16th February, 2011
As President Goodluck Ebere Jonathan comes to Lagos on Tuesday March 1st 2011 PDP to sell his partyâ€™s manifestos to 20 million Lagosians, there is need for all and sundry to apply wisdom, diplomacy, caution, common sense, and tact. It has become necessary for us to say this because of what has happened during such campaigns in some state recently. For instance, since President Jonathan kicked off his presidential campaigns in Nasarawa State a few weeks back, it has always snowballed from one trouble to the other.
In Nasarawa there were fracas, booing and throwing of stones. Many people were injured. In Kaduna it was low turn out of party supporters. The president was so disturbed that he had to call the Vice President, Namadi Sambo to offer some explanations. In Ibadan , President Jonathan while trying to please his master, former President Obasanjo called ACN leaders and their governors rascals. When the campaign train moved to Port Harcourt it was greeted with stampede, accidents and deaths. Almost 20 Nigerians died when the dust settled.
Nigeria is a democracy no matter the problems associated with our own brand of democracy and we all know that democracy is synonymous with freedom of speech, freedom of association, liberty, rule of law, justice, equity and fair play. Democracy has its own beauty, its own elegance and its own limitations. And these limitations have been road blocks created by human beings to rubbish the best form of government that has its origin from Athens, Greece nearly 3000 years ago. This writer is a living witness to these limitations in Nigeria throughout the 17 years we have practised democracy out of 51 years of existence as a nation.
Since Lagos State was created in 1967 it has always been in the hands of progressives anytime we are in a democratic dispensation, for instance from 1979 to 1983, and from 1999 to 2011. The conservatives in the defunct NPN could not get Lagos in 1979; they could not succeed in 1983 even with their so-called landslide victory all over the country. For 12 years since 1999, the PDP controlled Federal Government has tried without success to control Lagos and they have always failed to achieve their wild and uncoordinated dream.
In 2003, former President Obasanjo came to Lagos with his pet project called Political Tsunami and tried to steal Lagos from the Alliance for Democracy, AD and that mission failed woefully. In 2007 he came again, and this time he was desperate with yet another pet project termed â€˜Do or Dieâ€™ politics to conquer Lagos by all means. It became indeed another failed mission, and to make matters worse for Obasanjo, additional two states, Osun and Ekiti stolen from the Action Congress of Nigeria were recovered recently. In 2011 and in his very eyes the states his PDP stole in 2003 and 2007 are likely to return to their original owners.
In 2011, another Presidential candidate of PDP, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is coming to Lagos to replay the jokes Obasanjo performed in 2003 and 2007 without success. But this time the game may be completely different. Why am I saying so? A good friend Feyi Fawehinmi said recently â€œthat a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds. The time for doing the same thing one more time hoping for a different result is gone now. It is getting boring even.â€
PDP is coming to Lagos to seek the votes of the wise Lagosians after 12 years of unmitigated disaster in terms of leadership. PDP Federal Government has made more money from 1999 to date than what this nation had earned from 1960 to 1999, and without shame, without remorse and without consideration frittered away all the opportunities they had to transform this country. PDP is coming to Lagos when Nigerians think they have forfeited the right to continue to govern this nation because Nigeriaâ€™s continuous failing or somersault as a civilization continues to worry us.
President Jonathanâ€™s PDP is coming to Lagos to ask Lagosians to vote for them when Lagos under ACN government led by Governor Fashola is witnessing massive transformation in almost every sector. With sound vision and mission, coupled with dedication, strong commitment the man Fashola has clearly defined leadership in Nigeria and things will never be the same again in this country. President Jonathan is coming to Lagos in the era of one man one vote, one woman one vote and if we walk our talk, it means that every vote must be fought for and nobody is going to steal anybodyâ€™s vote. We wonder what the president and his followers will tell the wise Lagosians. President Jonathan is coming to Lagos with PDPâ€™s band of men and women who seek power without responsibility and wealth without work in the age of change. Nigeria is lying prostrate in the age of progress and the change that we seek is the change that will sweep PDP out of power by all means humanly possible. Nigerians do not believe that PDP has anything to offer Nigeria after 12 years of empty promises and failed governance.
Again President Jonathan will be coming to Lagos after calling Governor Fashola, Fayemi, Adams Oshiomhole, Aregbesola and leaders of ACN in the Southwest rascals inside Mapo Hall in Ibadan. Nearly one week after the unpresidential diatribe, the sitting president who is coming to the political headquarters of Nigeria has not deemed it fit to retract his infamous statement and apologise to the Yoruba nation. Rather he has said that he was misunderstood. No one knows what President Jonathan will tell Lagosians at Tafawa Balewa Square after abusing their leaders.
President Jonathan may have forgotten that there is power in the word. Words can kill. If the Presidentâ€™s uncouth statement had come from any of the PDP leaders, it would not have raised too much eyebrows but coming from anybody that is privileged to be called the president of everybody in Nigeria, we think that it is very unfortunate and unbelievable. President Jonathan may still remember Mrs. Gillian Duffyâ€™s encounter with former Bristish Prime Minister Gordon Brown in April last year during UK elections. For the benefit of those who do not know, PM Gordon Brown had an encounter with Mrs. Duffy during campaigns in a matter not unconnected with immigration. Gordon Brown could not convince the woman and as he entered his car he did not know that the microphone was still on when he said the woman was â€œbigotedâ€. The world picked the news and when Gordon Brown saw the colossal damage done to his person and his party at a crucial and decisive time he ran back to Mrs. Duffy but it was too late. The rest is history. Gordon Brown lost the election to David Cameron. Evil communications corrupt good manners. President Jonathanâ€™s statement in Ibadan was scandalous, uncharitable, disturbing and unacceptable. It is indeed terrible and at best, stupid. Until he tenders an unconditional and unreserved apology to the ACN Leaders, his mission to Lagos is an exercise in futility.
Feelers from those who should know better tell us that President Jonathan is not feeling comfortable coming to Lagos without the company of political thugs from Oyo State and others because he sensed danger in Lagos after calling Fashola, a Nigerian hero, a rascal. The truth is that President Jonathan should be wise and discard this stupid idea because importing thugs into Lagos to help PDP is an open invitation to chaos and disaster. It can lead to revolution. Let us put on our thinking caps and try to be wise this season of bloody revolution in the Middle East.
In Lagos we do not run away from challenges, we do not run away from problems, we do not yield to blackmail, and nobody can intimidate 20 million enlightened and very sophisticated Nigerians. If in doubt, please go back to history even in the years of the locusts and cross-check facts.
We expect that Campaigns in 2011 should be issues-driven. Name calling and using abusive language should be relegated to the background. We have passed that stage. After 12 years of renascent democracy, 150 million Nigerians are asking questions why things seem to remain the same except in Lagos and few other states. We challenge Nigerians to take a dispassionate look at the Federal Government controlled by PDP and Lagos State controlled by ACN, do an honest assessment of development on ground and give their verdict. In 2011 nobody is going to deceive anybody with rhetoric or sweet talks. Hard questions will be asked on how we have frittered away trillions without anything to show for it. Nigerians would not want to be provoked further judging from the rot confronting us on a daily basis. What they need is an admission of failure and to show concrete plans on how to get us out of the woods. Anything short of this is unacceptable. Let us get serious.
â€¢Joe Igbokwe wrote from Lagos