Arguably, the choice of the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the February 2015 election has generated more interest than that of the PDP in the run to the 2011 Presidential election. Quite understandably so because the sordid picture of governance in the last six years has created a determination in the People to effect a meaningful change.
After the 2011 Presidential elections, many things have happened on the multifaceted fronts in the nation.
The economy is in bad shape irrespective of the much-vaunted deliberate, ‘re-calibration’ of the economy that placed the Nigerian economy as the largest in Africa; it does not matter that about 67% of the population is living below poverty line. The downward spiral of youth unemployment is beyond the control of this government. Insecurity has become nightmarish in the last few years: insurgency has assumed a new vista with Nigerian soldiers sometimes eloping to neighbouring jurisdictions for fear of the superior firepower of the insurgents; Nigerian villages are often overrun with such ease that leaves one to wonder if there is still a functional military; Kidnapping is a professional business with attendant societal upheavals. Corruption has become raised to an all-time high level with the same i-don’t-give-a-damn kind of impunity prevalent with this regime.
A former Aviation minister, who was fired under humiliating circumstances of graft, was recently linked with the setting up of a new Airline, after less than one year of leaving office! The Nation has become so blindly plundered that, with the plummeting oil prices, the major option left for the current managers of the economy is devaluation of the currency. Of course, the resultant effect of this will be uncontrolled inflationary trend.
On the religious front, Nigeria has become pathetically polarized under the Jonathan regime since 2010. It is not uncommon that major Policies are gleaned from the statements of the President in his religious pilgrimages to churches. The Christian Association Nigeria (CAN), with its leadership steeped in partisan loyalty to the Jonathan regime, has become an appendage of the Jonathan Presidency. A Bombardier airplane gifted to the CAN President, Pastor Ayodele Oritsejafor, was recently used as the purveyor of large haul of hard currency, ostensibly for the purchase of arms. The furore generated by this shock discovery has sparked a diplomatic row between South Africa and Nigeria. Meanwhile, the United States of America (USA) has consistently refused to sell arms to the Nigerian state. This is strange because Nigeria is a trading partner with the US; what is indisputably clear is that the Americans know more than us as to why they have refused to sell arms to this regime. What we know for a fact is that AMNESTY international lampooned the Military under this regime for gross human rights abuses in the North East and North West regions. Neither the often publicized routing of Boko Haram nor the seized arms has not led to arrests of notable figures behind the insurgency. What is becoming increasingly clear is that the insurgency is more political than religious. Major towns in the North East have, in the last one month, been overrun by a detachment of a ragtag army of insurgents. What has become befuddling in recent times is the rising profile of local hunters in quelling the hold of the insurgents on these towns where the Military had been found wanting. The unanswered poser by discerning Nigerians is how did the Nigerian Military, that once showed strength and character in the West African sub-region in the past, suddenly become weakened (under this regime) against an insurgency group?
Ordinarily, the litany of failings of the administration should have prompted the head of the regime to throw in the towel as Neville Chamberlain did as British Prime on May 10, 1940, when it became clear that he did not possess the wherewithal to pilot the affairs of the Brits against the wily Adolf Hitler during the tempestuous times of the second world war. But the large armada of hangers on, party men and beneficiaries of this PDP-led government have continued to truncate any hope of the Nigerian people being saved from the desperation of a regime clearly bereft of enviable leadership skills.
The Nigerian people welcomed the entry of APC, the amalgam of major opposition parties in the country, into the politics of the land. The Party’s members’ registration exercise was an instant success, recording more than twenty-five million Nigerians as card carrying members. The APC is a child of necessity, conceived and nurtured by the sacrifices of its founding fathers.
First, against the scoffing cynicism of the nay-sayers, the party survived all the intrigues of the ruling PDP to make it a still-born.
Second, the sacrifice of General Muhammadu Buhari (GMB) as a Patriarch of the Party is worthy of note. In those heady days, the ruling PDP had colluded with some elements in the defunct All Nigerian People’s Party (ANPP) to use the issue of the choice of Interim National Secretary to scuttle the union. It was GMB who prevailed on the CPC merger committee members to allow the ANPP produce the resource for the position. It is noteworthy that these elements have found their way to PDP when their traitorous endeavours did not yield the desired fruits.
Third, the effort of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu (BAT) must be applauded for standing strong and firm to the ideals of the union.
Fourth, the All progressives Governors (APG) upped the ante with their proactive and salutary schemes at each important milestone in the consummation of the Union. The issue of Party Logo was thorny and intractable. The agreement within the ranks of the APG is what has become the APC logo! It was the APG members that showed the Nigerian citizenry, that walking on the streets on Maiduguri was possible at the time that the President (as Commander-in-chief) could not visit his troops engaged in the fight against the insurgents in the North Eastern zone.
Fifth, the sacrifice of the NEC members of the legacy Parties (ACN, CPC &ANPP) is worthy of commendation. They were brought into office in 2011 on four-year mandate, but willingly embraced the merger in 2013, two years into their mandate.
It is vitally important to state that all these sacrifices by the heroes and heroines of the Union shall be wished away if we choose our Flag bearer without discretion. This Party (APC) is at the threshold of history to reverse the trend that incumbent President cannot lose election in Nigeria.
The APC’s Presidential aspirants have been achievers in their own rights. Without doubt, the candidature of General Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, is the one that elicits the most interest.
First, he is the most experienced of the pack in terms of participation in National elections. The last time, in April 2011, he garnered over twelve million clean votes from across the land on the platform of a Party that was formed less than ten months before the election.
Second, he is the most maligned because his traducers (comprising mainly of the same feudalistic hegemony that have held down the Nation’s progress) are clearly afraid of what a Buhari Presidency portends for their enterprise.
Third, the desperation of the PDP-led Federal Government in preventing squaring up with GMB again at the polls has thrown up all forms of subterranean moves, including attempting to sway the opinion of APC members.
Fourth, the politics of self-interest may be the cause of the self-defeatist, self-destructive schemes that are being unwittingly done to stymie the Party’s electoral victory in the February, 2015 elections.
I have been inundated, in recent times, with emails, texts messages by concerned Nigerians and ordinary members / Sympathizers of APC that the Party leaders of APC should not do anything to thwart their collective dreams and hopes of securing a meaningful future for Nigeria. It is an indisputable fact that the 2015 Presidential elections is for APC to lose. Indeed, Nigerians are angry and bidding their time to use the democratic means to ventilate the anger at the 2015 Polls. The expected shellacking of President Goodluck Jonathan at the 2015 can easily be achieved with GMB. It is foolhardy for a football coach to put his reserve team forward for a crucial football match. Nigerians are angry at the profligacy and grand larceny associated with the Jonathan regime.
Gratefully, the APC has in GMB, a man with the transparency of a crystal. He saw all the alluring glory of Public office and refused to be swayed from his own simplicity. He ascended to the pinnacle of political governance and did not abuse his oath of office. He came in contact with the disbursement of the wealth of the nation and did not help himself with the till. Both in and out of office, he evinced self-abnegation, discipline and transparency. He possesses the emotional stability embedded in legendary leaders. The tallest of the pack; GMB’s giant political stature is needed by APC to put a stop at the charade that governance has become in the last four years. Let all bitterness be eschewed for the sake of the sacrifice of the last two years. We need GMB!
We need GMB!! We need GMB!!!
God bless the All Progressives Congress!
God bless the Federal republic of Nigeria!!
Rotimi Fashakin (Engr.)