I have followed the countdown to the 2015 presidential election and the final emergence of the two dominant candidates for the election. Several months earlier, the election was narrowed down to two basic fundamental issues that Nigerians and Nigeria needed to curb: the geometric progression in which everything from insecurity and corruption had plagued the country. At the height of the corruption saga, was the issue of purchase of private planes, BMW financial recklessness involving the then minister of Aviation under the present administration. Nigerians and the international world had not yet digested our new found definition of corruption which our current president defined in his now famous CNN interview with Christine Amanpour, that “corruption is not Nigerians primary problem, that corruption is not an aberration of the way of life of any third world economy” Almost every facet of the society is plagued with the endemic corruption, even our educational sector is not left behind. The university is a microcosm of the larger society; as a result, it reflects both internal moral values and the larger society as a whole.
I have developed a penchant for referencing several interviews granted by the president to both local and international media as a leveraged or indices to outline the scope and vision of the current administration. The President has had several golden opportunities to set the record straight and to articulate as well as package his administration policies, failed to put across how he hopes to actualize his newly acquired “Transformation” agenda. On the issue of energy /power supply availability to the entire country based on the campaign promise to make steady power supply across the country in 2011, I am dismayed that, our president response was ,”ask the average Nigerians in cities like Abuja, Lagos and others, we have made tremendous impact on Electricity supply” This response is at best mediocre. I am not certain, who would qualify as an average Nigerian, and if I pretend to know or compartmentalize Nigerians into average, certainly, those in the urban cities listed does not qualify as average Nigeria. By Average Nigerians, my reflection is directed at okon from Ukanafun, Obi from Wawa area of Enugu state, Odeyemi from Ilesha , umaru from kaura Namada, Suleiman from Chibok, sergeant from yenogoa. When we use urban centers as an indices for level of energy stability, I beg to say that we will miss the point.
Nigerians of all shades and political opinions have a heightened expectation about the outcome of the 2015 election. The anxiety traces back to an earlier internal party arrangement in which the President upon completion of the last two years remaining of late Musa Yar’dua, allegedly , as a pre-condition before and during the invocation of the doctrine of necessity, promised the People Democratic Party that he will not seek re-election. I inavertently used the expression, “allegedly” assuming I am wrong, because I watched Mr. President’s speech at the UN where he stated , he is not a candidate for another re-election. We are reminded by history that noble and gentlemen, keep their word which is akin to a sworn oath that is binding hence the Americans use the “word is Bond” as the highest affirmation of sacred bond. When the president sought re-election, against his earlier gentleman agreement, he offended several key party hierarchy and indeed non apolitical Nigerians. The argument had been that, several money hungry hawks over took the party machinery and wanted to milk the system as best as they could while having the president agape hopelessly looking and staring in space.
Events preceding the elections point to the fact that some powerful interest group had overtaken the helm of affairs of the country leaving political prostitution to flourish, first the likes of Fani Kayode, was one of the first to fire the shot against the P.D.P and it did not take too long for him to be wooed back and given the attack dog of the president re-election campaign. The former governor of Bayelsa State, Alayemaesia, got state pardon and was selected as the delegate to the smoke screen sovereign national conference, thereafter, Bode George, Kasumu and the list is unending and even Late dictator General Abacha was given the highest national award even when Nigeria is busy recovering monies embezzled by late Abacha. The clear message from this is that, corruption is rewarded by this government. Currently, and it is despicable that DSP Alayemesia is a candidate for Nigerian Senate, a convicted felon in the U.K. The former President OBJ openly wrote a letter of his intention to relinquish his active involvement at the PDP national level, stating that elevation of Kasamu as the south west coordinator, a zone he Obasanjo comes from, is an insult and indictment on his (Obasanjo) integrity.
The menace and insecurity chart of this administration provides a downward spiral of gross destruction of property of Nigerians, loss of lives, even, once again, President Good luck Jonathan refused to admit in several interview with CNN and other international media, that Boko Haram is a terrorist group. There has been neither plan nor sensitivity towards the victims in the attack. One of the primary duties of the president is to protect the citizens of Nigeria and the defense of the territorial integrity of the nation. The president seems overwhelmed by the myriad of problems and this gave eminence to the “cluelessness” terminology usage. There was no game plan to seek the office of the president and experience has shown time without error, that it is not an on the job training career, occupants must possess requisite ability to perform the sacred duties with a game plan and vision.
Having highlighted the preamble, I believe the core discussion in this forth coming election should aptly revolve around corruption, security, energy and who among the candidates will usher in an era of a new Nigeria. But the diversionary antics of the PDP have sought to define the election campaign on why General Buhari is unable to produce his ordinary Level certificate, he obtained in 1961. I do admit that elections across the world, I am reminded by several friends who are propagating this antics, that politics gets dirty even in America. While I admit to that, I also would remind them, that no matter the dirtiness of the American politics, the candidate unearthing or alleging the dirt must own up to the disclosures. Secondly, politics don get dirty for the sake of dirt, through peddling unfounded rumor mongering or mudsling’s later known as swift boating. Dirt does not remove the issues that must be discussed for the citizen to get a chance to know the candidate.
I have not had a more recent assessment of General Buhari, most of what formed my opinion about him is partly based on historiography obtained as an undergraduate student while he Buhari was Military Head of State in the 1980’s. It’s been thirty years and Nigerians still hold steadfast to decisions a youthful Military head of State made, during an emergency rule that lasted barely 2 years. Let’s take a minute and review decisions made by both present and past political and military leadership in our country. Senator David Mark, retired General once asserted “ that telephone is not for ordinary Nigerians and Planes is for the Rich” Today the same general David Mark is the Senate President and Gen J.T Useni accomplice in the rich only fly and own a phone is seeking election to become senator. The Governors, who changed the outcome of the Governor’s forum election even in the face of video tapped evidence, have not yet been asked to resign their appointment for falsehood.
Let’s take a minute to periscope if General Buhari meets the basic qualification for contesting the president of the country and in doing so, I shall rely on the ordinary meaning of the constitution basic requirement. Additionally, I would not ascribe to myself the singular ability to determine eligibility as that power is confined to the Independent Nigeria Electoral Commission. The 1999 Nigerian Constitution, clearly states that a person must be educated up to secondary school certificate level. Other subsection goes further to make clearer the intent of what secondary school education equivalent means. The equivalency includes federal service, military service, trade training etc, clearly, to ridicule the opposition candidate eligibility, a new angle has been added to include that Buhari is not a Nigerian, secondly, he vote for a candidate for UN position from Niger, thirdly, there is everything wrong with his certificate made public. Some even went further to assert that, all needed to do was to apply to the WASC body for a copy. I dare ask, since when has it become easy to apply for things like that in Nigeria and one is guaranteed to get prompt response. Most of Nigerians graduates in Diasporas face the same issue when applying for graduate program abroad. In current and modern day Nigeria, our universities does not respond to request for undergraduate transcript unless you part with some money kick back talk less of examination that was undertaken in 1962 when there was virtually the absence of computer for record keeping in Nigeria. A typical example is the assertion by the army spokesperson of the disappearance of the certificate in Buhari file. Let us assume that Buhari did not attend write WASC, let’s assume also that he got into the army because he was a bright student and like the practice in overseas based on your grades the teachers can make a prediction, let’s assume all this to be true, if Buhari has no certificate in his records, what result did he gain entry into the Nigerian Army? What education prerequisite did he use to attend all the numerous courses he attended? These are questions a full fledge investigation will unearth. The politicization of the military is a dangerous precedence and must not be allowed to continue.
Now that we know what President GEJ represents and stands for, six years has given Nigerians abundant insight into his vision and policy focus, let us shift the camera light to Buhari now as a civilian. We must now differentiate the 24 years Buhari spent in the armed forces and the 30 years he has been outside the military as a civilian. We have to evaluate him now on areas of security, energy and corruption that he based his campaign upon. Enough of the diatribes on diversionary topics that have no correlation to the issue of properly managing our country. Buhari has shown forbearance throughout this mudsling against him, he has been severally been quoted out of context by some partisan press. There are even theories about his medical fitness. A general is always a general; so therefore, I do not entertain any fear as to his physical state of mental capacity.
The general notion has been that General Buhari is a bigot, I cannot and do not find credible witness to substantiate that, the assertion that he is an alleged sponsor of the Boko Haram is spurious. He just was pointing out the differential treatment in handling the Niger Delta groups Viz-a-vis B.H as it relates to the impact on its causalities. The mood in the control is to totally annihilate or obliterate anyone perceived as Boko Haram members. Rationale logic presupposes that, the President primary duties are to safe guard every citizen who is Nigerian. We must find an approachable means to resolve and end the menace, brute and total wipe out is not the solution. How do we compensate those whose lives have been impacted by the activities of this terrorist group? Do we just let them rot and bear the burden to defend and fend for themselves? It’s been over six months the young teens girls abducted in Chibok has not been found, life continues, Just recently over 2,000 innocent Nigerians were slaughtered like poultry, and election is around the corner, yet we as a people are giving credence to the distraction of certificate presentation, all too soon the opinion of street lawyers have prefabricated and rendered constitutional interpretation from the arms of the judiciary. The conversation for this elections and the decider is found in answering this basic questions (1) Are we satisfied with the current political, security and economic situation in the country right now? (2) Are we contented with how it is and hope for miracle, using the same variable and expect different result?(3) Are we blinded by the diversionary antics of ethnic/religious politics?(4) Are we just satisfied that highest academic achievement is a sure party for better leadership even where it has proven otherwise?(5)Are we determined to lay the foundation for a better tomorrow where our leaders believe that we the people have the ballot as our power?(6) How do we tackle the high unemployment rate, deplorable Medicare? (7) This election should serve as a warning sign to our leaders that they should be held accountable to us the people of Nigeria.
I believe rational thinking Nigerians will remove the scale of politics and party affiliations and vote wisely. We cannot continue to listen to our leaders who tell us to listen to the biblical Moses, but yet they go back dancing around the golden calf.