The Fallacy Of President Jonathan’s Red-Herring Argument For A 2nd Term

By on January 26, 2015


No one can deny that this election cycle in our history is indeed a very interesting one. It is definitely a forward movement in our developing democracy. It was really encouraging to see many Nigerians very passionate about the people who are contesting.

Arguments have been brutal both online and offline.

People are going at it on Facebook and twitter, just as they are also going at it at beer parlors, Vendor stands and even in banking halls across the nation. It is certainly an interesting time, and we all pray that regardless of we personally support, the election will be free and fair and the loser will congratulate the winner, after the people have finally spoken with their votes without intimidation or harassment on FEB 14TH AND 28TH. That is my fervent wish, and the prayer of millions of Nigerians from different prayer campaigns across the nation such as the #Iwillpray and #111PrayerMovement among others.

However, one thing has really made me very curious, both as an active participant and an observer of the different arguments.

From what I can see so far, it appears that while the supporters of Buhari for President have been trying to engage the Jonathan supporters on the rea issues that should engage our intellects and our emotions in this critical election period, most of the supporters of Jonathan-for-4-more-years have basically adopted THE RED HERRING STRATEGY instead of dealing with the issues head on.

When you review most of the arguments and intellectual facts out there, you will observe that most people on the Jonathan-must-go side of the debate have been mostly saying that we need a change because of the abysmal performance of the current President on key indices that should govern any progressive nation including 1. PERFORMANCE ON SECURITY FOR THE PEOPLE; 2. IMPACT OF THE ECONOMY OF DAILY LIVES 3. LACK OF STABLE ELECTRICITY/POWER 4. RECORD LEVELS OF UNEMPLOYMENT; 5. PERFORMANCE IN TACKLING CORRUPTION and other salient points.

However when you look at most of the arguments from the Pro-Jonathan group, you won’t find too much argument or analysis of the performance by their man on these critical issues. Instead they have chosen to talk instead about the opponent. Rather than talk about Jonathan’s ‘good’ record that made him deserving of 4 more years, they would rather focus on Buhari’s record as a military man and how he jailed supposedly ‘innocent’ politicians 30 years ago. Rather than defend their man on his record on security, they would rather talk about how they suspect that Buhari is an Islamist who will take away our bibles and kill those who refuse to convert to Islam. Rather than talk about Jonathan’s record on the embarrassing unemployment figures in the nation [with over 70% youth unemployment], they prefer to shout about how Buhari tried to return Umaru Dikko, a wanted fugitive at that, in a crate, in a failed attempt to bring him back to Nigeria for justice.

This is the CLASSIC RED-HERRING strategy from President Jonathan’s Apologists and this attitude begs the question: Why are President Jonathan’s supporters AFRAID to face the real issues? Could it be that deep down they knew their man has FAILED US IN THE LAST 4 YEAR and cannot be defended on his record?

According to Wikipedia Dictionary, Red Herring is a fallacy in which an irrelevant topic is presented in order to divert attention from the original issue. The basic idea is to “win” an argument by leading attention away from the argument and to another topic. For politicians, red herrings come in handy as they use them frequently to dodge difficult questions in a discussion or an argument. They do it by referring to a different issue, which of course is irrelevant, to sidetrack from the original issue under discussion.

This Red-Herring Strategy appears to be the overriding strategy of the Jonathan camp led by the Mis-information Cabal of Doyin Okupe, Femi Fani-Kaoyde and Ruben Abati, the once credible critic-turned government apologist. This Red-herring is what this infamous Trio have been regaling Nigerians with for the last 2 years…. And frankly, it is becoming tiring.

You definitely can’t say you deserve 4 more years because you think your opponent is a dictator though he is now a civilian subject to a constitution. It devalues the Jonathan candidacy for his apologists to keep talking about Buhari’s record of 30 years ago when the real issue on the table is President’s PRESENT record on key issues.

The infamous misinformation trio have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous while dodging the real issues in this election. They left their responsibility to articulate the President’s policies and went on a disingenuous frolic of muddying the waters.

First, they talked for months on Buhari’s human rights record 30 years ago when he was a Military man instead of engaging Nigerians on their man’s record for the last 6 years. When that didn’t stick, they accused him of being behind Boko haram though they never even so much invited him to questioning at the police station, much less arrest him, because they knew they have zero evidence.

When that got boring, they introduced the issue of  primary school qualification for a man who has not only served as Governor of A State, Minister in different capacities, but who also went to Army school, USA War College and took a long course in UK.

When those lines of red-herring attack made them a laughing stock, the president’s men then fabricated rumors that Buhari has terminal disease, has collapsed and has been flown abroad when Buhari was actually campaigning in Yobe state. One of Mr. President’s unrepentant attack dogs, Governor Ayodele Fayose, an excuse for a governor, actually took out an unfortunate advert in major newspapers predicting death on Buhari as President.

These incidents represent a deployment of the Red-Herring strategy at its worst and beneath the status of the President.

Somebody needs to tell the strategists of Mr. President, and the President himself that you can’t win by saying people should vote for you because your opponent is bad. This is 2015 and Nigerians are not that naïve or stupid to forget the real issues while chasing red herrings thrown out by Mr. President’s supporters. We want answers on why we should trust him with another 4 years when your last 6 years has brought untold hardship to us economically and international embarrassment with the ONE-SCANDAL-AWEEK Government for the last 6 years.  

President Jonathan Goodluck still has over 2 weeks to convince Nigerians why we should trust him with 4 more years based on his record in the last 6 years and what he plans to do to turn around the fortunes of our dear nation.

Nigerians definitely want to hear Mr. President’s explanations, and realistic visions for the future, on the following burning issues that are of concern to us over the next 4 years and not Buhari’s record of over 30 years ago.

#1 INSECURITY IN THE LAND – President Jonathan needs to EXPLAIN AND APOLOGIZE to Nigerians why he has been unable to deal with the issues of the Boko Haram insurgency. He needs to tell us what happened to the budgetary allocation for equipping the military in the last 6 years, and why the military did not have the heavy equipment to crush the insurgents. Jonathan Goodluck needs to explain what really happened why the planned join-training with Americans that never happened and he did not deliver on his own side to supply equipment as alleged by the American envoy. He also needs to explain what happened to the Chibok girls, and why his initial reaction was to dismiss the reports that these girls were even adopted in the first place.

When he has explained all that to our satisfaction with a suitable apology, then he needs to EXPLAIN to us how he would deal with these issues if given another 4 years. Certainly we do not what to hear the irresponsible quip he has been parroting that ‘Boko Haram will soon be a thing of the past’. We want to know EXACTY HOW HE PLANS TO DO THAT before relying on his Goodluck that has not held up so far.


#2. ERRATIC POWER GENERATION AND DELIVERY– Mr. President himself PICKED the issue of Power as the acid test on whether he should be reelected or not, about 4 years ago. He state PUBLCLY that if he could not solve the power problem and make power constant for Nigerians in 4 years, then he won’t deserve another term. Now that the 4 years he promised is over, and we are still in darkness most of the time, he needs to explain what happened and apologize for his failure to fulfill his promises.

Once he has satisfactorily explained his failure to Nigerians, then he should tell us what EXACTLY he plans to do over the next 4 years to ensure that this problem is fixed.

Again, we don’t want to hear the usual lame excuse that he did not cause the power problem. HE IS THE PRESIDENT NOW and whatever mess was create before him, it is his RESPONSBILITY NOW. So whining about the past is unacceptable. We WANT TO KNOW WHAT HE PLANS TO DO ABOUT IT GOING FORWARD.

#3. CORRUPTION IN EVERY AREA OF GOVERNMENT – The last 4 years have witnessed unprecedented levels of corruption and fraud scandals in the country. The level of Fraud Eruptions that we witnessed in virtually all sectors of the economy is definitely not a good record on which he should be asking us for another 4 years.

So, instead of telling us how bad Buhari is on human rights abuses 30 years ago, President Jonathan should tell us why under his watch in the immediate last 4 years, we had such colossal scandals like the PENSION FUND FRAUD; SUBSIDY SCAM SCANDAL; STOCK EXCHANGE SCANDAL; NNPC FRAUD SCANDALS; BULLET-PROOF CAR SCANDALS ETC. He needs to explain how that happened without any blame on his part. More importantly he needs to reassure Nigerians of the concrete PLANS he has in place to make sure we would not have to go through this cycle of shame, embarrassment and loss of national assets over the next 4 years, if we were to give him another chance.

I could definitely raise more urgent issues for the president to address but we all get the gist. This election should be about issues that concern the forward movement of our nation and not about irrelevant and outdated issues The way the country thinks about many issues today is very different form the sentiments of 30 years ago and it is disingenuous to talk about the last 30 years in the context of today.

Until Mr. President and his apologists can really come out and address the burning issues relating to his stewardship in the last 4-6 years, the Red-Herring Strategy is not going to work. Nigerians are alive and well to this ineffective strategy, and we expect a better approach to addressing the issues dear to the hearts of Nigerians.

If Mr. President and his people are unable, or unwilling, to join issues with Buhari and millions of  Nigerians on matters of Security, Corruption, Power, Unemployment, the N205-to-$1 Economy, and other burning issues, without resorting to vexing Red-Herrings, then maybe he should start packing his belongings to retire to Utueke because Nigeria needs to move forward.

This may be HardTalk, but it is True-Talk all the same

About Dr. Ope Banwo

Dr. Ope Banwo is an Attorney; Pastor; Business Consultant; Author; Motivational Speaker, and Corporate Solutions Provider. He holds several degrees in Law including a Bachelors, Masters and a Ph.D. He was admitted to the Nigerian Bar (1986), New York Bar (1997) and Federal Court of Nebraska (1997) in the United States. Ope Banwo has written several published books on different topics over the years including bestsellers in Christianity; Lifestyle; and Business such as The Kingdompreneur, Overcoming The Gideon Complex, The Kingdom Citizen, The Return of The Prodigal; The Blessings of Adversity; African Internet Business Manifesto; Confessions Of A Guru-Wannabe; Social Media Marketing Genesis; Offline-Online Business Manifesto, Digital Marketing Without Tears For Company Executives etc. Deeply committed to public service and service to humanity, Dr Ope Banwo has also initiated several public initiatives including the Ghetto Dreamz Foundation to empower economically-disadvantaged Youths; The Omega Wealth Club to teach youths legitimate ways to employ themselves online; The Kingdompreneur Academy to impact Christians in Business and the Nigerian Market Ombudsman to ensure transparency, accountability and fairness in the market place.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

shared on