Nigerian Elections 2007 – a farce in the making

29 Jan 2007

The ruling PDP has adopted little-known Yar Adua as the presidential aspirant, with Goodluck Jonathan of Bayelsa State as his running mate, a pair that will not be taken seriously by anybody, but for the power of incumbency. Yar Adua is to all intents and purposes a non-entity, so is his running mate, that people wonder what it is Obasanjo sees in them to want this pair to continue his much-touted ‘legacy’. Perhaps, he does want non-entities for that way, he may continue to pull the strings from the sides. He says he wants them so that they can continue his reforms, but might it not be because of their weak personalities? We shall see. Yar Adua is said to have never traveled out of Nigeria before. What kind of foreign policies would he have, I wonder. And Goodluck Jonathan? He fares worse.

What alternatives do we have? When PDP flagged off the presidential campaigns in Lagos yesterday, Yar Adua was quoted as saying that the alliance between ANPP and AC is a sign of weakness. As someone commented, that is the name of the game called politics. Semantics. Talk more than the other and hope that nobody uses your own words to his own advantage. He can afford to shoot off his mouth because he has the power of a big party behind him. Nigeria is a country where the parties are not divided into ideological lines, so cross-carpeting from one party to the other is fairly easy, the only criteria being where you stand a better stand of having access to power. In all these machinations, there are still however a few contenders who do not cross-carpet for its own sake, and who still seem to have principles. But they are few. What about Prof. Pat Utomi, the presidential candidate of the ADC? He has been described as a political neophyte. That may be true, but along the Nigerian political landscape, there are not many with his credentials, the most notable of which seems to be his vision of change. He desires a change from the old order where money counts and principles are left to rot. But does he stand a chance? The likes of Pat Utomi will not align with the likes of Atiku because some consider the latter to be corrupt, but there is a school of thought that thinks that if Utomi is serious about getting elected, he ought to learn to dine with the devil. What about Pastor Chris Okotie? That’s what he is, a pastor. During the recent Vanguard/Silverbird opinion poll, it was Chris Okotie who purportedly won as the future president of Nigeria, but that was as far as he went! That led me to think that perhaps there was a massive campaign by all the members of his church to ensure their breadwinner came out tops! So much for opinion polls. And Buhari? He has Wole Soyinka to contend with, who is at pains to remind us of how dictatorial Buhari was in his time as military Head of State. Buhari’s only defense (lame in my opinion) was that the rules were different then. He was a soldier and so he acted as a soldier. That has not stopped those who recall that he seems also a religious bigot and does not have an open mind, despite his penchant for being incorruptible. And we can go on and on …

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