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Presidential poll as cauldron of intrigues

Published by The Nation on Sun, 08 Mar 2015

No fewer than three main plots are believed to be afoot in the run-up to the March 28 presidential poll. First, it is suggested that President Goodluck Jonathan, believing he would be defeated in the poll, is intriguing to either postpone the polls or contrive an indefinite postponement. The president, the speculators suggest, is unmindful of the legal or constitutional implications of another postponement or cancellation. That he will not stand on any solid ground, they say, is not enough reason to dissuade the president from attempting that contrivance. Should Dr Jonathan proceed to give life to this plot, he will find ready support in Governor Ayo Fayose, that mindless proponent of crazy schemes, and other likeminded purveyors of subterfuges.Second, it is also suggested that Dr Jonathan, having sworn not to hand over to a disfavoured successor, may be scheming for the emplacement of an interim government, for which he and his supporters might already be shopping for candidates. Former president Olusegun Obasanjo is thought to have spied on this scheme much earlier than most Nigerians, and has frantically warned that the president was reenacting the Ivoirien stalemate that led both to a short but brutal war and the disgrace and trial of former Cote DIvoire president, Laurent Gbagbo, and his wife. The president has denied the existence of such a plot, but news and speculations of the scheme have endured. In fact, a recent Abuja court order mandating INEC to register the Young Democratic Party (YDP) and include it on the ballot is cited as an indication of the tightening plot against the election. This seemingly innocuous but anomalous judgement is believed to be designed to provoke a postponement of the polls.Third, there is a massive, relentless, incoherent and illogical campaign to replace the INEC chairman, Attahiru Jega, a professor of political science. The campaign is orchestrated by indulgent Niger Delta politicians sated with oil money, and leading PDP officials corrupted by power and largesse, who have even gone ahead to call for the abandonment of PVCs and card readers. Some Southwest politicians in the PDP and Afenifere whisper their support. Indeed, no day breaks without one powerful group or another calling for the head of Professor Jega, with some of them, like Mr Fayose, encouraging the president to fly in the face of common sense by either sacking the INEC chairman or sending him on leave. Heavens will not fall, says the truculent Mr Fayose. Though the president has denied any intention to remove Professor Jega, he has a history of not meaning most of what he says, a culture that has led his loyalists to continue exerting pressure on him to dispense with Professor Jega. The plot against the INEC chairman is designed to complete the three legs of determining the outcome of the polls in favour of the president and his party.In the days ahead, many more plots will manifest with the intent to shape Poll 2015 outcomes. But it is well known that deliberate and artificial concoctions and manipulations that undermine popular will often end tragically for a scheming government. There is nothing to indicate Dr Jonathans schemes would end differently. If in doubt, aspiring schemers should ask the United States where their short-sighted intervention in Iraq and the regime change they inspired led them. Did it not birth ISIS, destabilise Iraq, give the hated Iran the upper hand in the region, complicate Syrias manifold troubles, and completely undermine the so-called New American Century, a trashy piece of ambitious internationalist theory of American foreign policy'The post Presidential poll as cauldron of intrigues appeared first on The Nation.]]>
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