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Ekiti election: Buhari celebrating failure?

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Kingseyi
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Ekiti election: Buhari celebrating failure?

Post by Kingseyi on Fri Jul 20, 2018 4:38 am

THE outgoing Governor of Ekiti State, Peter
Ayodele Fayose, is the poster boy of everything
wrong with Nigerian politics. To that end, like
President Muhammadu Buhari, I should be
celebrating the defeat of Fayose’s candidate,
Olusola Eleka of the Peoples Democratic Party,
PDP, by John Kayode Fayemi of our party, the
All Progressives Congress, APC, in the recent
Ekiti governorship election. But I am not. There
are very troubling failures in leadership by the
president that only go to translate the outcome
to a pyrrhic victory. Thusly, Buhari is celebrating
failure, his failure.
This is the why and how: The most mortal sin
of Fayose is how he re-captured the seat of
power in Ekiti in 2014. The government under
the then President Goodluck Jonathan deployed
the federal might and money to wangle Fayose
back to power. Fast forward to 2018, though
Kayode Fayemi deserves to win, and would have
won in a free and fair election, the gospel truth
is that the role of the federal might and money
also tainted the outcome of the July 14, 2018
Ekiti governorship election. The fraudulent use of
law-enforcement agencies, the open buying of
votes and thuggery from both PDP and APC, do
not represent positive change. This is a gross
failure in leadership under the Buhari regime and
not worth celebrating.
The 2007 presidential election that produced
Umar Yar’Adua as president offers a salutary
lesson. Recognising that the poll was fraught
with gross electoral malpractice, Yar’Adua
quickly acknowledged the shortfalls and vowed
drastic improvement in the electoral process.
Unfortunately, he did not live long enough to
actualise his desire in this regard.
Enter President Goodluck Jonathan. His first
move to continue with YarÁdua’s electoral re-
engineering was the appointment of Attahiru
Jega, arguably the most independent-minded
Nigerian ever to head the Independent National
Electoral Commission, INEC. Jega did not
disappoint as the 2015 polls were generally
adjudged as free and fair.
After PDP coasted to easy electoral victory in
2011, it was clear that the Nigerian democracy
had turned into a one-party state. Opposition
activity, which is central to effective democracy,
was on life support. Like Yar’Adua before him,
Jonathan demonstrated patriotic leadership. He
would relax the polity so that opposition could
breathe again.
Ironically, though he would eventually lose to
the strong opposition that he helped to create,
President Jonathan accepted defeat with grace.
For the first time in history, Nigeria switched
power from a ruling party to an opposition. The
Nigerian democracy had assumed an
increasingly positive trajectory under Yar’Adua
and Jonathan. And the world, including the then
President-elect Buhari, hailed.
Attahiru Jega, the INEC boss, who midwifed
these positive changes, was retiring. Before
then, Jega had confessed that, though the
Electoral Act empowers it to monitor sources
and nature of funding, the “INEC does not even
have a desk that handles campaign financing”.
Prof. Jega prayed that successive governments
should, as a matter of urgency, focus on
campaign finance along with internal party
democracy.
President Buhari is the successor to President
Goodluck Jonathan. Having been outspent in
four consecutive presidential elections with
looted funds, it was believed that Buhari had
experienced the problem of money in politics
more than Presidents Yar’Adua and Jonathan
combined. Not many were concerned, therefore,
when he (Buhari) singlehandedly appointed the
successor to Prof. Jega in the name of another
professor, Mahmood Yakubu. But the title of the
appointees, professor, is where the comparison
ends.
The Buhari people do not even appear to
recognise the challenges of illegal money nor
the need for internal party democracy let alone
how the regime can influence the enforcement of
campaign laws. In other words, Buhari is
currently doing the same thing he accused PDP
of doing. The whole gist, if it is not already
apparent, is that Buhari is not walking the talk of
political change. This is a president who came
to power vowing to fight corruption. He also
knows that election finance is the engine of
corruption in Nigeria. It is not surprising,
therefore, that the most noticeable trace of
corruption Buhari has found since assuming
office is the shameless looting of the $2.1 billion
military budget under President Jonathan’s
regime to finance the 2014/2015 elections.
Unfortunately, however, now in control, the
Buhari team has shown no interest whatsoever
in blocking the loopholes that created the
problem in the first place.
The governorship elections in Anambra and Ekiti
states typically serve as a pre-test to Nigeria’s
general elections in many aspects. The Anambra
election of November 18, 2017, which was
controlled by money bags, sounded a good
warning. Instead of the desired change in line
with the electoral laws, the Buhari regime
conveniently joined the PDP to ensure that the
following election in Ekiti of July 14, 2018, was
for the highest bidder. This continuing failure
does not bode well for the 2019 general
elections. It portends a troubling future for
Nigeria’s democracy. It is, definitely, not worth
celebrating.
President Buhari should, therefore, cease his
outlandish celebration of a tainted victory at Ekiti
and hasten to emulate his predecessors –
Yar’Adua and Jonathan – by adding to our
democracy. What Nigeria needs from Buhari is a
democracy where the masses, particularly the
youth, have a real chance. We need a
democracy where the people, instead of money,
determine who wins or who loses. We direly
need a president of sound egalitarian principles,
who is committed to internal party democracy,
so that the nominees of the parties can emerge
through competition, instead of selection by a
corrupt cabal. The Nigerian masses need a
president who can demonstrate serious
consequences for bad behaviour, including
electoral malpractice. Where there are no
consequences for bad behaviour, the bad
behaviour typically worsens.
Dr. Ogbonnia, an APC presidential aspirant,
wrote from Lagos.


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    Current date/time is Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:13 pm