NIGERIA'S PRESIDENTIAL RACE-JONATHAN & BUHARI’S ASPIRATION OF POWER:LIKE ECONOMIST....LIKE NEW YORK TIMES?
NIGERIA’S PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION 2015
SPECIAL REPORT, BY CERUTTI MIKE OSAGIE
Freedom of expression comes with responsibilities, especially when it comes with serious implications for peace.
New York Times recent editorial accusing Nigeria’s President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan of trying to frustrate Gen Mohammed Buhari, is no doubt a piece of work with great implication, because New York Times is no doubt, not a run of the mill publication
When the paper writes, the world listens, no wonder many Nigerians are now lost as regards to the United States-based New York Times view on the recently postponed election, in whichsays the postponement of the elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission was orchestrated by President Goodluck Jonathan to frustrate Maj. Gen Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) of the All Progressives Congress.
The newspaper, which has won 114 Pulitzer Prizes, further stated that Jonathan appeared to be afraid of the increasing popularity of Buhari, who most Nigerians would likely vote for.
It said this in the editorial of its Monday edition titled, “Nigeria’s Miserable Choices”.
The publication said, “Any argument to delay the vote might be more credible if President Goodluck Jonathan’s government had not spent much of the past year playing down the threat posed by the militants and if there were a reasonable expectation that the country’s weak military has the ability to improve security in a matter of weeks.
“It appears more likely that Mr. Jonathan grew alarmed by the surging appeal of Muhammadu Buhari, a former military ruler who has vowed to crack down on Boko Haram. By dragging out the race, Jonathan stands to deplete his rival’s campaign coffers while he continues to use state funds and institutions to bankroll his own.”
It said INEC’s excuse that elections were postponed because security forces wanted to fight insecurity would have been taken in good faith if Jonathan had been tackling insecurity effectively since he took office.
The 164-year-old newspaper said that Jonathan had become so unpopular that Nigerians were not afraid of the idea of a former military dictator returning as President.
It however said that Jonathan had become worried about the rising insecurity and was willing to accept help from western powers.
The newspaper warned that election postponement might increase the level of insecurity rather than reduce it and that Nigeria’s democracy would not survive an electoral crisis.
It said, “Beyond security matters, entrenched corruption and the government’s inability to diversify its economy as the price of oil, the country’s financial bedrock, has fallen and has also caused Nigerians to look for new leadership.
“Nigeria, the most populous African nation, and a relatively young democracy, cannot afford an electoral crisis. That would only set back the faltering efforts to reassert government control in districts where Boko Haram is sowing terror.
“The security forces may not be able to safeguard many districts on Election Day. But postponement is very likely to make the security threat worse.”
....LIKE ECONOMIST, LIKE NEW YORK TIMES
AND THE REUBEN ABATI’S FIGHT BACK
This is not the first time a globally revered paper will attack President Jonathan, a while ago, respected Economist did an elabortae report on why Nigerians must reject Jonathan, in which Dr Reuben Abati fired back and described as “erroneous”, the Editorial opinion by the influential Economist Magazine, endorsing the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Gen Muhammadu Buhari, ahead of the then February 14 presidential election.In an Editorial well publicized by local media, the international magazine stated that President Jonathan stumbled on Nigeria’s Presidency and has proved an “utter failure, predicting that Buhari will emerge the next President.
But in his reaction, Presidential Media Adviser, Reuben Abati, said Nigerians will re-elect President Jonathan who has performed very well and not the Economist opinion writers.
Abati described the Editorial as baseless, jaundiced and malicious vilification of President Jonathan.
“We have noted with surprise, The Economist’s tongue-in-cheek endorsement of General Muhammadu Buhari in the run-up to Nigeria’s general elections and the international magazine’s baseless, jaundiced and rather malicious vilification of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan who retains the trust and confidence of majority of Nigerians as the outcome of the Presidential elections will undoubtedly show.
“We are sure that many Nigerians and other readers of the usually urbane, thoughtful and well-reasoned editorial opinions of the Economist will be shocked that the magazine has taken the very ill-considered decision to throw its weight behind a candidate who, as a former military dictator, curtailed freedom of speech, ordered the kidnapping of opponents and jailing of journalists, and is accused of incitement to violence and grave human rights violations in Nigeria’s current democratic dispensation,” Abati said in its statement.
He stated further that the Economist may feign ignorance of President Jonathan’s remarkable achievements as leader of his country in the past six years, but Nigerians who, unlike the magazine’s opinion writers, will actually vote in the country’s forthcoming presidential elections, know that President Jonathan has worked very hard to fulfill all the major promises he made to them on assumption of office.
“Nigerians know that President Jonathan has developed our economy and created more jobs, they know that he has given policy support to the real sector of the economy, so that Small and Medium Enterprises can thrive, they know that he has encouraged locally owned enterprises to take advantage of our resources in growing the domestic economy and they also know that he has successfully attracted greater foreign direct investment to the country.
“Unlike the clearly poorly informed and distant authors of the Economist Opinion titled “The Least Awful”, appreciative Nigerians are also aware that President Jonathan has worked tirelessly to improve power supply across the nation, rebuild and expand national infrastructure, improve public transportation and provide greater access to quality education for all Nigerian youth.
“They know very well too that President Jonathan has significantly improved healthcare services in the country, revolutionized agriculture, promoted gender equality and women empowerment, and done his very best to stem corruption in government.
Abati said that contrary to the Economist’s assertions, Nigeria, under President Jonathan has made very considerable progress.
In spite of the significant challenges of terrorism and insurgency the nation faces today, President Jonathan has ensured that Nigeria has become a more vibrant democracy with free media, an independent judiciary, free, fair and credible elections, and greater respect for human rights.
“The Economist is entitled to its erroneous opinion on who represents the best leadership option for Nigeria in the coming elections, but happily for the country, it is not the magazine’s lead writers, but more knowledgeable and patriotic Nigerians who actually work and live in the country, that will vote and re-elect President Jonathan for a second term in office.
“They will do so, because unlike the Economist’s opinion writers, they understand that a Buhari Presidency will, for their beloved country, represent a stark setback and retrogression from the tremendous ongoing positive transformation of Nigeria under President Jonathan’s leadership,” he said.
* This is a Cerutti Media classic copy 2015 series
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