2011: Yar’Adua should go home and look after his health
By Danlami Maitaba
Now that the National Secretariat of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has confirmed the receipt of a recommendation from its Governor’s Forum requesting automatic second term tickets for its governors and President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, it is now very clear that neither the party nor its timid, sycophantic state governors care about this country.
First of all, automatic ticket is undemocratic. Any governor or elected official who desires a second term of office should submit him or herself to a free, fair and transparent primary. He or she should be courageous enough to submit his or her record in office to public scrutiny. This is what obtains in the civilized world. Automatic ticket is a vestige of the dictatorial, do-or-die Obasanjo era. It is such undemocratic policies that have led us into this cul de sac today.
It is shocking that some people have started to drum up support for an automatic second term ticket for Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in 2011. What has he done to deserve it? What does he have to show for the 20months he has spent so far? Should the presidency of Nigeria be awarded casually by lily-livered state governors to a man who has so far demonstrated no physical or mental ability for the job? Let the truth be told: this is the most incompetent administration in post-colonial Nigeria – even by the nation’s low standard.
It is quite obvious that the PDP and its governors do not love this country. They do not want this country to ever rise from squalor and under-development. Selfish interest is what is currently driving the frenzy to adopt a sick man to continue to run down a sick and fragile nation. Promoters of automatic ticket are desperate to preserve their present positions or loot. This is why they dislike competition. This is why they cannot stand any system that will subject their records to public scrutiny.
If the PDP still has a few good men and women, they must resist this undemocratic move to return all elected officials to their offices without primaries and perhaps without the headache of elections. Democracy has suffered so much under PDP and it is in danger of being laid to rest in Nigeria if the PDP continues to run its affairs and those of the nation in such a primitive manner. If the party insists on foisting its brand of democracy on all of us, we will have no choice but to rise against the party in 2011. Ruling parties have been defeated in free and fair elections in Africa . Nigeria will not be an exception. The PDP can be kicked out of power in 2011 as long as other political actors ensure that the elections are not conducted by Maurice Iwu and his voodoo team.
Yar’Adua promised to implement a seven-point agenda on assumption of office in May 2007 following a rigged presidential election. Today, the seven-point agenda has become empty slogans on NTA. Staying alive seems to be his sole preoccupation today. Similarly, he promised to declare emergencies in Power and Niger Delta. Nearly two years after, power has worsened with 140million Nigerians having to share a little over 2000 kilowatts of electricity. The Niger Delta has become a den of kidnappers, bunkerers, and gun-totting hooligans. Oil production in the region has dropped by as much as a quarter of the national output. The National Currency, the Naira, has under Yar’Adua’s watch, become a wheel barrow currency. The stock market has lost more than half of its value. After years of denial, the Nigerian government is now scrambling for measures to stem the impending economic collapse.
Meanwhile, our physical and social infrastructures are near collapse. This government has not sunk one borehole in two years or constructed a kilometre of road. Few public utilities are working. War on corruption has become a huge joke. A former governor who is standing trial for corruption is now the nation’s unofficial Prime Minister. Ex- convicts have been employed to oversee our oil facilities. INEC is still under Iwu’s watch. The promises of electoral reforms remain a mirage. Constitutional review is being deliberately stalled at the National Assembly. Never has our nation fared so badly. Yet, Yar’Adua’s people have begun scheming for a second term because they think that we do not deserve a better government. If we do not stop them now, they will gather around Yar’Adua’s sick bed late next year to adopt him unanimously as the PDP flag bearer in 2011. He does not need to campaign. He will “win” the election with 99 percent of votes cast – by the grace of Iwu. This will surely come to pass unless reason prevails within the PDP and unless Nigerians vote against the party and its culture of mediocrity.
Nigerians should ask Yar’Adua to go home and look after his health in 2011. It will be selfish of him to insist on running. Any party that fields him does not and should not deserve a single vote from us. It makes no sense to hang on to power when such power is not being used to serve the people.
Danlami Maitaba lives in Bakori, Katsina State .