Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom and liberty By Femi Orebe

nigerian flagThis is why I am appealing to the APC to instruct all its agents to ascertain that only INDELIBLE, as opposed to VANISHING INK, is supplied for use

In the case of Afenifere that has so shamelessly and so strangely declared its support for President Jonathan, its support is worth little or nothing to the PDP. Afenifere is no longer the formidable political organisation or movement that it once was. None of its present leaders can win elections in the Southwest. They have become irrelevant in the politics of the Southwest where their political influence has fallen considerably. Equally, the traditional rulers in the Southwest that President Jonathan has been trying desperately to woo have little or no influence on the electorate in the region. Even in Ife, the Ooni, the leader of the pack, has little or no political influence now. So trying to bribe the Obas is a waste of money, time and effort. They cannot deliver the votes Jonathan needs to win the elections, if they are free and fair” -Ambassador Dapo Fafowora, fromer Nigerian Ambassador to the United States and Deputy Nigerian Representative to the United Nations.

God bless the Awujale of Ijebu land. You feel proud as a Yoruba man listening to Kabiyesi respond to President Jonathan during his visit to the paramount ruler, Thursday, 12 March, 2015. Kabiyesi is not one to lie, promising what he knows no Oba in Yoruba land can deliver.

Do you lecture the converted? Received knowledge would say, no. But that exactly was what I saw Governor Olusegun Mimiko do to his colleague PDP governors this past week in Lagos as he lectured them on the advantages of restructuring while everybody else looked like the governor was speaking Greek. The few acclamations that interspersed his long lecture were extremely tepid and unenthusiastic. Even Governor David Jang, Chairman of the Forum, was so listless he had to be helped out with his contribution. I could not stop wondering whether he knew that TVCs were being withdrawn as people obtained their PVCs, yet he was canvassing its use. Nobody joining the programme midway would ever have thought he was watching a meeting of state governors. It is, however, interesting that it has now become the burden of the Southwest PDP, and of course its acolyte, Afenifere, to carry restructuring literally on their heads for a president who, outside of the Southwest, has never made it a campaign issue. Not surprisingly, no governor at the event, besides governor Mimiko, did either.

It is equally interesting to now see PDP top guns, David Jang, their 16-is-greater-than-19 governor’s forum chairman inclusive, with their subalterns, running all over the place, ranting as to why Card Readers should not be used. By doing this, a few things have become clearer to me personally. In the first place, it says very loudly that the Ekiti  rigging template, already eloquently attested  to by the Captain Koli tapes, and on the basis of which President Jonathan must have once told some ambassadors that the elections would be the easiest ever, has been abandoned.  I must say, however, that the six weeks’ postponement could very well be their way of getting their election-fixing rogue scientists to invent other versions. PDP is that desperate. This is why I am appealing to the APC to instruct all its agents to ascertain that only INDELIBLE, as opposed to VANISHING INK, is supplied for use. Secondly, and this explains their strident opposition to the use of card readers, is the fact that by its use, PDP will not be able to profit from a total of  about 20 million voters cards which they most probably have cloned from the VIN card numbers fraudulently extracted from  the 17.8 million youths TAN claimed endorsed President Jonathan as well as the about two million forms distributed all over the Southwest by a chieftain of the party on the spurious grounds that he was going to give them jobs and loans. If they contest this, they should tell Nigerians why they required VIN card numbers on those documents. Indeed, thinking that INEC was complicit in this fraud and would feed the 20 million into its system ahead of the elections, I once, on these pages, advised APC to go to court over the use of card readers. But now seeing how troubled they all are, wanting Jega out by just about any means, it is obvious the professor remains his decent self. However, we cannot go to sleep as that does not, in any way, remove the danger still lurking within INEC with many PDP card carrying members like a former Ebonyi State PDP chairman still on duty. There is, too, that one who we heard in the Ekitigate tape gave Fayose some sensitive INEC materials which he reportedly printed and used in rigging the election. Even if it is the last thing Professor Jega would do before exiting, he must fish out that rotten pig who so egregiously compromised the agency.

It is to rig the elections that they are doing everything to discredit a card reader which cannot discriminate between parties but would apply equally to all voters. PDP cannot win a single local government election without rigging as Nigerians have seen time and again. From the grave vine, we have now heard they would ensure there is no network, nationwide, on March 28 so they could blame INEC for using card readers. If this fails to stalemate the election, as it sure would, because it is not internet-based, we are told, they could orchestrate June 12 all over again, and when trouble erupts, Afenifere and their other endorsers  in the Southwest would not only  rise in their  support but would start leading delegations to Abuja to express that support. It has, in fact, been suggested they already knew there is no way a people completely sidelined from democratic dividends for a whole six years, as we saw in the case of a highly qualified Yoruba CBN Deputy Governor, a 1976 graduate and long time staff of the apex bank, who, indeed, acted as its governor, had to give way for a 1984 graduate and total stranger to the bank, but who is from the favoured geo-political zone, when it came to appointing a substantive Central Bank governor. Nor did it matter that the Finance Minister and not less than 60 percent of heads of regulatory agencies come from those parts.

For obvious reasons, the Jonathan government had to shift the 28 February election. They just had to go for broke as the auguries were too bad, seeing defeat staring them in the face should the elections hold. But there could never have been a better time for the Sahara Reporters’ airing of Captain Koli tapes. It caught the PDP in their very jugular; whatever the braggadocio of the falcons and their falconer. For the PDP, it was road closed. Otherwise, that Igbo serial election rigger would still have been hawking about his photocromic ballot papers and the PDP would have won the election long before it took place. That route having been closed, it is not unreasonable to suggest that the six additional weeks is to enable the PDP, as indicated earlier, devise new rigging techniques. As at the time the National Security Adviser suggested postponement at the Chatham House on the grounds that sufficient number of PVCs had not been distributed, INEC had distributed about 65 percent which was much higher than the 35 percent it did in Ekiti as at the time of the governorship election and nobody heard all these jeremiads about number of PVCs distributed. Sensing then that it would not gel, they had to quickly manufacture insecurity as if a seven-year-old insurgency had just dropped from Mars. An insurgency they had romanced all these years, deliberately ill-equipping our patriotic, well trained and disciplined soldiers, suddenly shot into limelight becoming the linchpin for election postponement. Forget, in the meantime, that collaboration with our neighbours had long been suggested by the French President and Abuja did absolutely nothing. It now suddenly hit the president that he had to cooperate with them. I am sure that the full story of these days would be told one day in future and Nigerians will get to know how they were fooled. We can only imagine now, how many lives could have been saved and disruptions to the lives of our hundreds of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons avoided.

So here we are, with whatever remains of their magical 6 weeks, and I am pleading with all Nigerians to vote right as four more years of the same, or worse, is certainly not what we deserve as a nation.