Never Again! - By Babafemi Ojudu
Quote me: the coming Presidential election will be the cheapest ever in the history of our country.
This government will not loot the treasury or empty the Central Bank to buy votes. Money meant for arms will not be diverted to buy prayers from pastors and Alfas. INEC officials are not going to be paid to manipulate figures in favor of The President and his party. Security men will do their job as stipulated by the terms of their engagement. Above all, voters will be allowed to vote according to the dictates of their conscience.
About this time in 2015, the nation was awash with cash, both in local and foreign currencies. Money meant for arms, for infrastructural development and for the provision of good life for the people was diverted and shared out among the big shots in the ruling party. A bit of it trickled down to the people and everyone had a big party.
I recall that President Jonathan relocated to Lagos with the intent to capture Lagos and the South West by all means. With boxes of dollars to boot, his residence in Marina became a Mecca for those seeking free money. He was merrily scammed.
All manner of Oodua associations sprang up. Every one scrambled to share from the largesse and our President became a ‘donatus‘. I remember some fellows I know who came up with an ‘Association of White Witches.’ Soon after they had collected their share, the Black Witches also surfaced to pick theirs. Elders who once were politically influential but now expired and no longer relevant quickly dug up their old credentials and queued to have their share.
Obas, Obis, Emirs were not left out. Beads to validate their claims to royalty became scarce in the market. Alfas, Imams and all manner of people laying claim to have direct access to God were contracted from within and abroad. A northern political big wig got a multi-billion naira contract to go to Sudan, Egypt and Morocco to bring in some more marabouts. At the end of the day, the people’s will prevailed.
I am using this opportunity, therefore, to inform our compatriots who daily troop to my office with proposals asking for loads of money to organize rallies and do one thing or the other to perish the thought.
This government will not dip its hand into government coffers to run a campaign. It is not done in sane societies and it shall not be done under the Buhari regime.
Let us follow the example of the farmers who are taxing their members N100 each to support the president.
So far we have about 800 support groups. On their own, they are mobilizing resources to organize rallies and produce souvenirs. This, many are doing even when Mr President has not announced his campaign council.
Like a guerrilla army, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is surfacing in market places, doing street walks and entering the homes of the disadvantaged and listening to their challenges, get first hand information on what is important as valuable to them.
The PDP is jittery. They are not used to this kind of campaign and they don’t know how to respond other than throwing. The few gentlemen among them are so frustrated to the point of throwing tantrum. Never knew a man like Dogara could go saucy. The season is bringing out the worst out of hitherto reasonable folks.
We are teaching them a new mode of campaigning, a new politics.
If you believe in President Buhari go out there and raise fund for your activities. This President has made up his mind not to deploy Nigeria’s resources to buy votes.
Change is certainly here. It is real.
Babafemi Ojudu Is Special Adviser to President Muhammad Buhari on Political Matters.