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[OPINION] Prof Jega Is The Hero Of Nigeria’s Democratic Transition By Obinna Akukwe

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Prof Attahiru Jega, as far as I am concerned, is the hero of Nigeria’s democratic transition and the international community seems to share the same views. I wrote a piece published on march 12th, 16 days to the elections titled, “Prof Attahiru Jega: Hero of Nigeria’s Democratic Innovations-Needs Int’l Community and Progressives Support Now” where I asked the international community and all true progressives to rally support behind Prof Jega. Another one titled “Antagonists of INEC Card Reader not Working for Jesus Christ” where I said that it is unchristian to fight measures meant to stop electoral fraud. Following the piece, I received quite a number of inquiries from some international organizations and persons who wanted to know why I believe in Jega’s neutrality and competence especially based on the backdrop of concerns raised by the ruling party, on the use of the controversial Card Reader.
My answers were that Jega’s Card Reader was meant to minimize incidences of electoral malfeasance and that only election riggers are against him, especially those who planned to sit inside select party chieftain’s house and write fake results in the manners it has been written since 2003. I also informed the enquirers that the use of card reader, if perfected in subsequent elections, will make it easy to detect electoral fraud and enable me change my governors, senators, council chairmen at will, without worrying about their electoral criminality.  I was relieved when day’s later strong international support came Jega’s way in the person of the United States Vice President, Joe Bidden, who called Jonathan and Buhari on phone and expressed support for the use of the card reader.
According to the statement issued to that effect, “U.S. Vice President Joe Biden spoke yesterday with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari ahead of the Nigerian presidential election, which is scheduled for March 28…
“The Vice President further expressed the United States’ support for the Nigerian Independent National Electoral Commission and its work to deliver free, fair, and credible elections, in part through its essential efforts to distribute Permanent Voter Cards and help ensure that electronic voter card readers are in place and fully operational”
Various insiders informed me of Prof Jega’s ordeal from three weeks before the rescheduled polls to even during the collation of results. This man’s life was threatened, his phones tapped, his Resident Electoral Commissioners (REC’S) and key staff were infiltrated, he was blackmailed with treats of  death, exposure of some financial deals concerning INEC contracts, his relations were contacted, his friends induced to persuade him to play ball. The ruling party also tried to induce him with mouth watering offers.  Presidential aides pressurized him, Service Chiefs summoned him improptly, all to break his will. There was attempt to kidnap him days before the elections, and the Collation Centre drama from former cabinet minister Orubebe failed because other accomplices who are meant to disrupt the collation processes, chickened out at the last moment.
A party chieftain told me that it was Governor Fayose of Ekiti State that suggested the idea of kidnapping Jega before the elections. President Jonathan was said to have rejected it on the grounds that the operation may go awry and harm the electoral umpire,  thereby incurring the wrath of the international community. I believe that Jega somehow got the hint that Jonathan rejected the plot to kidnap him before the elections, which is to the credit of the incumbent president.
This academician stood his ground, and laid down his life for this election to take place.
Had Jega compromised, collected the billions promised him, resigned under pressure, jettisoned use of card reader or chickened out, probably another civil war would have ensued in Nigeria because the opposition parties were also ready to return fire for fire and bullet for bullets Therefore Jega is my hero of democracy.  President Barrack Obama’ understanding the pressures this man passed through, had given him a Certificate of Commendation.
Unlike previous elections, only few states are still contesting results in their localities, and most have congratulated the winners including Lagos, Sokoto and even Kaduna State where Vice President Sambo,s candidate and incumbent Governor Yero lost and conceded defeat to the opposition.
Below are excerpts from the piece on Jega stating why I believe that the INEC chief is my hero of democracy?  Read here;
Prof Attahiru Jega: Hero of Nigerias Democratic Innovation-Needs Intl Community and Progressives Support Now.
Prof Attahiru Jega has proven to be the hero of democratic innovations through the insistence on using card reader as means of authenticating voters in the upcoming 2015 elections, in a nation where satanic madness is raging over the transparent conduct of elections.
1n 1999, Prof Eme Awa was in charge of National Electoral Commission of Nigeria, saddled with conducting a free and fair election after God delivered Nigeria from the grip of the late dictator, General Sanni Abacha. In the 1999 elections, Chief Olu Falae was rigged out by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo through the help of then military dictator Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar, former Military dictator, Gen Ibrahim Babangida and multi millionaire businessmen like Former Governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu.
In 2003, it was the turn of Edo born Sir Abel Goubadia to conduct election and he superintended a process whereby General Muhammadu Buhari, former military dictator and flag bearer of ANPP was rigged out with the help of Vice President Atiku Abubakar who gave President Obasanjo insight into how modern day vote robbery could be executed.  In that election, Obasanjo who according to security reports came a distant third with Buhari (ANPP) and Odumegwu Ojukwu(APGA) leading, became the winner of the fraudulent election .
In 2007, Professor Maurice Iwu , a friend of Atahiru Jega, was drafted from the United States by Senator Andy Uba to lead the electoral body. This professor of pharmacy promised Nigerians that he will conduct a free and fair election even if it is the last sacrifice he will make before he dies.  When Obasanjo came with his do or die rigging format which must stop Atiku and Buhari at all costs, Maurice Iwu superintended over the worst election in the history of Nigeria. During Goubadias time, at least ballot boxes were stuffed with fake ballot papers but during Iwus time, ballot papers became useless and areas where elections never held produced winners and the losers are always advised to go to PDP controlled courts. In that same year, General Buhari was rigged out in favor of his kinsman late President Umoru Yaradua and the later, while disparaging the Maurice Iwu superintended process, promised to institute electoral reforms. He never lived to fulfil his promise.
In 2011 it was the turn of another fellow comrade and unionist to conduct elections. Prof Jega helped Jonathan and the PDP a lot especially in the north where in areas that are Buharis strongholds, the PDP reduced Buharis votes and increased Jonathans to ensure that the mandatory 25 percent in 2/3 states were met. In the South East where Buhari refused to campaign, the PDP had a field day and inflated the votes of Jonathan and there is not much APC party agents can do.  Jonathan became winner and Buhari wept back home to Katsina while Jega smiled to the banks.
In March 2014, I wrote an article titled Presidency 2015: Jonathan and Ijaws to teach Hausa-Fulani Bitter Lesson Part 1  where I stated that The fact as I state it now will play out in 2015- APC will surely get more number of votes cast, and meet the constitutional requirement of 25% in 2/3 states of the federation to win the presidency, but  Jonathan will  manipulate the elections and declare himself the President of Nigeria with the help of Attahiru Jega.-and there is nothing the North can do about it It took the entire PDP eleven months to discover that what I said on March 3rd is true and that APC is about to win the election, is why they rushed to postpone the February 14 polls.
The only difference in the prediction is that a proactive north went to work on Jega and prized him out of the grip of Jonathan. I was following the transmutation of Jega from being a Jonathan boy to being an independent man, ready to give Nigeria a free election.
Curiously, following the widely circulated write-ups, especially among political circles in the north, a jittery northern elites tasked Jega on his loyalty.
While the PDP relaxed, believing that Jega will still play ball as expected, the northern elites, traditional and religious leaders after the revelations had series of private talks with Jega, where they demanded to know his allegiance in the forthcoming polls.  In some places some persons threw stones at him and called him a betrayer. They forced Jega to become neutral with the electoral process. To this effect, Jega started putting in place measures that will eliminate rigging in Nigeria- THE MOST POTENT BEING THE USE OF CARD READER. This device will eliminate 80 percent of the electoral fraud in Nigeria and that is where Jega fell off with the ruling party.
A prominent Northerner wrote to thank me for the write-up exposing how Jega will rig the election for Jonathan. He promised that they will work on Jega and extract a neutrality pledge from him. This they did before end of August 2014. The PDP were doing newspaper, television, and billboard campaigns talking all sorts of irrelevant things until it  dawned on them two months to the election that the warning I gave about a year ago that APC will win the election is just about to happen. All efforts by the ruling party to intimidate, blackmail, induce or frustrate Jega to cave in to another electoral manipulation failed. Jega had embezzled enough in INEC, he wants to leave a legacy for his family name. He also doesnt want to face the wrath of his northern people who are not in the mood to allow a single of their vote counted for Jonathan, Thus these circumstances had forced Jega to a state of neutrality in the elections.
Jegas neutrality and innovation of card reader technology, whichever way it came about, is the second  greatest achievement of the Jonathan regime,  the first being  the National Conference he successfully hosted.  The problem with Jegas innovation is that if it is implemented, the PDP chieftains who scammed Jonathan of billions of naira in campaign money, transferred same to their personal overseas accounts and made few noises on the pages of newspapers are in trouble of amalgamated loss. They failed to campaign for Jonathan, They failed to distribute money or mobilize people on the grassroots until APC effectively penetrated and mobilized the grassroots, then they woke up and wanted the use of card reader  jettisoned.
Therefore Jegas card reader is the panacea to a rigging virus which reared up its head during the Shagari era when Awolowo was allegedly rigged out of Presidential election and probable run-off in 1979 before the infamous Supreme Court interpretation of 2/3 majority threw  Awos presidential ambition to the dustbin.
I am a Christian, Cleric and activist with considerable influence within many political, ecclesiastical and professional circles and I am spiritual enough to know that Jesus Christ cannot support electoral robbery, manipulation, rigging or scuttling of the peoples mandate. Therefore any Christian who justifies rigging is working for Lucifer- and I certainly will not work for Lucifer. I have told my colleague Archbishops, Bishops, Apostles, Venerable, Pastors this and most of them have agreed with me in principle; Muslim clerics should educate their colleague accordingly, if their Quran does not justify rigging.
Jega can be a devout Muslim; I do not give a damn. He could even marry four wives, I do not care so much. Jega can make his beard to be longer than that of Osama Bin Laden and he can even do his own Sallat twenty four times daily which is his business.   Jega has proven to be a better follower of Jesus Christ than Prof Maurice Iwu, a knight of the Catholic Church.  Jesus forced Zacheaus in Luke 19 vs 8 to return his loot back and the later said to the Lord (Jesus), Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.
Jega is returning back the peoples mandate stolen through years of successive rigging, especially  from the Shagari to the Obasanjo era back to the people. He is a hero of democracy; he should be supported and not vilified. INEC must insist on the use the card reader or else let the military postpone the election and go on with their Interim Government option.
Certainly, God had used Jega to answer the prayer of some Nigerians (including myself) that an institutionalized way of stopping corruption should be kick started. Jega is a hero of democratic innovation who is fighting electoral corruption and Nigerians and the international community should come to his aide before something worse becomes of Nigeria.
(Obinna Akukwe is the Director General, Igbo Mandate Congress (IMC))

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. ramatu jijitar

    April 22, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    Excellent suggestion Mr Akukwe!!!

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Opinion

Who Will Explain Coronavirus To Buhari?

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Coronavirus (COVID-19), an exorable doom, threatens life on the planet. It is exorable because it is conquerable. This explains why world leaders are taking the charge to combat this ominous apocalypse. It is a time for leadership from the fore-end; a time when citizens must hear their leaders speak to them; see them take action, making assurances and fulfilling those promises. The counsel, consolation and firm statement of a leader is imperative at this moment.

In Canada, Justin Trudeau, prime minister, despite being in self-isolation and his wife battling the virus after contracting it at a conference in the UK, is leading the fight against this dreaded disease from the fore. He is providing regular updates of the efforts of his government to roll back this scourge, listening and speaking to citizens.

In a popular broadcast on March 13, Justin spoke to citizens of Canada announcing measures to relieve the financial stress brought on by the pandemic on Canadians.

“We do not want any Canadian to have to worry about whether or not they’re going to be able to pay their rent, whether or not they’re going to be able to buy groceries, or care for their kids or elderly family members. We need to make sure that Canadians have the options and the ability to follow the best public health advice and keep themselves safe,” he said.

In the UK, Boris Johnson, prime minister, leads the struggle against coronavirus. He provides updates, alongside health experts, on the measures his government is taking to tackle the spread of the disease. And in the US, Donald Trump is not shying away from speaking to Americans on the virus.

As a matter of fact, President Muhammadu Buhari’s lapses are often easily dismissed by his supporters or by Nigerians who do not know better. Some of them say, ‘’ Why must the president speak when the minister of health and the NCDC DG are already doing that?” This is a contemptible rationalisation of incompetence. Are they suggesting the president lacks the capacitance to understand the issues?’’

Really, I surmise the president has been walled off the ‘’candid cameras’’ over the years by his handlers – not just now – because he lacks the intellectual propensity to understand and discuss incisive issues. The last presidential media chat he held was in 2015 and it was a woeful outing. Also, his non-choreographed media interviews have been abysmal to say the least.

The truth is the unfiltered Buhari is a vacuously gaffing one. On October 14, 2016, standing beside Angela Merkel, German chancellor, Buhari said his wife, Aisha, ‘’belonged in the kitchen and the other room’’, when he was asked to comment on the first lady’s criticism of his government.

On April 18, 2018, at the Commonwealth Business Forum in London, the president said the young citizens of the country he leads are lazy.

“More than 60 per cent of the population is below 30, a lot of them haven’t been to school and they are claiming that Nigeria is an oil producing country, therefore, they should sit and do nothing, and get housing, healthcare, education free,” he said during a panel appearance with world leaders at the forum.

In a February 2016 interview with UK Telegraph, Buhari dropped another clanger. He said the young citizens of his country have a knack for criminality and should not be granted asylum in the UK.

With the Buhari experience, it is indubitable that Nigerians must place a high premium on education — not just certificate – in choosing their leaders. The cost of electing leaders who do not have the intellectual grit to understand and handle matters is far too high.

The senate has asked the president to speak to citizens on this threat, and Nigerians are also asking the president to speak to them. This is an abnormality. Citizens must not beg to hear from their president. But because it is Buhari involved here, we have to beg and even excuse the crass inefficiency and vacuity.

Perhaps, the president is still trying to get a hang of it. I think he has ‘’capable handlers’’ who can break it down to him in ABC.

Mr President, speak to your citizens. The words of a leader are more resounding and assuring than the blandishment of proxies.

PS: Let’s follow all health protocol as advised by the NCDC.

• Wash your hands regularly with soap under running water.

• Cover your mouth and nose properly with handkerchief or tissue paper when sneezing and/or coughing. You may also cough into your elbow if a handkerchief is not available.

• Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

• Avoid self-medication, report to the nearest health facility when you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms.

Fredrick Nwabufo is a writer and journalist.

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Sanusi: Once Upon An Emir, By Wole Olaoye

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Dethroned Monarch, Sanusi

We are all potential Ex-es: ex-student, ex-director, ex-lecturer, ex-senator, ex-governor, ex-president, ex-oba, ex-emir…. The inimitable Zik famously reminded us when he had a spat with Ukpabi Asika that Ex was an inevitable prefix for any human being as was evidenced by the fact that a certain young man who would someday become an ex-Administrator, was the son of an ex-postmaster!

So, what’s so apocalyptic about Sanusi Lamido Sanusi joining the ranks of ex-potentates? Nothing? Everything! Don’t ever think that bell you are hearing is tolling for the former Emir of Kano. No. It could be signalling the beginning of a comprehensive demystification of traditional rulership by plebeians holding tenured political power. In centuries past, no plebeian messed with the traditional institution. The halo of nobility, the sheer vastness of a prince’s hereditary powers, rights and privileges, made the subject know his place.

Yesterday’s subjects are today’s political sovereign. They make no pretences to sophistication. They load a gun to kill a spider. When you dethrone a monarch and then deprive him of his liberty, forcefully banishing him to a place without electricity and potable water, you are playing god. If it was all a public relations Olympics, the calm dignity with which Sanusi handled the humiliation made people all over the world admire his chutzpa and hand him the gold medal. A

Life and its many puzzles! Why is it that for some men and women, “their sleep is taken away unless they cause some to fall”? What do you do about an ego that knows no satiation? As the Preacher in the Good Book timelessly says, “All the rivers flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full… The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear content with hearing… there is nothing new under the sun”.

The Yoruba have a poem that says just that. “The horse struts and frets and then dies. Being a veteran walker is no immunity to getting lost. Nothing new under the sun. I’ve seen kings reduced to slaves; and servants who mounted the throne. Haven’t my eyes beheld both river and sea? Haven’t I seen a hunchback on spindly legs, and a midget climbing a ladder to add condiment to the soup pot? Tell me, has anyone ever started a building from the roof?

The new Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, is a cousin of his predecessor. As royal intrigues go, when the dust is settled the sword will be sheathed and brother will embrace brother. That is the way of princes. Eventually, outsiders will realise that all they can ever be in palace politics is outsiders. Our very own Nobel prize winning Kongi was not amused by the scandalous extra-judicial detention of the former emir.

He put the emir’s travail down to his progressive stance: “Emir Sanusi was a one-man EFCC sanitisation squad in the banking system, taking on the powerful corrupters of that institution…. “Most important of all, and most pertinently for the nation, Sanusi was one of the early warning voices against religious extremism whose bitter fruits the nation is currently reaping….

The doors of enlightened society remain wide open to Muhammad Sanusi. As for his current crowing Nemesis, a different kind of gates remain yawning to receive him when, as must, the days of governorship immunity finally come to an end.” Support for Sanusi is not limited to radical voices.

Veteran technocrat Alhaji Ahmed Joda penned a panegyric in support of the ex-emir: “The purpose of this letter to you is not to commiserate with you, because I know that you must have known the likely consequences  of the principled position you have taken. The reality we must face in Northern Nigeria is that the evil forces of feudalism that have kept us in bondage for so long are still there and fighting. You have been the only voice that has been telling us this truth….”

It is easy to kick a man given a pin-fall by fate, or piss on the grave of a fallen warrior. Dead men don’t bite. Real friends show up when you are in life’s valley. Say what you will, I would rather have a friend like Nasir el Rufai when the chips are down. In the midst of all the turmoil, conspiracy theories have surfaced to the effect that the dethronement is but a political sleight-of-hand to propel Sanusi to Nigeria’s presidency in 2023. Caution! Let’s separate the issues. Political succession is totally different from fundamental human rights. Sanusi is not my next president.

My views on power rotation are well documented. The ex-emir will go down in history as a champion for the rights of the poorest of the poor. He advocated for a new Northern Nigeria where old backward practices such as the almajiri system and irresponsible parenting will be abandoned. His was the voice crying out in the desert, lift my people up from the cesspit of penury. The attempt to demonise him after dethronement through various allegations, including one on religious fundamentalism, is dead on arrival. The same fate will befall the vilification of El Rufai on account of his loyalty to Sanusi. Please quote me: Modern challenges can never be resolved with a resort to medieval solutions.

Christopher Hitchens’ Q&A may someday apply to the ex-Kings College boy who’s now an ex-king.

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Sanusi Dethronement: The North Only Beheads The Bearers Of Truth

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Emir Sanusi

By Fredrick Nwabufo

Northern Nigeria is prostrate. It is the axis of uglies – banditry, insurgency, kidnapping, diseases, ignorance, and drug abuse. Alas! The region’s elite are aware of the problems, but look away because the disequilibrious status quo sustains them. What is petrifying, however, is that they maul and clobber at anyone who spits the truth in their faces.

I think, this is the mortal sin of Muhammad Sanusi II, emir of Kano – beyond his politics with Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of Kano.

But wait!

The World Bank says 87 percent of Nigeria’s poor are in the north. And that while poverty is plummeting in the south, it is rocketing in the upper region.

READ: Dethroned Sanusi Will Be Under House Arrest – Ganduje’s Aide

“Poverty in the northern regions of the country has been increasing especially in the north-west zone. Almost half of all poor lived in the north-west and the north accounts for 87 percent of all poor in the country in 2016,’’ the Bretton Woods institution said in its report entitled ‘Advancing social protection in a dynamic Nigeria’ in February 2020.

In August, 2019, the federal government revealed that 1,460 people were killed by bandits in seven months. And that the north-west is the worst-hit by this bloody enterprise. The killings have steadied, expanding in proportion and execution in the region.

In his accustomed manner, Sanusi recently vocalised these depressing figures of retrogression in the north – as regards the World Bank report — earning himself praise from progressive Nigerians and reprimand from the usual suspects — those stuck in the cesspit of bigotry.

Also, the gadfly emir of Kano, whom I regard as the John the Baptist of the north for his vociferous condemnation of this status quo, is alone in his advocacy against irresponsible polygamy, Al-majiri and child marriage – practices the northern elite espouse. He is the face of a progressive north; the northerner of the new age.

As a matter of fact, on different occasions he had complained about the northern elite whom he said wanted to silence him for speaking the truth about the region.

‘’Our colleagues and compatriots among the elite do not like statistics. Numbers are disturbing. I recently gave a speech in which I said the north-east and north-west of Nigeria are the poorest parts of the country. This simple statement of fact has generated so much heat; the noise has yet to die down. The response to this speech has been a barrage of personal attacks and insults aimed at silencing any voices that dare shine the light on the society to which we are saying Bring Back our Girls,’’ he said at a lecture held to commemorate the Chibok girls abduction.

READ: Sanusi Breaks Silence After Dethronement As Emir Of Kano (Video)

And I guess they can only take the throne away from him but cannot take away his royalty in the community of decent humans. Really, I believe the emir would rather give up his throne than be gagged by the shareholders of iniquity.

To say the least, Sanusi’s dethroning was not unexpected. Ganduje had always shown his hand in this plot. Really, the emir of Kano never hid his dislike for him. But what is there to like about a governor who was allegedly caught on camera stuffing wads of dollars into his babariga? In the build-up to the 2019 governorship election in the state, the emir was not shy in expressing his disapproval to Ganduje’s candidature.

So, Ganduje, who considers Sanusi a ‘’loud mouth’’, plotted a bitter revenge after he was re-elected. He had moved to remove the emir in 2018 but for the intervention of some ‘’higher powers’’. However, he whittle-down the power of the emir by creating new emirates from his domain. He was not done though. He rustled-up allegations, set up probe panels – all in the desperation to embarrass Sanusi.

But Sanusi was still talking.

Really, one of the most abrasive places to exist is in the circle of non-progressives. You talk different, think different or act different, they will feel threatened. Even when you try to clown around; the aboriginal clowns will still feel threatened because you do not look the part.

I think, Emir Sanusi is light-years away from the people he is dealing with in Kano government. He is needed more at the top echelon of government where he can contribute more meaningfully to the development of Nigeria.

Northern Nigeria is not ready for an emir like Sanusi. He is ahead of his time.

Fredrick Nwabufo is a writer and journalist.

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