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Six years’ holidays, six weeks’ work

From his first days on the job, following his oath of office (after the National Assembly bypassed the Yar’adua cabal) based on “the doctrine of…

From his first days on the job, following his oath of office (after the National Assembly bypassed the Yar’adua cabal) based on “the doctrine of necessity”, to the last longish Council of State meeting and subsequent ambivalent post-meeting announcements, his performance had been well below expectations, to say the least. For most of those six years he was visibly nervous, rambling and rather boring. He had no vision to sell and thus could not give any inspiring leadership to a nation hungry for one. While his appointees fed the airwaves and the print media with fictitious progress reports, which I am sure he himself subsequently came to believe in, things were not as they should be. Corruption was being institutionalised even as unemployment, poverty and hopelessness became endemic. Having surrounded himself with praise-singers who fed on the corrupt system he seemed unable to see beyond the lush and opulent surroundings of the Villa, and preferred to believe all those hangers-on telling him all was well in this best of all possible worlds they were creating.
The bubble burst when the main oppo-sition party chose General Muhammadu Buhari as its presidential candidate, something his lieutenants had told him was not likely. Not to worry, they said, because Tinubu would refuse to budge and make a “Muslim-Muslim” ticket inevitable and unmarketable. Buhari surprised them when he selected a pastor as his running mate, and not one of your usual corruptible ones. All the ethnic, religious and scare-mongering campaigns seemed not to be working. Defeat was staring Jonathan and the PDP directly in the face. They quickly, with the help of his NSA, arranged for a six-week postponement of the elections to re-strategise. Now he is all over the place trying to do, in six weeks, what he should have been doing over the last six years.
Jonathan is all over the place now. To those areas he contemptuously neglected he is now promising some development beyond the token Almajiri Schools. He has recently visited Maiduguri to boost the morale of the troops and give some assurance to the internally displaced persons, which he failed to do all this time. With arms, ammunition and equipment recently purchased he has decided to team up (finally) with Cameroon, Chad and Niger to seriously fight Boko Haram, with some apparent successes. Even our intelligent agencies (if we can ignore the oxymoron) have now woken up to start some propaganda warfare by distributing pamphlets, purportedly from a Boko Haram splinter-group to challenge the murderous ideology of Shekau, even if they resorted to the use of helicopters, making the people suspicious and sceptical. He is visiting some projects for the first time, commissioning others (some for the second time) and promising to do much more.
Jonathan’s political blitzkrieg won’t jell, and not only because it is too little or too late. The military blitz (as in “using swift intensive attacks designed to defeat the enemy quickly”) stands a better chance because he has ended his endless denials, recognised that the fight against Boko Haram is real and had managed, despite the massive corruption, to buy some real fire-power for the fighting troops. Our neighbours have also decided to come to our rescue because it is also in their own best interest. Boko Haram will be routed but Jonathan and his Party cannot benefit from the credit because they are responsible for allowing it to grow and become the monster it is now, by politicising it for far too long and allowing the massive amounts voted for security to be looted. Insecurity is one reason they are so unpopular.
The second reason for their unpopu-larity is the massive, unprecedented and unchecked corruption which they want us to dismiss as mere stealing. Stealing is bad but it is less harmful than corruption. When people use their political positions of trust and responsibility to grab what should have been used for the benefits of all of us they effectively subvert the efficacy and legitimacy of the whole system. The second blitz, the political one, seems to be limited to going around trying to be “presidential” while not doing anything that would threaten this corrupt contraption they have in place, falls way short of scratching the beast. There appears to be an appeal to the likes of Edwin Clark, Tompolo, Asari Dokubo,  Ayodele Fayose, Tanko Yakasai and the others to lie low, speak less,  and allow the boss to salvage something to help win the elections. Jonathan still refuses to bring the NNPC, the Diezanis, the Kashamus or the Abba Moros, the Stella Oduahs and all those implicated in corrupt practices to account, so how can we believe him? Or is the new apparent concerns for Nigeria limited to this election period? In any case he does not seem to even realise the dangers his tolerance for massive corruption has put us in, and thus fails to realise why his government is so unpopular.
But the last card is religious hatred which is being fanned forcefully on Jonathan’s behalf, and some will say connivance. My friend, a devout Catholic brought to my attention some hate-filled two-page stuff being distributed selectively, warning of the “Islamisation” of Nigeria and that “Jesus Christ is greatly miffed by (the) irresponsibility of His Followers” who have chosen to vote for Buhari because they risk being “the last Christians in Nigeria” followed by some fictitious garbage from a fictional character called Aliyu Gwarzo who was supposed to have written that they (Hausa-Fulani Muslims) must take back Nigeria or “bring ISIS” even if it takes 100 years. Of course there is no reference to who he is, where he said all that, or if he exists at all. I have just been told of another plot to implicate Buhari in Boko Haram financing, based on an email from a ‘Shekau’ to some supposed confidant based in Dubai.
But even these lies of hate and fear-mongering will fail. Jonathan and the PDP are most likely going to lose the coming elections because they failed to accomplish in six years what they are now trying to do in six weeks. I hope and pray they do not wreck the nation in their attempt to hold on to power at any cost.

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