The Director General of Progressive Friends Foundation (PFF), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), devoted to the pursuance of good governance, Chief Pat. Ifeanyi Oramah, has frowned at the criticisms that have followed the recent rescheduling of the elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and some other burning issues. He spoke with some journalists in Lagos.DAILY INDEPENDENT ,SENIOR CORRESPONDENT,PHILLIP OLADUNJOYE was there. Excerpts:
What roDEPENDENTle has PFF been playing in the on-going electioneering exercise?
Let me first make something very clear: Progressive Friends Foundation is not affiliated to any political party, but we recognise and promote positive electioneering and good governance, in addition to advising the politicians and making whatever efforts we can to educate and guide the electorate. That is why we applaud the recent decision by the INEC to shift the elections to new dates – a move which we believe is not only in the interest of the nation’s democracy, but will give the commission enough time to prepare adequately and organise credible polls.
But that same decision by INEC has drawn a lot of flaks
No, no, no. It depends on who you are talking to. All well-meaning citizens who know what is good for the country have been applauding the postponement from February 14 to March 28 for the Presidential and National Assembly elections (and April 11 for gubernatorial and state assembly polls). Those who have been berating the commission and alleging manipulation are not being sincere. What is the point rushing into the elections when millions of people were yet to collect their permanent voters’ cards, ad-hoc staff not trained and INEC seemed un-ready? INEC took the best decision given the circumstance. There is nothing sacrosanct about February 14 and there is nothing wrong with March 28 provided the electoral act is not violated. So, we advise those shouting wolf to re-appraise the situation to see that the nation was saved what would have amounted to chaotic elections.
Former Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has predicted that Maj. General Muhammadu Buhari will be elected on 28 March as Nigeria’s new president, to succeed incumbent, Goodluck Jonathan.
At the same time, he dismissed fears of any election annulment as it happened in 1993, under the Babangida administration, when the election of Moshood Kashimawo Abiola was annulled by the military junta.
Obasanjo spoke in Abeokuta, Ogun state today, when he met a group that styles itself, Concerned Citizens of Nigeria.
According to the former Nigerian leader, there will never be a repeat of what happened in the country in 1993 after the Presidential election.
Obasanjo declared that he has confidence in the All Progressives Congress,APC Presidential candidate, General Muhammed Buhari because he was a trained military officer.
The group called on the former President to intervene in the country’s looming political crisis before matters degenerate.
“We have come to express our deep concern over series of dangerous political miscalculations currently going on under Jonathan administration.
“We are afraid that crisis is seriously looming and it is like another June 12 crisis is on the way and it may be very tragic for the country. We want you to as a matter of urgency intervene into the matter before it is too late sir,” the group opined.
In his response,the former President allayed their anxieties, saying that the 2015 election will never be like the June 1993 election.
“You need not to worry about anything. There can never be any June 12 annulment again. Buhari is not Abiola, he is a trained and highly intelligent soldier.
“Oyegun is not Anenih, Osinbajo is not Kingibe. Jega is not Nwosu, Jonathan is not IBB and this time around, Obasanjo will not support any interim government.
“Obasanjo will rather support a free, fair and credible election.”
Patience Jonathan, Nigeria’s first lady, has appealed to Nigerian women to vote en masse for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the forthcoming presidential election because the brain of Muhammadu Buhari, the party’s opponent, is dead. Speaking on Tuesday during the PDP women presidential campaign rally in Kogi state, she described Buhari as unfit to be the country’s president.
“Wetin him dey find again? Him dey drag with him pikin mate,” she said in pidgin English. “Old man wey no get brain, him brain don die pata pata.” Moved by the cheers of the crowd, the first lady sporadically sang to taunt her husband’s main challenger at this month’s presidential election. “If you vote Buhari, na your prison; if you vote APC, na your wahala,” she sang. “What is change? Why did you not change things when you were there? Is it now that you want to be doing the things you weren’t doing before? “Jonathan looked at us and said women, I am giving you the position of the chief justice of this country. Okonjo-Iweala is a woman, Diezani is a woman. Seventy percent of his cabinet are women. “He also gave us the opportunity to start enrolling for the regular combatant course at the NDA (Nigerian Defence Academy). “He wants continuity because he has vowed to do more. He places Nigerians in his mind and if he says he will do this, he will do it. So what are we looking for? If we women of Nigeria don’t appreciate Goodluck and we are looking for bus conductor, it is left for us.” She urged the people to obtain their permanent voter cards (PVCs) in order to participate in the election and also said her visit was meant to appreciate them
Up until the primary election of the All Progressives Congress, Nigerians bore the psychological hazard visited on them by the Peoples Democratic Party well. In the hours leading to Buhari’s emergence at the APC convention, the groundswell of agitation for him to win was unprecedented. When Buhari emerged, his bond with his supporters became a magically transforming marriage that is seductive in ways as to enthrall the skeptical and politically disillusioned youth.
Buhari’s candidacy bred a new class of savvy political consumers who are extremists in their zeal to vote, mobilise grassroots organization to canvas for votes and rally the troops. His persona, as defined by integrity and honesty in public service, lit the fire the ruling party has been trying to douse without any appreciable result.
Buharists are known to have very strong political opinions and beliefs in their principal that are rigid, principled and intolerant of ambiguity. His legendary cult following in the North took a deeper meaning and coloration down South. Within days, he attracted varying demographics of savvy politicos, who are engaged and well-informed based on issues concerning their welfare and the future of Nigeria as a united entity. For the first time in the political history of Nigeria, Buhari’s volunteers are self-funded, strong and youthful. Across Nigeria, they built political assemblies of energetic, thoughtful and engaged citizens with their own set of convictions on good governance, responsibility and accountability.
Chatham House or the Royal Institute of International Affairs, as it is also known, is an independent policy institute based in London. Founded in 1920, it operates from an imposing 18th-century house located at No. 10, St. James’s Square in the heart of London. St. James’s Square is the only square in the exclusive St. James’s district of the City of Westminster. It has predominantly Georgian and neo-Georgian architecture with a private garden at the centre. In its first 200 or so years of existence, No. 10, St. James’s Square, was one of the three or four most fashionable residential addresses in London. The square’s main feature is an equestrian statue of William III erected in 1808.
Chatham House is a non-profit, non-governmental organization. Its mission is to analyse and promote the understanding of major international issues and current affairs. In this regard, the institute offers potential and established leaders drawn from across the world, the opportunity to deepen their understanding of critical issues, propose new ideas and proffer solutions to complex policy challenges and opportunities. There is a historical and symbolical meaning to the name of the organization. No 10 St. James Square, the building housing the organization, had been home to three past British Prime Ministers, including William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, from where the organization simply derives its name.
Before the simulated postponement of the general election scheduled to hold on February 14 and 28, 2015, Chief Edwin Clark and some ethnic champions had called for the removal of the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega. On account of the closeness of the group to the Presidency not a few Nigerians believed that the federal government had decided to fire the INEC helmsman. In his last media chat, President Goodluck Jonathan dismissed the rumoured plan to sack Professor Jega. His statement, however, implied that since he appointed the chairman and members of the INEC he could fire any of them at will. Since last week it has been widely speculated that Jega may be asked to proceed on terminal leave any moment from now.
Having regard to the national and international embarrassment, which greeted the removal of a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (as he then was) last year, the attention of the President ought to be drawn to the limit of his powers with respect to the removal of the INEC Chairman. Pursuant to section 155 of the Constitution Professor Jega was appointed the INEC chairman by the President on June 24, 2010 following the confirmation of same by the Senate. Section 155 of the Constitution provides that the INEC Chairman shall occupy the office “for a period of five years from the date of his appointment”. Since the appointment is for five years certain the term of the office cannot be abridged by a pre-retirement leave of three months, as it was not contemplated by the Constitution.
It’s been one year since Toba Falode, the son of Nigerian ace broadcaster, Aisha Falode, was gruesomely murdered in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, without justice. Chiemelie Ezeobi and Rebecca Ejifoma write that the inability of UAE authorities to ensure justice is done in the manner Toba died, has failed to give closure to the family that spent everything to give their son quality education in the country
Indeed, time does fly. It was barely a year ago when the news filtered into Nigeria that Oluwadamilola Oloruntoba, the son of iconic sports broadcaster and member of the Confederation of Africa Football (CAF), Aisha Falode was dead. He was just 19-years-old.
He was gruesomely murdered in far away Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where he had gone to study after gaining admission to study Audio Production at the SAE Institute, sometime in October, 2013.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, former President of America, was first to propose the idea of creating a Presidential Library where the Presidential papers, transpirations of significant events and gifts accumulated during his administration could be housed and preserved.
As the world war threatened democracy in Europe, on June 30th, 1941, President Roosevelt dedicated his Presidential Library (American first) at Hyde Park to the benefits of “future generations” who will use the records of his presidency. At the dedication, Roosevelt had this to say:
“To bring together the records of the past and to house them in buildings where they will be preserved for the use of men and women in the future, a nation must believe in three things: It must believe in the past; It must believe in the future; It must believe in the capacity of its own people so as to learn from the past that they can gain judgment in creating their own future.”
For a democracy the convergence of the tactics of Goebells, the rantings of Aribisala and the antics of ffk is fraught with great dangers.
We all know that electoral contests are by their very nature divisive. Nevertheless, an election should not be positioned in such a way as to destroy the very basis of democracy as well as by cynical manipulation whose end result will be to tear apart the fabric of society.
“Secondly, I really have had all the fame I want, I really don’t long for publicity. And the truth of the matter is (that) in order for me to generate publicity,.. I’d have to either attack the Republican Party, which I don’t want to do, or attack the president, which I don’t want to do. And so, I’m perfectly content to be out of the limelight.”
That was former President George Bush, stating he had no interest in criticising President Barack Obama just to generate headlines for himself after serving in the country’s highest office for eight years. He made those comments while promoting his book about his father: “A Portrait of My Father,” late last year.