As Nigerians prepare for the 2015 general elections, the question on who they might be convinced, lured, forced or tempted to vote for the or vote against is a matter that will be decided soon. For a start the incumbent, President Goodluck Ebele jonathan ,for all the goodwill that he generated before his first term is now looking ordinary as he seeks another one, with all things falling apart under his watch as president. Faced with Nigeria’s most concerted effort at rallying an opposition, Nigerians now have the opportunity of a quality alternative, one able to keep the ruling party on its toes and perhaps send them packing for the first time in Nigeria’s chequered political history. A majority of persons who backed him in 2011 have left him and even within his own political party there are many who agree that the first term of president Jonathan has being nothing but an unmitigated disaster.
The two major parties in Nigeria, the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP and the All Progressives Congress, APC naturally agree on what Nigeria’s problems are, but like all politics both differ on who best can tackle such problems.
For the APC, the opposition party which controls 14 states and have chosen the man dubbed as Mr.Incorruptible, General Muhamadu Buhari or GMB as he is fondly called, is waxing strong as they have achievements to boast of in the pedigree of political office holders and candidates. A trip to states like Osun, Ekiti(forget that Fayemi lost there, Ekiti will surely miss him)Edo, Lagos, Kano, Rivers , Nassarawa, Kwara and Imo State will humble the bloated achievements of the PDP. Thus when someone like former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi says in a recent article that PDP governors have done better, one is forced to ask where did the flipflopper get his facts from? Also,the party has defied many doomsday predictions of its falling apart, particularly after it held a very transparent presidential primary, today the PDP is campaigning very hard, all thanks to the opposition party, who knows, Nigerians from henceforth will be availed greater respect by the politicians as they know that any slip and our voters will show them the door.
The United Peoples Party, UPP, is a debutant in Nigeria’s general election history, although she parades veterans in the persons like Chief Chekwas Okorie, who is also its presidential aspirant. Okorie is also likely to be a plausible alternative but that would take a miracle and miracles are rare in Nigeria’s political history, and the choice will be between Buhari-Jonathan and Jonathan –Buhari, however, I still give kudos to the Abia born politician and first chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance.
But what kind of president will Nigerians love to elect come March 28th 2015? What kind of leader, even if it is Jonathan again, will Nigerians yearn for?
First and foremost, experience will determine who gets the seat, experience in governance to be precise and both Jonathan and Buhari possess such; however the people in the PDP will naturally mock Buhari’s kind of experience since he governed in 1984 compared to this present age where the world has become a global village. But the Buhari crowd will also spurn such experience and ask how come such experience as Deputy Governor, Governor, Vice President and now President not come in handy in the wake of the Boko Haram attacks, the Chibok girls and the management of the economy? So much for experience they have said.
Second, our dream president should combine a strong commitment to fighting corruption and building a strong and virile economy. For Buhari, this has been his standpoint! If Buhari were a programme the theme song will be one on anti corruption, if he were a book the thrust will be anti corruption and there surely would be a devotion of pages and chapters to the topic. In short, the man’s anti corruption reputation is impeccable and unassailable and needs no introduction. For Jonathan, Nigerians are largely unimpressed with his efforts at taming the monster that has bled Nigerians of trillions of Dollars, monies that would have helped build Nigeria into a global power if it had been channeled properly to meeting her development needs. Where action has failed, he, Jonathan’s words haven’t also helped and when a President blurts that public stealing isn’t corruption or that Buhari was wrong to have jailed a former South East Governor because he stole funds that weren’t worth the amount to purchase a Peugeot car then it is no wonder we are the way we are.
Now, Jonathan’s people will fight back and say well, there have been no arrests and all that but that our corruption ratings have far improved with Transparency International moving us from one step to another. This is progress they say.
On the economy, the Jonathan supporters will brandish the rebased economy, one that has positioned it as the largest economy in Africa; they will look to their touted achievements in infrastructure and agriculture and beat their chests saying, surely we deserve four more years. On the other hand the Buhari people will ask which rebased economy? When there is much hunger in the land, they will question the economic figures dished out by the Okonji Iweala gang and puncture the songs that Nigeria has experienced any forms of economic growth not to talk of the digits with which they have been drumming with it. Unemployment will feature heavily, how much jobs did the Jonathan administration create and where these jobs sufficient enough?
Thirdly, Nigeria needs a democrat and unfortunately this is a missed opportunity for the Jonathan people, although it ought to have been his strong standpoint by virtue of his democratic upbringing, by this I mean, he would have made much political gain by contrasting himself with the military leader in General Buhari and the ethos that believes that a military man will always be one. Sadly, even Jonathan has shown that democrats can be dictators too. Ask Rotimi Amaechi and he will tell you how 17 would have become greater than 19 or how his plane was grounded or how six legislators wanted to impeach him. Ask Speaker Tambuwal, who was tear gassed on orders from above? Ask the electorate in Ekiti and Osun who were wondering whether their states had become theatres of war when soldiers and security personnel were deployed to harass and intimidate the opposition there.
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Views expressed are solely Author’s