By Dickson Blessing
The former President of Nigeria Chief Olusegun Obasanjo spoke out his displeasure on the shift of the elections saying that President Goodluck Jonathan had forced the INEC chairman Attahiru Jega to shift based on the fact that he would loose the February 14th polls.
Chief Olusegun Obasanjo likened President Jonathan to the former Ivorian leader who he said kept shifting the date of the polls till he lost to the opposition party and refused to relinquish power to the opposition leader Alhassan Quattara therefore creating crises in Cote d’ Ivoire.
He said the action was a bad example of a democratic government and a part of the grand plan of the president to remain in power or create chaos for the country. He strongly refused that the elections were shifted because of the Boko Haram insurgency in the northeastern part of the country.
“I was outside the country when INEC announced the postponement. While I was out, I refused to make any categorical statement on this issue because I wanted to come back home and learn at first hand what actually transpired and what was going on, and it turned out to be a forced decision on INEC because it was alleged that the security chiefs were unable to provide security and, as a result, the chairman of INEC had to postpone, in accordance with the dictates of the so-called security chiefs.
“I thought, for me, that was bad precedent for democracy in Nigeria. It meant it doesn’t matter what preparation or lack of preparation any electoral body could make in Nigeria; the final decision whether election will take place on the day scheduled for it lies in the domains of the security, it is a sad day for democracy in Nigeria.
“And I will say this: we must all feel concerned before democracy is killed. The observable and what would appear to be happening is that the president has a grand plan, a grand plan to ensure that by hook or by crook, he wins the election or if it all fails, they scuttle it and create chaos, confusion and unpleasantness in the whole country.
“Because it is the duty and function and responsibility of the security officers to provide security, the President is the Chief Security Officer of the country and he is the Commander-in-Chief and if security is required anywhere, anytime, it is his duty to provide it. Failure to provide it is dereliction of duty, pure and simple.
“The President is following his own grand plan or his aides and associates are working a script, they are playing a script. What again it looks to me is that the President is trying to play Gbagbo.
“Gbagbo was the former President of Cote d’Ivoire and Gbagbo made sure he postponed the election in his country until he was sure he would win and then allowed the election to take place. He got an inconclusive election in the first ballot and I believe this is the sort of thing Nigeria may fall into if I am right in what I observed as the grand plan.
“And then in the run-off, Gbagbo lost with eight per cent behind Ouattara and then refused to hand over. All reasonable persuasion and pleading was rebuffed by him and he unleashed horror in that country until nemesis caught up with him. I believe that we may be seeing the repeat of Gbagbo or what I called Gbagbo saga here in Nigeria. I hope not.
“Jonathan is scared of handing over to Buhari because the president fears what his successor might do to him and others if he loses the presidential election. The service chiefs, who reportedly failed to guarantee security for the elections, ought to have been fired by the president.
”It was even made worse when the President in the media chat on the 11th of this month claimed not to have knowledge or not to have authorised it. I get worried, very worried that if the President of Nigeria is not in charge of security, maintenance of law and order and such a decision can be taken behind him, then, there is danger.
“Assuming that is true, then the President is not ruling and then who are the shadow figures who are ruling us? It means that one day, this country would be plunged into chaos, into commotion, into confusion and the President would say, ‘I do not know about it.’ Of course, President can run but he cannot run pass God.”
“I wonder what those security people are saying that they will finish Boko Haram in six weeks, what they could not do since 2009. Countries like Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Colombia have held elections in spite of ongoing wars.
“Boko Haram problem, as they are now, has been with us since 2009. So, to say that what we have not been able to achieve in six years, we will achieve in six weeks, let us wait and see, that would be my own thing but when people want to make excuses, they should look for excuses that are tenable.”