By Henry Omoregie.
The spate of sponsored articles trying to tarnish the image of the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, because they did the sensible thing and postponed the election is yet another proof of the fact that panic has set in in the opposition All Progressive Congress. The first proof was the Al Jazeera interview of Saturday 7th of February, 2015 in which the APC’s Presidential flag bearer, Muhammadu Buhari, forgot the name of his party and called it ‘All Progressive Confidence’!
Thier latest procured piece by one Erasmus Ikhide follows the pattern of previous hatchet jobs: a disjointed rant, high on emotion and low on reason.
Ikhide opened his piece, ‘POLLS SHIFT: Who’ll Save Jonathan From Jonathan?’, with the following lines “The stoppage of the February 14thelections in Africa’s most populous
nation, and now the fastest-growing economy by President Goodluck
At least we must thank God that Ikhide admitted that under Jonathan, Nigeria is now the fastest growing economy in Africa and has been projected by CNNMoney to be the 3rd fastest growing economy in the world in 2015.
But that is where the truth ends in Ikhide’s piece.
Two things are wrong with his opening. One, the elections have not been stopped. They have only been postponed. Secondly, they were postponed by the INEC and not by President Jonathan.
Ikhide then goes on to say “the postponement came with breathless speed and with crudeness, trickery and brutality, even to the nation’s Constitution”.
This quote only shows the desperation of Ikhide’s masters as I will now show using empirical evidence.
The INEC postponed the February 14th elections and cited the ongoing campaign in the Northeast to flush out insurgents as a reason. They referred to a letter from the security services which alerted INEC of the fact that due to the war on terror, they may not be able to provide adequate security for the elections.
The Chairman of the INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega then went on to state that the Commission took its decision independently after taking cognizance of the facts.
The Chairman said very clearly that the Constitution did not fix a date for the election but fixed a time frame and that the new dates where within the constitutionally allowed time frame as prescribed by Sections 76 (2), 116 (2), 132 (2) and 178 (2) and allowed by Section 26(1) of the Electoral Act (as amended).
So how come the opposition, through its paid writers like Ikhide, have not addressed these issues as raised by INEC?
Do they know something that the rest of us do not know?
The great fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes said ‘when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, is the truth”.
Did the opposition know that Boko Haram was going to escalate its activities to over stretch our security agents just as the elections were upon us? Was this their rigging plan? These questions are pertinent because they have shown no sympathy to the plight of the military and the plight of the electorates whose rights to vote is being salvaged by the military which is particularly strange because those areas where the insurgents are operating are areas they claim as their stronghold.
Instead of supporting the INEC and calming politics tensions, their Presidential Flag Bearer, Muhammadu Buhari, went on Britain’s Channel 4 news to say that if elections were held in Afghanistan, they could also be held in Nigeria.
Of course he failed to mention that the elections in Afghanistan held only due to the fact that the Afghan military and foreign troops had been able to bring some semblance of order which is precisely what the Nigerian military plan to do.
Buhari also failed to notify his interviewer that about 20 million voters (65% of the entire population of Afghanistan) do not yet have their Permanent Voter Cards, with days to the presidential election.
It seems the APC has done away with reason. Those of us who retain our reasoning will remember that this same Jega postponed the 2011 elections on the very day of the elections itself and nothing happened. Buhari’s Congress for Progressive Change and Tinubu’s Action Congress of Nigeria did not shout that his action was unconstitutional then. So why now?
But when you are power hungry ambition has a way of blinding you to reason.
And that is precisely what has happened to Ikhide! Hear him. He says that INEC was ready to conduct the elections and should not have postponed them.
Is he aware that over 17 million people, which is over a quarter of registered voters, had not collected their Permanent Voters Card? Was it President Jonathan that engineered that?
Is Ikhide aware that the Voters Register had not been published as required by the Constitution a week to the election? Did President Jonathan hide it?
Is the paid writer aware that the card readers had not been fully tested and that many adhoc and regular staff did not yet know how to use them? Is that the President’s fault?
If it is, then Ikhide might as well blame his inability to satisfy his lover in bed on the President.
Ikhide then goes on to reveal his animus against the President, After thoroughly insulting our armed forces who are sleeping in the bushes so he and his paymasters can sleep in highbrow neighborhoods, Ikhide then accuses the President of fooling the Nigerian masses by painting locomotive trains and passing them off as an achievement.
On the front page of the Sunday Times of January 20, 1985, there is a headline which states ‘Weeds Overrun Rail Coaches’.
That headline signified the death, and burial of the Nigerian Railway Corporation, NRC.
Who was in power on January 20, 1985? You guessed it! Major General Muhammadu Buhari!
Fast forward to November 2014 and KPMG lists Nigeria’s Railway Revival Project as one of the Top 100 infrastructural projects in the world.
The headline on one of Nigeria’s most popular media on December 18, 2014 read ‘KPMG: Nigeria’s High Speed Rail is ‘World-Class’. Who was in power on December 18, 2014? President Goodluck Jonathan!
Imagine an acolyte of the man under whom our railways died and was buried attacking the integrity of the man who resurrected them and made them ‘World-Class’?
I now see what Margaret Thatcher meant when she said “if my critics saw me walking over the Thames, they would say it was because I couldn’t swim”!
Talk about giving a dog a bad name in order to hang it. I know that the opposition is in tantrum mode but surely they can do better than the infantile rantings of this paid pseudo intellectual!
Why are they so uncomfortable that the elections have been postponed so that ALL willing Nigerians can vote instead of just some Nigerians!
Why are they so uncomfortable that the military is about to defeat Boko Haram?
Questions upon questions. I wager that the opposition will need more witty writers than Ikhide to answer those questions.
Henry Omoregie is an activist from Port Harcourt.