For those who are still wondering and analysing in their minds, the following thoughts are highlighted to stimulate discussion and an eventual decision. The current tussle for the presidency seems to be between Dr Goodluck Jonathan (PDP), Mallam Nuhu RIbadu (ACN), Mallam Shekarau (ANPP) and Gen Buhari (CPC). Who will you vote for on Saturday?
Dr Goodluck Jonathan is by all means a noble man, who has ascended the various levels of executive governance in Nigeria. He has risen through the ranks from Deputy Governor to Governor, from Vice President to President. However, there are concerns and challenges to the possibility of him continuing in office for the next 4 years – As the flag bearer for PDP, Nigeria’s ruling party and possibly the largest political party in Africa, Jonathan may be limited in whatever may be his noble aims and desires for the country by a number of factors. Most striking of these is his underlying association with ‘god fathers’ in the PDP framework. Like it or not, he who pays the piper, dictates the tune. Despite the fact that the party seems to be somewhat fragmented currently, it will be folly to undermine the potential influence of ex generals like Obasanjo and IBB, in the face of a PDP presidential win. These associations may easily become clogs in the wheel of Dr Jonathan’s good intentions. Unresolved issues including the alleged case of money laundering reportedly filed by the EFCC against his wife, Mrs Patience Jonathan, have been swept under the carpet. There is also a continued allegation of tacit facilitation of the release of former Delta State Governor, James Ibori, who is wanted by both Interpol and EFCC for money laundering charges and stealing funds worth $290m. Ibori is a strong member of the PDP, and it is believed that he played a key role in bankrolling the political campaign of the Yar’Adua-Jonathan ticket in 2007. Whether proven or not, these issues portend potential risks to Jonathan’s rule. How easy will it be for Dr Jonathan to call the bluff of his party stalwarts and ‘god fathers’? Charity begins at home! How believable is his anti-corruption plan, in the face of the allegations against his wife? Will he be free to implement positive development policies for the nation? Or will his intentions be choked and truncated by the many PDP stakeholders? Will he spend the next 4 possible years politicking and managing issues?
Mallam Nuhu Ribadu remains the well respected anti graft czar. However, his political strategy apparently did not have sufficient foresight considering the implications of him running on the ACN platform. Now, he seems to be positioned between a rock and a hard place. In responses to questions at debates and interviews, Ribadu made statements practically contradicting his anti graft war in the EFCC. It is recalled that he once described the corruption charge against Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, as being of international dimensions. He also stated then that there was a petition of complicity in money laundering charged against Mrs Jonathan. Recently, his statements imply that all such charges have been cleared. He probably did not envisage political challenges of this proportion. The other concern about his renowned performance at EFCC is that it was highly leveraged on executive support and empowerment by the presidency. This causes one to wonder whether he will be able to deliver even better performance if placed at the helm of national affairs, without such leverage. If there truly is a case against Tinubu, will he have the nerve to pursue it if voted into power? Will he function as a free president? Will his hands be tied?
Mallam Shekarau’s political campaign has been heavily hinged on the supposed successes achieved during his tenure as Governor of Kano state. There have been numerous questions to these claims especially from a number of Kano indigenes that do not share the same view with him. Asides this, his only other obvious leverage is his oratory skill. How many Nigerians really see him as president?
General Buhari’s major antecedent is the inflexible, autocratic style of his military rule in the early 80’s. Asides this and other questionable policies that characterised his tenure as military head of state, his leadership is widely acclaimed to be honest and without corruption. Buhari, it is said, owes no man! In a complex political state like ours, dominated by ex-military men turned politicians, who have so infiltrated the coffers of government to an inconceivable level, a Buhari presidency may be an effective checkmate to their nefarious activities. Nigeria probably needs an honest man of such integrity and calibre to be able to take on such stalwarts and put them in their place once and for all, similar to the Jerry Rawlings story in Ghana. Does he have the potential to do this? Probably yes. Will he? Is he truly the changed man he claims to be? Or is the country in line for a rude shock? One wonders. Still, the strength of his candidacy is likely to guarantee a period of stability, accountability, and integrity in governance, thus establishing a bridge between the current despicable state and the immediate future of vibrant development and youth empowerment. His age guarantees nothing more than 4 years in government. If there’s anyone that can tackle corruption, he probably is. His lack of economic and innovative prowess also suggests that Nigeria may see a repeat of the recruitment of skilled technocrats to create a formidable economic team similar to the Obasanjo type. Buhari may not be the final definition of change….he may be the beginning of change relative to the current Nigerian context.
I was asked a question today by a renowned Professor as we concluded discussions relating to Nigeria and politics. He asked “So, will you also be corrupt?” Having given him my response, I have since forwarded the same question to friends and colleagues. This same question becomes an acid test for these presidential aspirants – a possible tool to select by elimination. Based on what is currently known of them, Which can you say will not be corrupt? Which is likely to be successful at waging a war against corruption at all levels of government? Putting them on a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high), how would you rate each candidate’s corruption potential index (CPI)? Another acid test question may be – “Which of them is most likely to create an enabling environment for leap frog development in Nigeria within 4 years?” The last acid test will be – “Which of them is most able to break Nigerian governance free from the clutches of the PDP behemoth?”
Think. Think. Think Again. Eliminate. Decide. Who will you vote for?