Friday, 16 January 2015

JONATHAN vs. BUHARI: HOW WOULD YOU DECIDE?

Once again, in Nigeria, the elections are around the corner and everyone who has indicated an interest is in full fledged campaign. However, for the purpose of this post, I'll be concentrating on the candidates or should I say "key candidates" running for the position of the president of the country. The incumbent president, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (PDP) and from the opposition party, Muhammadu Buhari (APC). Severally, I have tried to begin writing this post only to save, close and wait for another day. The reason for my delay is simply because I don't want to come off looking like I have taken sides with one team or another. But, alas! I have to speak my mind as usual. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't find a group of Nigerians (men and women alike) discussing issues concerning the upcoming elections. It doesn't matter whether it's a live discussion or something on social media. It is the topic that has taken over the country. I have to prepare you though, this is a very lengthy post.

Now, to begin, let me just say that I don't think these two candidates are fit (or maybe the word I'm searching for is "worthy") to be running for such an office. For starters, they are both liars. Because while Goodluck Jonathan (GEJ for short) came out severally, even on CNN, to state that he wouldn't be staying in office beyond 2015, Buhari (GMB for short) cried openly on national television saying that if he wasn't given a chance back then in 2011, he would never contest again. Today, we have these same men swallowing their words without any ounce of shame. The funny thing though is that they probably think Nigerians are too dull to remember such things since we let all the corruption and suffering in the country slide.

Links: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2011/04/buhari-weeps-over-nations-problems/
        http://www.nigeriadailynews.com/latest-additions/24805-i-won%E2%80%99t-stay-in-office-beyond-2015,-jonathan-insists.html
          http://www.vanguardngr.com/2011/02/i-ll-not-contest-2015-election-jonathan/


Beyond their apparent lack of honour in keeping their words, let's take a look at what they have been able to achieve in Nigeria, since they began their political careers.

GENERAL MUHAMMADU BUHARI:
I was still a child when GMB was the military head of state of this country, so I don't have first hand information on how his regime operated. All I know now, I have gathered from researching what the people who knew what was going on have said. Of note is this article (crimes of Buhari) written by Prof. Wole Soyinka. What I can gather from it is that GMB is a respecter of nobody, a strict dictator who does whatsoever he pleases and enslaved Nigerians for the time he was in power. Some other individuals though, have come out with their own version of the great things GMB achieved for this country. Bottomline, those articles wrote on how GMB had no problems with Christians and hoe there was no religious crisis  during his tenure. They stated how he reduced inflation rate from 23% to 4%. How the naira grew in strength. He was said not to have stolen a single naira from all the offices he has held so far. How he constructed many roads and the list goes on.

GMB hasn't helped matters much by making statements like this either.
Many Nigerians are afraid of what might happen if GMB takes over in 2015. These are some things not going for him;

  • His age: believe me, that was the first thing that came to my mind when I first saw his campaign poster. Like, shouldn't there be an age limit for people allowed to contest political offices. For goodness sake! people who work in the ministerial offices are retired after 35 years of service or age 65. For me, the reason is simple, with old age, comes many diseases like hypertension and diabetes among others. Not saying he has any of these (haven't any medical report), but it's what comes to mind. Besides the post of the president is so stressful,  President Barrack Obama grew grey hair after a few years in office. Also, because of his age, he is viewed as ancient and that he isn't abreast with modernization. 
  • His religion: he is considered a religious fanatic by many. There is a thin line between fanatic and extremist you know. So,  many Nigerians fear that he might Islamize the country if he comes into power. They say he might further perpetuate the insurgency especially after he said he would make the country ungovernable should GEJ win the 2011 elections.


PRESIDENT GOODLUCK JONATHAN:
Now, this one I know about. I was one of those who canvassed for his re-election into office in 2011. We all wanted a breath of fresh air. We saw GEJ, as Nigerian's saviour. A man with his vast wealth of knowledge (considering the other presidents before him) should definitely do better. After his 2 years in office succeeding late president Yar'adua, boko haram was gearing up for a war. I remember saying "he would tackle this insurgency effectively once he gets into office, he doesn't just want to lose the support of the northerners yet". That is exactly how majority of Nigerians felt. Since assuming office, he claims to have achieved the following;

  • reduced poverty by 50%, 
  • created over 1 million jobs
  • stabilized power to some extent
  • improved the agricultural sector
  • improved our economy
  • the health and academic sectors, hmmmm -???
  • rural development
  • stopped ebola spread
  • wonderful roads e.t.c
  • saved so much money from fuel subsidy removal
He has however, told us some truths about the boko haram insurgency, he can't handle them. What I have seen in the last 4 years of GEJ's administration has opened my eyes to a whole lot. 
  • First, about poverty and economic stability: just last year, Nigeria was listed among one of the world's poorest countries. It was a shock to many, afterall, we are the economic giants of Africa. Yes, we are, because we spend a lot. When I visited Kenya for my honeymoon, one of the workers of the placed we stayed at thought we had to be Americans to afford it (not bragging). When we corrected him, he just said "well, it's the same thing". It is because of our "big-man" attitude. We want to ride the latest cars and wear the most expensive designer clothings hence the world sees the few affluent ones and use us to judge the majority who do not have 3 square meals in a day. 
  • About creating jobs: well, I can't argue about that, but I wonder where these figures are generated. I wonder how he has created jobs by putting the residency training on hold, making even more doctors seek refuge outside the country. Where are these jobs that were created, if my elder brother who has a doctorate degree couldn't land one? He had to empower himself (no help to the government).
  • On the issue of power: hmmm.... I guess it only applies to Abuja, maybe Lagos, because where I live, we go without power for days and the food in the fridge gets bad. (Further impoverishing my pockets). In my house, we now have a timetable for putting on the generator. If your generator gets bad, you better fix it before 6pm, because surely, you shall be with no light that night. Here, the youths went on attack. The funny thing about power is that it has been privatized twice in this 15 years of democratic rule. What I recently found out though is that only the distribution section of the power sector is privatized. the government is still in charge of generating power. You know something else that is funny about power? The people who bought it over, were given money by the government, I might add, to bring it to life. They started with the prepaid meters, problem is, we are charged N750 per month for service charge. So let's say you buy N2000 worth of light, you get N1250. They make sure that you don't utilize that light for a long period. Sometimes it lasts 3 months or more. You go back to buy another N2000's worth when it finally finishes and they tell you to pay service charges for all the months that have gone by. Lastly, this same power sector donated N500 million naira to GEJ's 2015 campaign. And it is said they don't have money to fix power.
  • Concerning the health sector: he sacked 16000 resident doctors for going on strike, then called them back and placed an embargo on the training of more residents. Currently, johesu are on strike, since November too. I can still count the number of federal hospitals that have an MRI. I don't think anyone of them has a defibrillator (please correct me if I'm wrong). The doctors are to save lives magically (we don turn native doctors). Still on health, I wouldn't credit GEJ for forestalling the spread of ebola. If anything, he should be grateful to God for the kind of citizens he has. For what a Nigerian fears most besides hardship is death. Even the then minister of health didn't help maters much.
  • Let's move on to agriculture and rural development. They say he has done so marvelously well, let me agree, but I just wonder how allocating some millions to buy cell phones for farmers would boost their yield. Then again, some months ago, some millions was allocated to buy stove for the women in the rural areas. How does that help them? Kerosene is supposed to be N50 per litre but we know it is never bought for that amount. These women are now expected to use whatever little they have to buy kerosene. hmmm....
  • Did you hear of the whole fuel subsidy fiasco of January 2014 and the occupy Nigeria campaign? Well, we are yet to reap the benefits of that. I haven't seen trains or railway stations yet. Our refineries are still not functional.
  • Finally, this is the most openly corrupt government I have seen since I knew a thing about politics. Take for example the fuel subsidy issue, the committee farouked (stole) it and nothing was done to them, even though there was evidence of a recording of their conversation. Alamieyeseigha after been caught and jailed for corruption, was pardoned by GEJ, now he's contesting for senate. After all the dust raised about Stella Oduah, she too is contesting one position of something. Is it the guy that stole N2.3billion naira of pension money and told to pay a fine of N750,000. Sanusi of CBN cried out that money is missing and the president only said "if $20 million dollars got stolen, the united states should know, it's their money". Who says that? The list is endless. And to cap it off, we have no security in the country. Bokoharam is ravaging the north and we can do nothing. The Chibok girls are still missing. Our soldiers are been used as errand boys by bloody civilians. We have tried to buy arms to combat this issue but I don't know how that is going. We know terrorism is never easy to combat, but show some working.
THE POLITICS OF IT ALL:
When it comes to choosing a leader, many Nigerians are naive till date. Mainly for 2 reasons maybe 3; religion, tribe and political party.
For your information, if you are killing yourself for a particular political party, whether it's PDP, APC, APGA or whatever, know that these people truly don't care about you. If you choose to vote for a party and not the individual, understand that they are all PDP or have been at one point or another. They are busy decapitating themselves and sewing their heads back on and swallowing their own vomit, so that at the end, they look like frankenstein.  
Today the "expired leadership" from CPC is their candidate
Does it matter the religion or tribe a person is? Should it matter that the yorubas ruled last now it is time for the Igbos and next the Hausas? What about all the other minority groups, the Ijaws, Binis, Igalas, Nupe, Tivs, Urhobos, Itsekiri, Isokos? Do they have nothing to offer? Can nothing good come out of Nazareth? Have the Major tribes sorted out all their inter-ethnic problems? The Igbo man doesn't think anybody from Asaba or Port-harcourt is "pure" Igbo even though they speak the same language with few variances. We are so focused in calculating which tribe should go next, we miss the point of electing good leadership.

Everyday, many Nigerians (Christians too) leave the shores of this country in search for a better future. Many of this people end up in Dubai, Saudi Arabia, e.t.c. They stay there and start up a business, whatever. Are these not Islamized countries? What are you doing there?. Please let us focus and choose wisely, our votes shouldn't be cast along tribal or religious lines and definitely not because of a political party.

Nigerians have described this election as choosing between frying pan and fire, or devil and the deep blue sea. I say it's choosing between the lesser of 2 evils. I seriously wish someone else from another party had stepped up. Just like what happened in Imo state gubernatorial elections in 2011, when the people were caught between the devil and the deep blue sea and suddenly, land or should I say a ship appeared. Some people would rather remain with the devil they know, than go with the angel they don't know. Others are willing to abandon the sea and go with the devil or should I say jump into the fire, since they have been freezing out at sea and there is no hope of a rescue ship or swimming to shore.

I believe it is time for a change in Nigeria, just not sure if I'm totally convinced that GMB is the man for the change. Shine your eyes, cast your votes wisely.

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