David West: Jonathan Being Led Astray

David West: Jonathan Being Led Astray

Wednesday, February 25, 2015 11:02 am

Social critic and former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Professor Tam David West speaks with GBENRO ADESINA about the political developments in Nigeria, urging the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Chairman, Professor Attahiru Jega not to allow President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and Peoples Democratic Party to destroy his good name

Sir what is your reaction to the postponement of the country’s elections and what does it portend for the nation?

The postponement of the presidential and other elections by the powers that be in Nigeria is a great disgrace to Nigeria, my country. However, I need to let you know that the shift has a good and bad side. Philosophically, the shift is good for Nigeria because it shows that for the first time in the history of Nigeria, a party in government is afraid and jittery of election. Before, the party in government always thought that considering the fact that it has the resources and control of the state machinery, election is a walk over. The party in government always thought that they are the Alpha and Omega and that they can do anything. But with the state apparatus of power, the party is still afraid of election. It is bad that they are creating unnecessary tension in the country.

Having said that, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, as a leader and president of Nigeria, needs to know that he has signed a pact with history. There are two sides of Jonathan: political Jonathan and historical Jonathan and there is a difference between the two. Political Jonathan has been messed up. Historical Jonathan with the postponement and many others issues in retrospect has been messed up. Jonathan will leave Aso Rock with zero, zero Jonathan.

The Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega has been given everything to carry out credible election. I have always said that the independence in INEC is fraudulent because the commission has never been independent. With all humility, the former head of state, the late Sani Abacha was to make me chairman of National Electoral Commission of Nigeria, NECON . People had come to congratulate me in this house where you are interviewing me. Seriki Shasha in Ibadan, one of the spiritual leaders of Abacha knows about it. I and Abacha had been friends right from when I was a commissioner and he was GOC in Port Harcourt. He wanted me there because he knew that with me, there can’t be corruption in the commission.

However, Abacha changed his mind and I didn’t eventually get the job. Politicians will like somebody they can twist as INEC chairman. I am not saying that Jega can be twisted. Jega, my academic colleague who I respect, has a fantastic record in the academics. It is not easy to be ASUU’s president. He has a flawless record in the academics and political activism. I am afraid they are messing him up and he should know that after INEC, there is the university community. Whatever he is doing there, he should be guided by the fact that he is going back to the university system.

•Professor Tam David West

•Professor Tam David West

When I showed my letter of appointment as Minister of Petroleum Resources to Felix Adenaike, he said that I should take the job but quickly added, “when you go to government, don’t do what Tribune can’t publish because Tribune will publish all the things you do. If you do well, we will publish, if you do something wrong, we will publish”. I am saying the same thing to Jega. INEC job is temporary, your career is in the university, whatever you are doing, be conscious that at the end of your job in INEC, you can go back to the academic community and boldly look at your friends and colleagues eyeball to eyeball and say, “I have made you proud and protected your sanctity as INEC chairman”.

Jega must be careful so that they will not destroy him. Now to Jonathan, I said that the political Jonathan has been messed up already. Jega must do everything human and spiritually possible to ensure that the elections are free and fair as well as credible. Anybody from any quarter, no matter how powerful, should not be allowed to influence him and the process. He must ensure that anybody that gets there is the voice of Nigerians and not the infinitesimal cabal who have been holding Nigeria to ransom from time immemorial. Nigeria is greater than the individual. He should guide against all wrongdoings. Whatever happens, election must not be aborted. It must not be inconclusive but conclusive.

But do you think INEC should have gone ahead with the elections?

That election that was postponed should have been held if we are all sincere and patriotic. This is an election that INEC had been preparing for for a very long time, and a week to the election, the government said that it has to be postponed. It shows irresponsibility. No responsible leader will do this to a major election. This year’s election is very crucial in Nigeria. It is an election that will make or break Nigeria but I believe that Nigeria will not break and that those who want to kill Nigeria will die first.

Late Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu once said in London, that “nobody can break Nigeria, I tried it and I failed”. The bottom line is that Jonathan and his party believe that by extending the time, they will be able to catch up with the fantastic momentum of APC. Can they do it? I will later come to it. What happened is that PDP underrates the opposition and it is very risky to underrate your enemy. Jonathan doesn’t have good advisers. PDP had never prepared for what they are seeing because they underrated the opposition.

What they are seeing has taken them by surprise. They thought with their maladministration and corruptive administration, it is business as usual but Nigerians are saying change is a must and change for betterment is what they want. They are saying that enough of bad government whose lives of its citizens means nothing to. They are saying no to terrorism, no to economic woes, no to insecurity, no to devaluation of our currency, no to abuse of power, no to corruption, no to kidnapping, no to Boko Haram, no to politicization of military and the para-military for their selfish gains, no to fraud, no to under development, no to the bastardisation of education, no to poor health sector, no to wastages, no to lack of structures that can build a healthy society, no to all wrongdoings.

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  • Charles Ugwumba says:

    Wasn’t this Tam David West MOFO kicked out fof government for accepting a wrist watch gift when the Hausa Fulani were looting the treasury? There goes a fool asking to be let into his own father’s house

  • New Nigerian says:

    Thank you Prof. Tam David West. Thank you for being a nationalist and we look forward to having our living hero and ultra-nationalist, Buhari at the helms of affairs after we must have massively voted for him – this year is our year of starting the journey back from the abyss that President Jonathan have taken us. So help us God

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