"You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks." - Winston Churchill
Nigerians know where the 'dogs' are concentrated and they are barking loud!
The issues that confront Nigeria are as glaring as a bright shining star, and the effects as scorching as the rays from the sun, but some pettifoggers employed by the PDP choose to deliberate on inanities.
The issues are; managing the manifestations of corruption, and the deleterious effects on the economy; economic recovery, diversification and the future; energy creation, power generation and sustainability; securing of lives and battling insurgency; poverty and unemployment.
The issues are; girls from Chibok have been missing for over 280 days, and counting.
The issues are; Boko Haram control a significant part of North-Eastern Nigeria, including Bama, Kukawa, Mafa, Konduga and Damasak. The captured areas are estimated to be between 20,000 and 50,000 square miles – about the same size as Belgium.
The issues are; there have been attacks with causalities in various parts, including, Maiduguri, Potiskum, Bauchi, Wudil, Damaturu, Nyanya, Madalla, Kaduna, Wusasa, Sabon Gari, Kano, Mubi, Yola, Gombi, Buni Yadi, Gwoza, and the latest known deadly attack being Baga. There have been multiple attacks on some of these areas, and who knows where's next. These are some of the real issues!
Initially, when I heard about the certificate matter, I dismissed it as child’s play, a joke, then, the tempo increased, and I was surprised by the incredulity of supposedly educated people, giving credence to what I termed a non-issue.
I couldn’t decipher the justification for demanding the educational qualification of a former Governor, Petroleum Minister and Head of State, after years of meritorious service.
An individual who had run for president thrice before and not once was the issue raised.
A distinguished soldier who had trained and studied at local and international institutions, including Mons Officer Cadet School, Aldershot, England, Defense Services Staff College, Wellington, India and US Army War College, Pennsylvania, United States.
The enquiry was tainted in mischief ab initio, because constitutionally Buhari was cleared.
The PDP could have headed to court to state their case, but, they didn’t, because they simply had no case. If only those who joined the mischievous bandwagon had availed themselves of the constitution, they would have realised it was a wild-goose chase.
The Constitution clearly states:
Under Chapter VI, Part I, Section 131:
A person shall be qualified for election to the office of President if:
(a) he is a citizen of Nigeria by birth;
(b) he has attained the age of forty – years.
(c) he is a member of a political party and is sponsored by that political party; and
(d) he has been educated up to at least School Certificate level or its equivalent.
In addendum, under Chapter VIII, Part IV: Interpretation, Citation and Commencement:
School certificate or its equivalent means:
(a) a secondary school certificate or its equivalent, or Grade 11 teacher's Certificate, The City and Guilds Certificates, or
(b) education up to secondary school Certificate level; or
(c) Primary Six school leaving Certificate or its equivalent and -
(i) service in the public or private sector in the federation in any capacity acceptable to the Independent National Electoral Commission for a minimum of ten years, and
(ii)attendance at courses and training in such institutions as may be acceptable to the Independent National Electoral Commission for periods totalling up to a minimum of one year, and
(iii) the ability to read, write, understand and communicate in the English Language to the satisfaction of the Independent National Electoral Commission
(d) any other qualification acceptable by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
General Muhammadu Buhari obliged to the demands humbly, by issuing a press statement to address the matter, particularly highlighting the mischievousness of the affair.
“I only consented to address you this morning because of the genuine concern expressed by many supporters and other well-meaning Nigerians that the issue be addressed. Otherwise, I would have dismissed it for what it is—sheer mischief and would not have considered it an issue worth the nation’s while.” - Muhammadu Buhari, 21/01/2015
Furthermore, the statement of results have been published, summarily silencing critics.
Frankly, I find these libellous distractions from the real issues repugnant to the intellect. However, the reality is, these distractions were borne out of the desperation of the ruling party, PDP. The tide of the Buhari tsunami sweeping across the nation has to be stymied by any means necessary-which includes, the peddling of lies!
The PDP is known to have come up with the Islamization fable against the APC, a canard Nigerians have discounted. Ironically, the Vice President, Namadi Sambo was recently credited with statements during a rally, suggesting the APC wants to Christianize Nigeria.
According to Sambo, Buhari's running mate, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo is a pastor with '5000 churches', inferring that the APC is more or less on a mission to Christianize Nigeria.
Obviously, scaremongering and polarising the polity is all the PDP has to offer Nigerians: concocting lies, and not clearly articulating why they deserve another 4 years.
How low can the PDP go? Very low apparently! The executive anomaly occupying the Ekiti State Government House, recently wished death upon Buhari, and literally mocked the deaths of former presidents from Northern Nigeria. This is what the PDP understands as issue based campaigning-by running a maledictory campaign.
At this stage we should be discussing issues, and the political parties should focus on running issue based campaigns. So far the APC has done more in this regard, whilst the PDP has busied itself with triviality and otiosity.
The PDP as it's currently constituted, is fast losing its support base, and people are beginning to realise what they actually represent.
A major problem confronting the PDP is, it has never been on the back foot, the Buhari tsunami has hit them hard – their recent lobotomized machinations testify to this fact.
The reality of being the opposition in the next dispensation is becoming more apparent by the day. They are already behaving like sore losers, and have gone on the offensive.
Basically, the APC can sit back and watch the PDP destroy itself with it's serial faux pas.
When I posited the emergence of Goodluck Jonathan will eventually cause the implosion of PDP, some people thought it was an oversimplification, and a sentimental politicisation of emanating issues within PDP. Recent events have since established this position.
I am of the candid opinion, PDP can implode, but it shouldn't carry Nigeria along with it. Herein lies a vital lesson for the APC, when it becomes the ruling party: the interest of Nigeria comes before the interest of the party.