Nigerians are again caught in a frenzy of political activities. For those close to where presidential candidates declare their intentions to run for the 2011 election, the proverbial daily bread is cheap to come by: simply attend and you get your ‘transport fare.’
The ‘mammoth crowd’ at the presidential declaration of Nigeria’s most hated self-proclaimed evil genius did not come as a surprise. People simply saw an opportunity to get money for food and they utilized it.
Again, today, at the same Eagles Square, another huge crowd gathered to witness the declaration of President Goodluck Jonathan, who appears confused and indecisive in his few months as president of the country. A distant observer might conclude that is over for the opposition but it is far from being so.
The two leading contenders in the ruling party do not possess the qualities a Nigerian president should have in the 21st century. There is barely anything to talk about Ibrahim Babangida since he is a completely unsellable product. Those who are crowding around him only want to get their own share of ‘Maradona’s’ ill-gotten wealth. They are smart indeed.
Just the way Argentine Diego Maradona who seemed a football god in his prime days appears to have lost touch with the sport in recent times, so is Nigeria’s political Maradona. One is not surprised by the calibre of those working, or stepping down, for him. They are people who either benefitted from his previous perverse military adventure or those who, for some obvious economic reasons, want to take cover under the ‘man who the cap fits.’
As for Jonathan, his watch-and-see style of government is definitely not what we need at this point in time. Since assuming power as acting president and then as president, he has never been proactive on any issue. One is often left wondering what the man’s problem is – fear of upcoming election or a general confusion about the problems of the country. Take the recent civilian coup in Ogun State, for example. Can anybody tell us what Jonathan’s position is on the issue? His response to the dispute will determine whether many Nigerians vote for him.
This now leaves the opposition in a vantage position to win the 2011 elections. If you doubt the possibility of an opposition victory then check out what happened in Edo, Ondo and even Lagos states in the last general elections.
In Edo State, Adams Oshiomole defeated PDP’s Oserhiemen Osunbor despite the strong political machinery of the Igbinedion dynasty who wanted to install the latter so that they can continue looting the state unabated. Olusegun Mimiko repeated the same feat in Ondo State despite Governor Olusegun Agagu’s manipulations with the blessing of the President Olusegun Obasanjo. In both states, INEC was compromised to declare the ruling party’s candidates winners but the opposition reclaimed their mandates in court.
The Lagos experience was completely different. Governor Babatunde Fashiola defeated PDP’s Musiliu Obanikoro in a classical style that spoke so loudly of what a people’s determination can do even in unfavourable circumstances.
As the 2011 elections draw nearer, with the level of division and factionalization within the ruling People Democratic Party, the opposition parties can come together and present us a credible and saleable candidate for the presidency. The various opposition candidates should be patriotic enough to swallow their pride and choose one of them to confront whoever the PDP presents. I should note that while Nigerians generally want change, they also want to be sure that the agent of proposed change can be trusted.
The ruling PDP has consistently proved that it has nothing to offer the Nigerian people except an army of corrupt, purposeless political vampires who should have no place in a modern society. However, the change we desire can only come if the opposition parties present us a credible alternative.