Come February 15th, Nigeria will either reelect Goodluck Jonathan for another four years, or elect General Muhammadu Buhari as the new President of the Republic. It is my sincerest wish that the latter outcome is one we end up with. There are solid arguments to be made for Buhari’s presidency, some of which have been brilliantly laid out in this post by Tola Sarunmi and a series of conversations going on at DoubleEph’s blog Aguntasolo. Give them a look.
Having said that, here are my main reasons.
There is no way anyone can say, in good conscience and without pandering to politics, that Goodluck Jonathan has done a good job at the helm of our affairs as a nation. Yes, he had some positive things, like improvements in agriculture through Adesina, and relatively minor upgrades in transportation. Yet, the parts he’s failed at, he’s done so abysmally. Boko Haram has a piece of Nigerian territory the size of Belgium in their grasp, having killed almost 15,000 Nigerians, and kidnapped hundreds more, including boys and girls. Our president figures that’s not a problem he can do anything about. Corruption, under Jonathan has gotten out of hand. EFCC is comatose, content to chase small fry while ignoring the colossal theft being perpetrated at every level of the Presidency, and across several PDP led state governments. The monetary advantage secured over the presidencies of OBJ and Ya’radua, including a healthy ECA and external reserves have largely disappeared, years of oil boom pissed away, and our investment in infrastructure stuck firmly below 5% of the nation’s budget. In all, that is a recipe for decline. Another four years of Jonathan will be hard to recover from.
2. Buhari the Man
A nation cannot rise above it’s leader. If Nigeria’s biggest problem is corruption, Buhari is arguably it’s greatest solution. Everyone who has dealt with him, even his detractors, have reaffirmed this. He is a man with discipline, integrity and high levels of accountability. More importantly, he does not just have that quality for himself, he praises and rewards it in others, one of which was the late Doctor Dora Akunyili, of blessed memory. Additionally, he was the only Nigerian head of state who stood up to the Washington establishment in the 80s by rejecting their policy of rapid devaluation in favor of a gradual adjustment in our currency, at a time when Nigeria faced similar pressures to what it faces today on the economic front. He also dealt decisively with an insurgency by the Maisatsine sect, showing that he understands how to combat terrorism at a time we need that desperately. While he has a somewhat deserved reputation for being autocratic, the reality of a military government of 1983 versus a democratic government of 2014 are so far removed from each other as to be a foreign country. There is no one way to not be autocratic in a military dictatorship, it’s not exactly a matter of voting, is it? Besides, the man himself, by his actions, his ability to compromise, and the party he represents, has shown remarkable statesmanship.
3. The APC
The value of a leader is seen in the people he surrounds himself with. The APC is the party of Fashola, of Amaechi, of Fayemi, of Osun State, of Lagos State and many more. It’s a party that has a strong development based ideology, with the evidence to show for it. While Lagos is the inevitable big story, Osun state is making very deep strategic leaps in agriculture, education and infrastructure. As is Edo. Yemi Osinbajo, is a Senior Advocate, former Attorney General, a brilliant intellectual and a Pastor in RCCG. He’s an excellent fellow. With GMB’s discipline and anti-corruption drive, Osinbajo’s brilliant and ability to get things done, and the formidable team and track history of the party, there is no doubt that the new government under Buhari will be a massive upgrade to Jonathan. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, yeah? Lagos today is nothing like Lagos in 1999. The difference is stunning. What would a party like that do for Nigeria? If you want to know in detail, I suggest reading APC’s manifesto.
4. The North
This is a somewhat controversial reason, simply because there is the supportable history of the Northern establishment seeking to perpetuate it’s place in Nigeria’s governance. But it has to be clarified that this was simply a narrow band of inddividuals, not the entire region. And Northern Nigeria has remained the least developed, least educated and least included region in our country. Moreover, since 1999, the democratic governance of Nigeria has stayed in the hands of the South, minus Yar’adua’s brief stint. I am not one to ignore the reality of our nation. Inclusiveness is what drives much of our national participation, which is why despite its obvious inefficiencies, the Federal Character rule has stayed. In the years since 1999, the global Islamic world has been drawing the soul of the North, further detaching much of it’s Muslim population from any feeling that Nigeria as their nation and place of birth comes first in their allegiances. Boko Haram is merely one, even if the most virulent manifestation of that. Many Northern Muslims live in a much poorer, much more stratified, much less privileged Nigeria than the one Southerners live in. A Buhari presidency will not be a ‘northern’ presidency as we can see from the national scope of APCs current political ambitions and machinery, but its symbolic value to the North cannot be overstated. It costs the South nothing, yet it pulls us much closer as a nation. As for those who insist that Buhari will Islamize the country, not even Abacha could unilaterally do that. Buhari has held close ties with the Christian establishment, and his government was among the most secular (he clearly did not pay for Pilgrimages using state funds, unlike the current President.)
Because no President who ignored this cry, who had to wait for Malala to urge him before he visited the parents of those girls. who let a member of his cabinet get away with the sham interview that cost the lives of Nigerians, who speaks out for Paris’ slain 12 but never spared a breath for Baga, Nigeria’s slain 2000, who says he will not declare his assets publicly and he doesn’t give a damn what we say, who says terrorism is a global phenomenon and it’s merely Nigeria’s turn, who allows funds meant to end the insurgency be stolen without exacting punishment on the perpatrators, but lets our barehanded soldiers either die in battle or be tried for mutiny, who insists that stealing is not corruption and absolves Alamaseighya of guilt while making Bode George a convincted criminal, and Kashamu a wanted man for drug trafficking in America the backbones of his political machinery, no such President deserves another chance to govern us again.
That is my view and I will defend it any day.