By Osmond Ekwueme
Next week’s Presidential polls in Nigeria – Africa’s largest economy and most populous country in the continent will define the success or failure of Nigeria and her future. It is extremely important that many patriotic Nigerians get engaged. I am seriously engaged from outside.
Following Nigeria’s political developments as I do, I am curious to know why Boko Haram “so called grassroots movement” became rapidly more bloodthirsty after the election of President Jonathan Goodluck (a Christian) and the defeat of his challenger Rtd. Major Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (a Muslim) in the last Presidential election 2011.
Yes, the same Rtd. Gen. M. Buhari who is now the present opposition Presidential candidate. It is a no brainer. Clearly, Buhari, is not the answer to our problems because of what I consider to be his warped vision of diversity in Nigeria. He overthrew a democratically elected civilian regime and thus became a President and we know how it ended. I still recall the jubilation when he was ousted as military leader in 1985. The great editor, Ray Ekpu, a protege of Dele Giwa…wrote an article about it, titled “God is a Nigerian”….that that day Nigerians were liberated from shackles of one of African’s tyrants. Now, he says he wants to bring peace and security and doesn’t want Nigeria to disintegrate. It is so obviously out of step to think he actually even believes his own words. To argue as some do, that Buhari is preferable because he would “restore dignity and peace to the country” is risible. Buhari is the one who eliminated whatever last shreds of it remained when he was defeated. Boko Haram intensified these attacks with horrifying frequency after the defeat of Alhaji Muhammadu Buhari. He is telling us to vote him in to stop Boko Haram. Haba !!!
President Jonathan Goodluck’s history, demeanor, campaign and early style of governance scream of a desire to work collaboratively. Sadly, he has had that feeling crushed out of him by the opposition party that is bent on politics of destruction. Everyone will agree that Nigeria is faced with systemic corruption. The style and system of governance in Nigeria has already been corrupted and he is doing something about it. And so, here we are. Laying all this on President Goodluck is a classic trope of in-the-bag pundits. Public office should be a duty, not a perpetual career. I am not saying that he is a saint or perfect (nothing is ever perfect) but he is not the weak and incompetent President as portrayed. The public should listen to the two sides and decide who should be chosen. Re-electing President Jonathan Goodluck should not be a hard call.
While the arrogant ignorance displayed by many APC party members in nominating Buhari as their presidential candidate, is disheartening, the delusional hubris being shown by Alhaji Muhammadu Buhari is staggering. I understand the ego drive that propels one to seek positions of power. But when your previous effort failed in such spectacular fashion, after inflicting glaring damage to your reputation, what sort of Men in Black memory wand do you have to use on yourself to think you can overcome with another attempt. If this were not so piteous it would be laughable. It’s enough to make a cat laugh. This profound European saying….. “Those who so wantonly crave power, should NEVER be granted it….” holds here.
North East of Nigeria has been decimated and no economic growth. It is not a difficult concept to understand….because if there is no peace, there will be no prosperity. Southern states of Nigeria have seen slow and steady economic growth because they are secular and live in peace with all and don’t indulge in stupid religious fundamentalism. I know that extreme religious ideology is impervious to evidence. Secular rational people do not comprehend religious fanaticism.
Time is running out, President Jonathan Goodluck should use every means at his disposal to win public approval and unleash and direct it’s fury on it’s true source. We are at war with enemies of true Nigerians. Principles can be sorted out afterward. Sorry, but this whole focus on what has he done for Igbos or Southerners strikes me as a monumental exercise in navel lint plucking. President Jonathan Goodluck has been a shackled prisoner who is being blamed for not winning a fist fight. I am now happy that his convictions are stronger (incumbency works wonders) than his fear of a bloody nose. He recently campaigned in Maiduguri where he was pestered with stones. This is not about President Goodluck but deliberate incitement by the opposition who had impoverished their area of governance. Boko Haram and its supporters are all northerners and Moslems. They should ask their Governors and political leaders why Boko Haram is still on. They had sabotaged every step President Goodluck had taken to eradicate Boko Haram…and now they want to make the President the scapegoat. President Jonathan Goodluck and his PDP party had more than its fair share of missteps in its handling of Boko Haram but Buhari and his APC party are worse. It will be a great mistake to reward their bad behavior.
Once again, Igbos and other tribes are not going anywhere. The radical northern Muslims should learn humility and humanity and actually care about nation building. The sooner they get it the better. It will bode well for the present Nigerians and that of all who come our way, now and in future.
Osy Ekwueme MD, PhD. is a medical professional and policy analyst based in Wisconsin, USA.