by Amanze Obi
I am not about to join the amorphous crowd of pundits who have been commenting on the outcome of the 2015 presidential election. Their postulations and declarations should be expected in an election such as the one we have just had. But I will, for now, remain where I have chosen to be, that is, to stay away from the fray and frenzy that have attended the outcome of the elections. I will, whenever I consider it appropriate, share my thoughts on the matter.
However, I am constrained today to touch tangentially on an issue that relates somewhat to the elections owing to the action President Goodluck Jonathan has just taken. I’m referring to his decision to remove, with immediate effect, Mr Suleiman Abba as the Inspector General of Police.
Even though many commentators have had to say that Jonathan should be commended for conceding defeat, I prefer to say that Jonathan was not defeated. He only took a personal decision to relinquish power. If this does not make sense to you, I urge you to wait for the time I will choose to lift the veil I placed on the 2015 elections.
But if we proceed on the assumption that Jonathan conceded defeat, then we will be saying that he has shown so much grace and candour. If this should be taken to be the case, then nobody, particularly those who worked closely with him, should mock him. But the infractions which Suleiman Abba were said to be guilty of since Jonathan’s loss are suggestive of mockery. They give the impression that Abba is brow-beating the outgoing president. In fact, going by Abba’s actions, Jonathan is not an out-going president, he is already gone. That explains why Abba has taken to freestyle impunity. He has, in the last few weeks, undermined the president in a manner that suggests that he has always had disdain for the man.
Without taking into consideration how he became the Inspector General, Abba, in a reckless show of ingratitude and treachery, is already biting the finger that fed him. He has moved over to the opposite direction in the bid for self-preservation. But the former Police boss did not just stop at protecting his turf, he was also undermining the authority that brought him to limelight. This is greed and wickedness rolled into one.
No doubt, Abba’s treachery must have struck the wrong side of Jonathan. That may explain why the man exhibited the level of swiftness that is clearly alien to him. The president’s action must be an expression of disappointment. This is especially so for a man who has never acted with such swiftness in the five years that he has been running the affairs of Nigeria as president.
The president’s action shows that he would act differently if he had a next time at the Presidency. But like Ezeulu, the protagonist in Chinua Achebe’s Arrow of God, who wished that there was a next time when his folly dawned on him too late in the day, there is no next time for Jonathan. If he is learning any lesson, he must be doing so the hard way. That hard way may be responsible for his last-minute change of style.
Those who know the undercurrents of Abba’s appointment as Inspector General will appreciate better the depth of Jonathan’s disappointment. Jonathan was presented with the option of replacing MD Abubakar, Abbah’s predecessor, with a Christian as the next Inspector General. But he settled for Abba, a northern Muslim, as part of his deliberate policy of placating the Moslem north. In the end, not only did the Moslem north fail Jonathan, people he appointed to sensitive positions on the basis of certain primordial sentiments such as Abba have failed him the more. In Jonathan and his circumstance, the saying that reality is a late dawn has found a bold expression.
There are, indeed, many Suleiman Abbas in the system. Those were the people who returned more votes for the opposition at the presidential villa than the master they are serving. That is what treachery is all about.
But if we look beyond Abba and other treacherous characters that populate high places, we will find internal saboteurs who take delight in pulling down houses built by others. Here, we will be talking about the likes of Adamu Mu’azu, the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). As the national chairman of a ruling party, Mu’azu was supposed to be passionate about the success of his party at the polls. But he was not. And it is evident that President Jonathan did not understand what Mu’azu was up to. Because he was erroneously christened “the game changer” when he took over from Bamanga Tukur, many did not understand when Mu’azu started plotting the fall of the party which he superintends over.
But some few discerning members of the party have, in retrospect, noted with regret that Mu’azu did not organise credible primary elections within the party, a situation that led to disaffection and defections.
But the real Mu’azu came to the fore during the electioneering campaigns. If you expected him to take charge of the political situation, you were utterly mistaken. The man, instead, withdrew into his shell. There was no aggression in him. He lacked a sense of urgency. He was just in his comfort zone, luxuriating. He did not care a hoot about the success of his party at the polls. He was not known to have said or done something of note while the campaigns lasted.
For instance, Mu’azu, the face of his party, did not speak up on the controversy that raged over the plan by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to deploy the smart card reader machines for the elections. Mu’azu’s PDP had a position. It argued against the use of the card reader because of its obvious flaws which INEC, at that point in time, was not in a position to handle. Mu’azu did not disagree with the position of his party.
Strangely however, Mu’azu was seen on the day of the presidential election applauding the use of the card reader machine and praising Jega as a man of integrity. This was the day the card reader failed abysmally and messed up the election in a number of places. It was the day the card reader kept the President, the leader of Mu’azu’s party, waiting in the sun endlessly as the machine failed to accredit him for voting. It was the day some states, including my state, Imo, did not see the card reader at all. In my local government area particularly, accreditation began by 2pm. We were told that the card reader had expired for the day. Yet, when Jega was reeling out the names of the state’s where the machine did not work, he did not mention Imo. That was the day Mu’azu gave a clean bill of health to Jega and his card reader.
Then you began to wonder where Mu’azu had been all the while. If he loved the idea of the card reader so much, why was his party averse to it? Why was the national chairman working at cross purposes with his party? Mu’azu’s was a clear case of a hidden and devious agenda. He was pro-opposition while serving as national chairman of the ruling party.
Mu’azu may have considered himself smart. But we are not deceived. In the same vein, Suleiman Abba may have set out to eat his cake and have it, but his bean has been spilt. His sins have found him out. Those who live a life of dishonesty hardly escape such an ignominious fall.
Looking back, one cannot but wonder what purpose the card readers have served. We were told that the device would prevent rigging. But we have many instances where electoral materials were snatched and result sheets filled and submitted. Did the card reader find this out? Certainly not.
Anyway, as I earlier hinted, I am not about to start commenting on the 2015 elections. There will be time for that.
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.