By Nasiru Suleiman
When one of my friends described electioneering activities in Nigeria as “action film” I don’t really understand what he meant by action film until he decided to write a piece published on one of the national dailies titled: The Good, the Bad and the ugly, where he described the activities of politicians and their followers in Nigeria from board room politicking, to campaigning and other activities in the national polity. He went further to explain how most of the campaigns were turned battles or semi wars and different political killings though not much in this dispensation. my friend x-trayed events from the days of the former President late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and the role the garrison commander Chief Olusegun Obasanjo played in the whole issue, his conclusion was that the political quagmire we found ourselves in could be traced to the game plan of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.
I now understand and agree with my friend that the situation in the Nigeria politics is just like a movie, an action movie for that matter, everything that happens in this political dispensation looked as if it was scripted, and the people are acting the script. Most of the events in the country are very predictable. The result of the elections, the post election violence, the pattern of voting and the politicking in general was seen before now by many of us. In any movie, particularly action or war movies, there are usually a boss and an actor, the two major characters are at the centre of events, the good guy is seen as the actor while the bad guy is the boss and at the end of the movie the bad guy normally get killed by the good guy who is popularly referred to as the actor, though the good guy never finds it easy in achieving this feat of defeating the bad guy, most a times he gets himself beaten to stupor, in some cases he will look as if he is not going to survive after the victory. So, was the case in Nigeria, the “action film” started long ago even before the return to democracy. in fact, the movie started before independence. And also see different characters play their parts, some are still with us and very relevant in the game, while some have answered the call from heaven and they are no more, while their wives and other relatives are also given roles to take part in the movie some have been sideline totally while others are trying to get recognition at all cost.
The movie seems to be in series, and many series have come and gone, the watchers of these series have different interpretations to these series of movies. Their interpretation is mostly affected by their various perspectives or by the side of the coin they decided to stand. Many see these movies and decided to call it ‘good’ because of their relationship with the good or bad guy while some will call it ‘bad’ all depending on the ‘closeness or otherwise to the actor’ the major determinants of our interpretations have been regional, religion, or tribal sentiments while sometimes depends on how beneficial the system is to us. So, we supports whoever is in the leadership position because he belongs to the same religion with you or come from your states and may be some of our family members benefited from the government.
The recent part of this movie could be described as part two of what took place during the reign of our former President late Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’adua, when he took ill and some cabals hijack power and dishing out instructions to cabinet ministers without recourse to the constitutional provisions and the country almost thrown into a state of anarchy thanks to the timely intervention of the National Assembly that come up with something call “Doctrine of Necessity” that make Nigerian to have her first ever acting President in the person of the current president Goodluck Ebele Jonathan who oversees the affairs of the country until the cold hand of death snatches late Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Acting President Good Ebele Jonathan became the substantive president of Nigeria since then the movie has taken another twist.
Then the issue of zoning, which was solely the arrangement of the leading People’s Democratic Party PDP, this raise a lot of dust, and questions as to whether President Goodluck Jonathan can run for the presidency or not. These issues over-heated the polity and serious tension was created. The country was divided along regional line. The northern parts represented by some elders under the leadership of malam Adamu Ciroma they make a lot of noise and questioning the morality of the President’s ambition to run for the exalted sit in the country. The zoning issue that was solely PDP affairs was gradually becoming a national issue.
Like a typical scene in a movie particularly war films, bombing, the twin bomb blast during the celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Nigeria independent, where the world gathered to celebrate with Nigeria, some unscrupulous elements decided to distabilise the disgrace Nigeria by detonating bomb which caused so many havoc, lives lost, and many people sustained various degrees of injury. As if in the script the director was told not to expose the perpetrators of the dastardly act, and this set the ground for many bombers to start detonating their bombs in various parts of the country.
Also, the PDP primaries came and the north present consensus candidates who suffer heavy defeat from the hand of the President, losing by a very wide margin the candidate loss in his home state, this singular act further heat up the polity as the outcome of the PDP primaries lead to so many allegations, while this was going on a leading character in the movie was busy planning and putting the necessary arrangement on ground to ensure he takes the driver’s sit this time around, he has been playing the bad guy which we movie watchers always refers to as the boss. This time around its looks set for him to hit the point as the ruling PDP is divided with the zoning brouhaha.
The bombing continues virtually all parts of the country receive shares of the blasts, the Jos Christmas eve and the Mogadishu Barracks in Abuja blast a week after the Jos blast, Maiduguri which has been identified as a trouble zone in the country also continues to witness the killings of innocent Nigerian and most especially the law enforcement agents.
Jega had vow to use the corps-members to execute his electioneering programes, he started with voter registers which was initially faced with hitches, particular with the scanning machine which was later upgraded and at the end the exercise become a success. But since then, there was trouble lurking, but the corps-members with not talk, because there are less physical attack. It is obvious that the politicians were not happy with Jega’s decision to use corps-members at the expense of the ‘indigene’ which are mostly god-sons of these politicians. I remember during the training for the voter registration exercise, chairman of a local government told me personally that he will not permit the corps-members to conduct the registration exercise without his boys engaged. So, during the exercise the corps-members were threatened, some given money to registered underage, while other lure with money to dance to the tune of these politicians. Little wonder large number of underage voters during the election proper.
As the movie continued, came the declaration of President Goodluck Jonathan to run for the election on Facebook, a new style in the country. Electioneering campaign took another direction, its geared towards a digitalized way of campaign, while the traditional ways of campaign were still important, as the various aspirants and later candidates adopted this style; the various social networks on the internet were utilized by almost of the candidates in the country. Then come rallies and other political consultations. Stampede in Port Harcourt, accidents in Katsina, also along Bauchi roads claims a number of lives, that was the negatives twist of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party’s campaign, while the broom revolution was going on in the South West, the South-East no much activities as the candidates of the PDP was adopted as their candidate so APGA fielded no candidate. In the northern Nigeria there are candidates and there is candidates, the All Nigeria People Party (ANPP) fielded the Kano state governor Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, Nuhu Ribadu running on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), then one candidate too many of the northern Nigeria is the candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). The party was described as the Tsunami, Hurricane Buhari and the rest.
What became worrisome for most Nigerians during the campaigning was the attitude of the supporters of the Congress for Progressive Change as their campaign look like a mini war which actually bring out the action in the movie. in Kaduna, it was trouble, Gombe, and many other parts the campaign train visited, they were forcing people to shout sai Buhari or Chanji dole while this last, a lot of casualties was recorded in Katsina, the clash between the CPC and the PDP supporters left a number of people injured and the trend continue. Then came the much talked about Presidential debate, where most of the candidates displayed lack of maturity, not because of what they went to say in the debate, but the boycott of that debate to this debate, which further ridiculed the most exalted seat in the country which all these men were running for, the President was allowed to engage in a monologue debate and that avenue provided him with a good platform to sell himself the more and gave him an edge over his opponents. After this, an underground scene was introduced where series of meetings went on and a large sum of money exchanged hands to solicit support of perceived ‘stubborn’ area and where considered to be stronghold of the various political parties were starved of these monies that are exchanging hands.
The movie climaxed with the election proper, which began with the National Assembly elections which happened to be a success after the ‘April Fool’, the bomb blast in Suleja, Maiduguri, Kaduna and other hitches in other parts of the country. The world commended the electoral body and its head, for conducting a free, fair and credible election though not perfect, but acceptable judging by the standard of the various observers both foreign and locals.
16th day of April came the Presidential election which was conducted in a peaceful atmosphere and the election was adjudge one of the most free, fair and credible elections Nigeria have conducted in recent times, while Nigerians were praised for conducting themselves in an impressive manner the behaviour of the various security agents were given thumbs-up for proper conduct, Jega and his team were congratulated for making history by conducting a good election that has eluded Nigeria for years. But while the election was going on a major player in the election, one of the stakeholders the candidate for Congress for Progressive Change CPC Gen. Muhammadu Buhari made some statements alleging that the election was about to be rigged by one of the parties has he claimed to have seen aircraft carrying thumb printed ballot papers he said even in his states, but could not prove this.
This statement set the ground for the epic battle in the movie. As this same candidate had in the past advised his followers to violently protect their votes in case of any attempt to rig the election. It was not a surprise to most of us when the post election violence burst out. The pattern and attitude of the CPC supporters had shown clearly that the contest was given religious coloration as the constant chanting of sai Buhari and Nigeria sai mai sallah will tell you that religion has taken the centre stage of the event. and this was evident at the pattern of the violence, where churches and mosques were torched and Christians were killed where they are not much and also Muslims waylayed and killed in areas where they are not the majority. While President Jonathan is seen as the Christian candidate, Buhari is for Muslims even most foreign media attest to this fact by the way they reported the events of the election in Nigeria. But this singular truth our leaders don’t want to say it hiding behind whatever guise I don’t know. the truth must be said for us to find solution to this problem that is setting the country apart though some have predicted in the past that Nigeria will break-up in no distant time. With the way things are going now, call for circumspect, and deliberate actions at uniting the country must be taken now we must not fold our arms and look our country falling as a result of ambition of some people or influence of western world. the time to stand up is now.
Nigeria needs some new scrip writers, directors, costumiers, camera men, promoters and marketers to re-write the script of the movie called Nigeria, even as the movie is good to be an action movie, but the action this time around should be action in terms of employment generation, poverty eradication, and provision of good health care delivery, basic infrastructure, and the elected officials must ensure they fulfill campaign promises. by so doing, the action in the movie will bring about positivity in the country.
Suleiman Nasiru wrote in from No 1b Rimi Road of Rimi Drive Angwan Rimi, Kaduna. And can also be reached on 07030476699 or
Headlines Newsview all
Rate this article
For Cissy Houston and her granddaughter Bobbi Kristina, life after Whitney Houston is not right, but it's okay. The relatives of the deceased pop icon, who ... Full story