Not even the Mr. Clinton’s rising profile in the race for president could persuade him for he remained independent because of what he described as confusing, flip-flopping and pussy-footing ideological whirlwind of the Democratic Party as opposed to extreme conservative, neo-nationalistic or even racially-slanted Republican Party. The only point of agreement for both parties is the national interest of the United States.
President Jonathan and his party PDP should not shy away from exploring and exploiting inherent strategic and tactical advantages as incumbent which President Obama used to his advantage to survive tough challenge from the Republican Mr. Romney.
A US-based friend of mine shared an apt story how he became an American citizen in 1992 but opted to register with none of the major political parties. Not even the Mr. Clinton’s rising profile in the race for president could persuade him for he remained independent because of what he described as confusing, flip-flopping and pussy-footing ideological whirlwind of the Democratic Party as opposed to extreme conservative, neo-nationalistic or even racially-slanted Republican Party. The only point of agreement for both parties is the national interest of the United States.
Indeed, it is tough to understand whether the deeply disappointing Obama administration’s duplicity in their statement issued by the Secretary of State, Mr. Kerry in response to the legitimate postponement of the 2015 election in Nigeria (an apparent interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation) is in the interest of the United States of America and in furtherance of democracy.
May be, it is in solidarity with President Obama’s longstanding political ally and chief strategist Mr. Axelrod who has been making a bundle with his firm APKD from the main opposition party in Nigeria—feeding off corrupt money pilfered from APC controlled states.
Or could it be to serve a different political purpose, a more opaque view of Nigeria held by some in the West/US which erroneously imply that to keep Nigeria united the political power should remain in the hands of less educated North while the South control the economy which was why the North has dominated power in Nigeria while the West/US participated or watched as the young Christian country of Biafra was bombed out of existence but refuse to supply arms to wipe out Boko Haram?
A closer examination of this controversy finds President Obama as the de facto leader of US-Democratic Party. Mr. Kerry was an unsuccessful 2004 Democratic presidential candidate and longtime senator from Massachusetts before becoming the Secretary of State. The Democratic Party with their long and standing history of fighting for voting rights, stated recently that many American voters still face difficulties in the voting process, from registering to casting a ballot to having their votes counted. However, when the case of voting right is in Nigeria the Obama administration comes up with different standard.
In 2008, Obama campaign went to court to block an alleged attempt by the Republican Party in Michigan to stop people who lost their homes in the mortgage crisis from voting. The campaign filed suits in dozens of other states to protect the right of citizens to exercise the fundamental right to vote. However, it is convenient and okay for over 24 million Nigerian registered voters who did not receive the PVC to be prevented from voting. What a double standard?
Perhaps it is no longer a rumor that President Obama’s political adviser and strategist Mr. Axelrod, the founder of AKPD messages and media, a consulting firm has been retained and is currently working for Nigeria’s main opposition party – APC. The service being provided by the firm to APC has gone beyond electioneering campaign matters to being the major lobbyist shaping US policy towards Nigeria and using such to further its pecuniary interest.
Interestingly, President Obama and Mr. Axelrod belong to the old-style, bare-knuckle politics of Chicago. As described by John Kass, a veteran Chicago Tribune columnist, it is to knock out your opposition, challenge their petitions and destroy your enemy. In his first race for state senate seat in 1996, Mr. Obama effectively employed the Chicago style and election rules to eliminate his democratic competition denying an incumbent Alice Palmer a place in the ballot and cleared the way for him to run unopposed for the Democratic ticket.
Most unfortunately, despite denials from the AKPD, events of the recent months including but not limited to denying sales of arms to Nigerian government to eliminate Boko-Haram on the flimsy and unverified charges of human right abuses, the sudden diplomatic visit by the US Secretary of State Mr. Kerry to appear in a photo-op to boost the opposition candidate, and the US rejection of legitimate shift in election leaves no doubt that United States government has taken undue interest and/or taken side with the opposition. It shows that both US State Department and Mr. Axelrod of AKPD are comparing notes and shaping strategy to win the election for the opposition party APC.
The reality is that the United States government unfortunately has muddled into the murky waters of Nigerian politics, dragged into it by the innocuous relationship of two politicians of the old-style, bare-knuckle politics of Chicago who have not thought out the long term diplomatic implication of such perfidy. It is now known that AKPD still works for the main opposition party APC. Their work has gone beyond mere consulting and has graduated to lobbying US government and reshaping US policy towards Nigeria at the risk of diplomatic showdown.
However, the last time I checked, Nigeria is a sovereign nation. Nigeria is not an appendage of United States or any other foreign powers. The legitimate postponement of the election falls within the ambit of electoral laws which provides for election to occur between 150 and 30 days to the swearing in date of May 29, 2015. By this, election must occur on or before April 27, 2015. With the above, there is still room for further extension if needed.
Furthermore, Nigerian government and INEC as responsible entities acted in line with the advisory from the National Security Council and the Service Chiefs who made it clear that the security situation especially in the North Eastern Nigeria where Boko Haram are in control of a chunk of many states making it impossible to conduct credible election. Therefore, Nigerian government does not need to explain to any foreign power why it had to extend the dates of election.
Most importantly, President Jonathan should continue to carry out his duties and responsibilities as the commander in chief of Nigerian Military ensuring the safety and security of Nigerians throughout the period of the election. President Jonathan and his party PDP should not shy away from exploring and exploiting inherent strategic and tactical advantages as incumbent which President Obama used to his advantage to survive tough challenge from the Republican Mr. Romney.
In conclusion, despite the long history of Democratic Party and President Obama’s advocacy for voting right, their gallant battle against the Republican Party’s penchant for vote suppression, it is unbelievable as it is confounding for the same Obama administration to oppose legitimate postponement of an election in Nigeria even though such postponement would enable over 24 million who did not receive the Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC) to participate at the new date.
Nigerians are not fools. Nigerians know the imperialist nature of the Obama administration and United States in attempting to install an uneducated coupist who murdered three youth with retroactive decree, to avail them access to continue the exploitation of Nigeria and her resources to the detriment of the owners of the wealth. At the end of the day, the records of candidates, their past actions and activities, not the interference of Obama administration or the dirty work of AKPD will determine the victor in the presidential election. President Goodluck Jonathan will be reelected.
Obori Adaka, a public analyst and social commentator, writes from Enugu.