In a pivotal moment of decline, the Nigerian political class especially the mainstream opposition, have appeared to take over the serious business of providing scathing political criticism in the on-going presidential campaign.
To borrow a phrase from the left’s political canon, the APC chieftains are getting richer while the public is getting poorer from the failure to provide an authentic critique of the incumbent president and his administration.
There is no evidence to support the notion that Jonathan’s diehard critics are politically accurate or wise. The past few years, on the contrary, provide overwhelming evidence of the opposite – these critics employ every antic to exploit a political campaign with little more than personal attacks, cliches and dubious facts.
I am not saying that they are not citizens of Nigeria like everyone else, with the right to express their political opinions. In today’s Nigeria the kind of men APC parades are no more of any political relevance.
I am singling out a self-styled overlord on Bourdilon Road in Lagos, Nigeria, I mean the self-styled Asiwaju of the Yoruba race who is both leading and conducting a class war against President Jonathan, but that does not mean that I think there should not be a serious, thoughtful – even witty – and always accurate critique of the party in power and its candidates.
The Jonathan administration’s conduct of the last minute military campaign against the Jihadist insurgents Boko Haram to them appears a fair game for criticism. Had Jonathan begun fierce onslaught on the insurgents without the initial extension of the Olive branch, this would have been used against him by the same people who do not even see anything good about the success recorded so far by the Nigerian military under our Commander-in-Chief. Knowledgeable critics are better off identifying mistakes and proposing alternatives. That is the done thing in civilized societies.
We all know their antics. They have always damned every consequence , sometimes taking laws into their hands by doing everything within their bounds to smear Jonathan’s image all in a senseless bid to bring down the present regime , but this if, I dare say , amounts to transgressing the bounds of decency. In as much as I do not fault their campaign strategies but underplaying one’s efforts and image-smearing, character assasination are serious crimes in developed and civilized societies. This is gravely frowned upon here in the Old World. It is not in dispute that their job is to win , this should be within the ambit of law. This writer takes this as a bounden duty to help the public understand the issues with some degree of fairness and accuracy. Politics is not all about carrying clubs, sticks and cutlasses to bring down one’s political opponents. The APC must correct these mistakes if they are ever to be taken seriously by the Nigerian electorates. We are tired and obviously getting fed up with their politics of deception and heinous lies.
Mr. Buhari has refused to come out and tell us what exactly he intends to do for Nigerians via media debate. His major opponent President Jonathan has challenged him in a presidential debate and knowing full well he has nothing convincing to say has been shying away probably not to make himself an object of public ridicule like he did the other day by saying he alone could stabilize world oil price. A clear example that he lacks the willingness to communicate , persuade and roundly ignorant of what governance is all about. Ignoramus like him are better off tending flocks in the desert cotton fields of northern Nigeria. It is the duty of any political aspirant to tell the electorates at least in broad terms, how and why you are aspiring for any political office. An aspirant may pursue good policies, but in a representative democracy, the public has a right to know and evaluate such policies before pitching tents with you.
The opposition, however, abdicates its duty to explain why the president’s policies are not good, and to persuade the public that it has better policies, but in stead turns over its job to their partisans and sloganeers. In fact, the attacks on President Jonathan , a PHD by an ex-soildier whose educational qualification is under serious contention is amazing. An old man, an invalid who is senile and showing visible signs of dementia appears to be flexing muscles with someone who is a cut above him under whose wise leadership we rose to be come the biggest economy on the continent and the third fastest growing economy in the world. Buhari we have it on good authority did not see the four walls of a university anywhere under the sun. Governance is different from soildering, this is an incontrovertible fact.
The rhetorical attacks on President Jonathan have become a vicious cultural war whose vocabulary is slander, ridicule and distortion. The All Progressives Congress chieftains who have hijacked the social media to propage lies and deception are doing no service to Nigeria and Nigerians. Of greater consequence, they will not accomplish their goals.
Iyoha John Darlington , aka Lington Donovan, a social activist, political analyst and public commentator on national and global issues writes from Turin, Italy.