GMB or GEJ: If Nigeria had the choice!
Yes, it is no use to cry over spilled milk. But it can be very helpful to discuss how the milk spilled; and particularly what spilled it. The 2011 General Election is the proverbial spilled milk.
If there was a repeat of the 2011 General Election, given the same choice of presidential candidates, would Nigerians have overwhelmingly voted for President Jonathan (GEJ) or chosen to stake a bet on General Mohammadu Buhari (GMB), a man who overthrew democratically elected government? Understandably, the overthrown government was terrible, but fact is, it was elected and GMB coup d’etat-ed it!
The choices with which confronted the people in the election is best reflected in Oladapo Ajayi’s submission, when he wrote,
the voice of the people was clearly heard in a particular election where the winner won less than 45 percent of total votes cast. The other two contestants had lesser percentages, but the winner was clearly not popular enough to have carried the day, and the people were smart enough to confront him with the situation in that they did not vote overwhelmingly for him. The people knew who they did not want, but they did not know who to follow. (Paraphrased)
Same can be said of both presidential candidates in the General Election. President Jonathan would clearly have been nobody’s choice, even in the South-South (his region), and the wider South (South-West, South-East and part of the Middle Belt).
There are obviously uncountable alternatives. Presenting the people with GEJ as flagbearer from these regions was to say they had no better person to offer. It was more than a slap in the face! Southern Nigeria is indeed not so scantily populated with people who are mentally and otherwise better equipped! GEJ was not the people’s choice from the South.
The people had no choice in this matter! They made do with what confronted them. Especially since he was from that part of the country (South-South). The people voted for him singularly because he is one of them. It must not be forgotten that the influence of kinsman’s politics cannot be over-emphasized in the present political formation in the country.
GMB was no better choice/alternative. GMB recognized quick enough he had to sell himself to the Southern electorate (particularly South-West). This informed his choice of a running mate. Unfortunately, the controversial Pastor Tunde Bakare could not singularly win the South-West. By the way, many felt Pastor Tunde was an electoral liability.
GMB was clearly a choice in the CORE-North with mainly Hausa dominance. The North-Central and the Middle Belt were not necessarily fully in support of his candidature. Therefore, calling the two regions for him would be jump-conclusive. States like Adamawa, Borno, Yobe, Gombe and Taraba are not necessarily places one can call GMB’s stronghold. There are elements in those states, who would gladly run him down, if they had their way!
And they did, going by the result from these states. Of course, the abracadabra of PDP politics of election results to favor GEJ was clearly visible. The fact that GMB’s dwindling popularity in these parts of the country worked against him too is plausible.
Beyond opinions and permutations of politics, GMB’s past was (and still is) a liability too big for him to bear. It stands always in his way whenever he declared to run for the president’s office. His atrocities are always published in major national dailies when General Election was just by the door.
His political assailants always REMEMBER NOT TO FORGET. They remind the people of GMB’s true personalities. I would not blame them. Indeed, GMB’s brutality as military dictatorship cannot be brushed out of national memory that quickly. Not even when the sufferers of his brutality are still here to accuse him.
He was, like many other Generals, a looter of national treasure. (In-)directly, the looting was carried out under his very watch. Nepotism, double standards among many other vices were the order of the day during his time in the state house. That he declared absolute intolerance to corruption, while his cronies plundered the commonwealth, made his sins indeed too mighty to forgive.
I certainly would be unwilling to advise memory refreshers of GMB’s (moral) crimes and atrocities to stop. Thank Goodness, freedom of expression is assured. Not that alone, it is in the interest of the country. At least if nothing is achieved beyond contributing to GMB’s continuous loss, it has undoubtedly achieved something worth applauding. The sins of the General are catching up with him! If that might keep him from winning any election at all in the country, one would gladly want to keep doing just that!
Apart from a past as Achilles heel, Nigeria really has had enough of recycled leadership. The country needs fresh minds to occupy political offices; not necessarily the youth. The new leaders can be as old as any of the present household names in the corridors of power, but at least not any of these old criminals! The likes of GMB really have no more good to offer Nigeria. GMB had his chance and he blew it!
Now, considering GMB colossal incredibility, I return to GEJ. He is certainly not new in politics, but not old enough to be categorized as a relevant player in mainstream politics prior ascendancy to power. Of course, Chief Obasanjo’s calculation was to install a marionette. Notwithstanding his relative newness in national politics, he certainly learned enough from his benefactors to make him a terrible choice of a president.
Apart from the obvious handicaps, he is certainly a sell-out candidate, who would be ready to mortgage Nigeria to the lowest bidder. In trying to fight off being a marionette to old benefactor(s), he acquired new masters (more terrible than those he fought off).
For different reasons, some rooted for GMB, some for GEJ during the 2011 General Election. To be fair, the people had no choice. They certainly would have voted neither for GMB nor GEJ. It is not unimaginable that a President GMB would not perform differently than when he was a dictator. Yes, he now has a check (democracy), but Nigerians know better. The legislature as it is, is not a credible discharger of any check and balance. Those Senators and Honorables have too much to worry about than willingly do the job of a watchdog, not even when they can be bribed to keep quiet.
A GMB presidency might be as good a nightmare as a GEJ’s. GEJ’s woes need not be listed one after the other. They are too obvious, even the blind can see!
Now, of what benefit exactly is the point of the analysis so far? It is this: we might not have who to follow presently, but we certainly know those we do not want as leaders or show-er of path! Yes, the electorate is tired of GEJ’s leadership. It must not be left unsaid however, that GMB is no alternative either! The country needs somebody else.
The people know exactly who that person is when they see one. It must be clearly said therefore: WE WANT ANYTHING BUT FAILURE AS PRESIDENT COME 2015!
NOTE: This piece was written and published (not on AhjotNaija) over a year ago. This is an edited/bettered version. The original message remains unchanged