By Peter Claver Oparah
And so, the scared PDP, the Jonathan presidency in cahoots with the military, clobbered the questionably Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to postpone the general elections where Nigerians were poised to take a landmark decision on their woeful fates in the hands of marauding governments since 1999?
It sounds strange, yet true that an election that was fixed two years ago has to be shifted just a week to the epic date on unconvincing reasons that the Nigerian military that is fast acquiring notoriety as incapable in its constitutional roles and very capable in obtrusive meddlesomeness in the country’s politics suddenly launched an action plan to wipe out Boko Haram in six eventful weeks, after being largely mauled by the insurgents in over six years! But few weeks ago, the National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki, ostensibly speaking the minds of the government he works for, flew the kite for the postponement in far away London.
He did not tell a bewildered world that the military is planning a kamikaze to obliterate the nauseous insurgents but premised his queer call on the need to ensure that Permanent Voter’s Cards went round all the electorate. Good citizen, you might say, ruled by a patriotic desire for all Nigerians to get the weapon needed to make a decisive input in who governs them from May 29, 2015.
But Dasuki was neither ruled by any patriotic instinct nor was he concerned about whether or not Nigerians want to make a radical decision to reshuffle their dwindling fates through elections. He was just concerned about the fate of the government he serves, which faced massive rejection in the looming polls. The world rose in one unitary crescendo to condemn Dasuki’s call.
It was not difficult to decipher whose voice Dasuki borrowed to make that asinine call. It was Jonathan/PDP’s voice and this was a desperate plot to save the party from what promised to be a shellacking from the same masses it had boasted of serving so well in its six years that they will fall over themselves to re-elect it.
From the barrage of accusations spewing from both Nigerians and the outside world, the PDP was to deny the allegation of masterminding that obnoxious call but it was far from convincing. INEC not only demonstrated its readiness for the conduct of the polls on the fixed date, it gave a graphic illustration to prove that far from the picture Dasuki painted in London, it had gone very far in distributing the PVCs and was poised to ensure that no legally registered voter is denied his voting card on election day.
That seemed to have stilled the plot to defer the polls but the PDP, the Jonathan presidency and the high echelon of the military command were unrelenting in their quest to shift the election at all costs in order to stave off a very humiliating defeat for the PDP. A National Security Council meeting was hastily convened to see if perhaps the postponement plan could be routed through it. At the meeting, the INEC Chairman, Jega, not only demonstrated that he was much more prepared for the election than in previous cases but was good to go.
The council looked at all factors and gave a go ahead for the conduct of the polls on the fixed date. But for PDP, it was a matter of life and death and it must string any means to ensure the poll was shifted from the appointed date. PDP and the Jonathan presidency had very great reasons to be as scared as they were. The Buhari fever was simply unstoppable. The PDP had done everything to curtail the sail but the more they tried, the more it caught with fervent Nigerians ready to key in to make a needed change to arrest the drift of the state in PDP’s wobbling hands.
The trillions that have been stolen from the country’s treasury were called to work, as PDP explored all kinds of desperate campaigns to arrest the Buhari fire. Lies, forgeries, blackmail, tricks, insults and even death wish were all hauled at Buhari but all rebounded and left PDP more distressed than when it started these negative campaigns.
PDP mopped up all newspaper spaces, all television and radio spaces, bought every buyable group and person to disparage and abuse Buhari but the more they do this, the more Nigerians see reasons to support Buhari to end the reign of vandals the PDP has been celebrating as governance. Even opinion polls mounted by PDP, the presidency and its patronising media stations returned an overwhelming vote for Buhari.
The campaigns were more miserable as PDP failed to realise decent campaigns in many parts of the country. Conversely, Nigerians saw Buhari as the enigma needed to end a country’s decay due to large scale patronage of corruption the clueless leadership of Jonathan and his PDP have shown in the past six years.
So it was an impending defeat that stared PDP in the face that necessitated the kind of way and manner it pursued the issue of postponing the February 14 election. It was a case of breaking off the Senate till Caesar’s wife meets with better dream. PDP needed the six weeks to rework its strategies to win the election but it is doubtful if its fate will improve.
In fact, with the pervasive feeling that PDP desperately forced a postponement of the election it was heading for a shellacking, many hitherto undecided voters have resolved to pitch in with Buhari to hand PDP a devastating blow. More importantly with the allegation that is fast trending that the PDP doesn’t want to go at all, a scenario where Nigerians see their votes as the weapon to send PDP home is building up, if only to preserve the democratic sanctity of the Nigerian nation.
The meddlesomeness of the military in the body politic with the way and manner it was involved in the poll shift, siege laid by the army on the house of APC National Leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the provocative deployment of military tanks to the Imo State government house and of course the sordid details of the scandalous Ekiti election rigging tape, all will work to worsen the fate of the PDP whenever the elections are held.
These are building scenarios of the PDP colluding with the military to undermine the hard won democratic space in the country. So, the PDP forced INEC to postpone an election an anxious citizenry wanted to employ to make a definitive statement about their sordid fate. No sooner that it secured the postponement than it went to work to ostensibly arrest its sore electoral fate.
The PDP launched a multi-pronged attack on INEC. It alleged that the INEC leadership had been compromised and must go, thus echoing a shadowy group of PDP enablers led by Edwin Clark, who charged that INEC leadership planned to rig the coming election for Buhari and must be shunted off.
Again, the PDP made series of demands and mobilised a full cache of persuaders to attack the process of the election and the leadership of INEC so as to pave way for a pliant umpire, operating a discredited system needed for it to spin a badly desired victory in the coming polls.
It demanded that card readers must not be used for the election, that temporary voter’s cards which had been exchanged for permanent voter’s cards must be used for the election, among other long list of strange demands that seek to vitiate the credibility of the coming elections.
It did not stop there as it empowered a motley gang of groups to initiate several legal actions, mobilised its members and supporters to invade the media with spurious demands; all meant to water the ground for another electoral sham that will ultimately lead to a reversal of the bad electoral fate the PDP is now facing.
These were to coincide with the leak of a tape that captured the sordid details of the bizarre rigging of the Ekiti governorship election by the PDP and the military. With increased military meddlesomeness in the polity, it is becoming obvious that the postponement of the election was a scripted prelude to more sinister developments that will unfurl as the new dates for the elections draw nearer.
These grand designs may be summed up to either the PDP rides roughshod through the will of the people and remain in power or it ensures that the edifice crumbles on all Nigerians. The reality of this devious plan should unite Nigerians more not only to effect the postponed change they have been yearning for but ensure that by every legal means necessary, this regime does not sabotage the democratic process.
Nigerians need to mass together now to await PDP’s next plan. The shift of the election is just the beginning of an expansive plan that will be manifesting vividly as the days go by but Nigerians equally have an opportunity to ensure that not only would these plans be frustrated, we will emphatically use our votes to ensure that never again will the country be hunted by such ennui.
•Oparah wrote from Ikeja, Lagos. •E-mail: email@example.com
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