The stage is being set for the 2015 elections in Nigeria and the political gladiators have started throwing their hats into the battle for whom would become president. One man who has never shied away from declaring his interest to serve the country as president is MuhammaduBuhari. He gave himself up for service in 2003 and 2007, but failed at getting past the ballot due to massive rigging and fraud in the system perpetuated by the ruling PDP.
In 2011, a determined Buhari single-handedly formed the CPC party few months to the general elections and banking on his integrity and incorruptible nature managed to pull in over 12 million votes compared to 22 million votes polled by president Goodluck Jonathan who had all the resources of the state, the advantage of the being the ruling party’s candidate and acting president as well as the votes of the people of the South West to breast Buhari to the winning tape.
Buhari duly learnt from his mistakes and reached out to power bases across the nation leading to the merger of his party CPC as well as the ACN led by astute politician Bola Tinubu to form the mega opposition party the All Progressive Congress (APC). The APC in slightly over a year of its formation, has being able to build up a groundswell of opposition against the poor leadership offered by Goodluck Jonathan and his party since he assumed office as president.
In view of Buhari’s fourth attempt at getting into office as Nigeria’s president, I would like to make some closing submissions in support of his candidacy and ambition assuming the APC eventually field him as their presidential candidate later in December. This is more so, as the PDP and Jonathan administration jittery of Buhari’s challenge have started coming up with half-truths and innuendos to water down this formidable challenge.
To start with, Jonathan’s administration needs to realise that the only reason he won the 2011 elections was due to the fact that he was relatively unknown to Nigerians, and he supposedly cut a figure then of a man who knew where the sole of the shoe Nigerians were wearing was pinching at and could make a difference in their lives. That unknown factor has long disappeared. Nigerians now know who Jonathan is and what he is capable of doing. It would be difficult for him or his spin doctors to come up with any spin that would sell him in a different light from what we know of him.
The question everyone would ask Jonathan in 2015 is what he is going to say to Nigerians different from what he said in 2011 and what we have always heard him say. Under the Jonathan administration, corruption has grown to greater heights and we’ve seen a government totally reluctant to fight corruption but rather make a mockery of it.
The government agency in charge of fighting economic and financial crimes inimical to the nation’s growth EFCC would take a month or two in charging a fellow citizen who defrauded someone of N1.5million with the judge sentencing them to 10 years in prison, in some bizarre cases 125 years in prison, but people who clearlydefrauded the nation through oil subsidy scams, failed bank loans, embezzled state funds, pension frauds etc would spend three years going through the charade of a court process just to determine if the court has jurisdiction to hear their case, and by the time they finish with that the judge then delivers a judgement that is a slap on the wrist like paying a fine of N750,000 for corruptly enriching yourself to the tune of N75 billion.
The EFCC has since become a comatose organisation duplicating the functions of the police. In a country where we have the Police, Serious Fraud Unit (SFU), FIIB Alagbon, and state SIIBs what business has the EFCC got with prosecuting someone for a N1.5 million fraud or a fake university agent etc? This is despite the fact that you’ve got serious corruption going on in the country, that is making national development and growth near impossible. That is the state of anomie we have found ourselves as a country under Jonathan’s watch.
The situation clearly calls for a radical approach to governance if Nigeria is ever going to reach its true potential and be a respectable partner in the international community. There-in steps in Buhariwho declared that his administration, if he becomes president, would have zero tolerance for corruption. This is no empty boast considering when he was a military Head-of-State between January 1984 and August 1985 he went after corrupt politicians whom his regime took over from and he displayed exemplary leadership together with his then military deputy late Major-General TundeIdiagbon.
Theirs was a no nonsense administration with no frills or thrills, and even had the effrontery to stage an operation on British soil in trying to repatriate a corrupt politician late UmaruDikko who was alleged to have stolen over $1 billion then. Buhari’s administration never admitted to staging the operation but fallouts from events after the botched kidnapping attempt showed his hands in the affair. It led to a diplomatic standoff between Nigeria and Britain for close to two years, but Nigerians far and wide including University lecturers under the aegis of ASUU supported all his decisions and commended him for the way he handled the Dikko affair.
Fast forward 30 years after, Nigeria is still grappling with the same problems. There is no queue culture in our national life and where you find one it is an half-hearted queue with so called ‘big men’ (money bags and elites) finding it almost impossible to queue anywhere they go in Nigeria. There is virtually no work ethic in our daily lives, as people would rather do little and hope to earn so much. Nationalism and patriotism is difficult to foster in an environment where nothing works and people are openly calling for secession.
Our environments are dirty despite the maintenance of the environmental sanitation culture (most states in Nigeria set aside one day in a month to observe it) bequeathed to us since Buhari’s regime. Corruption and economic sabotage is the biggest problem bedevilling the nation till date which the entire international community can bear fact too. Nigerians just like the proverbial Andrew Buhari admonished not to check out of the country are still checking out in droves to foreign countries to just about live a meaningful life.
It is only an insane and wicked human being that would ask what Buhari is coming back for this time around with a more bigger platform to ride on into power. Such is the man’s principle that he divorced his first wife and teenage heartthrob Safinatu in 1989 for collecting financial assistance from Ibrahim Babangida who overthrew his government in 1985 and kept him under house arrest for many years.
Opponents of his in the Jonathan camp are already mentioning his age (Buhari is 71 years old) as a minus against him running for the presidency, but that again is another cheeky and unenlightened argument they are making. The Prime Minister of Britain David Cameron is 48 years old presently, while his would be challenger and Labour leader Ed Miliband is four years younger at 44 years old, so judging by that kind of standard, Jonathan at 56 years old is too old to be president of Nigeria or seek re-election as he would be way past 60 years old when he finishes another term should he win in 2015. President Barack Obama is only 53 years old and he is in his second term in office making Jonathan even appear much older. In any case age is just a number really and what counts is the experience, integrity, leadership competence, capacity and solutions you bring to the table which Buhari has plenty of. Angela Merkel is doing a brilliant job as the Chancellor of Germany and she is 60 already.
Ola’ Idowucan be emailed at: [email protected]