2015 General Elections in Nigeria: What really Matters!

by ahjotnaija

There has never been doubt in my mind that President Goodluck Jonathan will never do anything good for Nigeria. If anything has changed, it is that my conviction that President Jonathan is a disaster for Nigeria has been made even surer in the years following his assumption of office. The president has by his actions and inactions made even more established my opinion of him as a no-good-choice for the country.

While we make to confirm that the president is a never-do-well for Nigeria, we must not forget those who forced him down the throat of Nigerians. Nigerians must be clear by now about the fact that their choice of a president, and consequently their votes, is a pre-determined outcome à la deal-cutting by the kingmakers in the country. If any Nigerian is yet to accept this, I can only wish (s)he gives up any other Utopian assumption. The presidential choice has often been, and is still, a pre-determined given! Pure and simple!

Thus, that we are in clarity about the fact that a Vice-president Jonathan was personally handpicked by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is a fact. President Jonathan’s eventual ascendancy to power is therefore not unconnected to his benefactor and installer, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. We must not forget to to include faces like those of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo among many other nationally important nonentities/power cabals whenever we disapprove of President Jonathan’s irresponsible approach to national governance. Our disapproval of the incumbent is an indirect indictment of these people’s choice for the country. Let us always keep this in mind.

Unfortunately, the fact that President Jonathan has fallen out of favour with the Nigerian people is about to push into the background many more important issues which Nigerians have to confront as a country in the march to rescuing the nearly dead or good-as-dead country from the hands of the present president. One of these issues is the inevitability of a content-based choice for the replacement of President Jonathan come 2015!

As a reminder allow me to restate the fact that Nigeria’s problem is greater than the incumbent president. I have once written a piece on this. We must constantly remember that Nigeria’s problems date beyond him. The tendency that the problems will outlive Jonathan’s tenure as president is a sad and simple reality. This sad truth confronts us more urgently than before as the 2015 General Election draws closer. Nigerians must be clear about this: President Jonathan is only a confirmation and continuation of the irresponsibility in governance that Nigerians have been living with for a very long time, long before Jonathan’s assumption as Nigeria’s most-clueless president. Yes, he is the most-clueless, but we need be careful we do not replace a most-clueless with something worse. The Yoruba proverb of a deceased breadwinner of a family, who died bed-ridden, but whose replacement is unfortunately another bed-ridden fellow underlines the impending danger of a misfit/*mis-choice*!

My fear is not in the re-election of Nigeria’s most-clueless president. My worst nightmare is in the continuation of this irresponsibility in whoever the choice of the office of president falls on come 2015. There is this paradox of even the most-uncommon/most-promising candidate/choice for the occupation of Aso-Rock suddenly becoming a promoter and the face of anti-people policies and programmes. A reminder that President Jonathan once had no shoes would suffice in this regard!

Now, let me be clear, I will never push for a return of President Jonathan in any way imaginable. President Jonathan deserves to be removed by any means legitimate. This is the singular truth. Nigerians must by now realize that the past three years of President Jonathan are lost years! The last year is unlikely to be rescued from failure! The choice of his replacement and what exact policies will this replacement pursue ought therefore to be the utmost priority of the citizenry by now.

*Before I go on, let me divert a little.*
This diversion is a necessity to underline a point. The diversion is Boko Haram. I have sparsely commented on the Boko Haram insurgency in the country in my articles, apart from Facebook updates and pieces of mind on the inhumanity of this sect. The truth is, like many Nigerians, I am altogether lost for words. The atrocities of Boko Haram are, like I have described at a time, beyond barbarism. They are simply too cruel that even the word cruel under-qualifies them.

Having said this, I need say this too: there is more to Boko Haram than meet the eyes! While many believe that President Jonathan might have, and in fact he has, met his waterloo in this insurgency, in that he might not be returned as president come 2015, the greater looser are in actual fact Nigerians in that the Boko Haram insurgency currently beclouds so many issues that need be addressed, especially those that matter in the choice of a replacement for President Jonathan. All Nigerians are busy with right now, including the presidency, is the combating of the threat posed by Boko Haram. Who would do/have done otherwise?

There is no mincing words that Boko Haram is a shame and terror Nigerians live and daily grapple with. Another fact is the dominance (effect) of the Boko Haram sect of other issues/discussions worth having concerning the forthcoming 2015 General Election. Everybody or at least those who do not support a repeat/return of the Jonathan presidency is occupied with the problems generated by this irresponsible anti-state agent, rightly so, but they seem to have forgotten that a replacement of President Jonathan might be a worse-off replacement if we do not begin to negotiate what exactly we want in that replacement. If care is not taken, Nigerians would only be able to negotiate blindly, like one is wont to whenever one is under pressure to get rid of an unfortunate situation like the incumbent in Nigeria.
*End of diversion.*

Candidates who wish and demand to replace the monumental failure in the person of President Jonathan must be asked to bring to the table one by one what exactly he intends to do and achieve within the first four years of his presidency. (S)he must tell Nigerians how (s)he intends to bring these (good) intentions about.

I, like many other Nigerians, are tired of giving consent by sheer trust and questionable (past/present) records. The assumption of the leadership of a country goes beyond a wishful desire to serve. It must be a well planed-out journey. In my opinion, only a candidate, who not only make promises, but tells Nigerians very carefully how he intends to achieve his/her intentions and propositions deserves a serious consideration for the office of president come 2015. This candidate must take into account all possible hiccups and political problems (s)he might encounter in the course of his presidency. The candidate needs be aware that Nigerians are not unaware of these problems, which are likely to make his tenure an absolute failure, so that if (s)he tells them (s)he intends to turn Nigeria into a paradise in the next four years, they know that (s)he is a joke and must be thrown out without a second thought!

What exactly does this boil down to? Here is my hypothetical candidate: as matter of fact, I would gladly and proudly give my vote to a presidential candidate, who would come up to tell me (s)he intends to combat only the problem of, say, constant electricity supply in Nigeria for the next four years. This candidate must also tell me exactly how (s)he intends to achieve this, bringing across the explanation of the *intention* and the *how-to-achieve-this-intention* in a kindergarten-styled manner and manual! Sincerely speaking, I would be ready to convince anybody to vote such a candidate!

In the Nigeria of today, the hypothetical candidate in the above paragraph is simply what it is: a political hypothesis which cannot happen in Nigeria! Actually, it is not an exaggeration to demand this kind of approach from (Nigerian) politicians because this is exactly what good politics is about. Any serious country and her politicians know this is what is needed to move the country positively forward, realistically and politically. Anything short of this, is a short-changing of the masses and a national joke!

A very good example to consider in this regard is Germany in the formation of her latest government after the 2013 General Election. The incumbent chancellor won a near-absolute majority in the election, but still short of the needed majority in parliament to govern. Alongside with the intending coalition partner, Dr. Angela Merkel’s party, Christian Democratic Party (CDU) and the Socialist Democratic Party (SDP) dialogued for weeks un-end in a retreat to write the coalition contract, working out point by point what the coalition government intends to achieve in the forthcoming government/legislature period. Mind you, each party tried as much as possible to accommodate all the concretely proposed projects promised during election campaign as much as possible in the contract, while compromising as little as possible. At the end of the coalition discussion/retreat, the partners came up with a binding contract, which every interested German can see for himself/herself. In this contract are clearly written all political steps that shall be taken for the next four years and how these steps will be taken. Take note: when I say point by point, and step by step, that is exactly what I mean!

Now, a good question to ask is this: is it asking too much from a presidential candidate in Nigeria to tell Nigerians one singular issue (s)he intends to attend to while in office and how (s)he intends to attend to this issue successfully? Mind you, this candidate would not be asked to attend to any other issue than this particular one. It will neither be asking too much to choose for such a candidate the exact issue Nigerians want him/her to attend to. I am very confident I will be speaking for the people of Nigeria if I dare say that this singular issue should be COUNTRY-WIDE 24-HOUR ELECTRICITY SUPPLY!

Considering the above proposition, I see a problem already, one which sincere supporters of any political party would not deny. Presently, there are two parties which can be taken seriously at the presidential level, going by the weight of those behind them. The All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP). Even if we put aside all prejudices, which Nigerians legitimately hold against the leaders of both parties, thus giving the parties the chance to come up with a singular project, which (shall) affect the lives of the masses, take for instance constant electricity supply, I doubt it if the supporters of these parties will be ready to swear on Ogun (The Yoruba god’s of Iron) that any of these political parties will come up with a realistic goal/target for the next four years.

I need not remind Nigerians that President Jonathan promised more than President Obama had to promise for his re-election into the White House! President Jonathan promised heaven and earth during the last general election. Really, left to President Jonathan and those who imposed him on Nigeria, they would have gladly promised their lives to get Goodluck Jonathan elected as president! This confirms how unserious the PDP is. President Jonathan, and very clearly too the PDP, is a monumental failure. There is no doubt about this. It must be said however, I am very much in doubt if an APC-president will be different if elected using the same format which the PDP has always used and will use again, namely election promises and more election promises!

So far, beyond the usual jostling for political nomination, negotiations and endless meetings, one is yet to see any serious indication that even an APC-presidential candidate will do beyond giving endless promises, upon which (s)he intends to be elected into office of president come 2015. Agreed that these meetings and negotiations are normal routine in politicking and and party-dialoguing, there is certainly nothing stopping serious candidates from making public what they intend to do and how these goals shall be achieved. We are about a year to another presidential election for crying out loud! And by the way, the candidates should please keep in mind that Nigerians would not want unrealistic promises/goals/projects. One would even think such a move will make them more credible candidates! Alas, we are in Nigeria, where clearly other yardsticks matter more than realistic projects and goals!

Given that the presently most-touted candidate in the APC, who might likely get the presidential nomination of the party for the 2015 Geneal Election, die get the ticket, it is most likely we shall have to rely on the usual format/template to get him elected into office- promises and endless promises without clear pathway to realizing them!

Given the choice between two evils namely, President Goodluck Jonathan and the said most-touted candidate of the APC in the person of Rtd. General Muhammadi Buhari, which will most likely be the choice Nigerians shall be confronted with in the forthcoming 2015 General Election, I am certainly forced to choose the latter, but I strongly must make clear that mere promises are not enough and shall not be enough! Nigerians deserve more than these (empty) promises! It is hight time the APC and her most likely presidential candidate begin to address issues à la German style to underline their seriousness and sincerity of intention(s).