I remain opposed to Jega
SIR: This letter issues from a provocation I got from a contributor on The Platform, a Radio Kwara interactive programme of Friday, May 22, 2015, anchored by AbdulHamid Funsho Alaye and Bunmi Adedoyin.
I had phoned-in to say that Nigeria is not fighting a sensible war against Boko Haram, given the historical trajectories.
The Boko Haram is said to have started as a secluded Muslim sect in 2002, and was, for that reason, peaceful until provoked by restive “orthodox” Muslims in 2009.
The Nigerian security forces were used by the powers that be against the sect’s uprising. The matter got messier when the Police was accused of killing the leader of the Boko Haram, Ustaz Mohammed Yusuf, extra judicially in the Police cell.
That professional lawlessness was uncontainable by the Boko Haramists, and they started pursuing all their opponents: traditional rulers who doubled as Muslim leaders, other Muslim leaders, and security operatives to retaliate.
Supposing the “orthodox” Muslims respected Nigeria’s law of religious freedom and allowed the Boko Haram sect to live its own secluded lifestyle as a choice? Supposing the Police did not kill the leader extra judicially? Nigeria was not totally out of that heat when former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ, acting during the ailment and after the demise of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua) denied that there was something like party’s rotational presidency.
He crafted his own election as Nigeria’s President, instead of allowing the northwest to serve its second term as the southwest was allowed to do.
Hence, I said Nigeria should be prudent and not fight a senseless war which GEJ did not fight until he felt it might make him win another election.
My opponent alluded to how I opposed the choice of Prof Attahiru Jega even when most Nigerians felt that he was the right person for the job.
Yet, I did not doubt the capability of Jega, but his choice by GEJ was calculated to obstruct the clamour for electoral reform, for a truly independent national electoral commission. I expected Jega to reject the appointment.
Now, Jega is strong and would not be swayed by GEJ just because GEJ chose him, but is the commission equally independent and strong? Why were Nigerians jittery when it was suspected that Jega might not be allowed to conduct the 2015 general elections? Because his successor would have been chosen by GEJ, since the law has not been amended to the contrary.
GEJ and Jega obstructed the electoral reform. And so, I remain opposed to both of them. • Pius Abioje, University of Ilorin.