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As the campaign and battles for the 2019 general elections scheduled for 16th February and 2nd March gather momentum with intrigues, adoption and conscious taken the centre-stage politicians strategize to sway or swindle the election with promises, the Igbo nation is once again fund with the choice of supporting either the Presidential candidate of the Ruling Party, APC, the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari and the PDP Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. Although other contending Presidential candidates are jostling to occupy Aso Rock on the 29th May, 2019, the candidate may decide to collapse into either Buhari or Atiku. Political parties in Nigeria grew from manageable size to the present astronomical number to 91.

As the campaign and battles for the 2019 general elections scheduled for 16th February and 2nd March gather momentum with intrigues, adoption and conscious taken the centre-stage politicians strategize to sway or swindle the election with promises, the Igbo nation is once again fund with the choice of supporting either the Presidential candidate of the Ruling Party, APC, the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari and the PDP Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. Although other contending Presidential candidates are jostling to occupy Aso Rock on the 29th May, 2019, the candidate may decide to collapse into either Buhari or Atiku. Political parties in Nigeria grew from manageable size to the present astronomical number to 91.

The intention is to widen t he democratic space of accommodation and citizens are freely and constitutionally backed to belong to any. The 2019 Presidential election is different and a different ball game. In 2015 election it was a battle between the ruling PDP Presidential candidate, incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, a Southerner and the main opposition Presidential candidate Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, a Northerner. This time around both Buhari and Atiku. The anger of the North was in layers with dangerous campaigns deployed to undermine and submerge Jonathan’s re-election. The South particularly the South-west, and some parts of the South-South and South-east joined the fray like a sheep to the slaughter in the unholy alliance. Good enough, although history but an eye-opener, Nigerians satisfied their curiosity have compared and contrasted. Did the decision Nigerians embarked on 2015 in choosing President Buhari against former President Goodluck Jonathan worthwhile. How did it transform or affect Igbo interests? The call for Ndi-Igbo to vote for President Buhari for another term on the 16th February 2019. What was it like in 2014 before 2015? To re-activate and refresh history, here is the Discourse Column edition of the Nigeria Moment 18-20 July, 2014, APC at the receiving end, a look-alike of the above publication for your perusal and assessment.

That I hate and write against All Progressive Congress, APC is erroneous and more of misconception than a reality. I remain an advocate of a vibrant opposition so as to check naturally the excesses of a ruling party. A vibrant opposition is an alternative government in the making to the electorate. Opposition anywhere democracy is solid does the job of checking the excesses of the government in power  by capitalizing on its shortcomings, weaknesses to build a groundswell of support for itself ahead of elections.

The conception and birth of APC was seen as ideal. Expectations were high that the party would build a formidable force, dismantle PDP at the national level, although not automatic, not tsunami-like pace but gradual, sure and consistent because it would be a wishful thinking infantile to assume that fifteen years incumbency in Aso Rock is a joke. Again the party in power is broad-based, cutting across ethnic, religious and linguistic differences.

In the case of APC and its individualistic styled opposition, many Nigerians see the party as short of their expectations as opposition party. APC sees and shoots down every transformation agenda of the President as negative, anti-people, anti-Nigeria.

Any opposition that is consistently rabble-rousing , dwelling on falsehood, propaganda and false alarm cannot win the support and sympathy of the very masses it preaches to protect. The price of negative, instead of constructive criticisms is strength and an added advantage to the ruling party, PDP.

One who comes to equity must come with clean hands. Charity begins at home. You must first remove the speck in your own eyes before removing the log in your opponents eyes. If you are corrupt, you are already incapacitated to charge another with corruption. Curbing corruption first starts with the crusader. Practice is better than precept.

While I do not subscribe to the impunity with which leaders in high places handle or treat cases of corruption, a situation where APC politicians accuse the ruling party of corruption contradicts known indices and antecedents of these people. Many in the fold of APC having criss-crossed all strata of positions local government councils chairmanship, House of Assembly, Upper Chambers of the National Assembly, chairmen of Boards are as corrupt as their counterparts elsewhere. I am not by this example suggest that corruption should be accepted, condoned by Nigerians. Corruption is evil universally. The point I am making is that corruption did not begin from the administration of Jonathan. It has a long time background, has been with us from the days of the military, augmented during the 2-term regime of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and till today.

The achievements and records of President Jonathan are enormous, evidently appreciated and recognized. I make bold to say that Jonathan stands out among names paraded by the opposition party. There is obvious no alternative to Jonathan. Take it or leave, Nigerians never knew Muhammadu Buhari except through a coup against a duly elected civilian administration in 1979. Alhaji Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso’s antecedent is that he is a second-coming governor of Kano State and therefore not a match with Jonathan. Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, a one-time Vice President cannot equal Jonathan. Most importantly Nigerians can never entrust their destiny, future to Buhari and the likes of Kwankwaso who have whittled down the texture of the unity and corporate existence of Nigeria through tendentious, malicious, atrocious and pugnacious utterances belligerent to Nigerians.

Agreed that Muhammadu Buhari is a disciplinarian to the core, par excellence, credited with pursuing and arresting indiscipline among Nigerians as a head of state, granted too that he has cast off the toga of regimented life-style, properly civilized democratically, can Nigerians forget recent utterances associated with him? Buhari is one of the Nigerians that have stalemented the nation’s quest for democracy. Think of it that if it were not vaulting ambition, Buhari would not have overthrown a democratically elected government of Alhaji Aliyi Shehu Shagari in 1979 on charges of corruption, embezzlement and rudderlessness. A little understanding, patience and tolerance would have saved that dispensation.

Buhari truncated the emergence of Dr. Alex Ekwueme who would have succeeded Alhaji Shehu Shagari after he must have completed two constitutionally allowed terms for a sitting president.

No human being is perfect. We grow to near perfection. Had Buhari not sacked Shehu Shagari-led government, there would not have been a Babaginda,  a Sani Abacha and an Abdulsalami Abubakar and cycles of coups and counter-coups with their associate destruction of lives, property of young promising brilliant officers. We wouldn’t have been talking of 15 years of our democracy. From 1979 to date Nigerians would have been talking and celebrating 35 years of uninterrupted democracy.

What you sow is what you reap. Evil beget evil. One who harvests the beehives for honey must be ready to endure the bee stings. APC instigated revolt and insurrection in the ruling party that governors elected under the ruling party banner started daring the President and the party hierarchy.

 

From the publication I write and supported the re-election agenda of former President Goodluck Jonathan. I opposed vehemently the candidacy of General Muhammadu Buhari, not out of hatred, scorn but a matter of choice and in tandem with the constitution of the  Federal Republic of Nigeria. There were other sections that voted for or against President Buhari. Unfortunately, the Igbo nation was singled out for sanctions deprivation and marginalization. President Buhari was elected to preside over the resources of the nation which Igbos are stakeholders the people deserve equal treatment from the government. The ongoing infantile reference of ministerial appointments PMB gave Ndi-Igbo is not a favour but the same constitutional entitlements to other zones.  That President Buhari did not appoint any Igbo to the positions of Service Chiefs, Close Aso Rock positions and turns around to ward off allegations of hatred for Ndi-Igbo is not defensible.

If the President Nigerians during his campaigns in 2014, 2015, the deprivation and marginalization of Ndi-Igbo would have turned a tonic an impetus or a blessing in disguise. Apart from obvious injustice meted out to Ndi-Igbo, the President went genocidal the way, he descended on innocent and harmless non-bearing Nnamdi Kanu and IPOB. Calls to tread consciously and open up dialogue mechanism with the Yoruba by eminent citizens like Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Professor Wole Soyinka and our own late Dr. Ikedife were rebuffed with al-conquering disposition.

Now that the chips are down now that the Presidential election is exclusive both for the two presidential candidates of Northern extraction, Atiku and Peter Obi as Running mate and President Muhammadu Buhari for a second which side will benefit Ndi-Igbo? President Muhammadu Buhari belatedly demanding Igbo votes with a carrot promise of handing over to Ndi-Igbo is 2023 sounds real one. Already short-sighted and gullible Igbos are falling to the bait not withstanding that powerful Yoruba APC stakeholders – Senator Ahmed Tinubu, the Minister of Power Baba Tunde Fashola believe that voting for Buhari would guarantee Yoruba’s taking over from Buhari in 2023. If the allegation making round that the South-east governors are working behind close door for the re-election of PMB openly canvassed by Buhari Media Organization, BMO is true, the governor will be disappointed. Majority of the governors as PDP members opposed the Vice-Presidency candidacy of Mr. Peter Obi, the people of the zone area determined to call off their bluff. According to distinguished Igbo sons like Chukwuemeka Ezeife, what Ndi-Igbo want as a matter of priority is restructuring. Initially and presently from 2015 President Buhari did not work to further refine the nation’s electoral system that brought him to power. If INEC were re-organized ahead of 2019 general there should have been restriction of the use of phone to expose malpractices. The President should have signed the amended electoral bill entrenching electronic voting and transmission of results, electronically. Accreditations should have taken place, concluded before voting commences. These are anti-dote to electoral frauds, and manipulation of figures. Nigerians are wiser and 4 years down the line that INEC is not getting it right is not the fault of PDP but that of the Ruling APC, Ndi-Igbo, by what they have passed through under APC can’t be deceived by the only governor Okorocha that Buhari tackled insecurity better than Goodluck Jonathan and therefore deserves the votes of Ndi-Igbo. This is bunkum.

Sydney O. Madukwem, guest writer, Dile Emeohe, Mbaoma Emit Owerri North LG 07069123994.

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