, and Abdusalami Abubakar in attendance. These generals disappointed the nation because of their failure to demonstrate that they are truly generals who fought wars to merit their ranks. At the meeting, Babangida asked why unrest in 14 local governments out of the 772 in Nigeria should result into the postponement of the elections. Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd), ironically a confidant of IBB, who left the shores of Nigeria to announce in a foreign country that the elections should be postponed, defended it. What I expect the four generals to have done, having maintained their positions that the elections must hold, is to strategize on how the military could handle the insurgents in those 14 local governments to allow free and unhindered elections. The suggestion to the meeting should have been elections should hold in all other states where there is peace, count the result of the elections, with the results known, elections in the affected local governments then hold two weeks later with security forces mobilized to maintain peace and order.
Jonathan should not think of selfish political and economic power as an end. They are both ingredients in the objective that we seek in life. The objective is truly brotherly society; the creation of beloved community which he has failed woefully to establish.
With this postponement, the President has further destroyed the name of Nigeria in the comity of nations. He is insensitive to how quickly the Western countries would hypocritically start blowing anything negative about Nigeria in their media since we always slavishly approach them for acceptance.