The Oasis Reporters
April 16, 2019
By Greg Abolo
Former Nigeria’s Vice president, Atiku Abubakar has a diversionary political battle to fight, apart from the presidential mandate he believes was stolen from him.
The All Progressives Congress, APC just threw a controversy into the ring by claiming that the former Vice president and presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP was not even qualified to run in the first place. This is so because at the time of his birth, the ruling political party says, his village of Jada was in the Central African country of Cameroon. The PDP has mocked this assertion, calling it diversionary and asking for Buhari’s own credentials as well as asking him to face the legal challenge before him.
Former Vice president Atiku Abubakar is challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari at the concluded election before the Presidential Election Tribunal.
One other African statesman who got ‘de-nationalized’ was Zambia’s former president, Kenneth Kaunda.
He belonged to the radical younger generation between 1953-63 who were determined to achieve an independent African state. Like Mandela, he was also jailed for his campaign of civil disobedience against the policy of federation and colonization by the British. While he is jail, a new and more militant party is formed – UNIP, (the United National Independence Party).
When Kaunda is released from prison, in January 1960, he is elected president of UNIP. The party fights for independence and In elections in October 1962 UNIP emerges as the party with the largest number of seats in the legislative council (fifteen out of thirty-seven), making
Kaunda, president of the new nation (independent from October 1964), beginning a career of almost three decades in that position till 1991
Then there was multi party election in 1991. Kaunda lost the election to Frederick Chiluba of the Movement For Multiparty Democracy, MMD.
The 1990s remain a time of great difficulty for Zambia. It’s main foreign currency earner, Copper suffers a further decline in value. Efforts to reform the bloated civil service inherited from Kaunda are painful and not entirely successful. And the MMD begins to lose its early reputation for a serious commitment to democracy and human rights.
This is seen in particular in the continuing career of Kenneth Kaunda, who makes it plain that he hopes to regain his presidency. Strenuous efforts are made to prevent his standing against Chiluba. Before the 1996 presidential election an amendment is added to the constitution requiring candidates to have parents who were native Zambians (Kaunda’s were born in Malawi). The MMD goes on to say that anyone can be Vice president, or anything, but certainly not president.
In 1997 an opposition rally is fired on by police and Kaunda is slightly wounded. Later in the same year he is accused of having abetted an abortive military coup. He is placed under house arrest, but is released in June 1998 when all charges are withdrawn. In November 1999 Kaunda’s son Wezi, prominent in UNIP, is assassinated (why or by whom is not known).
Meanwhile in 1996 Chiluba is re-elected to the presidency for the second of the two consecutive terms allowed in the constitution. Till date, Kaunda’s political career seem to have suffered a slump.
In Nigeria’s neighbouring Republic of Niger, across the border with Daura emirate where President Muhammadu Buhari hails from, it’s one time president, Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara was acting funny politically and the country felt he needed to be gotten rid of. Daouda Malam Wanké, a member of the Hausa ethnic group rose up to the task and led a coup that not only overthrew Ibrahim Baré Maïnassara, but equally killed him on April 9, 1999
Wanké was born in Yellou, a town near Niger’s capital, Niamey. He entered the Niger military, rising to the rank of Major.
He stayed on as Head of state and ushered in a democratic dispensation after seven months and was succeeded by Mamadou Tandja in December 1999.
. Suddenly the news became that Wanké was a Nigerian immigrant from Sokoto or born by immigrant Nigerian parents from Sokoto State in Nigeria.
Daouda Wanké was born on May 6, 1946, he died on September 15, 2004.
Like Nigeria with a threatening Boko Haram religious insurgency that has gulped billions in dollars and yet resists every solution thrown at it, the South American nation of Peru suffered an even worse fate. They had the threatening Marxist insurgency called The Shining Path movement. President after president came, and the revolutionary rebellion led by Guzman persisted. And even strengthened.
Until Alberto Fujimori emerged the 62nd President of Peru on July 28, 1990 to 22 November 22, 2000. His government defeated the Shining Path insurgency, arrested it’s leader, Guzman who was displayed in a cage and beamed on television, live for the captured cadres to see. Fujimori also restored Peru’s macroeconomic stability.
By the time his government ended, he was tainted with an engulfing scandal revolving around corruption and human rights violations. Many also resented him for his parents were Japanese by birth.
Fujimori ended his presidency by fleeing Peru for Japan yet, amid his prosecution in 2008 for crimes against humanity relating to his presidency, two-thirds of Peruvians polled voiced approval for his leadership in that period.
He became a one time Peruvian former president that can’t even enter the country he knew, and served with the best of his ability.
Jerry John Rawlings ( often nicknamed “Junior Jesus”) initially came to power in Ghana as a flight lieutenant of the Ghana Air Force following a coup d’état in 1979.
A British tabloid spread his photo on it’s front page with a screaming headline, ‘Scot Takes Over Ghana’.
Indeed Rawlings was born of a Scottish father and an Ewe speaking mother from Ghana. But in the inheritance laws of Ghana, sons of Ghanaian women are better recognized and they alone succeed in kingship successions to the throne. The West African nation believes that sons of fathers may not be real, in the off chance that a woman may have played some footsie with a male lover as she passes off the child to her unsuspecting husband.
Therefore to the English that are patrilineal in inheritance, Jerry Rawlings is Scottish. But to the Ghanaian who know his mother as belonging to the Ewe tribe, he is a full blooded Ghanaian.
After initially handing power over to a civilian government, Rawlings took back control of the country on 31 December 1981 as the Chairman of the Provisional National Defence Council. In 1992, Rawlings resigned from the military, founded the National Democratic Congress, and became the first President of the Fourth Republic. He was re-elected in 1996 for four more years.
When Lynda Chalker, Baroness Chalker of Wallasey, PC became Minister of State for Overseas Development and Africa at the Foreign Office, in the Conservative government from 1989 to 1997, she visited Ghana under Rawlings.
Although Rawlings had all his education in Ghana, including the famous Achimota College, the then Ghanaian leader spoke with a decidedly British accent. And on receiving Baroness Chalker in his expansive garden courtyard, they kissed on the cheek the way the British do to show affection and warmth.
Ghanaians love Rawlings. But whoever wants to rile them up sees anger when told that the mother of Jerry Rawlings may be Ewe alright, but that she came from the Togolese side of the Ewe tribe across the border. No Ghanaian likes that. While some say that it may be very close to the truth, albeit in rumour mills.
Generally speaking, most succeeding presidents use the nationality trump card to trounce their opponents and beat them into a quiet line, especially if they have no tangible success stories to render to a critical electorate. Diversion becomes the name of the game.