President Goodluck Jonathan Postponed Elections To Frustrate Buhari’ – New York Times

February 17, 2015 8:34 am

The -based Times says the postponement of the
elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission was
orchestrated by to frustrate Maj. Gen
Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) of the All Progressives Congress.

The newspaper in its post published yesterday and titled ”Nigeria’s Miserable Choices”,
further stated that Jonathan appeared to be afraid of the increasing
popularity of Buhari, who most Nigerians would likely vote for. Read the
article below & let’s hear what you think, guys.

The Nigerian government was supposed to hold presidential elections this
past weekend, which presented voters with the dispiriting choice of
keeping a lousy incumbent or returning to power a former autocratic
leader. Now they will have to wait at least six weeks to cast votes.

The Nigerian election commission said earlier this month that it had
pushed back the vote until at least March 28, after the country’s
security chiefs warned that they could not
guarantee the safety of voters in northeastern areas
of the country where Boko Haram, the extremist militant group, captured
international attention last spring when it abducted hundreds of
schoolgirls. 

On Friday, Boko Haram fighters attacked a village in neighboring Chad
for the first time, an alarming sign of the group’s expanding strength
in a region that also includes areas of Cameroon and Niger. 

Any argument to delay the vote might be more credible if President
Goodluck Jonathan’s government had not spent much of the past year
playing down the threat posed by the militants and if there were a
reasonable expectation that the country’s weak military has the ability
to improve security in a matter of weeks. 

It appears more likely Mr. Jonathan grew alarmed by the surging
appeal of Muhammadu Buhari, a former military ruler who has vowed to
crack down on Boko Haram. By dragging out the race, Mr. Jonathan stands
to deplete his rival’s campaign coffers, while he continues to use state
funds and institutions to bankroll his own.
 

That Mr. Buhari, who helped launch a coup against a democratically
elected government in 1983 and ruled until late 1985, has emerged as
potential winner is more of an indictment of Mr. Jonathan’s dismal rule
than a recognition of the former military chief’s appeal. 

Nigerian voters have grown increasingly worried about the stunning rise
of Boko Haram, which has committed terrorist atrocities including
bombings.  

The abductions and attacks by the group have exposed the weaknesses of
’s armed forces and the dysfunction of the government. Although
Mr. Jonathan’s government has in the past been less than enthusiastic,
and at times obstructive, in response to offers of American and European
aid, he appears to be growing increasingly worried. In an interview
with The Wall Street Journal last week, he said he would welcome
American troops to fight the insurgency.  

Beyond security matters, entrenched corruption and the government’s
inability to diversify its economy as the price of oil, the country’s
financial bedrock, has fallen have also caused Nigerians to look for new
leadership. 

Nigeria, the most populous nation in , and a relatively young
democracy, cannot afford an electoral crisis. That would only set back
the faltering effort to reassert government control in districts where
Boko Haram is sowing terror. The security forces may not be able to
safeguard many districts on Election Day. But postponement is very
likely to make the security threat worse.

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