I will take the Nigerian people themselves and Professor Atahiru Jega and his team of 37 electoral commissioners as the heroes of the 2015 elections. I would be the first to admit that in a country where the first inclination of the average election losers is to allege he has been rigged out of victory. That is because rigging of elections in Nigeria has become a way of life. People just assume it is there even where there is sufficient evidence to the contrary.
If the Sagir Koli audio tape on how the June 21 gubernatorial election was rigged in favor of Ayo Fayose in Ekiti was never exposed by Sahara Reporters, I would have considered Ayo Fayose as the twin brother of Mayor Marion Barry of Washington DC who was in fact jailed and impeached, but still found some ways to politically resurrect.
The notorious hoodlum of Nigerian politics won all of the 16 Local Governments in Ekiti in 2014. He repeated the same feat on April 11, 2015 as certified by INEC two weeks after it was clear his party, the PDP had been dethroned by the opposition for the first time ever in the history of elections in Nigeria. The bandwagon effect should have set in by the time he recorded his second victory because the power behind his throne had clearly lost to General Buhari and his power balloon had been deflated and he was no more in a position to deploy Brigadier General Aliyu Momoh, Musiliu Obanikoro, Iyiola Omisore and Ayo Fayose to do what they did on June 21st 2014 with criminal impunity.
I believe that Ayo Fayose’s PDP won again in all the 16 Local Governments on April 11 using the same strategy or some versions of it to prove that his first victory in 2014 was neither a fluke nor a stage-managed contraption. But what amazes me the most in the second election was the fact that the same embattled Brigadier Aliyu Momoh was the one deployed to Ekiti again by General Minimah acting on behalf of the Commander-in-Chief to go supervise the election despite the very serious charges pending against him in the court of public opinion.
I knew there and then that Goodluck Jonathan was not the angel or the simpleton that many of his supporters would want us to believe. I call him a smooth operator and dare devil who is very good at creating false illusions about himself as President. Who could have believed that a man who went around all the Churches in Nigeria asking for prayers and blessings could also be at the center of the covert operation in Ekiti? Who could have believed that Jonathan could be bed fellows with hoodlums like Oshokomole and Asari Dokubo to mention a few all because he was desperate to win? When he says the blood of any Nigerian is not worth the political ambition of any of them running for office, you would have thought he was a Saint. No he is not. Chief “Asoga D’Umole” or Chief “Araba Ajemoju j’erira san ra” in Akure could easily have done what Jonathan did if you know them as well as I do. The two chiefs would openly tell you they would kill you if you get on their wrong side and they mean it.
President Jonathan was a phony if not a hypocrite. I saw him kneeling down at the Enuwa Palace of the Ooni of Ife receiving traditional blessings from individuals who worship God and Mammon and who believed that their horsetails and walking sticks carried some voodoo powers that could all of a sudden override Nigerians’ quest for change in the election we have just concluded. Of course the man lost to Buhari the Muslim because he is a bundle of contradiction and not the born-again Christian he professes in the public.
If I give credit to Atahiru Jega and his 37 electoral commissioners why would I leave out the man who appointed them to begin with? I believe that Goodluck Jonathan still reserves the right to share out of the public encomiums that are being showered on Professor Jega even though Jonathan had done everything in the book to discredit Jega when he and his party became convinced that the nutty Professor was not going to dance to their tune or allow himself to be pushed around.
Above all, I gave God Almighty the praise and the glory for the way the elections have turned out because God had put it in Jonathan’s heart to pick Professor Jega whose track record as a trade unionist and as a radical northerner should have given him some pause. Jonathan did not second-guess Jega because God had his own plan for Nigeria that a Jonathan could not change or micro-manage. God knows that the PDP has outlived its usefulness and that the time for change has come in Nigeria. Some naïve elements in the PDP like Doyin Okupe, Ayo Fayose and Femi FaniKayode have misspoke
Okupe had said that Nigerians should call him a bastard if the APC did not implode and crash under its own weight. He was so sure that the APC was going to implode. I thought so too for a brief moment until the Igbo-dominated APGA walked away from joining the merger of the opposition parties that metamorphosed into the APC. I can tell you that the Igbos walked away because of the perception that the Yorubas are going to dominate the party and they never like to see the Yorubas share most of the benefits they want to perpetually keep for themselves in the PDP. They could never join a coalition Government in which the Yorubas were most likely to play a dominant role.
It was good riddance that paved the way for the success of the APC in the presidential election. For the first time in the history of Nigeria, the Yorubas and the Hausa/Fulanis are collaborating to change Nigeria for the better, as I predicted in one or two of my past articles. Now that the gamble has paid off big time, Nigeria can expect to see a drastic change in the direction and the way Nigeria will be governed from now on. Nigeria needs to press the reset button because a lot of things have gone wrong in Nigeria that need to be changed or corrected with immediate effect. If Nigeria does not kill corruption, corruption is going to kill Nigeria. It was General Buhari who said that and he was dead right.
I need all this background information and digression as a back drop to my hypothesis that two outstanding TV stations, namely Channels TV and Sahara TV in particular and the social media in general were the heroes of the change Nigeria has just witnessed. I acknowledge the role and contributions of the print media and newspapers in Nigeria, and the role of Internet web sites like the Nigeriaworld created by Chuck Odili, Chatafrik and the Africantalk and Africanworld forum floated by a Nigerian named Martin Akindana from Idanre and Sahara Reporters established and led by a young Nigerian firebrand and Columbia University alumnus named Omoyele Sowore from Kribo in Ilaje Ese Odo Local Government area, some 15 minute’s drive from irele and Agadagba in Ondo State. I also seize this opportunity to acknowledge the role of other TV stations in Nigeria like AIT led by Raymond Dokpesi and TVC owned and bankrolled by Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu to mention a few.
The “Victor Ludorum” must, however, go to Channels TV and Sahara TV for doing an excellent job which is above and beyond the role of the other Nigerian TV stations in the last election. The Channels TV led by their Chairman, John Momoh had produced the most comprehensive coverage of the elections I have seen. Some of their ace presenters and producers like Kadaria and Ajetumobi as freelance reporters and interviewers to mention a few were simply awesome. I live in New York but I watch the election with my Roku 3 and TVAfrique decoders that give me access to thousands of television channels around the world from the comfort of my living room and bed room in New York.
I watch the coverage of the elections on two television screens and I could tell which station and studio had done the best job. AIT lost some credibility early because it was biased in its reporting in favor of President Jonathan who was known to have bank-rolled the station and their Managing Director and CEO, Raymond Dokpesi. AIT was a PDP station by and large. It was more interested in telling President Jonathan and the PDP what AIT thinks they want to hear and not what they needed to hear loud and clear for their own good. Dokpesi was too much of a stooge of President Jonathan to gain some traction and credibility in the world of public opinion.
Channels TV on the other hand was more professional and thorough and very objective and fair in its coverage. The station must have made a lot of money by way of political commercials and advertisements but they were very fair and balanced in their reporting. Some of their political and intelligence analysts were some of the best in the business. There was a particular Intelligence analyst name Umar Aliyu. He was simply awesome and could stand his own anywhere in the world.
The station gave the whole world an insight into Nigeria’s man power resources which is second to none in the African continent. Nigeria is a sleeping giant. If it wakes up from its slumber, it has the potential to beat Singapore one of the 4 tigers of the Pacific because the manpower from the North and South of Nigeria are simply amazing. Professor Atahiru Jega was able to perform some of his glaring feat in the elections by drawing heavily on some of those manpower resources.
He had made use of Vice Chancellors and their Deputies and Professors in many of the Ivory Towers of Nigeria to serve as returning and collation officers for all of the states including the Federal Territory. It was a wonderful spectacle to behold as all of those intellectuals came forward one by one to present their returns before television cameras in the most transparent elections Nigeria has ever conducted. Channels TV covered them all and their analysis was superb and top notch.
Next to Channels TV was Sahara Reporters Television based in New York with a branch office and mobile studios in Lagos and Abuja operated from inside a van, thanks to the power of technology. Running a television station is a capital-intensive project that only multi- millionaires can only dabble into if they want to succeed. Omoyele Sowore the President and CEO of Sahara Reporters Media and Television outfit of New York had none of those millions in Dollars but he had God behind his enterprise and the brain power to make things happen.
SaharaTV is located in a high rising building few blocks away from Madison Square Garden the Mecca of Sports in the greatest city in the world and the financial capital of the world. Sahara Television station operates from a 7th floor studio that is a far cry from the stupendous studio of CNN Headquarters at Atlanta, Georgia.
Omoyele had working for him in the studio young but awfully good technicians, producers and presenters and operation and coordinating staff who are some of the best in the They are all drawn from all over the world but more so from Africa. Their mission statement is captured in the cliché “SaharaTV, Everything Africa”
You have among the staff a bundle of talent I call the Tyler Perry of Nigeria. He is Rudolf Okonkwo an Engineer-turned stand- up comedian, producer and television anchorman otherwise known as Dr. Damages. There is another bundle of talent named Adeola Fayeun of the “Keeping it real “ fame, a young lady whose performance and persona are cut out for greatness because the sky is her limit. There are so many other ace presenters, male and female, including the great Kwesi Baako from Ghana, the unflappable Fungai Maboreke from Zimbabwe, the hardworking Sam Disu, the beautiful and dedicated ace reporters like Tracy Thompson an African/American, smart and diligent Fathima Sesay otherwise known as Tomato Jos from Sierra Leone, eloquent Toyosi Philips from Lagos, the unflappable and eloquent “Humble Prince” Olu Faloye of Akure, great Ike and Nneoma Okorie and so many able interns sent from Columbia Universities and other agencies in New York who come in from time to time to have their internship with Sahara.
The tech team led by hardworking and intelligent Sammie Amachree from Rivers State, workaholic Nick Chilese from Zambia and computer wizard Michael Abiola and their other assistants are easily the best in the business. They make the best use of the limited space and equipment and they all do a fabulous job. The entire staff are led by the editor, the great Declan Galvin an American and a young achiever and dynamic coordinating Manager who led the whole team while the COO and CEO was away taking charge of the Sahara operations in Nigeria. The COO is an African/American administrator named La Keisha Landrum who flawlessly managed the election coverage from New York with a Midas touch.
What was so remarkable about Sahara Reporters was their expertise in investigative journalism and their wizardry and expertise to be the first to report most breaking News from Nigeria. Sahara is always the first to make projections and returns before the other mainstream media in Nigeria. Their returns on election results more often than not tally with the returns released and authorized by INEC on all of the elections. Sahara Reporters never made any projections that have been proved wrong because they are so sure of themselves. They do so with meticulous deference to INEC and they have been proved right time and again.
Their opinion columnists are some of the best in the world. They include top notch writers and journalists like Sonala Olumhense and Professor Okey Ndibe, a prolific columnist and author. Most Nigerians now know that if you want authentic news about Nigeria, the place to go is Sahara Reporters as widely acknowledged by Pastor Tunde Bakare, Femi Falana SAN, Attorney Keyamo and the Nobel Peace Laureate himself, Wole Soyinka who, in many ways, has become the conscience of the nation.
The Captain Koli audio tape on the Ekiti elections was first blown open to the public by Sahara Reporters after doing its own forensic examination of the tape to make sure it had not been tampered with or doctored. The PDP lost the elections to the APC because they had nowhere to hide from the eagle eyes of Sahara Reporters and the ubiquitous nature of our CEO and Managing Director who could not be bought with money.
The young man is on a God-driven mission to save Nigeria from herself and to empower Nigerians to take control of their own destiny by voting for change and doing so with the persistence of a Demon. When the history of the 2015 election is written the name of Sahara Reporters shall be written in gold because they are the ones that God had used to achieve his mission for Nigeria. The politicians themselves know it and many have publicly acknowledged it.
If the Sahara studio were based in Nigeria, their studio would long have been set ablaze by the Jonathan Government. Dr. Damages and keeping it real by Adeola Fayeun have inflicted more pains on the PDP and the Jonathan Administration than anything they have ever seen before. Sahara was a pain in the neck of President Jonathan and his bunch of looters. While the mainstream press in Nigeria had been bought and compromised with bribery and corruption, Sahara reporters have stood tall calling the bluff of the Federal Government and daring the Federal Government to stop them, if they can.
Many in Government had thought that Sahara was working for the APC and it was rumored at one point that the APC had bought a row of houses for Omoyele Sowore in California. The report was investigated but came out empty. There was no truth to it. Sahara is working for God and working for justice and good Government in Nigeria, and doing so free of charge because it is the right thing to do.
I offered my services to Sahara free of charge because I completely share their mission statement to save Nigeria from herself. I will take a bullet for the young man named Omoyele any day because I call him the “Aka Olisa” the hand of God whose ultimate mission is to make Nigeria a better country for us and generations of Nigerians yet unborn.
Once the honeymoon with the Buhari Government is over in a matter of weeks, you can expect Sahara Reporters to put the feet of Buhari and Osinbajo to fire if they fail to deliver on their promises to Nigerians. That is also my mission as a voice in the wilderness. I love Buhari and Osinbajo today but I could predictably be their sworn enemy tomorrow if they fail to perform.
I met Buhari who may not even remember or recognize me today if we were to meet. I first met him when I served in the Army Headquarters as a civilian administrator from 1968 to 1970. He was squeaky clean then like he is today as a retired General in the Nigerian Army. If I have any doubt in him today it is because the General is a social democrat surrounded by unrepentant capitalists like Ahmed Tinubu,Rotimi Amaechi and Olushola Saraki to mention a few.
These are strange bed fellows who could predictably fall out with the General as time goes by. The big thing going for Buhari right now is the support of the people. He can always take his case back to the people if the individuals I have mentioned would like to constitute a road block to his agenda to draw a distinction between the APC and the PDP charlatans who know no other way to govern than to loot the Treasury. You can already see that some of our brothers who are seriously thinking of crossing over to the APC are already asking to be assigned the portfolio of the Minister of the Federal territory because they claim they control 70 per cent of the Businesses in Abuja and the environs. If Buhari makes the mistake to let them have their way, APC would be back to square one in a heartbeat. Performance must be the only yardstick to determine if a Government wins or loses in Nigeria. That should be our new golden rule. “Ke eku Ile a gbo ko wi fun toko” meaning “Let the News get around that performance must remain the only yardstick for acceptance or rejection” of any political party in Nigeria.
For Nigeria to move forward Buhari and Osinbajo must be ready and willing to be demonized for doing the right thing. It is not going to be easy as Okonjo Iweala found out when she moved from the World Bank to come to Nigeria to operate and navigate in the midst of devils and looters. She quickly became one of them because if you cannot beat them, you join them. I will be surprised if Mrs. Iweala’s reputation is not tarnished and soiled by the people she has worked with in the last 10 years or thereabout.
Buhari and Osinbajo have their jobs cut out for them. They must do the right thing or face the wrath of Sahara Reporters and my little self because we are not going to spare them. I do love them right now but the truth is that I do not love them more than I love Nigeria and myself. If they fail all bets are off. Stayed tune for what Buhari Government needs to do starting from May 29.
I rest my case.