Wednesday, April 7, 2010

IBB, PDP and 2011 Elections

If we are to believe recent media report, it seems the ‘evil genius’ is contemplating throwing his hat into the ring. Whilst speaking to journalist during his last visit to Abeokuta, Nigeria’s former Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida was quoted as saying “he would be favourably disposed to the presidency of the country if it was the yearning of Nigerians”. When asked if he will be interested in running for the Presidency, his reply was "I am still doing some consultation and honestly I will hint you on that when I have finished. I will give you a feedback very soon”.

For IBB to have noted that he’s consulting means two things. It’s either he’s interested in himself, and currently taking his time to sound out his followers and apologists. Or it could be that, he’s under pressure from his sychophants to contest the 2011 presidential elections.

This will not be surprising as quite a number of people both within the political elites and civil society believe that IBB is the only person that can move the nation forward.What informed such thinking I don't know! You may say that such people are deluded. But the fact is, one of the principles of democratic governance is freedom of speech and opinion.

Gen. Babangida’s comments however seem to have ignited a flurry of angry remarks. Interestingly, social commentators have been quick to tell us why IBB is not suitable as President, however they have all failed to tell us how to STOP him from being President.

But who’s afraid of Babangida? Is Babangida the most hated Nigerian leader? If so, why? Is Babangida the worst leader in Nigeria’s history?

Some have argued that the Retired General has no “moral right” to run for any political office in Nigeria. To an average Nigerian, the two biggest sins of IBB are the annulment of June 12 election and corruption.

In my opinion, the recent attacks on IBB candidacy underscores the deep hypocrisy that exists within the civil society. If one could ask, why should IBB alone carry the can of June 12 election annulment? Is it not ironic that some of the major actors involved in the annulment of the June 12 elections are the same people ruling the nation? Has anyone queried the role of the current Senate President, David Mark during the last days of Babangida regime? Did anyone query Arthur Nzeribe’s nomination and subsequent election as a Senator in 1999? Did anyone question Senator Uche Chukwumerijie election into the Upper House, despite been spokesperson for the Shonekan-led Interim National Government? If Babangida does not have a moral right, then what moral right does David Mark have to be No.3 citizen? What moral rights do all past military leaders and civilians that served under the Babangida administration have, to seek public office?

The point of my argument is General Babangida is not any worse than most of our present and past political leaders. There’s no scale for immorality or bad governance. Whilst he might have taken corruption to a new level, he did not introduce corruption into the system. Corruption in Nigeria is not just about individuals, it’s “systemic”. Most of the politicians condemning IBB’s political ambition, will probably do far worse things if they had same opportunity.

If the provisional election timetable released by the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission is anything to go by, it means we have barely 12 months before the 2011 general elections. However, we are yet to see any serious contender come out to declare his/her Presidential ambition. The only person to have declared his ambition did so in the US (!). I cannot understand how someone will leave the shores of the country he wishes to govern, only to go and declare his political ambition in a foreign land. As I write we are yet to see his manifesto.

Another of the “supposed” Presidential aspirants is also busy conducting opinion poll on a social networking website. He’s been propping up other people’s name apart from himself. How can such people be considered serious? Yet, they tell us everyday why IBB shouldn’t be the next president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. So who should be? When will such a person declare his political ambition? For me, if by now such a person is undecided, then he/she is a time waster.

With an unorganised opposition, flawed electoral system, a civil society that has exhausted most of its energy looking for a “missing president”, I can’t see how IBB wouldn’t win the 2011 polls - if he succeeds in picking up a nomination ticket under the PDP. Like it or loathe it, PDP remains the only party in Nigeria with a structure to win a presidential election, within the current timeframe.

My message is simple. Let’s begin to direct our energy to the right causes. There’s no point wasting our time attacking individuals. Everyone is free to seek political position, except those found guilty of criminal offence. What we need is a fair and transparent electoral system that ensures that our votes count. It’s then up to the electorates to decide. As they say, a nation gets a leader it deserves.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great Post. But in terms of moral right, when you think of the atrocities that IBB has done in Nigeria over the years i.e. the 'alledged assasssination of Dele Giwa, the other coups that he has orchestrated over the years, the execution of his close friend Major-Gen Mamman Vatsa, proven evidence of looting the national treasury, then one could assume that you are sympathising with the general because he has recently lost his wife and shed tears in process. Lets not be moved by our emotions - the fact of the matter is that he was the major player in annulling the June 12 elections. He started the whole process and had a choice to end it but he choose to do what he wanted to do which was to ruin Nigeria.

My only conclusion is that Nigerians are Sadomasochists i.e. we love pain and love being subject to pain, otherwise someone like IBB would not even dream being seen in a polling booth.