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Frisky Larr (MA)
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Bochum, Germany
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Now That the Die is Cast!

 

The painful belly-landing suffered by Ciromaís mafia group that trailed the defeat of Atiku in the PDPís primaries will now be followed by another demystifying humiliation of everything Ciroma and his archaic group stands for. I honestly, cannot see Goodluck Jonathan losing the presidential election, rigging or not!

Anything outside a Jonathanís victory on April 09, 2011 will be a huge upset and absolutely unexpected.

Now that the rumble is ending and we are counting the costs in material and human losses, sober reflection is begging to crave in when the die is cast in a matter of days. It has been a hectic few weeks of campaigning and soliciting votersí attention and patronage.
 

President Goodluck Jonathan started well in advance. His opponents were still busy fighting over the adequate running mate and the suitable format of an impressive campaign train. Architect Sambo had long become a household name in the realms of the incumbencyís routine.

One after the other, the opponents of the President pulled one disappointment in systematic succession. The voting populace often greeted every action with consternation and endless frustration. Buhari pulled the first surprise in his choice of a running mate. Observers expected anyone, but not an extremely inexperienced celestial megaphone of mock-politicking. The preacher man who was well known and perhaps most desired in the theatre stage of playing the political conscience of a visionless playground, was suddenly declared a Vice Presidential candidate. A candidate to whom the destiny and future of Nigeria should be entrusted in the event that something happens to incapacitate Muhammadu Buhari Ė assuming he wins the Presidency! Tunde Bakare is a Preacher man and the head of a celestial church called Latter Day Rain, known for prophesies, visions and militant prayers. He heads a church that is a symbol of the credibility crisis rocking the Christian religion of todayís Nigeria. A section of society filled with fake prophets, prophesies, visions and mass deception.

Buhari had a different mindset and followed a different line of reasoning. He had carved out a profile for his VP to be. A Southerner, non-Muslim (to shed the persistent media ballast of portraying Buhari as a Muslim fanatic) and a well exposed radical! But Buhari considered little of the credibility angle. The first voices that unleashed venom on the BB Ė for Buhari/Bakare Ė team (now ridiculed as Bed and Breakfast team) accused Bakare of having used the status of the man of God with visions and prophesies (that were not always true) and vocal frontliner of the Save Nigeria Group as a launching pad for political ambitions. Some saw it as blasphemy. Many admirers however, see his inexperience as an asset that keeps him off the line of fire since he has no track record of stealing government funds. All-in-all, Buhari pulled a surprise that was not pleasant to an overwhelming majority of political analysts and learned observers.

The ACN quickly followed suit. It denied zoning the Presidency to Northern Nigeria. Yet it had no single candidate from any other geographical region to color its intra-party voting routine. Candidates were imposed at different levels by party leaders in a mafia commando style. And they did not deny it. They came out openly and tried to make sense of all the awkward actions. Dramatically, all candidates pulled back and only one Presidential candidate was left. His name was Nuhu Ribadu. I jubilated personally and praised the day that this man was given to the common voter. But my joy soon gave way to shocking sobriety. News made the round that the beneficiary was someone else. His name was Asiwaju Tinubu. He led his party to working assiduously with a view to fusing up with Buhariís CPC. The reckoning was to have Tinubu as Buhariís running mate, while Ribadu would have stepped down graciously.

In the end, personal association with Nuhu Ribadu would have boosted his credibility rating while Ribadu himself would have gotten the exposure he needed and three good birds would have been killed with just one stone. Tinubu was a man of the game. But Buhariís obstinacy and commitment to principle stood in Tinubuís way. Tinubu then ate the humble pie and let Ribadu be. But not before opening another controversial chapter. I was sure that Nuhu Ribadu would be a formidable opponent for President Jonathan. I thought he and the people around him were serious about the business of becoming President. They messed it all up in their choice of a running mate. As if they had taken leave of all their senses, they settled for a name, which I still do not know as I am writing and today is Sunday the 27th of March 2011. A few days away from polling and there are many more like me! For the handlers of Ribadu, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was too strong a personality to work with and therefore, does not qualify for a running mate. In plain language, it means she is too strong to manipulate. That was the day they began to kill Ribadu in installments. Nuhu Ribadu finally killed his candidacy when he began to attack Jonathan for not honoring the zoning arrangement and thus contesting the Presidency.

For one, it was a Party affair that concerned the Presidentís party and not Ribaduís ACN. Secondly, as a gallant figure widely perceived as detribalized, Ribadu should have known better if he had to express an opinion on the issue at all. I, as a campaign adviser, would have cautioned him to be deliberately ambiguous in any public statement on zoning. He should perhaps have criticized Jonathan alright but never fail to add too that the North should as well take a back seat having ruled Nigeria for so long. This singular message would have endeared Ribadu to the heart of very many admirers from different camps given his previous antecedents. Ribadu should have fought a campaign deliberately reminiscing on John Jerry Rawlings for public perception. But his advisers misled him into focusing on efforts to position himself as an alternative Northern Consensus candidate following the clearly foreseeable demise of Atiku Abubakar who killed and buried his presidential dreams in his Harakiri fight of 2006. Ribadu was misled into suddenly attacking Jonathan rather than concentrating on issue-based campaign and promoting himself with all seriousness.

While all these were happening, Jonathanís campaign train was already reaching out into several corners of the country attracting followers and patronizing traditional rulers in chameleonic costuming. It does not help much that faint-hearted attempts were made to capitalize on Jonathanís blunders of addressing people as ďRascalsĒ. The campaign gift of the release of Bode George and the frenetic reception accorded him by a party seeking to be taken seriously as a redeeming leader came too little and too late for the opposition parties because the opposition parties were too clueless on how to capitalize on the manna from heaven. The fracas in Ogun state was obviously not recognized by the opposition as an issue that could have been reflected, exemplified and exacerbated to mould an adequate picture of a party that is tied with the multi-directional figments of conflicting interest groups. Buhari did not use it. Neither did Ribadu.

A few days ago, President Jonathan rounded up his campaign and the Presidential debate boycotted by Ribadu and Buhari (by prior announcement) will be the finishing line.

But the campaign trail leaves a path of blood that has been spilled in broad daylight by careless campaigners. Powers are usurped in government and in opposition. The stateís monopoly of force and power is openly challenged by thuggery and private armies and militancy. A trail of arson, looting and maiming is the track that we can see. Vehicles burnt and houses set ablaze. It is a bad omen for the target date of April 9, 2011.

In spite of all that though, there seems to have been an involuntary collaboration to handover the Presidency to Goodluck Jonathan. Buhariís seeming arrogance, taking for granted that the voters know his antecedents in the hope that a pastor's followership will be of help and Ribaduís absolute amateurish organization and campaign movement all represent a virtual handover on a platter of Gold, of the Presidency to Goodluck Jonathan.

It does not matter at all that the self-imposed Northern eldersí forum led by Adamu Ciroma is withholding its support for Goodluck Jonathan. The time is simply too short for any meaningful harmful manipulation to stop a Jonathanís victory. The President was now confident enough, having consolidated his hold on power over the past few months, to now defy the northern mafia and call off negotiations with them in their bid to secure assurances from the President. Who would have imagined that in November 2010 when the cabal held sway with the Ciroma mafia hovering in the background?

The painful belly-landing suffered by Ciromaís mafia group that trailed the defeat of Atiku in the PDPís primaries will now be followed by another demystifying humiliation of everything Ciroma and his archaic group stands for. I honestly, cannot see Goodluck Jonathan losing the presidential election, rigging or not!

Anything outside a Jonathanís victory on April 09, 2011 will be a huge upset and absolutely unexpected.

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