2019: MAY THE ROAD NOT BE ROUGH

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Monday Letter

Whoever thinks elections in 2019 will be smooth should apply care in analysing the political situation in the country. It is instructive to understand that those who worked for President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) victory have certainly seen the gaps, which they exploited in the build up to 2015 elections. This time the gaps, the gaffs are most glaring, with widening disconnect among Nigerians and entrenchment of sectional interests, religious cleavages, and hate becoming part of our daily lives. For the last few standing behind PMB, losing election is the least worry, as life after losing is certain to be a nightmare as it is for the opposition presently. Buhari may have boasted of clean records, as far as he is concerned. Those around him will keep their messy records away from the public by  making sure they blaze from all barrels to see that next year election come off in their favour no matter whose ox is gored. Yes, the road may be rough to 2019.

The usual politicking by the regular, almost permanent regulators and participants of Nigeria’s political economy has commenced with series of trading of used political ‘goods and services’. The newly created Reformed APC (R-APC) does not only bear similarity with the New PDP before 2015, it actually has almost same people running it. They succeeded in 2015, that was then; we have “saints” in government now.
They may have fertile situation like the usual killing of poor,
hapless Nigerians has increased on account of terror to exploit, but will that guarantee a smooth sail? It is true that Nigerians are more divided than any time in the history of the country, but that exists only among the wretched poor. It is true that government at the centre is underperforming, but PMB apologists do not think so. The most accessible truth is that the government is not democratic enough to tolerate “political detractors,” that is where the so-called R-APC may have their fingers burnt.

Nigerians except simple-minded followers of President Buhari have lost faith and are back full circle to a state of despondency, which they left off in 2015. The country is indeed back on restart button, where PMB has been demystified – this time those controlling the political game know the consequence of losing, that is where Nigerians must gird their loins. The past three years of PMB presidency has been peddled for change, but many feel it’s a play back of what PDP was rejected for. If most of those whose criminal actions discredited PDP are enjoying leadership positions is not nauseating enough, the intensity of impunity under the incumbent president has reached a crisis situation in many ways. The military seems helpless about the farmer/herder onslaught, the judiciary has been whittled by the APC-led administration (except for Saraki acquittal), corruption war has been skewed, appointments skewed, composition of security commanders skewed, advisers are either cronies or family members. The president is simply trapped in his own “power-bloc”, where his refusal to spread appointments based on our rich diversity has only left him with a unidirectional vision, programmed to only champion a particular group above others. He seems not to know how Sadauna managed the entire
northern Nigeria – a mistake history may never forgive him for.

The Buhari led administration may share some basic features with the PDP in the aspect of corruption, inability to contain security
malaise; they however do not share in their development
strides/aspirations and above all, democratic principles like respect for the rule of law, which was exhibited in 2015. In 2019, may the road not be rough as this APC government may never concede defeat even when it becomes glaring that they should. With a security institution firmly under the control of a section of the country where the president comes from, the INEC managed by a person from same region, Nigerians may be subjected to intimidation and the powers that be will try to get away with it. In 2015, the masses were with Buhari; 2019 will witness security wielding openly the wand of support possibly against the wish of the masses.

Once we realise that Buhari is venerated as a deity, and most of his appointees, service chiefs can lay down their lives to protect his interest above our corporate existence, then we are half close to what the future holds for Nigeria in 2019. The hounds around the president with every force applicable will maul them – the president has graciously added more bite to “war on corruption”, which many opine is targeted at political threats. Nobody should be deceived about any democratic approach if the deity called Buhari is desecrated.
Israel Ayegba Ebije, ebijeo5@gmail.com