By Anthony Akinola*
It is an indisputable fact of life that we all want to be proved right when we have made predictions. The prophet, who has predicted doom and gloom, praises the Almighty God for his gift, even if it is a whole village that has been ravaged by fire.
In a similar vein, hose who have warned or predicted the possible disintegration of our nation would probably raise up their glasses in celebration if a calamity of unimaginable proportions were to befall us in 2015, the very year they have identified as the fateful year.
The prediction of a chaotic 2015 was made by an American think-thank a few years ago. The year 2015 happens to be an election year, with all its implications. he proponents of the prediction would wish their expertise to be proved right,and could induce the process if it were within their powers to do so.
One is not in a position to know the discussions that take place in governmental circles, or among the privileged ones in the Council of State. Suffice to say that leaders of any serious nation would long have deliberated on the report that projects so much danger, with a view to mending delicate fences.
Most informed Nigerians know that the presidential election slated for February could be one source of danger. Professor Bolaji Akinyemi wrote an open letter to that effect recently, admonishing President Goodluck Jonathan and General Muhammadu Buhari, presidential candidates of our two main political parties, to do their best in preventing or curtailing possible post-election violence.
Pastor Tunde Bakare had earlier warned that there might be no election in 2015, if the current state of insecurity in the country continued. Some prominent Nigerians–Cardinal Anthony Olubunmi Okogie, Chief Afe Babalola, and Professor Ben Nwabueze, among others–have pointedly asked President Jonathan to supervise the 2015 election, rather than participate in it, for the sake of peace in the polity.
This writer is one of ordinary Nigerians, who share their view. President Jonathan had himself told us in the past that he would not be seeking re-election in 2015, and it is an open secret that his party, the People’s Democratic Party, has a policy of alternating the presidency between the South and the North, a policy which was somehow truncated in order to accommodate his ambition for understandable reasons.
President Jonathan would require a lesson in the science of human behavior if he assumed that many did not feel offended by what was to them some kind of political dishonesty. Not a few still begrudge him privately, even when they pretend to be going along with him publicly.
More significantly, the eligibility of President Jonathan to seek a further term in office is highly contestable. Should he contest the election without this matter being resolved, there would be those waiting to see if he could be sworn into office for a third time–the constitution seems to allow a maximum of two times. Should he win the 2015 election, his opponents would want to ensure that his joy did not last by taking him up on constitutional grounds.
Forget about those desperate noises being made by the so-called Ambassadors of Transformation, Goodluck Jonathan may not be the most popular president on earth seeking re-election.
Telephone interviews with some of those who voted for him in 2011 reveal they might not be doing so in 2015.They claim to have been disappointed by his performance, his modest achievements having been rubbished by allegations of escalating official corruption and mediocre handling of security issues.
The reasons they adduced for supporting him in 2011 seem to no longer appeal. Regardless of whether or not Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria entered into a secret arrangement to support Jonathan to the detriment of his own party, most members of his party in its Yoruba stronghold voted for Jonathan on strongly-held sentiments.
They were of the opinion that the North had dominated the leadership position for too long, that a member of the minority ethnic groups in the South had previously never been elected national leader, and that Jonathan came from the region that produced the wealth of the nation.
There is hardly any doubt that sentiments will still run riot in the putative 2015 election. There are those who will vote for either of the main candidates, Jonathan and Buhari, solely because of ethnic and religious solidarities, South versus North and Christian versus Muslim sentimentalities.
Of course, there would be those who will be loyal to their political parties, as well as those who would view things strictly from non-partisan perspectives–more concerned about issues and their perceptions of the contestants.
The most potent factor in Nigerian politics – election rigging – would still play its customary role. A tough election year in prospect, but I second the patriotic Professor Akinyemi in urging our leaders to let Nigeria be the main winner in an election that promises so much.
*The author, who has published several notable books, columns on African political issues, lives and writes from Oxford, UK.
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