It was dismaying reading an article by one Dr. Yakub Abdalla on Baroness Chalker! Dr. Abdalla had a screaming headline and that was all he had. The article had no substance in it, Dr. Abdalla did not even attempt to support his screaming headline with any sorts of facts or hard evidence, to justify his screams. Baroness Chalker is known for her integrity! She has always demonstrated high integrity in her words and actions. Baroness Chalker’s excellent character, remains spotless and unblemished, and quite naturally, intact. Baroness Chalker’s maturity and integrity is self-evident to all!
Dr. Abdalla in his article excoriated Baroness Walker for simply saying the most mature, responsible and reasonable thing about the post general elections circumstances in Nigeria. Baroness Chalker had said “Let us get rid of the superficial comments and let us help the government of Nigeria, the in-coming government to put right those things which they know are not perfect, which they want to reverse and accept sensible, constructive advice”.
All reasonable, mature and responsible persons have been making statements similar to the ones attributed to Baroness Chalker by Dr. Abdalla, I have expressed similar if not identical comments regarding the outcome of Nigeria’s general elections I Congratulate President-Elect YarAdua . It is a fact, the elections are over! Those who have alleged electoral fraud or malpractices should head to the elections tribunals and courts in Nigeria. He who alleges must establish proof of such allegations with evidence.
It is the case that the just completed elections in Nigeria were not perfect, and it is the case that elections are not perfect in the United Kingdom, Baroness Chalker’s home country, where Dr. Abdalla resides. Elections are not perfect in the United States where I live and where I have witnessed complaints about elections, but without a call for coups and sundry violence by American politicians and American citizens!
I have learnt of pregnant, dimpled and hanging chad/ballot paper? American elections results are frequently contested in the courts, as it were in several states in 2000 in particular. Whereas, some Nigerians, and in particular, some “leaders” in opposition political parties, have resorted to advocating lawlessness and anarchy prior to the elections in Nigeria and soon after!
Dr. Abdalla’s political party, Action Congress or AC, has been notorious at advocating behaviors that are fraught with dangers to Nigeria’s national security interests. AC’s Atiku yelled loudly endlessly his belief that President Obasanjo would not allow elections to take place in Nigeria in 2007, because President Obasanjo is unwilling to leave office.
When that theory crumbled in Atiku’s face, Atiku lobbied and cajoled other political parties, in order that Atiku is presented as a fusion and sole candidates by the political opposition! Upon failing at that too, Atiku again campaigned, lobbied and cajoled fellow opposition parties to engage in further distracting actions such as threatening to boycott the elections. That too, also failed! The elections proceeded as planned.
Nigerians voters were never offered manifestoes of policies and programs by the bulk of the political opposition parties. Most of the political opposition candidates are actually disgruntled members of the ruling party the Peoples Democratic Party or PDP. These disgruntled former party members who had morphed into new political associations and parties and then candidates of such new parties, never at any time demonstrate core philosophy or distinct beliefs.
They were merely self-consumed opportunists without political philosophy or national agenda. And upon being sunk at the elections by the PDP, these ragtag political opposition political parties and their candidates, now wish to sink the whole of Nigeria with themselves! Must we allow them to sink Nigeria? Of course not!
The candidates who campaigned vigorously won, those who lost the elections engaged in blaming the winners, blaming the moon and the stars, except their own lackluster campaigns and their lack of focus! And just as Baroness Chalker has said, the political opposition have not offered a scintilla of sensible or constructive advice since the elections.
President-Elect Umaru YarAdua, Vice President-Elect Goodluck Jonathan and their PDP campaigned throughout Nigeria. They campaigned vigorously, even with a very hectic and rigorous campaign schedule. The president and vice president elect, traversed the entire land space in Nigeria.
Conversely, the opposition political parties vacillated and procrastinated. The opposition political parties swung between platitudes and threats of violence and anarchy, as they told Nigerians and the entire world many stories that were clearly at variant with reality! The opposition political parties stated too many mutually exclusive positions, amongst which are:
(1) The opposition political parties stated that the elections will not take place because President Obasanjo is unwilling to leave the political scene at the end of his constitutionally permitted two terms of four years per term.
(2) The opposition political parties also threatened to boycott the elections
(3) The opposition political parties at some point, also promised to present a fusion or common presidential candidate to fight the PDP and its candidates for the elections.
(4) The opposition political parties, in their last-ditch desperation, sought by means fair and foul, to have a postponement of the elections. But they failed woefully on every count.
And of course, the elections proceeded as planned. The opposition political parties apparently do not like the outcome of the just concluded general elections!
(5) They, the political opposition parties now say, the election results should be cancelled, just because they have lost? Why did the opposition political parties lose the elections? Why did they have such poor showing and outcome?
Their loss was of course expected! They did not campaign, they did not have ANY focus or sustained strategy… they were always in flux and their position was always, always, always so fluid! Why are they then surprised that they have lost? I am at a loss!
The opposition political parties have been threatening violence, anarchy, coup, lawlessness instead of trying to convince the Nigerian electorate as to what their various political parties would do differently, compared with the ruling party, the PDP.
Nigeria and Nigerians do not need violence! Nigerians need good government and good governance. A government and a leadership that improves lives and delivers on its promises and follows through with policies and programs upon which campaigns and manifestoes were based.
Nigerians do not need violence. Anyone who foment violence, would, and should expect to be consumed by same. And such fomenter of violence, must not take Nigeria and Nigerians with them into self-destruction. Those headed for the precipice, much go alone!
Those who were unsuccessful at the just concluded elections, should embrace the rule of law, due process and democracy. Those who have genuine grievances should head for petitioning at various elections tribunal and Nigerian courts for redress. So long as they have credible evidences and proofs of irregularities or frauds. The burden is on them.
No one must resort to self-help or extra-judicial means or methods. All Nigerians must be reminded that the best cure for imperfect democracy is more democracy! Even as old as American democracy is, when there are elections irregularities or frauds, the Americans rely on public hearings, elections petitions and the judicial process!
The current federal government of America was produced through such a process. The presidential elections between President George W. Bush and the former Vice President Al Gore was deadlocked and was eventually decided by the Supreme Court of the United States!
I applaud President Obasanjo, President-Elect Umaru YarAdua and Vice President-Elect Goodluck Jonathan, for a gallant election battle and the resulting victory.
I call for national reconciliation and unity for Nigeria’s rapid ascent to Nigeria’s pride of place on the world stage and global scheme of things.
Nigeria’s national interests is clearly above the interests of individuals or political groups…. when it is all said and done, it is all about… NIGERIA, NIGERIA & NIGERIA!