By Babajide Omolade
…when conscience dies, eyes go blind, and ears deaf
The Nigerian Political landscape is active once again and this time the Presidential elections which had earlier been scheduled for 16th of February will now hold on the 23rd of February 2018. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) citing “logistics” as the main reason behind the 11th Hour shift in the election has however assured Nigerians that the elections will not only represent the wishes of the people but it will be free and fair.
The main actors are on the “field” again crisscrossing states across the country selling their manifesto to the electorates. The ruling party All Progressives Congress, APC, poised to consolidate on the gains recorded so far in various areas has promised to do better and take Nigeria to the Next Level. At various rallies across the country, the party has continued to list some of its success story in the last 3.5 years of its administration.
Despite the years of neglect and thievery during the past 16 years administration of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, the ruling APC which rode to power under the “Change” mantra has recorded some outstanding achievements in the areas of Rail Transportation, Completion of the Nation’s major airports, and completion of the Abuja-Kaduna Light rail project.
The ruling APC in its bid to lift Nigerians out of poverty also established the Social Investment Programmes (SIPs). Programmes under the SIPs include the N-Power Programme initiated to cater to unemployed graduates, the Home Grown School Feeding (HGSFP), which is targeted at feeding school children across the country, Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT), targeted at supporting one million of the most vulnerable and poorest Nigerians, and Government Enterprise Entrepreneurship Programme (GEEP) that ensures Entrepreneurs have access to affordable credit to fund businesses, especially in rural areas, just to mention a few.
In the wise words of Socrates, the way to gain a good reputation is to endeavour to be what you desire. No doubt the APC has started the Change we desire.
It is, however, unfortunate that the same party that looted and plunged the country into penury have reassembled and rebranded ready to take the country back on the road to perdition. The emergence of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the Presidential candidate of the PDP says it all. A person once described by his former boss and former president Olusegun Obasanjo, in his book, MY WATCH’ as ‘Disloyal Human Being’.
“Atiku Abubakar’s name was among names sent to us. Up to that time, EFCC had enjoyed close cooperation and collaboration with law enforcement agencies in the UK and the USA. I gave the green light to Nuhu for the investigation as requested by the authorities and forwarded his report to the USA. The report was uncomfortable and unsavory about Atiku and his associates,” Obasanjo had said.
The PDP as a party failed during its years of administration despite the fact that the Crude Oil prices were trading on an average of $100 per barrel in the international market.
The Party also announced the Senate President, Bukola Saraki as the Director General of its campaign organization. Saraki’s antecedent as Governor of Kwara State is still fresh in our memories. In the past three and Half years as the head of the National Assembly, Saraki has used the Legislative-arm of Government to fight personal vendetta, undermining the Executive-arm of government for the past three years, permitting and tacitly endorsing frivolous motions to unjustly attack the President and the Government, thus constituting a clog in the wheel of progress of the development of the country and the implementation of the policies of the administration.
Saraki and his cohorts shut down the National Assembly and personalized the National Assembly affairs especially when he was required to answer questions by some law enforcement authorities. The repugnant image of over 90 lawyers following him to the CCT and shutting down the Senate is still fresh in our memories. The non-confirmation of EFCC Chairman, Mallam Ibrahim Magu sent in by the President to impede and threaten to derail the fight against corruption of the Buhari Administration.
In addition, the former Governor, during his reign as the Governor of Kwara State, turned governance to comedy and impoverished the state. Before his emergence as the Lord of Kwara politics, he edged out his late father, Olusola Saraki, in the deeply rancorous 2011 general elections and installed his favourite candidate and now incumbent governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, as governor.
For Atiku, Saraki, and their team of public looters, the election is another opportunity to gain access to public funds and enrich themselves and their friends. Happily, the Nigerian electorates are wiser and smarter and never will they allow the PDP and their cheerleaders to gain access to the position of trust again.
The gains recorded by the APC in the last three and half years is a testament to the commitment and seriousness of the Buhari Administration to correct and restore the years the locusts have eaten. The journey to the Next Level starts on Saturday as Nigerians with their votes loudly reject Atiku and his friends with resounding votes for the APC.
Babajide Omolade, a Social Commentator writes from Lagos.