It does not take rocket science to see through the cheerful and confident mask of President Goodluck Jonathan these days. A mask that obviously conceals deep worries and uncertainties with smiles and cheers on the façade! After all, the President and his handlers did not bargain for the tight corner in which they now find themselves. There is no doubt that they did their homework scrupulously and assiduously. They had good four years at their disposal to prepare themselves for the present doomsday scenario.
In other words, four years of President Jonathan’s government was spent on the priority issue of securing a second term in the Presidency. For this purpose, no stone was left unturned. No government work was more important. “Good” friends were lost and “hungry” friends were found all along the way. Foot soldiers were employed. Attack dogs too. Nothing was left to chance. “Simlins” were created and friendly voices bought all over the network scene on social media. Readers’ comment forums of online newspapers were well manned to prepare grassroots support for 2015.
Yet they missed out on several key and crucial issues. Aside governance and achievements that would have done the trick singlehandedly, they counted too strongly on securing a power base with powerbrokers who are masters of the game of treachery and deception. With the regional influence of the “local champion” Mr. Edwin Clark, they sought to secure the home front and seemed to have done that with some degrees of success. Even though I have no evidence to back up this claim, something strongly tells me that they relied too strongly, on former military dictator Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida to secure the national front as a counter weight to General Olusegun Obasanjo, who they had chased out of their camp with jeers and boos against all wisdom.
After unwittingly compelling the realignment of political forces, they needed a military wing in the creeks that must be robustly fed with weapons hoping that the North would decimate and weaken itself with the bloody onslaught of the self-inflicted Boko Haram. The Nigerian military that the traditional establishment would have used against them if things got out of control, was secured in the hands of kinsmen and loyal surrogates in what now looks like a deliberate move to systematically weaken the military. They left nothing to chance. The President declared his candidacy very late and he could not be crucified too brutally in advance. The militants made potent threats in advance and we knew they meant business. Hints were even deliberately made in public, of the type of weapons at the disposal of the militants and we now know that they have warships.
They left no stone unturned. They anticipated the emergence of retired Major-General Muhammadu Buhari as the presidential candidate of the opposition even though they secretly wished for Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso or Aminu Tambuwal. They were prepared for Buhari. The all-out assault that they skillfully and very effectively launched on Muhammadu Buhari would have ended up a huge success if Nigerians were not simply fed up with Jonathan’s regime of aggravated larceny and dishonesty. First, the cloak of the Muslim fundamentalist that would lock his wife in purdah and proceed on the campaign trail with the shine of his masculine charm did not fit Buhari. His wife surfaced and is now known to not only be very good looking but also far beyond the market class of those who know that “there is God”.
Then they produced a medical certificate claiming that Muhammadu Buhari was terminally crumbling under the yoke of prostate cancer. The document was finally declared fake. A simple misstep and loss of balance on a campaign podium was suddenly reported in headline news as Muhammadu Buhari crumbling and collapsing before the gaze of the public due to ill health informed by old age. This too was discredited by footages from the campaign scene. Then every other ace up their sleeve was staked on one single issue left: The former Major-General’s secondary school leaving certificate and his declarations in this regard. In the end, we realized that President Jonathan did not even complete the doctorate degree program, for which the nation has known and addressed him as “Dr.” Goodluck Jonathan since 1999.
They left just nothing to chance. The campaign of mudslinging and dirty tricks was quite masterfully prosecuted. They released another masterpiece. It took the eye of a professional to recognize professionals at work in the making of the documentary “The Real Buhari”. But the facts did not fit. The bunch of very obvious lies and smears inherent in the clip simply ended up making mockery of a clip that was ordinarily very professionally compiled with effects and style. They could not but end up in frustration. Rather than killing and burying Buhari’s political ambitions, all the aggressive moves of the President’s men did not only fuel their own frustration but increasingly betrayed their image of the desperate runaways fighting a mysterious battle for their own survival. It is mysterious because it now makes Buhari look like the incumbent President seeking to be dislodged by a desperate challenger.
Today, we know that President Jonathan is not alone in this ominous struggle to retain the Presidency at all costs. In fact, in his own admission, the campaign dynamics has been let loose on his managers and co-travelers in the journey of theft and brigandage such that Mr. Jonathan himself is not always aware of decisions taken on individual moves each step of the way.
Yet it is unbelievable that the President was not aware of plans to force the postponement of the Presidential election that was slated for February 14, 2015. Everyone heard it from Lagos to London. Even the booze-man elder Edwin Clark openly called for the sack and prosecution of Atahiru Jega and we all know who that is.
It is not so much the trust in the honesty of Muhammadu Buhari and the modesty of his character that drives his acceptance throughout the nation today. After all there are very many serious and credible issues that people also have with the General and he has rightly explained many of such issues as fallouts from governance under the banner of unassailable military formations. It is very much the rejection of Jonathan’s inept five years of dishonesty, corruption and unimaginable spookiness that has translated into the massive boost of Buhari’s prospects today.
Moreover, the Jonathan’s camp wantonly underrated the role of the international community and those internal forces who wield immense influences abroad than at home. This in spite of the immense resources they invested in high-end expertise to configure and knit an effective smear campaign.
Today, the weight of international diplomatic pressure has been brought to bear on Jonathan like he has never before known in his years on the frontline of domestic politics. The first hint was seen in his latest media chat in his answer to the question, if the election will truly hold on March 28, 2015. Even though the questioner did not mention any word about the international community, the President’s answer was a clear reflection of his characteristic confusion and the pressure that has been brought to bear on him by international forces. In his answer, he ended up expressing understanding for the international community who is used to African leaders, who are reluctant to give up power. He proudly added that he would be the first African leader to give up power if he loses the election forgetting that Ghana had performed this feat just as recently as 2008. The President may have realized the painful attacks that one may suffer after breaking a promise to an American Secretary of State within 10 days that elections will not be postponed.
Now the President’s camp is witnessing its first crack with considerations being insinuated, of the replacement of Mr. Jonathan as the presidential candidate of the ruling party. These are all evidences that the ruling party has been completely taken unaware by several developments that it did not bargain for and these developments are not all happening within the domestic front alone. After all, whoever arms militants in preparation for the eventual partitioning of the country will hardly give a damn about dire consequences and all other impacts in the domestic scene. Such a person is most likely impressed by the foreseeable prospect of outright defeat informed by a chain of events as highlighted in my last article positing that any civil war that is unwittingly provoked by President Jonathan will be decided by international alliances.
There are presently frantic face-saving efforts to buy the day for the hardened desperadoes. They suggest the synchronous replacement of Major-General Muhammadu Buhari as the presidential candidate of the opposition APC as a pre-condition for dumping President Jonathan. But I doubt I heard them right! Should this proposal be true and not from the fiery kingdom of Absurd’istan, I will humbly ask the proponents to have their heads re-examined. Which right-thinking heavenly creature will ask Nigerians to rob Muhammadu Buhari of his victory at this obvious moment to pay an invisible “Paul” that is yet to be conjured out of Jenny’s bottle? Nigerians from all walks of life, North and South, fought together to install Mr. Goodluck Jonathan as President of Nigeria against the oppressive machinations of the Yar’Adua cabal. Now the Jonathan mafia expects Nigerians to reinstall the same injustice because a Northerner is now at the receiving end? No. That just can’t be real. It is a huge joke.
Obviously seeking a humble way to negotiate a clean exit for herself from the murky waters of Jonathanism, our former feminine hope of divine redemption (Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala) also volunteered a word for the word-weary public of pitiable acclaim. We now know how easily she may have feasted on President’s Jonathan’s characteristic dumbness and cluelessness confirming former President Obasanjo’s claims that Nigeria presently has 5 Presidents with Jonathan being the weakest in the midst of his 4 women. Nigerians and indeed, observers the world over, shook their heads in disbelief, when President Jonathan declared while flagging off his election campaign in Lagos, that his solution to fighting corruption in Nigeria was high-technology. He disavowed the expediency of putting corrupt people in jail and naming and shaming them since that to him, means showcasing corruption. He therefore advanced a fragmentally complementary preventive measure that relies on the use of intelligent computer software as the magic wand in the fight against corruption. He seems to see this as the ultimate solution that will do the final trick. Now, we know that Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was the brain behind this “government magic” since she declared in her latest outing that she believes strongly in this magic work of technology. Her declaration however that Nigeria has no system and institutions in place for fighting corruption simply left everyone speechless, who understands that the complementary introduction of preventive measures should not have meant that there have never been systems and institutions in place in Nigeria. After all the EFCC, ICPC, Police Force and the Courts have not been dissolved.
Everyone knows that corruption can never be wiped away completely anywhere in the world but can simply be reduced to the barest minimum possible. Since the machineries of prosecution and imprisonment have been systematically weakened and sabotaged in Nigeria under President Jonathan, it is no wonder that corruption has become a free-for-all act involving top level government functionaries. With her actions and pronouncements, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala has now unwittingly fanned the ember of speculations that she too, may have been actively involved in this brazen act of killing the nation softly. How else can one explain that she of all people would be propping up a President of less intelligent acclaim in the belief that preventing corruption alone and not the punishment and imprisonment of the perpetrators of corruption will be the only system and institution to be put in place in the fight against corruption?
All these weird explanations and views sticking out the neck of individuals who inadvertently dig a hole for themselves simply point to a pattern of desperation and the helpless weakening of their cruising juggernaut. This was further compounded by the dramatic exit of former President Olusegun Obasanjo from the seemingly drowning ship of the ruling party. The former General had missed no opportunity in the wake of his schism with President Jonathan in the past few months, to reassure anyone who cared to listen that his membership of the PDP was sacrosanct. As a card-carrying member of the ruling party however, he had always underscored his desire to live up to his responsibilities as a respected international figure, who also established many useful institutions in the country that are now being helplessly torn apart. What then may have transpired behind closed doors to have angered the former President this badly? I have heard critics declaring in the past few days that his permission to have his membership card of the party torn in public was indecent. Yet, I believe it was an angry move that forestalled humiliating attacks on his person by agents of some internationally wanted drug-traffickers that are now held up high on platters of gold by the ruling party. I can fully imagine the scenario of serving queries on the former President to explain why party disciplinary actions should not be taken against him for anti-party activities, etc.
In the end, President Jonathan would have feigned ignorance of such acts and referred to intra-party processes, in which he would not interfere. Never mind though that late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s anti-party activity of installing Governor Oshiomole in Edo State at the expense of his own party’s man in the name of dislodging Obasanjo’s people meant that the party was no stranger to anti-party activities by leaders. In his usual pattern of hitting back at President Obasanjo though, incumbent President Jonathan again enlisted a person, who in his heart, is deeply an Obasanjo boy to do a hatchet job. Getting Femi Fani Kayode to read a prepared script condemning President Obasanjo’s actions reminded me of Iyabo Obasanjo writing an open letter to abuse her own father – on whose shoulders she shot to fame – in public domain to counter the former’s rebuke of the excesses of President Jonathan. It took the discomfort in the voice and body language of Femi Fani Kayode to see that he was doing a hatchet job reading a script drafted by core Obasanjo haters.
By all accounts, the chicken now seems to be coming home to roost. The options open to President Jonathan are quite clear: Rig the election and win and face the pariah status of international ostracism with more to follow. Lose the election and start a civil war and be defeated on the medium term with dire consequences for innocent lives and your personal and regional safety. Unleash a military-led interim arrangement and face serious consequences from international reactions. Lose the election, concede defeat and tell the militants openly that they on their own. Whichever way it goes, there are hard choices to be made and President Jonathan has never been known for making the right choices. For now, Nigeria will be on record as having seen better days than these. Yet no one will deny that this extreme level of desperation shown by Mr. Goodluck Jonathan and driven basically by all the fearful criminals around him, who feasted on his cluelessness and unintelligence, was never expected in its present ferocity.