Zakari: Redefining the purpose of election in Nigeria

When national interest no longer appeals to political players, there is no level of insult that won’t be rubbed on the First Gentle Man of the Federation. Labelling President Muhammadu Buhari as desperate over his reelection bid is an extreme blackmail by the leading opposition PDP. The mood in the government circle doesn’t reflect desperation in any manner. Looking back to previous era, the reelection of President Olusegun Obasanjo under the Peoples Democratic Party in 2003 wasn’t achieved without loss of lives of leading opposition figures, while his failed third term ambition equally wrecked havoc on many. For time immemorial, Obasanjo has dismissed connections with the ills of his administration, the buck is passed to his Vice Atiku Abubakar as documented n his in Obasanjo’s book “My Watch”.

There is a series of dangerous propaganda, malicious fabrications and demeaning allusions to cause damage to the good image of President Buhari before the electorate. First, they alleged cloning, claiming he was dead, recently they lied against the first family accusing them of abusing the privilege of office to amass wealth, making wrong reference to acquisition of Etisalat and Key Stone Bank and lately they accused the good man of planning to rig election claiming Aminat Zakari is his family relation. Let’s take a cursory look at all these allegations, all have been fully debunked with facts by the Presidency and the first family. The pattern of the campaign of calumny by Atiku Abubakar and his cronies simply justified all the negative appellations mentioned against Atiku Abubakar by Obasanjo.

Under the watch of PDP for 16 years, our elections witnessed brigandage, ballot stuffing and outright falsification of results in favour of PDP. Atiku Abubakar and PDP are simply afraid of their past, no wonder the African adage, “no one should plant evil tree, because when the evil tree matures, the fruit will be poisonous to the offsprings” The 2015 general elections were globally adjudged as credible and a good starting point for electoral maturity among the electorate, it equally had obvious shortcomings already addressed by INEC but PDP leaders are traumatized with their devilish electoral behaviours in the past and attacking Aminat Zakari indicates that PDP and Atiku are the real planners of electoral manipulations and view her as an impedance against their ploys.

Watching the mischief of PDP’s spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, on television in his bid to cast aspersions on the credibility and personality of Hajia Aminat Zakari upon her recent posting as the Head of Result Collation Centre for the 2019 Presidential Election, unconscious personalities could be carried away by the propaganda from a former Chief of Staff to the Senate President under whose watch unimaginable calamities happened to our electoral system. In similar vein, they opposed her nomination as the Acting Chairman in 2015 after the expiration of the term of office of former INEC Chairman Professor Attahiru Jega. The fact that the President yielded to the opposition against her nomination in 2015 which led to the appointment of Professor Mahmud Yakubu as INEC Chairman is the motivation raising their hope for a reversal of her present posting.

Former NANS President Daniel Onjeh contested against Ologbondiyan’s principal, former Senate President David Mark on two previous occasions while Young Alhaji was his major contender on one occasion. The two gentlemen alleged irregularities in the victories of Mark at polls and controversies that surround his victories at election tribunals are subject of literature reviews for the people of Benue state. Majority of PDP leaders were beneficiaries of victories through manipulative tendencies. In fact, President Buhari defeated PDP at the 2015 presidential election by blend of providence, resilience of the masses and determination.

Reasons for attacking the personality of Hajia Aminat Zakari by PDP are very obvious. She was a special assistant to fmObasanjo from 2004 to 2007 till her appointment as INEC Commissioner by former President Goodluck Jonathan. She has watched PDP winning and losing presidential elections before, for this, she is too smart to be misguided by anyone in the course of her legitimate responsibilities in the service of INEC. She understands all the manipulative tendencies of PDP and can be a very fair umpire. Reliable analysis clearly shows that a free and fair contest is a guarantee for victory of President Buhari, PDP had never won a presidential election fairly before, as such, afraid of their shadows.

It’s an election year, but the frenzy differs from yesteryears, the ruling party is calm with the campaign activities, not spewing out lies and deceits, simply retaining the messages of hope for restoration of economic boom and prosperity across the federation, once the three cardinal principles of the administration come to proper fruition.

The Buhari administration has tactically undergone a proper review of major focus – reducing corrupt practices to the minimal and restoration of discipline into the polity with a view to entrench effectiveness of laws and orders. Truth upholds a nation, but our nation probably detests truth, if not, someone like former Vice President Atiku Abubakar with all the baggage shouldn’t be a major contender for the seat of Nigeria’s President. Is Atiku that bad? No, he is not a bad family man but a terrible public servant that cannot be trusted with public fund or issues of public interest. I watched the video of the visit of Prime Minister Sir Abubakar Tarawa Balewa to America in 1961 at the instance of President JF Kennedy, it revealed the prestige of our country before the international community.

When Hajia Zakari was appointed as the new Acting Chairman of INEC following the exit of Professor Jega, the President was blackmailed till he yielded. At the moment, it was the INEC Chairman that assigned her the responsibilities and she is not a new comer into INEC operations. She has handled sensitive assignments successfully in the past and her appointment into INEC predates the emergence of President Buhari as the President, even if she is a blood sister to the President, she is eminently qualified to head the collation center as announced, she is a Nigerian and deserves her liberties as an individual without linking her to the reelection of Mr President.

National prestige has been returned on the account of the rebranding of the image of Nigeria globally by Mr President. Nigerians residing in diaspora are no longer suffering negative appellations compared with the past, foreigners are beginning to respect our country. Then why should we change a government repositioning the economy, security and food security for a personality with gloomy image across the world. As a President with inclination to socialism, the capitalism inclined power brokers planning to throw the downtrodden into everlasting penury are at play with gimmicks to present President Buhari in bad light before the International community.

A comprehensive study of foreign aid in crisis ridden communities across the globe expose ulterior motives of world powers than humanitarian disguise they pose often. Insurgency and terrorism were never the hallmarks of our country, communal crisis, yes, occasionally, but after then, Nigerians still live peacefully. Much as we try as a country to make votes count at elections, we can’t forget in a hurry, the manipulation of American Presidential Elections in 2000 and 2016. On each occasion, the American Verdict was national interest. Americans moved on with governance under the presidents they had facts of fraud in their victories, then what’s national interest in Nigeria?

Among the pristine import of democracy is campaign as a medium of expression of manifesto and action plan for the people, the messages are expected to be factual and not misleading. The electorate are expected to align with the best choice in the interest of public peace, progress and development. Democracy values fair play as supreme and a situation where the grand rules guiding democratic tenets are violated, you can’t expect fair outcome. It’s a big shame that the PD that chose its presidential flag bearer through highest bidding, dollar trade and financial inducements have the courage to accuse a President under whose watch, different political parties have won elections.

Law abiding citizens of Nigeria who are not desperate and not proponents of get rich quick syndrome have expressed hope in the continuity of President Buhari and on his part, he has reassured Nigerians of his readiness to step up the actions of his administration to fulfill the yearnings and aspirations of lawful Nigerians, then why should we act otherwise? “All faith without work is dead.” Nigerians must walk the talk, match words with actions and must be sincereto the cause of nation building and this begins with compliance with laws and order, positive behaviours and shunning of criminality of any kind.

Ace Agboola is publisher, The Exponent Magazine. Email: [email protected]


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