After all the noise and the heightening of the blood pressure of Nigerians by the irascible All Progressives Congress (APC), it was a delightful surprise that the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Foces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, was magnanimous enough to let the noisy and lying party to win.
Why would Jonathan flock Osun with security forces when he did not plan to give victory to his ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)? Either the President is a waster of precious national resources on a group that has continued to denigrate him and almost set the country on needless fire, or the zoologist is simply naive.
Or, as many of his praise singers have been inundating the media space, he is the one this nation has waited for since 1960 to become the beacon of hope in a political system that has been at the root of all our malaise.
And while the self-confessed street boy, Aregbesola was talking like the street kid that he still remains, the Presidency had this to say of the election that consolidated Aregbesola’s term for another four years: “President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan congratulates Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State on his victory in Saturday’s governorship election in the state.”
According to Reuben Abati, Jonathan’s spokesman, the President commended the Independent National Electoral Commission and national security agencies for ensuring that the elections were free, fair, credible and peaceful in keeping with the avowed commitment of his Administration. He also wished Governor Aregbesola continued good health and a successful second term in office.
The comment of the street kid was way different from the general opinion of those who monitored the elections and applauded Jonathan’s management of the Ekiti and Osun elections.
Read Aregbesola, “Ordinarily, this should be a moment of joy and celebration consequent upon the hard earned triumph of the people’s will. However, this election shows that democracy is still gravely endangered in Nigeria. We witnessed gross abuse of power and, of due process before, during and even after the actual voting process. It is so sad and unfortunate that what should be a normal, routine process was maliciously allowed to snowball in to a needless virtual war by the Federal Government and the PDP.
“Osun State was unduly militarised in an unprecedented manner through criminal intimidation and psychological assault on our people. This election witnessed an abuse of our security agencies and amounted to a corruption of their professional ethics and integrity.
“The security agencies were unprofessionally utilised in Osun State to harass, intimidate and oppress the people whose taxes are used to pay their salaries and provide their arms. Hundreds of leaders, supporters, sympathisers and agents of our party were arrested and detained. Also, hundreds of other innocent citizens, including women and the aged were harassed, brutalized and traumatised. In spite of this condemnable repression and abuse of human rights, the unflagging spirit of our people triumphed.”
But President Jonathan’s measured reaction actually diminished the APC and its re-elected gubernatorial candidate in Osun. He said: “The outcome of the election has also given the lie to the false, unfair and uncharitable allegations that measures put in place by the Federal Government for the Ekiti and Osun State elections were partisan and designed to achieve a favourable outcome for his party.”
The President gave a thumb up to Osun people for coming out in large numbers on Saturday in all the local government areas of the state to peacefully and freely exercise their democratic right, trusting in his assurance that all necessary measures would be taken to ensure their safety and the sanctity of their votes.
While the President was being a statesman and should be commended by the benefiting Governor, he rather chose to behave less than a man declaring that a strong signal had been sent to all that no might is powerful enough to thwart the will of the people, forgetting that the same might saved him from the political hawks in the PDP.
Aregbesola said: “This should always strengthen our resolve to ensure that as from now on, every vote must not only be counted but must count in this country. Nobody or party must ever exercise power unreasonably at any level except in accordance with the will of the people to whom sovereignty belongs.”
As the President reiterated his belief that the free, fair and peaceful conduct of the elections had fully reaffirmed his administration’s determination to positively reform Nigeria’s electoral processes, the beneficiary was busy fouling up the air with base comments.
However, Jonathan said he looked forward to continuing to work with Aregbesola and other state governors to further improve the living conditions of Nigerians in Osun and other states of the country.
With the ingratitude that Aregbesola has displayed, there is no doubt that his opponents should set up a robust system to monitor his every step, or like the APC National Chairman, John Oyegun, suggested, set up a parallel government to keep him on his toes. Since they thought up this, it will be necessary to use Osun as a test case.
Addressing a huge crowd of supporters at the party’s mega rally for the re-election of Aregbesola at the Osogbo Township Stadium in Osogbo, the APC National Chairman, Odigie-Oyegun, said the battle line was drawn.
As he put it, “Let those who have ears hear that they should not tamper with a single vote that belongs to us. The battle line is already drawn. The APC will not allow its mandate to be stolen. After the Ekiti State, there can be no more opportunity for anybody to steal our mandate. Enough is enough.
“The APC is prepared for free and fair election. If anyone steals our mandate on February 20, 2015, we will resist it and set up a people’s government. Let them be warned, there would be dire consequences for this.”
Now that Jonathan has spared APC the honour of setting up a parallel government in Osun, nothing stops Iyiola Omisore from doing so with a “shadow cabinet” of his own to dog the daily moves of the APC government in his home state and save his people what he considered the tyranny that was their lot in the first four years of the Aregbesola administration in the State.
Article written by Femi Ayelabowo.
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