POWER OF THE PEOPLE

The just concluded 2015 presidential election in Nigeria has brought  to the fore the power of a  people to take their destiny into their own hands.  That Nigerians have the power to vote out a government that has failed to meet their aspirations is no longer news. The Nigerian people have ably demonstrated this power and politicians can ignore this fact at their own peril. The signs of an impending defeat at the polls by the incumbent  were there but those who surrounded President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan failed to decode. They were engrossed pursuing personal agendas and creating enemies for the President and could not decipher the warning signs on the political horizon. The impunity of those in the corridors of power continued unabated. Genuine and constructive criticisms of government actions or inactions by respected elder statesmen and citizens were met with indecorous language from these political aides. Rather than response to issues, insults, and curses were heaped on well meaning Nigerians while the President looked the other way. The Cabal held the President hostage and contributed to his failure at the 2015 polls. The true electoral value of these political gladiators has been revealed by their inability to win votes for President Jonathan even at the Ward level in their States. These members of the Cabal thrive best in an atmosphere of confusion.

The Lagos Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Jonathan Support Group led by Senator Musiliu Obanikoro for example, spent millions of Naira in newspaper advertisements for the sole purpose of tarnishing the integrity and capability of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega to conduct free and fair elections in Nigeria.   The actions of the Group contributed in no small measure in aggravating tension in an already charged political environment. Indeed, the attempt to spread outright falsehood rather than vigorously peruse issue based campaigns further alienated their Principal form the people and hampered his   re-election chances.  Similarly, the culture of IMPUNITY exhibited by political office holders and the systematic destruction of public institutions are issues which the incoming administration of the All Progressive Congress (APC)  need to confront head on so as to avoid the pitfalls of the past.

Nigerians Take a Stand Now

The political campaigns in Nigeria have brought to the limelight serious challenges facing our country. It is unbelievable that the political campaigns are loaded with hate messages aimed at causing disaffection among Nigerians. Religion, ethnicity, cultural differences have been exploited to the most ridiculous level that one wonders whether the damage being done to our nation will ever be reversed after the elections have come and gone. It is painful to know that politicians have taken Nigerians for granted over the years. They have exploited, divided and ruled us for their selfish interests. They have no interest in ensuring good governance and development of Nigeria. Indeed, they lack the capacity to conduct issue-based campaigns; hence the resort to religion and ethnicity as a platform for securing cheap support. This has been the trend since the return to democratic rule in 1999.

The Cabal that is fighting for the soul of Nigeria has no integrity, morality and credibility. Campaigns using derogatory and despicable language, which is strange to all known Nigerian cultural values have taken the center stage. Which Nigerian cultural norm promotes death wish for a political opponent or derision over the deaths of family members.

The PDP campaign groups are so desperate to have its candidate returned to Aso Villa and are ready to do anything. just anything in the name of supporting the incumbent President. They have for example; widely circulated a medical report on the health status of General Muhammadu Buhari purported to have been obtained from the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria. The hospital has since disassociated itself from the report and further stated that the so-called doctors who appended their signatures to the report are not on their payroll.

Recently, African Independent Television (AIT) and Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) transmitted a documentary full of inaccuracies with the sole aim of destroying the APC Presidential candidate General Muhammadu Buhari. Even though the National Broadcasting Code for elections provides to the contrary:

4.2.2 Broadcaster shall:

(a) Not broadcast a programme which violates social value, shows disrespect for law and order departs from an honourable life-style;

(g) avoid the use of foul and blasphemous language;

5.1.6 Archival or library materials where used to illustrate a current event, shall be used with discretion and clearly identified to avoid confusion or causing emotional pain, offence, embarrassment or defamation.

5.2.5 Political broadcast shall be in decent language.

5.2.7 A broadcaster shall, in using a political material for news, avoid taking inflammatory and divisive matter in its provocative form;

5.3.6 A live broadcast shall take cognisance of the cultural and religious sensibilities of all Nigerians and avoid offensive inputs.

The question that begs for an answer is whether the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and the Advertising Practitioners of Nigeria (APN) have lived up to expectation by sanctioning stations that have been violating  the broadcasting code with impunity. As rightly observed by the Veteran broadcaster Dr. Tom Adaba that” We cannot seat back, arms folded, looking the other way and pretending all is well. Let the truth be told, we have simply behaved as if there is no tomorrow for Nigeria. The campaigns or advertisement of mudslinging and derision, which we have allowed to appear on the screens, have not been helpful to the course of this nation. It has indeed helped to divide us as a people. If we preach hate we shall reap hate and destruction, if we preach love and peace well shall reap same” (Sunday Trust 21nd February, 2015 P.36)

During the Presidential media chart held at the State House in Abuja on Wednesday 11th February 2015 President Jonathan referred “… to the attempt to pelt the Presidential convoy by young, ignorant people, as treasonable offence….” Although  the action is condemnable, it was most revealing  when asked as to whether he was not worried by the threat of war by his kinsmen if he is not re-elected. President Jonathan simply responded that his government will make sure that things are done “in such a way that nobody goes to war. We will not encourage anybody to destroy this country. We must protect this country and those who support us must not destroy this country.”   The threat of war by his kinsmen to destroy Nigeria is indeed a treasonable offence, even though President Jonathan refused to condemn Asari Dokubo and co-travellers as he did in the case of the “young, ignorant people” in Katsina State. (Daily Trust 12th February, 2015 P.5).

Dame Patience Jonathan in a recent outburst  in Calabar during a political campaign told Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) supporters “Anybody That Tells You Change, Stone That Person!”

Nigerians Take a Stand Now to Save Our Country from Destruction.