by Sam Nda-Isaiah
It is also very hard to believe that, after an election in which one person scored 19 votes and the other scored 16, the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria recognises the one who scored 16 as the winner.
It has taken this long for me to make any comment on the festering crisis in the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) because it is hard to believe or assimilate what is happening. The level of executive and presidential shamelessness is very hard to fathom. And the more we look, the less we understand.
There are some issues that must be made clear from the outset. First, the NGF election was clearly a contest between President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Rotimi Amaechi. Governor Jonah Jang only happened to be a tool or a victim, if you like. Second, even though Governor Amaechi won, the election was more about a referendum on President Jonathan than a show of love and affection for Governor Amaechi. If the election was repeated tomorrow and the roles and perception reversed, that is, Governor Amaechi became perceived as Jonathan’s candidate and Jang as anti-Jonathan, Jang would win. The referendum only confirmed how unpopular Jonathan has become.
It is also very hard to believe that, after an election in which one person scored 19 votes and the other scored 16, the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria recognises the one who scored 16 as the winner. It just shows clearly the character of the person Nigerians have as their president. Should we then be surprised that the whole of Nigeria is upside down today? The president of a nation is the custodian of the values and moral force of the country. What does this say about the values of our president? Does this represent our collective value as a people? What will President Jonathan tell Nigerian students who cheat in examinations ? Will he in all honesty be able to look straight in the eye of any examination fraudster without blinking? If President Jonathan could do what he just did, then, it is not only that he takes the country for granted; it is even worse. What he did is worse than corruption – not that he gives a damn about corruption anyway. The chief fighter against corruption in a nation is the president himself, not the EFCC, ICPC or any of their equivalents. So if the president is sending out this kind of message, the citizens of that country should rightly be worried, as Nigerians are today.
But that is for the president. As for the Plateau State governor, I hope some of the statements credited to him are not true. The governor was reported to have said, in the aftermath of the NGF rigged election, that when you rig an election and get away with it, then, it means that God approves of it. I don’t know which God this could mean. This was reported in the media and I have waited for the governor or any of his aides to deny it, but no denial came. I have, therefore, been left with no choice but to believe that the governor actually made the incredibly reckless statement. Nonetheless, it is still hard for me to swallow. That doesn’t make sense unless we are to believe that the governor is too far gone.
So, does it mean that if any of Governor Jang’s children or grandchildren cheated in an examination without getting caught, God approves of it? Not even the governor’s well-brought-up children will agree with him.
If it is true that Governor Jang said this, should we be surprised that he has such a cozy relationship with the president? You know what they say about birds of a feather! But I am still waiting for words from Governor Jang before my final verdict on this; I think I speak for most bewildered Nigerians.
There are those who have been troubled because they say what happened at the NGF is a foretaste of what to expect in the 2015 presidential election. What some people are saying in plain language is that even if Jonathan is defeated, he will declare himself the winner as he did with Jang over Amaechi. I have told people not to be worried at all because the president still remembers what happened to former president Laurent Gbagbo and his wife when the Ivorian president did just that in the aftermath of the 2010 presidential election in Cote d’ Ivoire. We should have no fears about that at all. President Jonathan remains a gentleman, and, even though he is desperate to continue beyond 2015, he is still smart enough not to toe the line of Laurent Gbagbo. The former Ivorian president is still cooling off at the International Criminal Court in the Hague, the Netherlands.
Governor Godswill Akpabio, the chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, has declared that the NGF imbroglio would soon be solved. The world is watching.
I Am With Jonathan On This
President Jonathan recently advised state governors to start signing execution approvals for those who had been sentenced to death. Before then, Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State had declared that he would grant approval for the execution of those that have duly been sentenced to death by competent courts.
I am totally in agreement with both President Jonathan and Governor Oshiomhole. The problem with Nigeria is that not enough death sentences have been executed. As I write this, more than 1,000 inmates on death row are still awaiting execution orders. If Amnesty International wants the power to abrogate death sentences for murderers, they should first acquire the power to abrogate murders. Anyone who kills another should also be ready to die as long as due process of conviction and appeals are followed.
My take is that not only murderers but arms traffickers and kidnappers must also get the death sentence. Countries like Singapore, which mete out death sentences religiously to those who should get them are invariably safer to live in than those who don’t. The state of Texas in the United States just executed its 500th inmate on death row. Nigeria should start executing all the murderers, armed robbers and all others who kill for fun at once. The executions are not to teach the criminals a lesson but to serve as harsh deterrents to others disposed to take to such high crimes.
Read this article in Leadership Newspapers
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.