(By Tobi Adeyeye)
I voted for General Muhammadu Buhari during the 2011 elections, even at a time when most Nigerians having bought into the hype were on the Jonathan bandwagon. The hype and propaganda in favour of GEJ at the time was overwhelming but being an iconoclast by nature and a staunch critic of herd behavior, I decided not to vote for Jonathan.
To be honest, I liked his candidacy as did most other Nigerians, and it indeed felt Obamaesque as Tolu Ogunlesi has recently said in print, but I was not swayed, for after 12 years, I was tired of the PDP machinery.
I heard Buhari was Mr. Anti-Corruption and to be honest that was all I needed not to pless umblella.
So on election day in 2011, although I knew it was in vain as most of my fellow countrymen were determined to vote Jonathan, I voted for the CPC candidate.
Four years later, many of those who were on the Goodluck Bandwagon then are those clamouring for change now, the herd has changed its movement and once again I find myself on the opposite side. I’m now a diehard Jonathan supporter and here’s why.
The biggest reason most people cite voting against GEJ in 2015 is his administration’s track record on Boko Haram but I am not deceived. President Jonathan is in my own opinion, and I am oftentimes an excellent judge of character, steadfast in his commitment to end the terrorism in the North. But the forces against his accomplishment of that goal are legion. Recently a little girl in Kano said her father took her to Boko Haram, and volunteered her to be a suicide bomber. I believe the causes for such terror mentality in the North have nothing to do with the sitting President, but should instead be traced back to a Northern political class that ruled Nigeria for several decades and impoverished its people, whilst systematically looting Niger Delta oil wealth meant for the development of the entire nation.
In 2012, I was livid with anger when the barely 30 years old son of Borno State oil well owner and Chairman of Oriental Energy Mohammed Indimi, Ahmed flaunted an ATM receipt with over $99 million balance on social media photo sharing site, Instagram. This sort of gross and primitive acquisition of wealth was the reason for restiveness in the Niger Delta, and poverty and illiteracy in the North and indeed other parts of Nigeria.
In my opinion, it is the corruption brought about by the likes of Babangida and Sani Abacha that led Nigeria to the sorry state it is in today. It is also chiefly responsible for the terrorism in the North today. I don’t think you have to be a Rhodes scholar to realize that if the man who gave his daughter up to Boko Haram for deployment as a suicide bomber had any type of a decent education or good living standard, he would not have done so. Now can Jonathan, a man who entered the Presidency in 2011 be blamed for such an occurrence? Again in my opinion, it is not possible to fix the decades of maladministration in Nigeria over night.
Now don’t get me wrong, Jonathan is not perfect. He has made some mistakes and his attitude towards corruption is indeed one of them, but I still sympathize with him, and I sympathize with the minorities of the Niger Delta and I believe that since they fed Nigeria for 4 decades and were marginalized, maimed, killed and victimized during the process, that they at least deserve to rule for a decade. It’s only fair.
Now if your property has been stolen and you call the police and ask them to find it but refuse to give them details of the robbery or robbers that could lead to the arrest and recovery of the stolen goods, then how can you logically and reasonably expect the police to do their job? As an observer of the crisis in the North, I have found that the Northern leaders have refused to cooperate with President Jonathan in ending the Boko Haram menace. In my opinion, it is not because some of the elder statesmen in that region promised to make Nigeria ungovernable for Jonathan, but because they realize that if they help him overcome Boko Haram during his administration, then their shot at power is truncated for another four years.
This is what is called playing politics with people’s lives and as a patriotic Nigerian, I choose to stand against these forces and cast my vote to re-elect the President and further frustrate these devilish elements…come what may.
In the fight against Boko Haram, Jonathan has been taken to task by these Northern elders, who should normally rise up as leaders, but they have instead frustrated him at every turn, calling for sanctions against him and his generals by the International Criminal Court and the United Nations, then accusing him of genocide and all other propaganda to make Nigeria ungovernable as promised.
Contrast that with a Vice-President Jonathan who circa 2009 made sacrificial efforts to rid the Niger Delta of militancy. Remember how he demonstrated courage not displayed by any Northern leader since the Boko Haram crisis dawned. The then number 2 citizen, Jonathan entered into the creeks, unarmed and called on his fellow Ijaws, Itsekiris and others to drop their arms, effectively ushering Nigeria into a period of economic boom and relative peace.
Fast forward to present day Nigeria, I must say that there is much Jonathan could still have accomplished but he did preside over monumental achievements like the unbundling and privatization of the Power Sector (and no Nigerians you cannot have 24 hour electricity overnight especially after the legacies Buhari, Babangida, Abacha and Obasanjo left in that sector), the reconstruction of the Lagos Ibadan Expressway (this road leads to my village in Ijebu and I’m glad Jonathan is doing what my kinsman OBJ could not accomplish), pledging N1 trillion to ASUU (and releasing an initial N200 billion, a display of kindness to the educational sector unprecedented by any other Nigerian leader), and the huge gains in the agricultural and automotive sectors.
I am not here to sing Jonathan’s praises (I know what it looks like), but there are those that yell Sai Buhari at the top of their lungs and act like nobody should hear word. They bully all and sundry on Social Media and act like the former military ruler is the savior Nigeria has been waiting for. Personally I still admire Buhari and his political strategizing has become more nimble since he teamed up with the Lion of Bourdillon, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. But that is where my problem with his candidacy is rooted. Anybody that tells you that Tinubu is not one of the most greedy and corrupt politicians of the 21st century is not being entirely honest with you. To be honest, I like the man, and I like his swag.
There is no African man that will not envy his wealth or his business acumen, but so much of that wealth is tied to public funds. This article is not about his corrupt activities and there are many articles already written about the reach of Asiwaju into the public till, especially in Lagos State, so I will spare the details. But know this, if Tinubu was a legitimate businessman and had been into business the same time as Dangote, he would easily eclipse the latter on the Forbes list of Billionaires. A poor old man in Lagos once told me, “Tinubu is so greedy that if he wants your land, it is better you just carry the Deed and give it to him jeje. Resistance would be futile.”
Yet this is the change Buhari wants me to believe in. Then there is Amaechi that uses the funds of the people of Rivers State to buy private jets. And Oshiomole who flew in a female former BBA contestant to come and wine and dine with him in Government House just few months after the demise of his wife. Nigerians that can read between the lines are not deceived.
Atiku, Elrufai, and many other PDP, I mean APC leaders all have stains and corruption smears on them from their time in public service. So can anyone pinpoint the change these jokers are on about? Yes change from Jonathan but to what? I dare say, should Nigerians fail to elect Jonathan on Lover’s Day, the Nation may begin a love affair with a hydra headed monster that will see more Nigerians languishing for change that will not come again for a long time.
I leave you with 1 Samuel 8, read and remain blessed.
8 When Samuel grew old, he appointed his sons as Israel’s leaders.[a]2 The name of his firstborn was Joel and the name of his second was Abijah, and they served at Beersheba. 3 But his sons did not follow his ways. They turned asideafter dishonest gain and accepted bribes and perverted justice.
4 So all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah.5 They said to him, “You are old, and your sons do not follow your ways; now appoint a king to lead[b] us, such as all the other nations have.”
6 But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. 7 And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king. 8 As they have done from the day I brought them up out of Egypt until this day, forsaking me and serving other gods, so they are doing to you.9 Now listen to them; but warn them solemnly and let them know what the king who will reign over them will claim as his rights.”
10 Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking him for a king. 11 He said, “This is what the king who will reign over you will claim as his rights: He will take your sons and make them serve with his chariots and horses, and they will run in front of his chariots. 12 Some he will assign to be commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and others to plow his ground and reap his harvest, and still others to make weapons of war and equipment for his chariots. 13 He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. 14 He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive groves and give them to his attendants. 15 He will take a tenth of your grain and of your vintage and give it to his officials and attendants. 16 Your male and female servants and the best of your cattle[c] and donkeys he will take for his own use. 17 He will take a tenth of your flocks, and you yourselves will become his slaves. 18 When that day comes, you will cry out for relief from the king you have chosen, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.”
19 But the people refused to listen to Samuel. “No!” they said. “We want a kingover us. 20 Then we will be like all the other nations, with a king to lead us and to go out before us and fight our battles.”
21 When Samuel heard all that the people said, he repeated it before the Lord.22 The Lord answered, “Listen to them and give them a king.”
Written by Tobi Adeyeye.
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