Every election is hinged upon pivotal issues. These issues are dependent on the times. In today’s Nigeria, the issues bordering on Insecurity, Corruption and Unemployment are undoubtedly top of the agenda. Not only are we bedeviled by these menaces, they continue to threaten the survival of the Nigerian entity. In 2015 elections, the case for change defies any reasonable doubt. The disenchantment of the populace has reached a tipping level. It will only amount to a diatribe to rehash the enormous potential of our country. The potentials of this turf have never been in doubt, what has been the clog in the wheel of our development has been the flawed leadership that we have had since a return to democracy in 1999.
In the equation of the 2015 presidential elections are President Goodluck Jonathan and General Muhammadu Buhari. With all due respect to the other presidential aspirants whose ambitions can be described as a joke, the battle is a direct contest between the aforementioned pair. As Pat Utomi once opined, in saner societies, this election will be a pure case of ‘Record’ versus ‘Vision.’ However, as we have seen with the electoral rallies and campaigns, it has been majorly about hauling stones at personalities and in other cases, whipping ethnic and religious sentiments. This can at best be described as divisive politics. One thing is however clear, Nigerians are not as gullible as they used to be. The level of political consciousness and awareness of the people have been sharpened mainly by the failure of its leaders. Today, the case for change is simple. The people deserve and demand more from their leaders.
Without mincing words, the Goodluck Jonathan led government to be euphemistic, has not lived up to the expectations of a vast majority of Nigerians. It is a shame that despite the attendant clamour and genuine hope of many in 2011 of Goodluck Jonathan being the savior of the Nigerian project, his government has been below par. To put matters in perspective, his sympathizers will say that the issue of insecurity has not been his own creation and that he has been doing the best he could under the circumstances. However, that is half the truth. His government has simply not done enough to salvage the scenario. About six years after becoming president, Goodluck Jonathan might well have missed a chance to etch his name in the annals of history. While there have been some strides of this government, it is simply overwhelming too little. The formation of the APC, a conglomeration of some opposition parties, might have made the opposition better fortified to face the ruling party. However, it can be said and not without reason, that the ineptitude of the ruling party has made the opposition looked like the messiah of the Nigerian state. It is true that if Jonathan had achieved a ‘Fashola’ at the federal level, Buhari might not have even been a contest. Like it or loathe it, the Goodluck Jonathan led government have simply given the opposition too much armouries with which to attack it. Corruption has thrived in this government. Unemployment is at an all-time high. Security is at its lowest ebb. There is just too much against this government.
For Buhari, his rising popularity has been phenomenon indeed. Somehow, in the eyes of his followers, he looks like a politician reborn. This bears close resemblance to the United States elections in 2008. A certain Barack Obama signified a watershed for many Americans at the time. However, seven years later, it is still a subject of discourse if that change was a façade and whether or not Americans were duped. The Nigerian state today desperately yearns for a change. Same way I agree that Goodluck Jonathan does not deserve a second term in office based on his record, I am not sure either that General Buhari is the change we seek.
It is also apt to mention that the Abuja peace accord which has been signed by the key political gladiators must be adhered to beyond lip service. This election does not deserve the blood of any Nigerian. Penultimately, the onus of a credible partly election lies with Attahiru Jega and his INEC team. The message must be clear: No room for a flawed process.