Monday, February 02, 2015

A Change is in the Air (A Change is Gonna Come!)

Nigeria stands at yet another cross roads, as the world watches Africa’s most populous country hurtle towards D-Day, February 14, 2015.  This year’s St. Valentine’s Day is the day Nigerians go to the polls to decide whether to give Mr. Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan another four years as president or change the guard by voting in Mr. Muhamadu Buhari, a retired army General and former military head of State.

Nigeria has never had a more contested election as this impending one.  With the apparatus of government in their control and the popularity of their party bearer, Mr. Jonathan, waning, the PDP is likely to pull all stops to ensure that it is not kicked out of office come May when the newly elected officials will be sworn into power.  The preceding six years during which Mr Jonathan has been in power have been lackluster to say the least.  

The economy has descended into the pre-2000 doldrums it was in before Mr. Obasanjo took power and indeed Nigeria has witnessed some of the most violent terrorist activities since the Nigerian civil war.  Mr Jonathan’s apparent cluelessness and apathy is not helping the matter and many Nigerians would like to see a change of leadership.  However, there are those Nigerians who have enjoyed the largess of the Jonathan administration or have benefitted from its ineptitude and corrupt application of resources and they have vowed to do all in their power to ensure that Mr. Jonathan wins the 2015 presidential elections.  Particularly vociferous and tenaciously behind Mr. Jonathan are ex-leaders of the Niger-Delta militant groups who have in the years since Mr. Jonathan has been in power, enjoyed juicy lucrative security and supply contracts given to them by Mr. Jonathan’s administration as a placatory means to earn their loyalty and support.  

Indeed, two such Niger Delta militant ex-leaders are the buccaneers, Mr. Government Ekpemupolo, aka Tompolo and Asari Dokubo.  They, along with the irascible Bishop David Oyedepo of Winners Chapel have made what can only be described as inciting tribalist statements at the very least, or even war cries, depending on which side of the divide you choose.  While there have been condemnation from many well-meaning Nigerians, the security forces are curiously silent about these, which beggars the question if the Jonathan administration is not behind these threats.

If Nigeria were the true democracy it seeks to be, and the Jonathan administration is confident that it has demonstrated reasons why it deserves a second chance then these threats and acts of blackmail are irrelevant.  Many Nigerians who are old enough to remember the Buhari/Idiagbon administration are nostalgic of that era’s lawful application of government resources and disciplined citizenry as opposed to the jungle that Nigeria has become under Mr. Jonathan where thugs and thieves rule the day in government and terrorists abound in the Niger creeks just as they do in the North eastern states of Nigeria.  A change is desperately needed and indeed a change it is Nigeria must have else she devolves into a failed state of the ilk of Afghanistan and Somalia.