By Alebiosu Atinuke
It is with dismay that we see the elections have been postponed for six weeks, with a new poll date for the presidential elections set for 28th March. As defeat stared President Goodluck Jonathan in the face on 14th February, this administration has taken the step of yet again lying to the people of Nigeria and moving the goal posts in their favour. In a situation eerily similar to June 12, 1993, we see the circumvention of civilian rights in order to produce a favourable outcome to entrenched interests who have little concern for the rights of Nigerian citizens and who seek only to protect their stake in government.
The timing of this administration’s renewed zeal to combat a terrorist plague that has dogged the nation (a plague emboldened by the government’s stubborn inability to stamp out their presence with any finality) serves only one miniscule portion of the country—the presidency and his diminishing chances at the polls. These elections were no surprise. Not to our neighbours and allies, and certainly not to our security apparatus. Why the service chiefs, who have known about the coming elections for months, have suddenly found the zeal and capacity to deal with the Boko Haram insurgency after six years of inaction, thousands of people dead and millions more displaced is troubling at best. This comes at a time where the Nigerian military has been thoroughly embarrassed by armed forces from smaller neighbouring countries delivering massive defeats to Boko Haram in a few days, and also as rumblings question whether or not the military has been compromised.
All these changes come as Nigerians move to decisively change in the country at elections. Let us hope the presidency is once again not playing politics with the lives of Nigerians, and that history is not repeating itself. Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it. It may be that President Jonathan was a poor history student.