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Gov Dickson: Much ado about congratulatory message


One is amused by Dickson’s lamentations that Buhari is not following in the tradition of Jonathan by sending him a congratulatory message on his recent victory. 

According to the Yoruba people of South West Nigeria, “pele, ni ako, oni abo”, literally meaning that to say sorry or apologetic, has the genuine and mischief intent and this much was also emphasized in a song by a popular juju musician who sang that, “Ore tani ko feni loju, ata ni yen fi senu” meaning that “With a certain category of friends, one doesn’t need an enemy”.

Thus, one has observed amusingly how some people and groups continue to delude themselves in mouthing and propagating the democratic credentials of ex-president Goodluck Jonathan as though he ruled on another planet or that we don’t have memory just because it is said that, man’s memory is short, which is a metaphorical way of emphasizing that the greatest tragedy that has befallen man, is his failure to learn from history, which allows history to always repeat itself.

Surprisingly, since his electoral victory at the just concluded 2016 Bayelsa state gubernatorial polls, one is amused by incumbent governor Seriake Dickson lamentations that President Buhari is not following in the tradition of ex-president Jonathan, by sending him a congratulatory message on his recent victory. But you may want to ask, what does it matter?

In case, Mr. Dickson does not know or pretends not to know, the office of the Presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria is too busy and serious an office, charged with ameliorating the economic, political and social condition of the Nigerian people, than to be saddled with such things as sending congratulatory messages to winners in an election. 

Also, one can help educate Mr. Dickson, that President Muhammadu Buhari as a man of discipline and character, but not a messiah or saint, is serious, focused and committed to the larger Nigerian project and the Herculean task of recovering our land from years of pillaging and plundering and thus will not be moved to follow in his predecessor’s footsteps of playing to the gallery and trying to cover up on unsuccessful plots to undermine democracy through a congratulatory message which adds no value to the democratic tenets in dire need of strengthening by allowing the institutions to function unhindered and independently. 

Looking back in history, we recollect how Governor Adams Oshiomhole won the Edo state governorship election for a second term in 2012 by shining his eyes and raising alarm very early on election day, about how the election seemed programmed to produce a winner not based on the people’s vote, though the Comrade Governor won the election due to the people’s vigilance, but we all know better the roles played by the institutions.

We also remember how ex-President Goodluck Jonathan congratulated ex-Governor Peter Obi of then APGA in Anambra state and incumbent Governor Olusegun Mimiko of then Labour party in Ondo state on their victories at the states gubernatorial elections in 2013.  

Nonetheless, it is very important for us not to overlook ex-President Jonathan’s democratic credentials in view of ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo’s open letter to him in December 2013 which highlighted the indiscipline and anti-party activities of the former President of mortgaging his party fortunes at the polls for personal reasons.

We recollect also, how Ekiti and Osun states, two states under the political control of the then opposition party, the APC were virtually placed under siege by the federal government during the 2014 gubernatorial elections through the deployment of an armada of forces of violence both uniformed and unidentified as well as in hoods with the sole agenda of undermining the democratic wishes of the people as expressed at the polls.

The Ekiti and Osun states gubernatorial elections was more of a war like situation because the federal government acted out the script of the statements expressed by then ex Vice President Nnamdi Sambo at a PDP campaign rally in Ekiti state, where he stated that his party was going to war in the elections and truly, it played out as the then opposition party officials and members were barred from entering the state, arrested, brutalized and detained before and during the elections by security goons in utter desperation to subvert the democratic wishes of the people.  Even, journalists were not spared of the intimidations and harassments.

While the plot was successfully executed in Ekiti state and produced Mr. Ayodele Fayose of the PDP as the winner, it failed miserably in Osun state due to the vigilance and resilience of the people which manifested in the re-election victory of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola of the APC. 

Though, ex-President Goodluck Jonathan in his usual style of covering up his anti-democratic tracks congratulated the winners of both elections, but the result of the successful coup against democracy, was exposed publicly via the confessions of an army captain in what is today derisively known as Ekitigate. 

With the electoral loss of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan at the 2015 general  elections, the Nigerian army was forced to eat the humble pie in order to save our democracy, national integrity and restore the battered image of the military as a result of its compromised, indisciplined and brigandage conduct in the discharge of its primary responsibility at elections by the previous government, when it constituted an investigative panel to examine the misconduct of its personnel at previous elections including that of Ekiti and Osun states gubernatorial polls and the outcome of that panel is out today in the public domain.

So far, despite the challenges associated with the two gubernatorial elections conducted under his watch in Kogi and Bayelsa states, Nigerians are living witness to the absence of the anti-democratic actions of the immediate past of arrest, brutalizations and detention of political opponents before and during the elections as well as the noninterference of the Buhari Presidency in the elections which has produced victors from the camps of both the APC and PDP.  

For us, this is a welcome development which is appreciated and should be built upon, rather than subverting democracy and using congratulatory messages as a smokescreen.

As Governor Seriake Dickson continues to lament the absence of a congratulatory message from President Muhammadu Buhari of which even the President’s party member who won in Kogi state didn’t benefit from and is not complaining, may we admonish Governor Dickson to rather focus and re-dedicate himself to governance for the benefit of the average Bayelsan, because we are unsure if such a message will ever come from this federal government which is focused and too busy to be bothered with such.

Nelson Ekujumi

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