“Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil”, that is a critical phrase in the Lord’s prayer that Christians who said their prayers today would have recited. And that includes His Excellency, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
However, the omens indicate otherwise. The intimidation of opposition leaders such as the siege on the homes of the leaders of the All Progressives Congress; increasing deployment of the military to fight the political battles of the Presidency; the violation of the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution by setting up a Federal Task Force in Lagos to take over the advertising corridors owned by the local governments of Lagos State: the crucifixion of the Independent National Electoral Commission for apparently refusing to be part of anti- electoral fraud and the mobilisation of primordial sentiments and groups to patronise President Jonathan’s presidential ambition provide incontrovertible evidence of the dark clouds hanging over our country, Nigeria.
Yet from that crimson cloud has emerged hopeful and anxious silver lining. The nation’s statesmen have not gone to sleep. They have raised their voices to express opinions on the drift of the nation towards a dangerous precipice. Apparently inspired by genuine patriotism and the strategic imperative of prevention being better than cure, they have alerted the nation and President we Jonathan to the scenario that the forces which currently hold him captive are headed and warned on the need to retreat from the doomsday consequence as a national emergency.
For instance, opinions may differ on the role of former President General Olusegun Obasanjo in the history of our country. But it will be foolhardy to trivialise the contributions of a man who has been fortunate to govern this country for a total period of 11 years. Certainly a great gift of introspection and intuition comes from the occupation of the highest office in the land by such a person. Add to this, an international track record in peace-keeping and conflict mediation, one should fairly and honestly accord former President Obasanjo the actual weight of his recent commentary on the Peoples Democratic Party’s design for our country.
This is why one of the president’s spokesmen committed serious error of judgment by seeking to blackmail the messenger with an incredible story that Former President Obasanjo was positioning himself to head an Interim National Government. His peregrinations fail to address the obvious fact that the decision to postpone the elections was the plot of President Jonathan in his desperate bid to avoid a crushing defeat.
Without that regrettable decision, President Obasanjo would not have had the burden of ruminating on this international failure and what it portends for Nigeria and her electorate.
Indeed, the premiseof President Obasanjo’s thesis is dramatically demonstrated in a viral video clip in which another spokesperson of President Jonathan, faced with the stiff resistance of Nigerians at a white-wash event in the United Kingdom, repeatedly shouted on top of his voice that the PDP will not allow General Muhammadu Buhari to be president. “It will not happen! It will not happen! it will not happen!, said the hollering publicist to the anger of the audience.
This Freudian slip on the part of the reckless spokesman means the PDP has dissolved the Nigerian electorate and turned itself into the organ with the final verdict on an election it conspired to postpone ostensibly to give the electorate more opportunities to perform their civic duty. It means that the essence of the general elections, which is the presentation of alternatives so that the voters can make a choice, has been aborted ab initio. It means the ruling PDP is set to unleash a regime of civilian dictatorship or Cote D’Ivoire’s Gbagbo-like confusion and crises on the nation.
At a time like this, it is the responsibility of the APC, as the nation’s most formidable opposition party and in fact, the clear and popular alternative to the PDP, to appeal once again, to the conscience of President Jonathan to have the fear of God. God has created our country as a collective enterprise where Nigerians can prosper and live in peace for generations.
This appeal is not out of cowardice but a fervent effort to ensure respect for popular sovereignty. Ultimately, the power over the future of Nigeria resides with the people. The people should be allowed to speak with their votes. The place of President Jonathan, as the first man from the minority tribe to be Nigeria’s president, is already assured. His efforts to “transform” Nigeria, even though unsuccessful, is noted.
The only way to demonstrate to the Nigerian people that there is no hidden agenda is to ensure that no more excuse is advanced to justify another postponement. The buck stops on the president’s table. His word must be seen to be his bond. Nigerians ask for no more than this.
DIRECTOR, STRATEGIC COMMUNICATIONS