Lagos - Recently, the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and the main opposition party, All Progressive Congress (APC) chose their presidential flag bearers February 14th Presidential election. While the PDP during its National Convention held on Wednesday, 10th December, 2014 in Abuja ratified the consensus nomination of the incumbent President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, on the same day, in Lagos State, the delegates of APC went for General Mohammadu Buhari (rtd) in a keenly contested primary election.
For the past few days preceding these nominations, Nigerians of different caliber have been expressing their views on the outcome. Many have tried to come up with whom among the two gladiators they think posses the best leadership qualities to lead Nigeria at this point in time and have adduced reasons whether cogent or mundane to support their positions
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However, one thing that is obvious in all the debates that have been taking place on online blogs, social networks and at newspapers stands all over Nigeria is the prime position given to ethnicity and religion.
Most of the views, particularly, among youths are so mundane that one begins to wonder if what we need is a leader from our own tribe and religion or someone that has the capacity to lead Nigeria once again to occupy its rightful place in the committee of nations.
I am of the view that the greatest challenge facing Jonathan is his over reliance on his ministers and special advisers in the act of governance. That to me is one of the reasons his government seems to fail whenever any of these appointees messes up. A leader has to move a step further by getting him/herself well acquainted with every facet of governance.
This requires huge sacrifice and dedication. Little wonder, most successful leaders try to become jack of all trade and in fact, make effort to remain master of all! They do this in order to remain above board and not to fall into the hands of wolves that may be masquerading to be friends in their cabinet. Thus, any leader that takes what an appointee who may be protecting the interest of another politician comes up with hook line and sinker will definitely find it difficult to make headway.
Unfortunately, that to me remains President Jonathan’s greatest challenge as it seems that he gives his cabinet members unwarranted liberty to operate regardless of the negative outcomes this has often produced. The controversies in the Aviation and Petroleum Ministries and the unending promises of abundant provision of electricity by the current and past ministers of power easily come to mind.
As for Buhari, in 1983-85, I was only but a baby who busied himself with sucking breast and therefore can only analyze happenings during his military era from history books. From the little I have read, throughout his time in office, Buhari relied so much on his deputy, Babatunde Idiagbon. He was said to have been quite brutal and sometimes went overboard in his act of dictatorship and that contributed to his human rights records not being so palatable.
However, during his time as the Chairman of Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) I had a firsthand experience of his efforts and resultant positive outcomes. He may not have done outstandingly; at least, he made a significant positive impact.
Further, we seem to be emphasizing specifically on the anti-corruption predisposition of Buhari. Having worked with a leading anti-corruption NGO in Nigeria for over 5 years with the usual privilege of participating in numerous workshops and conferences on corruption in Nigeria, I wholeheartedly align with the position that what we need is a president that will fight corruption to a standstill. However, my concern is that if Buhari eventually wins, I don’t know how he intends to go about fighting corruption. I am of the view that any form of anti-corruption move that exonerates APC leaders including all the current APC governors that were rumoured to have supported his candidature at the primaries etc, will amount to nothing but a mere charade. Honestly, based on how elections are contested and won in Nigeria, Buhari may not do any anti-corruption magic.
To me, we are at it again, it was the same way we thought that due to the presumed ‘divine hand’ in Jonathan’s leadership progression from a ‘mere classroom teacher’ to the position of president will turn Nigeria to Africa’s Hong Kong in few months. The expectation was so high that today, we seem to be blinded to see some of the achievements his administration has made.
Aren’t we doing same thing to Buhari by this wide presumption that with Buhari at the helm of affairs, corruption in Nigeria will become a thing of the past? If he wins, won’t it anticlimax when we start seeing members of APC and his associates getting unduly rich? This was the same way a lot of Africans wrongly believed that on the account of his African background, Obama will abandon America and Americans that elected him to office and come down to Africa to save our continent. Today, haven’t we faced the reality and the fallacy in having such unwarranted resumption?
Now, since we have to make do with what the two political parties have offered us as flag bearers, the big question remains; who then will be the best between the two?
To me, both men are not the best hands Nigeria can offer. The truth remains that as far as leadership is concerned, Nigerian politicians have always succeeded in cheating the Nigerian masses. Nigeria needs a president that will help restore our country’s lost glory in Africa and the world at large. A leader that wil help build a strong economy for this God blessed country. We need a president that will be very articulate, eloquent and posses the ability to think out of the box.
A man or woman that can cope with the technologically driven world we are in today. To be candid, so far, Jonathan has done well in giving Nigerians elections they can be proud of. He has not done badly in giving the judiciary the much needed free hand to do its job.
Insecurity as it is today in Nigeria remains a problem that I strongly believe that could have weighed down even the most gifted leader. However, as things stand at the moment, Jonathan has not fully portrayed the qualities of a leader that will take us to the promised land rather does Buhari look like a president other African leaders will accord due respect, let alone at the world stage.
Finally, we have to vote either Jonathan or Buhari as they seem to be the only options left to us at the moment. We also have to do this without rancour. I breakdown in tears whenever I read through comments of Nigerian youths on issues that bother on our leaders particularly on social media; the manner the so called tomorrow’s leaders curse and heap abuses on themselves solely on ethnic and religious lines is utterly disheartening! We need to appreciate and make the best use of the conducive electioneering atmosphere this current administration has offered us, that is if it is sustained till 2015.
Many will say it is our right, but we have not enjoyed it for a long time. We should go out and vote whoever is our choice while having it at the back of our minds that we are all brothers and sisters and that when we engage in violence in the name of supporting a particular candidate, it does not only lead to the destruction of lives and properties but also goes a long way in diminishing the little respect Nigeria still weighs in the eyes of the international community. Most importantly, we the youth should start working towards and looking beyond 2019.
It is time we started working towards using our best hands, especially our fellow youths!
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