On Tuesday March 29, 2015, I joined the rest of the world to congratulate ex-President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for graciously conceding defeat and calling President-elect, Gen Muhamadu Buhari to congratulate him for winning the Nigerian presidential election.
President Jonathan, who had presided over a corrupt regime, after taking over from his predecessor, Umaru Yardua, who passed onto eternal glory and after winning the 2011 election that was marred by vote rigging and intimidation, instantly became a statesman.
We all bought into that our foremost malice, low expectations. This is exactly why we are where we are as Africans because we celebrate mediocrity. We worship people who have failed and we wonder why we have not climbed any higher.
I tuned into various radio stations the next day and have continued till today and I could not help by noticed panelists, callers, texters etc , falling over each other to ascribe the title of statesman on President Goodluck Jonathan.
President Barack Obama of the United States of America (USA), has presented a Certificate of Commendation to Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) chairman, Attahiru Jega, over the peaceful conduct of the Presidential and National Assembly elections.
While we all congratulate President Jonathan, we all forgot who the real heroes are, members of the INEC, who said enough was enough and that they were not going to pander to wishes of politicians have soon been forgotten.
We have seen various Electoral Commissioners, all over Africa, who had only done the wishes of the governing parties, instead f upholding and protecting the will of the people.
In the politically correct language of today, Goodluck Jonathan conceded defeat in the March 28th presidential election, and, as such, had done something not seen before in Africa, and guess what, we all clapped for him. I did too before I said, wait a minute, what does the Constitution of Nigeria say.
The Constitution of Nigeria, has a stipulated term of office for every President and has outlined how elections are won. If we all lived by the Constitution, why must we hail somebody, because he had accepted defeat?
It was the same process that declared him President in 2011, although the opposition protested then, because they thought the election was not free and fair; they accepted the outcome and moved on, to live to fight another day.
Democracy is defined by Abraham Lincoln as the government of the people, by the people, for the people. It is the choice of the people that must reign supreme and must be protected at all times, not the whims of any leader or person. They are only two outcomes in every contest, you either win or lose, they is no middle-line, that is why we have run-off to determine the actually winner.
I have thought long and hard over the praises going the way of Goodluck Jonathan and I think I was also caught in the euphoria, without stopping to ask myself, who really wields the power.
But really what was Goodluck Jonathan supposed to do, was he to say he was not going to relinquish power or accept defeat?
This same sense of entitlement by some of our leaders in Africa, is the reason why we see the actions of Goodluck Jonathan as a novelty and that he needs a pat on the back.
When In 2012, it was obvious and unambiguous that Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), had lost the election to President John Dramani Mahama of the NDC, he failed to acknowledge and congratulate him. He rather proceeded to the Supreme Court to have the court overturn the mandate of the people, when that did not materialize; he is back again campaigning and appealing to the same people to vote for him in2016.
We have made demi-gods out of our leaders, some see the presidency as their birthright and it is either them occupying the seat or we can all go to hell.
President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, who is more than 80 years, always organizes charades in the form of elections in which he is a participant and an organizer at
the same time. Clearly, the man has passed his prime and will do his people a lot of good, if only he could take a back seat and allow a younger person, who will have the mandate of the people to govern.
On April 25, the people of Togo, will also go to the polls to elect a new President, Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé, who has been President since 2005, is also contesting in the election after having the Constitution changed to allow him contest for the third time.
This behavior is symptomatic of African leaders, who feel that without them their countries will fail to exist. What is it that Faure wants to do for another five-year term that he hadn’t done already?
Power they say corrupt and absolute power corrupt absolutely, the longer one stays in power, the more they feel they are immortal.
The election in Nigeria, was supposed to be held on February 14, 2015, but President Jonathan, who knew he wast going to lose, thought by having the election postpone, he could work some miracle to his favour. It is history that did not help him. If anything at all, he rather angered the people, who saw through the postponement as a ploy by a drowning man to hang onto an ant infested straw.
Nigerians have spoken and it is unequivocally clear that they do not need him, a sitting President losing an election in the first round by such huge numbers, is a clear testament that the people were fed up with him, it was the reason why he did not for a moment contemplate contesting the election. It is a lesson for other African leaders, they should know that today’s voters through the power of the internet are becoming aware of their needs and want their leaders to be accountable.
We all read what happens in other parts of the world, we interact with them and so we are politically aware.