Monday, April 18, 2011

Goodluck Jonathan Finally Emerges as Nigerian President

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Article first published as Goodluck Jonathan Finally Emerges as Nigerian President on Technorati.

Dr. Goodluck Azikiwe Ebele Jonathan has finally polled over 25% in more than 24 states of the federation to emerge as the duly elected president of Nigeria in the April 16th 2011 Presidential elections (under the platform of the Peoples Democratic party) as required by the constitution. He was able to win in 22 states and also got the required 25% in 8 additional states to beat his closest rival Gen. Muhammadu Buhari of the Congress for Progressive Change.

Dr. Goodluck Jonathangot a total of 2.5M votes while Muhammadu Buhari got 12.2M. Former EFCC chairman Nuhu Ribadu and former Kano state governor Ibrahim Shekarau got 2.79M and 917,012 respectively. The result therefore implies there would be no run-off election since the winner was able to get the required 25% in more than 24 states.

Nigerians have voted overwhelmingly for the candidate of their choice irrespective of party affiliation. The voting pattern of the people has also shown that Nigerians are no longer interested in political parties but rather they are voting for people based on individual performances. The voting pattern shows that the areas won by some parties during the NASS were reclaimed by the PDP in the presidential polls.

Now that Nigerians have given their mandate to Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, it’s time for him to settle down and go to work after the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has declared the final result. The people are eager to see him perform this time, having been disappointed in time past by the ruling PDP.

During his campaigns he promised to focus on some important areas like Power, education, economy, etc when elected. He has now been given a golden opportunity to live up to his word. If he must achieve his dreams, he needs to shun party loyalty and appoint the best hands in the country to help in the nation building. There are so many technocrats in the country that are willing to assist him in making Nigeria great.

He should be willing to appoint the best hands into his government irrespective of the geopolitical zone, religion or political party. The mandate given him was not given only by his party. All Nigerians voted him, so he should be able to reach out to all and get them to help him achieve the best result.

He must also be aware that the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) which Muhammadu Buhari represents did not do too badly in the presidential polls and that Nigerians may decide to give their votes to CPC in 2015 elections if PDP fails to live up to their expectation now.

There should also not be segregation of those states or areas where he lost out. Everybody should be carried along in the spirit of good sportsmanship. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) should demonstrate they are mature enough to rule this country. They must embrace both their friends and their imaginary enemies and forge ahead in the interest of the country.

Everyone is optimistic a new Nigeria is possible. The people conducted themselves peacefully during the elections to show to the world they want a successful transition. They must not be disappointed by the ruling party or by the President.

Nigeria has by this conduct of a credible election demonstrated they could still be trusted by other African countries to lead the way and usher in a new Africa where leaders must merit the mandate of the people and not get into offices through stolen votes. Thanks to Professor Attahiru Jega who made this possible by living up to his reputation and has shown that massive rigging could be avoided in Nigerian elections.

We must also not fail to give credit to politicians who decided to drop their win-at-all-cost attitude to ensure a hitch-free election. Nigeria is really coming of age and in no distant time we will get to where we hope to be.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Bomb Kills 25 at INEC Office In Suleija - Where Do We Go From Here?

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Article first published as Bomb Kills 25 at INEC Office in Suleija – Where Do We Go from Here? on Technorati.

The office of the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC in Suleija Niger state was said to have been rocked by a bomb Friday evening, with just few hours to the National Assemblies’ elections.

According to Saturday Tribune, no fewer than 25 persons were killed with about 30 injured in the blast. 17 members of the National Youth Service Corps were said to have been killed in the incidence.

President Goodluck Jonathan has already condemned this heinous act and has also called on the country’s security apparatus to beef up security to enable people come out massively to exercise their franchise.

It is not understandable why any sane person should focus his/her anger towards poor youth corpers who are serving their fatherland and terminate their lives, making their parents not to enjoy the fruit of their labours.

There are always civilized ways of expressing one’s grievances; but the use of anger or terrorism is not one of them. Killing innocent souls who have got much to contribute to the future growth of the nation does not in any way make sense.

Nigeria’s democratic process is still emerging and requires everyone’s understanding and co-operation to make it get to the desired destination. Everyone should contribute his/her quota positively to make the nation an enviable one

Politicians must desist from the act of trying to secure a public position at all cost. Everybody must learn to be a good loser; you cannot kill people in order to get into an office. Anyone who kills in order to succeed should remember that death would be waiting at the door of his success.

Though it is not wise to make any definite statement while investigations are ongoing; it is wise to say that anyone linked to this barbaric act should learn to adopt the modern approach to conflict resolution and stop taking this country ages backward.

Every Nigerian has the right to move about freely without fear of victimization or intimidation. It has come to the point in our national history when we must understand that Nigeria is our collective responsibility which must be protected and respected.

People must learn to put the nation first before individuals’ personal selfish interests. It is only when we have come to realize we have no other country than Nigeria that everyone would treat his neighbour with love and seek to protect his/her interest before self.

Nevertheless, those in power should understand the need to have in place a workable mechanism for resolving conflicts within the country and never to treat important issues with levity. Security apparatuses in the country must wake up to their responsibility and provide adequate protection for the citizenry who cannot afford to hire private security to take care of them.

The average Nigerian must be security conscious and report any suspicious movement around their neghbourhood to ensure their lives and properties are not unduly exposed to danger. When security threats are reported, there should be prompt response by the security agencies to avert these kinds of national embarrassments.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Laurent Gbagbo Surrenders – Victory for African Masses

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Article first published as Laurent Gbagbo Surrenders – Victory for African Masses on Technorati.

The embattled Ivorian president Laurent Gbagbo has finally surrendered power to the acclaimed winner of last year’s presidential elections Mr Alasane Ouattara.

According to Radio New Zealand, the erstwhile president is already trying to negotiate with the UN to guarantee his protection.

Forces loyal to Alasane Ouattara have already taken over the key positions in the national capital Abidjan, including the president’s residence. The incumbent is now negotiating for a deal because his defense has now been overwhelmed.

The UN, AU and ECOWAS have all been calling on Gbagbo to cede power since it was clear he lost the election but all pleas fell on deaf ears. He is now considering that option when a lot of innocent souls have been sent to their early graves.

This still brings to question the kind of leadership Africans have had to grapple with for centuries. No one wants to accept defeat and no one wants to peacefully vacate his position. Some even see the seat of governance as their birthright and so would do anything humanly possible to cling to the reins of power.

Surprisingly, all through this period of political upheaval in Cote D’ivoire, ECOWAS and The African Union watched helplessly and failed to do anything tangible to curb the rate of violence and bloodshed that erupted after the elections. They kept buying to negotiate Gbagbo’s exit.

Even when at a time it seemed that Laurent Gbagbo’s loyalists would override the opposition, the ECOMOG troop stationed in the country waited endlessly to receive order from the powers that be in order to use military force to flush out the incumbent who refused to be a good loser.

It however took the intervention of the French troops to box Gbagbo into surrender. When would these regional powers learn to handle situations or intervene at the nick of time to avert the killing of unarmed innocent civilians?

The triumph of Outtara’s men over Lauraent Gbagbo and his loyalists is victory for the masses in Africa and indeed victory for democracy. It should send a warning signal to other leaders that there would always be people who are ready to defend democracy with the last drop of their blood.

Gbagbo has now understood that those who live in a glass house should not be the first to cast a stone. He started by carrying arms: he should understand that “he who lives by the sword dies by the sword”. Now that he has wasted so many innocent lives, he should not be thinking of how to preserve his. Those lives he wasted were as important as his.