VAL | New African hann inte mer än komma ut med sitt stora valnummer innan man sköt upp valet i Nigeria. Idag är det dags igen.
Valet skulle ha hållits i februari men sköts upp för att ge militären möjlighet att återerövra områden som kontrolleras av den islamistiska terrororganisationen Boko Haram.
Nu har man förlängt valet till på söndag i vissa delar p.g.a. av våldet, men också p.g.a. tekniska problem i vissa valbås. ”[A]bout 300 polling units out of about 150,000”, enligt en talesperson från valkommissionen Inec.
Valet förväntas bli det jämnaste sedan landet blev självständigt 1963.
Men även om det förväntas bli jämt har president Goodluck Jonathans oförmåga att hantera landets största säkerhetshot allvarligt skadat hans möjligheter att bli återvald.
Oavsett valresultatet kommer Jonathans misslyckande försök att besegra Boko Haram definiera hans tid som president enligt Bala Mohammed Liman i New African.
Boko Haram’s reign of terror has highlighted the weaknesses in the Nigerian state but also affected perceptions of the president. Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria’s president since the death of his predecessor Umaru Musa Yar’Adua in 2010, found himself tasked with the job of managing this insurgency early in his presidency. He is not considered to have risen to the challenge, and is often depicted as an indecisive leader, incapable of governing such a pluralistic nation.
Far from being brought to heel, under Jonathan’s watch Boko Haram has grown and morphed into something significantly more threatening, dangerous and destabilizing.
Jonathan’s communications strategy on Boko Haram has likewise been unsuccessful. He did not comment on the April 2014 abductions of over 200 girls from a school in Chibok for over two weeks after the event. Officials have made claims about the immediate return of some or all of the girls that have severely damaged his administration’s credibility. The girls have still not been rescued.
He did visit Maiduguri, the capital of Borno State, on 15 January to commiserate with some of the displaced persons from the recent Baga attack and also to show support for the armed forces. This is a good gesture. However, many of his critics see this as too little, too late – just an attempt to win votes. Evidence for this more cynical view may be found in the speed with which Jonathan condemned the attacks on Charlie Hebdo in Paris, calling them “dastardly”, while failing to comment on the ongoing massacre in Baga.
At times, Jonathan has appeared unwilling to take Boko Haram as seriously as he should. Various blame games have further dented his image. His administration has previously suggested that Cameroon was not doing enough to counter Boko Haram’s cross-border threat. His wife, Patience, alleged that the abduction of the Chibok girls was carried out to embarrass her husband. Interestingly, this narrative has been picked up on by his supporters, who believe that the president’s failure to effectively tackle Boko Haram has to do with enemies within the government who continue to sabotage his efforts, rather than his or the military’s incapacity. The president’s 2012 declaration that the group had sympathisers within the government, while not providing names or evidence to support this claim, suggests that this is either another excuse or an example of weakness, with Jonathan failing to expose these individuals.
Huvudmotståndaren Muhammadu Buhari har byggt mycket av sin image på att han är mannen som kan ta itu med landets omfattande korruption. Men budskapet har modifierats under valrörelsen.
Patric Smith, redaktör The Africa Report, skriver:
In Abuja these days, politicians on all sides preface their remarks with a reference to a ‘dangerous time’ for the country.
A banker and strong supporter of President Goodluck Jonathan laments that neither the ruling People’s Democratic Party nor the opposition All Progressives Congress have shown a will to accept defeat at all, let alone gracefully.
”We don’t have a good record of managing close election results,” he says.
Nigeria’s most threatening crises have been resolved by the political, military and business elites stitching together backroom deals.
There seems little scope for compromise between backers of Jonathan – the first president from the Niger Delta, who started out with a serious agenda to reform power and agriculture – and his challenger Muhammadu Buhari, a tough former military leader whose anti-corruption record has made him wildly popular in the north and parts of the south-west.
Yet following claims last year by Lamido Sanusi, the former central bank governor, that the state oil company had failed to transfer more than $20bn to the government’s accounts, it is the determination of Buhari – himself a former oil minister – to promote accountability that boosts his poll ratings.
Now, his message to worried politicians and businesspeople is that he will focus on the future and not spend government time on probes into Nigeria’s multitudinous historic scandals.
Tidskriftsomslag: New African, februari 2015 och The Africa Report, mars 2015.