Sixteen years ago, precisely on 29th May, 1999, we set courts, a democratic path, or so it seemed. However, we’ve balked on the brink of a democratic change and are about to derail. So it was that on Saturday, 7th February, just a week before the presidential election, the chairman of the so called Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Muhammadu Jega announced a “postponement” of the 2015 general elections. President Goodluck Jonathan, having failed to get the support of the Council of State to shift the dates of the 2015 elections, fell back on the inventiveness of his service chiefs who played the insecurity card to browbeat INEC into abandoning its election timetable.

My mind immediately went back to the threat posted on the social media by one of the mercenaries in Doyin Okupe’s office who had declared that for this government, a military coup d’état or split of the country was preferable to handing over political power to General Muhammadu Buhari. When Nigerians protested the treasonable postings, the Okupe office denied it; but here we are.

The postponement of the elections is aimed at maddening the opposition. They want Buhari to say something that will bring out his supporters so they can massacre them. They’re already exasperated by Rotimi Amaechi’s statement that if the elections are rigged, the APC will form a parallel government. They want to use iron hand to deal with Amaechi and others ahead of the elections. The use of soldiers to forcefully take over Rivers State stadium for Jonathan’s campaign is a tyrannical act of a desperate party smelling defeat.

Those who mean this country well must wake up to the realities of the disclosures made by the All Progressives Congress (APC) now and then. Well before now, the APC had alerted the country on the surreptitious moves being made by this government to get INEC to change the dates of the elections. The telltale signs of election postponement were all over when the Federal Ministry of Education refused to send school children home ahead of the February date of the elections.

Within the next six weeks, the Peoples Desperate Party can be expected to do worse things to overheat the polity. They will attempt to malign Buhari further and ratchet up pressure on our institutions, particularly the courts to undermine him and the APC. I just hope they don’t use these courts to do anything idiotic (apology to General Ibrahim Babangida) like disqualifying General Buhari from contesting the presidential election.

The President and his service chiefs are from minority groups of the country and any attempt to lord it over at least two other majority nationalities will endanger the country. Buhari’s commitment to probe the military’s below capacity performances, particularly in the war against Boko Haram, must have petrified the top brass of the armed forces and now they have chosen to fight Boko Haram instead of lending a hand in an election that will definitely be won by him. There are a number of things for which Jonathan and his cabal grudge the opposition.

First of all, Jonathan is deeply troubled by the emergence of APC and the formidable force it has become. Secondly, the anti-corruption platform erected by Buhari terrifies them. It appears that there are a lot of misdeeds by this government yet to be discovered. The Jonathan sponsors are also disturbed by APC’s recent disclosure that it will not implement the recommendations of the so called national conference. Definitely, the representation at the conference was skewed against the Muslims of this country and despite the objections raised by a delegation raised by the Sultan of Sokoto to correct the imbalance, the President refused to do anything.

In any case, from the very beginning, APC had said they would not be part of the conference’s resolutions. When the former UN Secretary General, Kofi Anan and former Commonwealth Scribe, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, were inviting signatures to a peace accord, it didn’t occur to them that our ruling cabal would postpone the elections.

Jonathan keeps on saying that the 29th May handover date is sacrosanct, but the question is, who does he want to transfer power to? Is it to a democratically elected president or the military or an interim government? Anan, Anyaoku and John Kerry, the Secretary of State of the United States of America, must return and ask Jonathan who he’s handing over power to. The world has to help us inform Jonathan that we don’t want Nigeria to disintegrate on the altar of his vaulting ambition, that we just want him to get off our back and are desirous of making this choice freely, through the ballot box.

Nigerian patriots and our foreign friends must help us negotiate Jonathan’s exit in a way that addresses his fears, just as Buhari should be asked to soften his terrifying anti-corruption stance. Professor Jega should begin to work on plan B in case the military pleads the same excuse after 6 weeks. He must arrange for his personal security. He must plan for security around polling stations. More importantly, Jega should bear in mind that this government will seek to remove him from office before March 28.

To save the situation, Jega must involve ECOWAS, AU and UN. Our ruling cabal thinks that their duty is to deny Buhari the leadership of this country because he had led a coup against Shagari.

The next time PDP invites Buhari to debate, the question should be whether they’re truly committed to holding free and fair elections or handing power to an interim government. Meanwhile, tempering with our elections will cost our country anything from money to conflict and conflagration!


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