By Erasmus Ikide
There is every reason to be apprehensive as the 2015 presidential election approaches. Not majorly because Nigeria as we know it might shrink on the pages of the world map as has been loudly predicted but because a certain Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria, TAN, is poised to rewrite the electoral law of this country. Its agenda and the forcible pimpernels who drive the group cast a slur on the dithering state of affairs on the presidency. TAN’s banal, lawless and propulsive avowal to continue its campaign for the reelection of President Goodluck Jonathan in 2015 against the grains of our electoral law which stipulates 90 days period of open campaigns clearly corroborated earlier indices that President Jonathan values his Aso Rock tenanc y more than the security of Nigerians.
The foul mouthed Methuselah or Olisa Metuh, the PDP propagandist Secretary barely belaboured his vanquished self that his party, the PDP and the presidency have no hands in TAN’s reelection campaigns for the president. How evasive can that be? The fact that key government officials, including the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, the PDP Governors and serving ministers such as Dr. NgoziOkonjo-Iweala, are part of the jamboree, moving from one geopolitical zone to the other collecting signatures, suggests that TAN is an organ of the PDP and President Jonathan’s campaign organisation.
The Presidency is not alone in the revolting TAN saga. The Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, which has a responsibility to regulate all electoral activities, including political campaigns has seemingly capitulated. INEC has become a pathetic aberration, a helpless umpire, driven primitively like a puppet by its master. With its compulsive silence, INEC has squandered the public trust it enjoys over the relatively free, and largely commendation Ekiti and Osun elections a few months ago. The cynicisms arising from INEC’s inability to rein in TAN, the PDP and the presidency to play by the electoral rules is such that dampened INEC’s assurances that it is capable of securing and guaranteeing a level playing field for all political parties as the 2015 elections approaches.
INEC must rise to the occasion and responsibly too, through official pronouncements and other punitive measures as a precursor towards the disbandment of any violating political parties or outright disqualification of erring candidate from contesting in the 2015 election. Nigerians are at a loss as to why INEC has not invoked the relevant electoral laws and bring sanction to bear on TAN, PDP and President Jonathan for doing violence to the rule of the game and the nation’s constitution he swore to protect. He owes it as a duty to Nigerians and the Constitution to uphold every letter in the statue book.
He owes it as a duty to disentangle himself from TAN’s falsehood, repulsive insult and the open mockery of the people’s sensibilities. Given the enormous resources at the disposal of the presidency and its robot TAN the people’s future and hope have been mangled by needless propaganda and violation of the ethical foundation of integrity – the basis of democracy. Our freedom from all forms of political manipulation is not guaranteed unless all democratic institutions perform their functions well. But these institutions are unable to do so because there is no independent check on the Presidency’s violation of democratic rules.
The malfeasance and gross abuse and barefaced aggression against the electoral law by the president and his hirelings are proverbial. Any further doubt that TAN’s campaigns and Jonathan acceptance and funding of the group has not blunted the edge of the taunted rule of law. The absurdity in TAN’s campaigns for Jonathan’s reelection is multifarious. Aside the illegality of the campaigns whose time is premature, the falsehood of president Jonathan outperforming his predecessors, even his equation with the like of Obama, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, among others in TAN’s bizarre, comical and desultory advertisement; it is the dramatisation of Jonathan’s failure to rescue the Chibok girls, and proceeded to use the same # tag and slogan as an anchor for his presidential restoration beyond 2015!
Is anyone conscious of the #BRING BACK JONATHAN 2015 banners donning TAN’s campaign venues across the country and its desecration of the struggle to free the Chibok girls held hostage by the Boko Haram militias over the last six months? Is it not possible for perceptive Nigerians to see through facade the wall of deception mounted by the president and the cacophony of voices represented by TAN? Can’t we root out this obscenity that has spiralled intermittently with us since the beginning of this Fourth Republic? It is safe to say that the attempt by TAN and their incredible followers to make a caricature of the nation is propelled by Jonathan’s relentless funding of the roughish and irritable group.
This captures Karl Marx’s exposition on materialism; that class interest, greed and hidden motives are the driving forces of vaunting ambition. As Marx said, ‘It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness.’ This is one of the clearest expositions of Marx’s materialist conception of history since most modern day philosophers agreed that economic factors play a crucial role in the shaping of social, cultural and political life. Briefly put, there is another anecdotal and ironic angle to TAN.
The sponsors of TAN are majorly people from the South-east zone of the country. Sadly enough, there is not a single good road to Eastern Nigeria! A trip to Anambra state recently to pay my last respects to Dr. Dora Akunyili invoked the 2012 River Niger horror flood and exploitation of the Eastern people’s emotive consciousness. Death toll from the flooding after a heavy rain and the release of water from a dam in Cameroon rose to 70, with some 120,000 people displaced, 61,000 quartered in 30 camps across the state.
Yet, TAN in daily advertisements in virtually all television stations anchored by Chief Zebrudia, continued daily deception by inundates Southeastern people and Nigerians at large with denuding falsehood. This deceit is further justified by the inclusion of Azikiwe and Ebele amongst the leader’s name. Painfully and pitifully, this is the Charlotte and hogwash Eastern Nigeria and other ethnically blindfolded Nigerians celebrate as governance. To make matters worse, the TAN campaigns are propelled by dishonesty characters whose sources of stupendous wealth are questionable. Also, from available evidence, some of the key personalities from the private sector associated with TAN at the highest levels are facing one case of corruption or the other with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
This is one of the absurdities of Jonathan’s administration that make a mountain out of the anti-corruption mole hill. There is nothing wrong for the president to seek to elongate his tenancy in Aso Rock, as long as the Constitution allows it, as it were. But everything is wrong when such elongation is prated on deception, ethnocentric manipulation, exploitation of the people’s emotive weakness, and the oppressive greed of the oligarchs.
Erasmus Ikhide is a public affairs analyst.