We are at one with the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in condemning President Goodluck Jonathan and the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for their brazen effort to hoodwink Nigerians by kick starting the 2015 election campaigns before the time specified in the election timetable released by INEC. The president has been going round the country for so called solidarity rallies which are nothing but campaigns for votes in elections that still are a year away.
How else can one describe rallies where the President, top government and party officials are all dressed in party colours and openly condemning the opposition APC while calling for Nigerians to vote PDP in coming elections. At one such rally in Enugu recently, the President vowed that his party would take all the South-east states in 2015. At that rally also, governors of the PDP in the South all lined up in calling on Jonathan to declare his intention to run in the coming presidential election. Now if that is not a campaign, we wonder what else to call it.
In a statement it issued subsequently, the APC rightly pointed out that: “Hiding under nomenclatures, this President has led his party to engage in brazen lawlessness and shameless impunity. They have gained an undue advantage over other parties, or beaten the gun, in athletics parlance. Therefore, they should suffer the consequences of their action, the least of which is a strong public rebuke, to be followed by stipulated sanctions if they persist”.
It is instructive that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has kept mute over this clear violation of the electoral law. We recall that the electoral body’s chairman, Attahiru Jega, recently warned political parties which he said were all guilty of the offence to desist from kicking off campaigns ahead of schedule. He even went on to threaten to sanction those caught in violation of the law. Many months after that declaration and after several such rallies by the President and his party, Jega has still not found the courage to call them to order, let alone apply the necessary sanctions.
It is also worthy of note that the police have kept mute over the lawlessness exhibited by the ruling party when it should have been at the forefront in enforcing our laws. The outgoing Inspector General of Police did warn also against campaigns before their due dates but sadly, like the INEC boss, he too seems to have lost his voice at this crucial time when impartiality is strongly called for.
It is disheartening that the President has the time and the energy for these campaigns but evidently has little to spare for the hapless people of the North-eastern part of the country who are constantly ravaged by marauding insurgents. That the president has not deemed it necessary to visit Yobe state after innocent students were slaughtered in Boni Yadi earlier in the year to commiserate with the families and people of the state neither has he visited Borno state which has also been suffering near daily attacks is a clear indication of what his priorities are. No one needs a soothsayer to know that Jonathan’s number one priority is a return to power in 2015.