2011 Elections: Maj Gen Buhari and Pastor Bakare at Chatham House to reflect on nation's best poll

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Tears drop....
I received an invite to an event at Chatham House entitled Nigeria’s 2011 Elections: Reflections on the process and prospects for Nigeria with the former CPC Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates Major Gen Muhammadu Buhari and Pastor Tunde Bakare as key note speakers, the event was over subscribed with all places given out to the point that it was standing room only at the back.

As was later apparent it was not just the usual coterie of journalists, activists, NGO’s and random Nigerians but several fully paid up members of the Goodluck Jonathon bandwagon in the audience.

Nigeria Marches on
The event started at 6.00pm Nigerian time (i.e. 6.10pm) with the able moderator Dr Titi Banjoko putting us all firmly in our places by reminding us of the importance of keeping to the allotted times and not asking over long questions when the Q & A section came about, for a second I thought I was back in secondary school so powerfully did she put her points across.

Gen Buhari then spoke and to be brutally honest I was for the first time since April secretly relieved that Dr Jonathon won. In as much as the good Doctor has the public presence of a gently floating canoe it was difficult to understand a word Buhari said.

I am extremely proud of my Nigerian accent but I think it is imperative that the President of the Federal Republic is at least able to speak clearly in the lingua franca of our country. He introduced Bakare, explaining that how he selected him as his running mate on the back of his SNG efforts and revealed the joker in the pack, Nasir el Rufai was in the house as well. 3 for the price of 2!

Buhari and Bakare

It was with visible relief all round that he handed over to Pastor Bakare for whom public speaking is his daily bread and he did not fail to deliver with a composed rendition.

He began by emphasising that this presentation was by the Buhari-Bakare Campaign organisation not CPC and followed up a PowerPoint presentation covering the various documented riggings of PDP from underage voters, to falsified collation documents to violence against CPC officials.

He stated that from his own experience the tag of most free and fair was false observing that in his own election ward accreditation, voting and counting were fair and free up until the time came for collation. He made particular mention of the spectacular turn outs and results allegedly posted in the south-south and south-east, contrasting it with a single newspaper report in which Gov Amaechi of Rivers State stated there was a low turnout yet that region posted turnouts in the high 96%s.

It was a good performance and like all good stories had a heavy element of truth in it but once the Q & A started the cracks began to show. The most curious aspect of the Q & A was watching Buhari pass up the opportunity to answer the initial questions to Bakare As has been mentioned above, public speaking is not his forte but it was a little disquieting to watch a man ‘who would be King’, failing to impose himself upon an audience which was liberally sprinkled with his supporters.

The initial spread of questions ranged from whether they thought they would have won the south east or south south rigging not withstanding, what exactly did they seek to gain by the tribunal, whether they were alleging CPC did not rig, as well as some decidedly feminine ones about why they cried on the campaign trail. The answers were in part illuminating and in part empty.

The illumination came with Gen Buhari, stating that CPC was not a saint in terms of rigging, in response to the question about the desired outcome from the tribunal was that they wished to ensure that the system was cleaned up in order to attract the best and the brightest back to Nigeria and into Nigerian politics.

There was however very little substance about future intentions or their plans for the future. A pertinent question was whether the General would resume his place at the council of state to which he gave a non committal answer.

It is beyond dispute that there was rigging in the Presidential election going to the banana republic extremes in the south south and south east. It is worth noting that it was the south eastern and south south states with the worst performing governors where rigging was at its worst, however there was no argument given that showed CPC would have won or even performed creditably in those states. The other salient point is that despite the fact that disgruntled CPC voters were sufficiently excised to commit murder, arson and attempt regicide they were not sufficiently motivated to vote in any more than one CPC Governor despite having swept the north in the Presidential election. Its also instructive that Bakare could not even deliver his own state to CPC as well.

What this indicates is a party limited to the personal appeal of a single individual who has the ability to command adoration amongst one section of society and alienate the rest. It is hard to imagine Igbo’s, Ijaws, Ikwerres, Efiks and co voting for a Fulani General, especially when he has not taken the time to explain his case to them in detail.

Despite the spread of questions the opportunity apparently did not arise to question the duo about the post election violence and their sluggish response and condemnation of it. Whilst no one would state that CPC or Buhari or Bakare were responsible for the actions of the mobs there was a complete lack of corporate responsibility in the aftermath of the polls that did nothing to enhance their statesmanship or calm down the crisis.

Other utterances attributed to Pastor Bakare referring to certain people as bastards unworthy to be leaders of particular groups further adds to this impression and further deepens the depression of those who seek a change in Nigeria’s polity.

There were several surreal moments at this event, the first being when a man’s phone went off with the Islamic call to prayer, there were nervous mutterings in the audience as to whether Boko Haram had reached London as he struggled unsuccessfully to switch it off, all the while Pastor Bakare carried on barely missing his stride. Dr Banjoko’s stern visage was such I was expecting her to tell him to kneel down and hands up and balance the phone on his head.

The second event was as participants exited the building we were met with a well dressed man and lady (who had really lovely eyes) giving out 3 books with one of GEJ’s quotes, one about the ‘successful’ election and the 3rd about GEJ’s campaign. When your journalist queried what the books were in aid of and who paid for them , the pair became very interested in who we were and who we represented, we never got a straight answer from them, we were asked to wait around to speak to Oronto Douglas. The good fellow never made an appearance and after the pair saw my colleague and I greet Pastor Bakare and try and get some quotes from him, they became extremely frosty. I guess they must have had some left over books or money from one of the multifarious endorsement campaigns and decided to contribute to our education, out of interest I would strongly, strongly recommend GEJ hires the likes of Chimamanda Adichie or Biyi Bandele as his ghost writer as I am yet to see a more turgid collection of writing in modern political history.

The only way to either defeat PDP or force them to clean up their act is a strong credible opposition. The strongest opposition party in Nigeria right now is ACN and with the exception of Fashola there is a strong whiff of more of the same about them, even if they did take the presidency.

A country in which we have an Islamic insurgency in the North, a polluted, blighted Niger Delta, no power, no refineries, in which it takes a month to select a cabinet where governors build international airports in their mothers and fathers villages but can’t seem to figure out that good roads and potable water are more relevant to ordinary Nigerians we are in desperate need of a loyal, credible, competent opposition.

So far we are still waiting.

 

Source: Rally For Nigeria

1 COMMENT

  1. [The group in a statement, by its coordinator, Chief Lambert Igboanugo, said: “If the truth must be told, Gen. Buhari used his presentation of his account of the 2011 general elections, at Chatham House, London, to display his ignorance of Nigerian law on contempt of court.]
    Somebody like Rev. Tunde Bakare, we learnt he is trained as a lawyer and we wonder if this is true, how can he let himself be dragged into this kind of jingoism and effrontery! Think for a moment if Gen. M. Buhari were the current Head of State of Nigeria and Dr. Jonathan prides himself in this manner! You will recall what Gen. Sani Abacha did to MKO in spite of the fact that he (Chief Obiola) was truly the winner of the election that year, 12th June 1993 – it was obvious to every Nigerian even to the International observers who witnessed the exercise! We read the same kind of remonstration from IBB last week, taking a swipe on the President about crises in the country (in the form of a lecture) suggesting that they are probably now in the (futile) game of ganging up to embarrass the present administration! Surely their aides or advisers are not giving them the right advice; they are more or less putting/showing them forward as not that informed about Constitutionality and the role or essence of leadership! That they were once Heads of State of Nigeria does not mean that they should not respect Nigerian law about ‘collective responsibility’ particularly as they are part members of the Council of State in Nigeria, folks! I mean we saw Prime Minister Gordon Brown leave 10 Downing Street with his wife and children on foot for that matter, after his party’s failure to negotiate a coalition government – he left on foot not even in a chauffeur driven car!
    You have taken part in an election and result pronounced against your efforts and behold you have gone to the Tribunal to seek for redress or interpretation of your suit against INEC, in fact! What remains is that you should wait and let the Tribunal decide and not pre-empt it by way of disrespect of the authority – he and Rev. Bakare should have been advised by the British press or government that what they did was ‘sub judice’ and could carry sanctions if the Judiciary wants to rough it out with the both of them! Gen. M. Buhari said much earlier that he would not go to any Tribunal, in other words, he will not challenge the result! All of a sudden he is out in London talking about the exercise as if Dr. G. E. Jonathan conducted the election himself and pronounced the results! As far as we know and the International observers saw it all, the election was peaceful, fair and free!
    What the two and others engaged in this kind of exhibition are doing is trying to constitute that dog in a manger (dog-eat-dog) position in the hope that the efforts in Nigeria – the movement for ‘change’ can be stalled, we say God forbid! It is surprising that U. K. government is seen aiding and abetting this kind of political lectures or demonstration knowing very well that the issue they came with (the theme), is still in the Tribunals back in Nigeria and therefore being Nigerians, the act is sub-judice in legal parlance! More over, Gen. M. Buhari overthrew Alhaji Shehu Shagari’s properly constituted civilian administration in a coup-de-tat 1993 December – what now appears to political observers as double standard, in fact, if we are to go by that British widely accepted Rule of Law Doctrine, folks!
    Mark you lest we forget, Gen. Buhari ousted the Nigerian properly constituted civilian administration of Alhaji Shehu Shagari in December 1983 therefore; He who wants equity, in legal parlance, must per force do equity – let them wait for the Tribunal’s ruling! A pity that they have been on this seat for too long, enjoying the perquisites in the corridors, such that they almost forget that somebody else needed to try also to afford us in Nigeria, the opportunity to discover who is doing the right things for (understands) the people – sadly they want their fingers on the ‘pie’ always in that mundane spirit of having a hold onto the ‘fort’, folks!