Democratic Mistakes–The falls of Titans.

The rise of any kingdom is much more easier than the stabilization and fall.  The medical death of an animal might still have biologically living organs or tissues that can be harvested for transplant or research.  Painfully popular Presidencies have been lost to the headiness of the candidates and the less openness of the advisory team executing the campaigns.  I have seen two in recent times, The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Nigeria and the Democrats in the United States.

In Nigeria, parties are along Power cabal lines than philosophical.  So the emergence of the Peoples Democratic Party was by the power brokers that needed a way to keep the Military from interference and solve the issue of the Chief Abiola, June 12 saga.  So the ease of access by Rtd Gen. Obasanjo in 1999 had the least of resistance.  The honey moon continued amidst the usual back stabbings and betrayals that is so eminent in Africa’s politics.   President Obasanjo’s handing over to Yaradua was not without it’s internal bickering, but Obasanjo had the cabal retired Military either silent or on his side.  Having ruled the nation for a long time their relevance is still yet to wane.

The death of Yaradua brought in Goodluck Jonathan, who seemed to always be a deputy that takes over from his Principal after some issue or the other.  Whether it was by default or manipulated, time and maybe his memoirs might tell us.  But that Zoology Professor, showed some un-readiness for the seat and rumours of his mistresses and wife being the Black Popes were not uncommon.    Jonathan’s greatest error was not being in direct touch with the people on the ground.   He was covered by the Aso realm that reality was taken far from his reach.  That might remind you of Abacha and the Mallams syndrome.  For example, a bomb explored in the North East with International Red Cross and USAID agencies reaching out to see how they can help, while the then President and Commander in Chief of Nigeria was watching a Command football performance, with serving Presidents from some African Countries and celebrities in another Southern state of Akwa Ibom.   The only time Goodluck saw it fit to visit the North East was during the ending days of the campaign, another grievous mistake.

Goodluck had issues with a number of his people, party persons and he just wont bulge? Obasanjo had to make public some letters sent to the President, causing quiet some unease for all, especially those close to the two. 

The selection of candidates to compete was not what any will call transparent as persons were not willing to face the wrath of the incumbent or be seen as not politically correct.  So having Goodluck and Buhari, was not so different than the Abiola vs Tofa elections though tougher.

Jonathan, left the hands that fed him and raised his electoral machinery of person wanting a bite of the National cake.  So the colossal funds raised, stolen and shared for campaigns only ended in peoples Farms, Toilet Soak a ways and water tanks, but not the electorates.   Campaign projects, done to showcase a sense presence in communities, were only heard in the news and not realities on ground.  Did Jonathan foresee his failing in the elections?  No, because that was actually his very first true elections, others were mere give aways. 

Could he have done it differently?  Yes, the ending game he employed in the North East would have been employed a year earlier, before the heating up of the campaigns.  He had a good followership in the Middle Belt, South South and South East.  He would have done much better in the other regions like the North Central, North West, North East and South West.  Though the elections was along party lines, but all knew that tribe, region and religion played their roles.  He would have been wise to get a deputy that was accepted by the North and not one that was rumoured to be from the south south and unable to recite the Quran.

Nigeria has still not learnt it’s lessons, as the incumbent might be facing the same forces that brought him in, bring in another person to power come 2019, unless Nigerians start seeing a people oriented change.   If you ask me, what Nigeria needs is not another mega – party, we need to start politics along Ideological divides, let us have issue driven political parties and not cabal -ization of power brokers.

Hilary Clinton, took the world by storm, when she came out for the Senate seat, she was everywhere and with everyone.  From Abuja, we received her emails engaging the electorates with their concerns and her intentions to address those concerns.  Her entre was glorious, but she made the mistake of not following up to develop her success for greater success.

Like Goodluck, Hillary had the good will of the incumbency to her favour, but what we did not see very glaring was the engagement of her Husband.  If you will recall, Obama was almost doing the same mistake, not engaging Bill Clinton during his campaigns, till the very end when the race was very tough, it was reported that Bill Clinton was on the Phone for a very long time call the many he could.  The report alone encouraged a lot of Bill Clinton sympathisers to vote Obama.  During Elections you need every resource.   We saw Bill Clinton sparingly and issues upon issues being raised were swept under the carpet.  Issue like the Pro – Lifers; LGBT; Evangelicals; Unemployment issues and Immigrants; Militant Islamism and American Policies.  These are issues that are so sensitive in America and should have been given a more careful treatment than was.

Why writing now?  Gambia has moved to the Opposition, Ghana is on the verge of another Elections, what should we expect?  It is my prayers that we will have a free and fair elections.  While wishing the best person for Ghana to win, It is my hope also that such a person will address the issues of Unemployment and Corruption that we hear cries of in Ghana.  This is an important economy that needs to be in the right for the benefit of the sub region and Africa as a whole.  God bless the people of Africa with leaders that are Africans at heart.  Happy elections Ghana.

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Kogi State Elections–The need for the right persons to win.

Kogi State, the Confluence state is one of the most important states in Nigeria blessed with the true heart of the Country.  Psychics, metaphysis and the mystics can quote me wrong, this is the actual Power State and not Niger.  This is a place that held the powerful river Benue and tied a knot of marriage with the very rich dynamic and very long river Niger, making them one and emptying their wealth into the Atlantic Ocean.   The name Nigeria, the natural divide of the Nation into three regions can be attributed to the rivers routes. No wonder the Colonials saw Lokoja as a fit Capital for the country.  In our primary school history names like Mango Park, Richard Lander,Lord Lugard the Clappertons are few of the names you hear associated with Lokoja, Kainji and a place New Bussa.

This is a state that mingles with the Igbos, Hausas and the Yorubas.  That is if you want to discount the other tribes, like the Edo/Deltans, The Nupes, The Gbagyis, the Egedes, Idomas, Tivs and the Ogoris.  Kogi State is so cosmopolitan that you will find all the cultures from time amalgamated at the Lokoja Confluence.  

For me, it became a home away from home, on a night we spent at an Okene Police Station avoiding arm robbers on the Okene – Auchi road, while travelling to University of Port Harcourt for a NIFES (Nigerian Fellowship of Evangelical Students) in 1983. Till date this state is sleepless with commuters traversing the North, South, East and West of the Country.

On resources, this is a state that could be the Industrial Capital of Africa, if the Steel Industry is steered rightly. With Cement, Agriculture and Fisheries, kogi can compete with any viable state.  With the dredging of the Niger to allow for an Inland Water port, Lagos might see some decongestion from importers/exporters.

It was the Ibrahim’s Administration I advised through Alh Habu, his son on the making Lokoja a Dubai in Nigeria, how? 

1. Simply create a big Industrial / Commercial layout off the Major Highway.

2 Remove / reduce taxes (give incentives).

3. Build the needed infrastructures to enable manufacturers / Importers, from Aba, Onitsha, Nnewi, Lagos, Ota, Ibadan to warehouse their products in Lokoja.

4. Do the same for Agricultural products from Kano, Sokoto, Maiduguri, Katsina, Kaduna, Bauchi. Plateau, Jigawa, Adamawa and Niger.

5. Get luxurious and Long distance transporters to Night stop in Lokoja with incentives.

6. Promote the Free Commercial / Trade Zone to business concerns in Nigeria, Chad, Niger, Benin Republic, Ghana, Togo, Central African Republic and Sudan.

7. Energise the Chambers of Commerce to carry on. 

8. Go and rest. 

That was the cursory proposal. I believe if that had been done, Northern business travellers will get goods cheaper in Lokoja, than Onitsha & Lagos at a much shorter time and so will southern travellers, instead of reaching Sokoto for Onions, it is at their doorstep and cheaper.  Lokoja is already a 24/7 town, business will now become so too.  Transport consumes so much of the traders profit, any means of reducing cost of transport will attract the worst cynic.

Nigeria is one country that is feeding so many countries in Africa through the informal channels and so marketing in far away Benin, Ghana, chad, Niger, Sudan et al is no waste.

Why am I drifting instead of speaking elections?  I will tell you.  The Tsunami or Hurricane called Buhari is not good for so many states and legislative seats, it brought in some people who have no reason whatsoever to be in leadership, as can be seen in their lack of vision.  They are still waiting for Buhari to cough from the centre, so they can catch cold, in this day of ‘business at the speed of thought’ (thanks to Bill Gate).  Kogi state electorate need to wise up and look between the candidates, then elect people they are sure have the interest of the state at heart and have the vision / capability to move the state forward.

This is not time for tribal, religious or party lines.  The best persons should be voted in.  What I pray for Kogi state is to see a state that can compete with Lagos in Internal Revenue Generation, a State where the potentials seen by the colonials (making it a capital) is exploited for Tourism and history.  A state where every state of the Federation will want to have a liaison office to cater for their persons and concerns.  A centre of Trade, Industrialization, Sports and Entertainment.  For once let us make the likes of the Attahs, Ado Ibrahims, Sunday Awoniyis, Adamu Attas et, al smile wherever they are that the labours of the heroes past are not in vain.  May God grant us a very Peaceful and Successful Elections.  May the Winners and Losers be humble / mindful of the fact that, it is not by their power or might; The Almighty, can raise or bring down whoever He wills and at whatever time.  Let us learn to give thanks to Him, whatever the outcome, because He knows what is best for the people.  In finality, Because some of us are praying, (we love our country), persons planning evil, should beware, the Nigeria’s change Mantra is divine, don’t be caught in the wrong.  God bless the Federal Republic.