By Michael Egbejumi-David
In the end, the ugly rumours proved spot on. For one reason or the other, Jonathan and his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are too jittery to go to the polls right now. It appears that they were rattled, feared a likely loss to the All Progressive Alliance (APC) in the presidential election so they blinked first. What we see now is the beginning of their Plan B.
It is a low down dirty shame. How can some people play with a whole country like this? I watched Prof Jega deliver a press conference that looked like a man reciting his own eulogy. But what is wrong with us in this country? Why has everything got to be so benighted? Why?
Incompetence, perfidy and duplicity abound in government, abound at the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and just about everywhere else. I feel so sorry for Jonathan for being used like this; but I feel more sorry for Jega. He seemed to have broken a large coconut on his own head and somehow, strangely expects to partake in the coconut’s consumption.
I don’t think anyone, least of all Prof Jega, believe that the real reason for shifting the election dates is security. It would appear Jega has been forced, possibly blackmailed into acquiescing to some evil scheme. It’s either that, or Jega has been shifty and got caught in the act himself. If not, why all this now?
So we are going to wait 6 weeks for what exactly? Ostensibly to flush out Boko Haram insurgents in Adamawa, Borno, Gombe and Yola states. But what if after 5 weeks the government is still unable to accomplish this task? After all, three years and counting, we have not been able to dislodge Boko Haram. In such a scenario, the government will be compelled to provide the ‘unavailable’ security because our law stipulates that the election must be concluded at least 30 days before the expiration of the term of the government. So you see the fallacy inherent in the current lack of security argument?
In my view, the previously canvassed case for an extension to enable people to collect their Permanent Voters’ Card is untenable as well. You cannot force people to vote. If anyone was serious about voting, they would have made efforts to collect their PVC by now. And in any event, nowhere is a 100% voter participation or turn out feasible.
Unless of course the 6 weeks is needed to get Jega out of the way for doing something funny. I have to admit that I was surprised when Jega stated that one of the most Boko Haram-infested states has so far recorded an excess of 80% collection of PVCs. Perhaps it is 80% of a very small overall number.
Either way, it is IBB, Arthur Nzeribe and his Association for Better Nigeria (ABN), and Prof Humphrey Nwosu of NECON all over again. This is an unnecessary body blow to our democracy and a mild breach of trust with the voters. Some folks have travelled from outside the country to come and vote, and some people here have left their places of business or work to go to their hometown preparatory to the February 14 and 28 elections. What are such folks expected to do now?
My guess is that the PDP is hoping to use the 6 week period to toss Buhari out of the contest using the judiciary as it appears the grim-faced General may have perjured himself. However, the short term implication of all of this is doing Jonathan and the PDP no favours at all. In my own little one-man’s calculation, I was convinced that Jonathan would squeak through but only by the skin of his teeth. But now, I don’t know. A lot of decent people are getting turned off. A lot of hitherto hesitant would-be Jonathan voters and undecided voters are very upset by this latest development. Its management is quite shabby. The Chinese whispers that preceded the election rescheduling and the manner its postponement was dropped on us are coming across clearly as the PDP being up to no good, being up to their old tricks again.
I swear; some people just live to create unnecessary crisis for selfish reasons and for sheer arrogant stupidity. The PDP and INEC (wittingly or unwittingly) are playing dangerously with the country again. And from what we are hearing now, Jega has truly let himself down. Moreover, the thought of enduring another 6 weeks of electioneering campaigns with all those torturous ads and market-level speeches is just pure hell to me.
- I still cannot bring myself to vote for General Buhari, so perhaps it is time to start looking in the direction of some of the lesser known political parties…