Awww! Al Jazeera Article Calls Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan “Badluck”?

The article was written by Solomon Ayele Dersso,
a legal scholar and analyst of African international
affairs and was published on Tuesday, February
10.
An article written on the website of news channel,
Al Jazeera has described President Goodluck
Jonathan of Nigeria as “Badluck”.
The article was written by Solomon Ayele Dersso,
a legal scholar and analyst of African international
affairs and was published on Tuesday, February
10.
Dersso centers the piece, titled “Badluck
Jonathan”, on the recently postponed elections
and President Jonathan’s slim chances of winning
the election whichever day it holds.
Read the full article below:
This year’s Valentine’s Day will now be observed
in Nigeria free from the destruction of the
electoral contest. In a move that triggered major
controversy and debate, the Independent
National Electoral Commission (INEC) of Nigeria
announced the postponement of the national
elections originally set for February 14, to March
28.
The elections are said to be unlike any other that
Africa’s most populous nation has had in its
history. Unlike previous elections in which the
opposition has been deeply divided and the ruling
People’s Democratic Party (PDP) enjoyed electoral
dominance, most opposition parties have now
come together under the All Progressive Congress
(APC). To the excitement of the gods of
democracy, this has made this year’s elections
the most competitive in the history of the
country.
According to the latest opinion poll involving
2,400 prospective voters from across the country,
the percentage of voters who said they would
vote for each party is equal at 42 percent. It is
accordingly, the very first time in Nigerian history
that the incumbent is faced with a clear danger
of losing out to the opposition.
Mounting discontent
For the incumbent, there is no worse time to face
such a formidable electoral challenge than this. It
came at a time when there is mounting
discontent in Nigeria over the government’s
(mis)handling of the Boko Haram insurgency that
has continued to devastate northern Nigeria for
over five years.
Since 2014, the group’s attacks have assumed a
new level of destructive force in which civilians
have become the victims. According to the
Council on Foreign Relation’s Nigeria Security
Tracker, Boko Haram-related violence claimed the
lives of more than 10,000 people in 2014.
Having seized about 70 percent of Borno state
and many towns and villages in Yobe and
Adamawa, Boko Haram has, since mid-2014,
captured a large swath of territory equal to the
size of Belgium.
In a change of electoral fortune, APC’s
presidential candidate Muhammadu Buhari, a
former military ruler of Nigeria with strong
backing in the mostly Muslim north and helped
by Nigerians’ desire for firm action against Boko
Haram, seems poised to avenge his loss of the
2011 elections against PDP’s flag bearer the
incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan.
Security trumping democracy
Security has thus become the major issue of the
electoral contestation. What more opportune
moment for the Nigerian army to launch a
military offensive against Boko Haram than during
the coming six weeks?
The INEC rejected an earlier call by the
president’s security adviser for postponement of
the elections to allow enough time for finalising
preparations. Yet, with the security agents stating
in a letter that the military could not provide
security if the elections were held as originally
planned, the INEC decided to postpone the
elections. The reason is obvious. To paraphrase:
“It is the security, stupid.”
It is a case of security trumping democracy.
Although much of the blame for the
postponement is to be placed on the security
establishment, it did not leave the INEC
untouched.
The INEC is responsible for conducting the
election but depends on the security institutions
for safeguarding the security of the polls. In
“prioritising” the fight against Boko Haram at this
particular time over the provision of security for
the elections as originally planned, the military
practically vetoed the INEC in determining the
timing of the election.
The opposition candidate put the independence
of the INEC in question when he blamed the
postponement on the ruling party. The extent of
the damage to the INEC currently remains
unknown.
Security concerns
It has become increasingly clear that Boko Haram
is a key variable that will determine the outcome
of this election. The humanitarian impact of the
group’s attacks, particularly the growing number
of refugees and internally displaced persons may
mean that millions of people in APC stronghold
territories may not be able to participate in the
election.
INEC was unlikely to hold elections in Boko Haram
controlled territories of Borno, Yobe, and
Adamawa.
Although much of the insecurity is believed to
have put Buhari more at a disadvantage than
Jonathan, the suicide bomber that struck minutes
after the president left a rally in the northern city
of Gombe was a clear sign that Boko Haram was
capable of wrecking havoc even for the
incumbent and outside of the three most affected
territories.
Although there certainly is a need for action
against Boko Haram including through deploying
more troops to the three affected territories, the
postponement of the elections was not seen as
convincing. “It is critical,” US Secretary of State
John Kerry said in a statement, “that the
government not use security concerns as a
pretext for impeding the democratic process”.
If the military victory that eluded the Nigerian
army for the past five years is not secured during
the next six weeks, Jonathan may not have the
good luck of avoiding what he feared for
Valentine’s Day from happening on March 28.
Unless of course his PDP uses the six weeks to
resorts to what Paul Collier calls in his provocative
book “Wars, Guns and Votes” as “socially
dysfunctional strategies of vote winning”.

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