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What happens If the 2011 Nigeria Elections fail? By Amb. John Campbell




What happens If the 2011 Nigeria Elections fail?

By Amb. John Campbell.
U.S former ambassador to Nigeria and the Ralph Bunche Senior Fellow for Africa Policy Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Special to, USAfrica The Newspaper, Houston,  CLASSmagazine and USAfrica-powered e-group Nigeria360
September 9, 2010: The 2011 elections in Nigeria, scheduled for January 22, pose a threat to the stability of the United States’ most important partner in West Africa. The end of a power-sharing arrangement between the Muslim North and the Christian South, as now seems likely, could lead to post-election sectarian violence, paralysis of the executive branch, and even a coup.
The Obama administration has little leverage over the conduct and outcome of the elections — and if the vote does lead to chaos, Washington may no longer be able to count on Nigerian partnership in addressing African regional and security issues such as the conflicts in Darfur, Southern Sudan, and Somalia.
Nigeria’s current political drama dates to November 2009, when its president, Umaru Yar’Adua, was hospitalized for a kidney condition in Saudi Arabia. Yar’Adua refused to comply with the Nigerian constitution and hand over executive authority to Vice President Goodluck Jonathan. The result was a power vacuum until February 2010, when the National Assembly extralegally designated Jonathan the “acting president” by resolution, even though there is no constitutional provision for doing so.

In April, Acting President Jonathan attended the nuclear safety summit in Washington, where U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden warmly embraced him, not least because his designation forestalled a possible military coup. In May 2010, the first act of Nigeria’s political tragedy ended when Yar’Adua died and Jonathan became the constitutional president. Now, Washington may be tempted to move its attention away from Nigeria — but that would be a mistake.
Nigeria has held three national elections since the end of military dictatorship in 1998. In 1999, active and retired military officers, along with a few civilian allies, oversaw the transition from military to civilian rule. They established the non-ideological People’s Democratic Party (PDP); selected (retired army General) Olusegun Obasanjo, a Christian from the South, as the presidential candidate; and placed him in office with a northern Muslim vice president. An elite consensus formed around an unwritten power-sharing agreement, which dictated that presidential candidates would henceforth alternate between the Christian South and the Muslim North — a system designed to avoid presidential contests that could exacerbate hostility between the regions and religions.
With the advantages of presidential incumbency, and access to unlimited oil money, Obasanjo secured elite support for a second presidential term in 2003. Northerners reluctantly acquiesced to a rotation cycle of two terms rather than the one they had foreseen in 1999. Once re-elected, however, Obasanjo reneged on his two-term promise by attempting to run again in 2007.  This bid was defeated due to public anger and northern leaders’ insistence on power sharing.
Nevertheless, Obasanjo remained powerful enough to impose his handpicked candidates on the ruling party in 2007: Yar’Adua, a northern Muslim, for president and Jonathan, a Christian southerner, for vice president. Obasanjo’s chosen candidates fit the terms of the power-sharing convention, and accordingly, they took office after the 2007 election, which was marred by fraud and irregularities. However, Yar’Adua’s subsequent death and Jonathan’s presidency upended the power-sharing arrangement.
In the event of post-election sectarian violence and a political breakdown, the army could intervene if the civilian government loses control.
Unlike in every previous election since 1999, no elite consensus exists for the 2011 poll, nor is there an Obasanjo-like figure strong enough to impose one. Although it is still dominated by elites and their patronage networks, the Nigerian political sphere is wide open.
Many in the North believe it is still their turn for the presidency, but the northern power brokers do not agree on who should be their presidential candidate. Several northern politicians, including Ibrahim Babangida and Muhammadu Buhari, both former military dictators, are running for the presidency. Other potential candidates are Aliyu Mohammed Gusau, the national security adviser under Obasanjo and Jonathan, and several northern governors. Nigerian democrats are advocating the candidacies of Nasir El-Rufai, the former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, and Nuhu Ribadu, formerly the head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the anti-corruption agency. Both are seen as having the potential to restore public faith in the political system. But so long as the current elites remain the country’s political power brokers, candidates operating outside the PDP will be long shots at best.
Jonathan, with the advantages of presidential incumbency, has also announced that he will run. This could mean the presidential contest will feature one or more northern Muslim candidates opposing Jonathan against the backdrop of ethnic and religious violence in the Middle Belt, Muslim extremism in the North, and an ongoing insurrection in the oil-rich Niger Delta. In such a fraught environment, supporters of candidates might exploit religious and ethnic identities, a dangerous and potentially explosive dynamic that until now has largely been avoided.
Logistical preparations for the 2011 elections have not started. There is no voters roll (list), and despite the president’s signing of an electoral reform bill, some of these reforms remain unimplemented four months before the election. The election therefore will almost certainly lack legitimacy, especially in the eyes of the losers. This will further drive the country to the brink, especially if winners and losers are defined by their religious and ethnic backgrounds. There is at the moment no standoff between northern and southern leaders, at least nothing comparable to that between Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai in Zimbabwe or between Kenya’s Mwai Kibaki and Raila Odinga in the aftermath of the 2007 elections. Nevertheless, the danger of Nigeria plunging into post-election violence is a real possibility.
The Nigerian military still regards itself as the ultimate guarantor of the state’s security, and most political elites agree. In the event of post-election sectarian violence and a political breakdown, it could intervene if the civilian government loses control. The army, given its history, could move quickly, and unlike in Kenya following the 2007 post-election crisis, there would probably be little time for the international community to try to facilitate a political settlement. Only if the military itself fragments would there be space for the international organizations such as the African Union to intervene in search of a political solution. Yet the return to power of the so-called men on horseback in Nigeria would pose special challenges for Washington, considering congressional requirements that Washington scale back contact with military governments that overthrow civilian governments. It would also be anathema to the African Union’s principled stand against military coups.
Some Nigerians are privately urging the Obama administration to intervene behind the scenes to forestall a post-election crisis. Yet intervention on behalf of one candidate could do more harm than good. If Delta militants sense that Washington is opposed to a Jonathan candidacy, and should he withdraw or lose, they might escalate their attacks on U.S.-owned oil facilities, thereby cutting off production. If, on the other hand, northern leaders see the United States as supporting Jonathan, they are likely to become even more estranged from the federal government. The North would likely see support of Jonathan as part of the perceived U.S. war on Islam.
Given these realities, what can the Obama administration do? At present, the United States enjoys significant support among Nigerians, even though it lacks the capacity to have much impact on the 2011 elections. It cannot reform the electoral commission, nor can it change Nigeria’s corrupt political economy, which is fundamental to vote-rigging efforts. It could, however, establish and publicize the benchmarks it would use to measure improvement in the electoral process. It could also focus election-related assistance on select states where polling in recent elections has been better than elsewhere; Lagos and Cross Rivers State are two such possible venues. As the elections approach, the United States must be scrupulously neutral on the presidential candidates while reiterating its call for free, fair, and credible elections.
The Obama administration should also look for ways to support such civil-society organizations as the Nigeria Bar Association, which actively works to strengthen the rule of law.
The United States already provides assistance for civic groups involved in voter education and the strengthening of political parties as open institutions. That support should continue. In the event of a confrontation between the North and South over failed elections in 2011, these organizations could play a role in mitigating the worst excesses of a crisis.
Such steps by the Obama administration are worthwhile to promote the long-term development of democratic institutions. However, in the event of a bloody crisis that splits the country along regional and religious lines, neither the Obama administration nor any other foreign government or international organization will have much leverage. Faced with such a cataclysm, Nigeria’s friends should seek to mitigate the humanitarian consequences and prevent the resulting instability from spreading to other parts of the continent.
Nigerians have long danced on the edge of the cliff without falling off. Yet at this juncture, the odds are not good for a positive outcome, and it is difficult to see how Nigeria can move back from the brink.
•The preceding commentary will appear in the latest edition of the Foreign Affairs journal.
Amb. Campbell’s commentary ‘Prosecuting corrupt ‘big men’ is good for Nigeria’ appeared on on Nov 4, 2009.

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  1. Maigaskiya

    February 16, 2011 at 10:12 pm

    @Bahause, you are right, & we are n't going to follow party.. we are going to work together. Yes, together we can do it

  2. Dan-arewa

    February 14, 2011 at 8:40 am

    It is True… It is time we stand up and say enough is enough

  3. Bahaushe

    February 14, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    yes, thank you Emb. Campbell.. we have to think about human right
    & ethics.. We northerners believe it is still our turn for the presidency, and we are ready to against ebele jonathan the backdrop of ethnic and religious violence.. we are not going to hold our arms to be looking at any violanvce. together we can do it..

  4. Nigaforward49

    December 30, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    Amb. Campbell was right in pointing this out.
    We at Nigeria Forward (Facebook) think that the only way out of this is for the country to go into Secession by 2015, into Four New Countries

    • Bahaushe

      February 14, 2011 at 1:20 pm

      yes, thank you Emb. Campbell.. we have to think about human right
      & ethics.. We northerners believe it is still our turn for the presidency, and we are ready to against ebele jonathan the backdrop of ethnic and religious violence.. we are not going to hold our arms to be looking at any violanvce. together we can do it..



World SOCCER SHOWDOWN: South Africa backs Morocco; U.S under pressure



Special to USAfrica [Houston]  •  •  @Chido247  @USAfricalive

“It is an old myth that Africa doesn’t have the capacity, and naysayers should stop using the political argument. Africa hosted the best Fifa World Cup ever and with good support, Morocco can emulate South Africa,” said the SAFA president Jordaan.

Johannesburg – South Africa Football Association (SAFA) president Danny Jordaan has promised Morocco that South Africa will give its unqualified support to secure another World Cup on the African continent in 2026.

Morocco is vying to stage the world’s biggest football prize against a joint bid by Canada, Mexico and the U.S.

The Moroccan delegation comprises ex-Senegal and Liverpool striker El Hadji Diouf and former Cameroonian goalkeeper Joseph-Antoine Bell.

Jordaan said it would be great for Africa to have a second bite of the World Cup cherry, adding Morocco’s bid was Africa’s bid.

Jordaan assured Morocco that he would personally lobby for the Council for Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) and the rest of the continent to rally behind the Moroccans.

In his remarks, Antoine Bell said Morocco had all the ingredients to host another spectacular World Cup.

“South Africa showed the way and I am confident Morocco will follow suit. The country has international standards, from the stadiums to top infrastructure. Morocco can compete with the best in the world,” he said.

By giving Morocco its support, South Africa’s voice would make all the difference on the continent, Bell said.

“When South Africa talks on the continent, the rest of the continent listens hence it is vital for South Africa to support Morocco. South Africa has the experience and Morocco will use this experience to win the 2016 bid,” added Bell. African News Agency

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USAfrica: Catholic priest Etienne killed by militia in DR Congo, after a wedding mass



Special to USAfrica [Houston]  •  @USAfricaLIVE

Goma – A Catholic priest was found shot dead hours after he said mass in Democratic Republic of Congo’s restive North Kivu province, a member of the church told AFP.

“Father Etienne Sengiyumva was killed [on] Sunday by the Mai Mai Nyatura (militia) in Kyahemba where he had just celebrated a mass including a baptism and a wedding,” father Gonzague Nzabanita, head of the Goma diocese where the incident occurred, told AFP.

The Mai Mai Nyatura are an armed group operating in North Kivu, in eastern DRC.

Nzabanita said Sengiyumva, 38, had had lunch with local faithful before “we found him shot in the head”.

North and South Kivu provinces are in the grip of a wave of violence among militia groups, which often extort money from civilians or fight each other for control of mineral resources.

Last week unknown assailants kidnapped a Catholic priest in North Kivu, demanding $500 000 for his release.

Eastern DRC has been torn apart by more than 20 years of armed conflict, fuelled by ethnic and land disputes, competition for control of the region’s mineral resources, and rivalry between regional powers.

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USAfrica: Nigeria’s LOOTERS LIST and Buhari’s selective corruption targets. By Majeed Dahiru



PDP vs APC Looters List and Buhari’s selective corruption targets

By Majeed Dahiru

Special to USAfrica {Houston] • • @USAfricaLive


Timipriye Silva, a former governor and PDP chieftain, who became a founding member and financier of APC, had his corruption charges quashed by a federal high court and Buhari’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) failed to appeal the N19.5 billion fraud case.

More curious are the missing names of some accused looters with marital ties to Nigeria’s First and Second families. Gimba Yau Kumo, the PDP appointed former managing director of the Federal Mortgage Bank and now son-in-law of President Buhari, who was similarly accused of fraudulent activities amounting to about N3 billion and reportedly being investigated by EFCC, is missing from [Buhari’s Information Minister] Lai Mohammed’s list.

For a party that has been accused of destroying Nigeria by squandering accrued oil revenues estimated at over $500 billion in sixteen years, it is confounding that Lai’s list is not only exclusively comprised of PDP looters but also captures the last two years of PDP’s last lap in power and included just Goodluck Jonathan’s associates, who supported him against candidate Buhari, while also relating only to funds used in the last electioneering campaign of the PDP.

Whenever the obviously abysmal performance of the Muhammadu Buhari administration appears to be gaining sustained attention, and leading to murmuring within the rank and file of his supporters, a tale of humungous looting by opposition elements is usually spun and thrown into the public space to distract people away from the core issue of the failure of governance.

Like a fit of deja vu, the recently unveiled list of looters by Lai Mohammed, a fellow who comes across as more of President Muhammadu Buhari’s chief propagandist than a minister of the federal republic of Nigeria in charge of information and culture, didn’t come as a surprise. The list is all too familiar as the unveiling was a summarised rehash of politically exposed individuals who are members of the opposition party, close associates of former President Goodluck Jonathan, particularly his appointees in government, who have been named and shamed several times in well-coordinated media trials.

First on Lai’s list is Uche Secondus, the chairman of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Lai had this to say of Secondus: “On the 19th of February 2015, he took N200 million only from the office of the NSA”. An unidentified former financial secretary of the PDP was similarly accused of “taking” N600 million from the same office of the National Security Adviser. Lai Mohammed also re-revealed that frontline member of PDP and media mogul, who deployed his media power to promote Goodluck Jonathan by de-marketing the Buhari candidacy in the run up to 2015 presidential election, Raymond Dokpesi, is on trial for “taking” N2.1 billion from the office of the then NSA. Lai also reminded Nigerians that his shouting match and former spokesman of the PDP, Olisa Metuh is on trial for “collecting” N1.4 billion from the same office of the NSA.

Lai Mohammed’s expanded follow up list included the usual suspects – former ministers, PDP state governors, service chiefs, presidential aides, associates and family members of former President Goodluck Jonathan, who were collectively accused of looting Nigeria of close to $2.1 billion through the office of the former NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd.).

The choice of words like “took” and “collected” deployed by Lai to describe the manner in which those named received these monies was deliberate for the maximum effect of propaganda, portraying the accused persons as looters who broke into NSA vault and catered away boxes of cash at something akin to a gun point.

While the clamp down on PDP looters who supported Goodluck Jonathan and are still members of the former ruling party has been heavy handed, others who decamped from PDP to the All Progressives Congress (APC) on the eve of the 2015 elections and supported candidate Buhari’s campaign with their share of loot have been forgiven. For example, former NSA, Sambo Dasuki is being treated as an apostate for his role in the disbursement of funds that were used to oil Goodluck Jonathan’s electioneering effort. He has been kept in detention illegally and in defiance of several judicial rulings. Judging by the Buhari administration’s anti-corruption standard of an accusation being tantamount to guilt, in clear contempt of court proceedings by the resort to the naming and shaming suspects even before investigations and criminal prosecution are concluded and convictions obtained, it becomes curious that Lai’s list didn’t reveal any new name. Rather some names were either missing or omitted from what is a familiar list. This appears so because the bulk of PDP bigwigs who “destroyed” Nigeria in sixteen years of national rule are firmly in control of the APC, from its elected national executives to the National Assembly and appointed members of the federal executive council. The majority of APC-elected governors were also former members of the PDP. Even recently decamped PDP members to APC, such as Musiliu Obanikoro and Sulivan Chime, who have been prominently named and shamed in the recent past, were conspicuously missing from the released list of looters.

More curious are the missing names of some accused looters with marital ties to the first and second families. Gimba Yau Kumo, a former PDP appointed managing director of the Federal Mortgage Bank and now son-in-law of President Buhari, who was similarly accused of fraudulent activities amounting to about N3 billion and reportedly being investigated by EFCC, is missing from Lai’s list. Also missing on that list is Bola Shagaya.

Arguably one of Africa’s richest women, with a reputation for close business and political ties to all first families in the past two decades, Bola Shagaya was exceptionally close to the Goodluck Jonathan family. Often described as a bosom friend of former first lady Patience Jonathan, she has been accused, in numerous instances, allegedly, of acting as Patience Jonathan’s front for the laundering of illicit money estimated at over N13 billion, while engaging in other fraudulent activities involved in state capture. All that may be in the past now as she has found her way back to reckoning with the marriage of her son, Seun Bakare to Damilola, the daughter of Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo. Little wonder then, Bola Shagaya’s name is not on Lai’s looters list.

In a clear display of the arrogance of ignorance, the Buhari administration has narrowed its war on corruption to the hounding of members of the Jonathan administration, other individuals and organisations that were known to have worked against the emergence of the President [Buhari] in the 2015 presidential elections. This is clearly evident in the selective nature of the current anti-corruption effort.

The tone of generalisation of the PDP as the problem of Nigeria, as an indicator of corruption, should make all members of PDP (both former and present) and their collaborators in other parties guilty, hence qualifying them for naming and shaming, while being liable for criminal prosecution.

Therefore, Buhari’s list of looters is devoid of integrity, because his selective war on corruption is indicative of corruption in itself. All that is required of a former PDP looter is to get baptised into APC and profess Buhari as the saviour of Nigeria. This is precisely responsible for the failure and ineffectiveness of the war on corruption. Nothing has changed as the current APC looters continue to loot Nigeria, while the redeemed former PDP looters continue to enjoy their loot in hibernation under the abundant grace of the infallible Buhari.

• Dahiru is based in Abuja 

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