Friday, 16 January 2015

Goodluck Jonathan or Muhammadu Buhari...My Take (Part 1)

In a perfect world, political discourse will be issue-driven. Unfortunately, we are not in such a world as even the western countries still have signs of racial, gender and religious-based sentiments when it comes to political squabbles. However, these countries have significantly based their politics around prevalent issues than anything else.One sign of this is how politicians and the electorate align themselves with the political party that best reflects their views on how a given problem should be solved in the Country. You cannot find a progressive-minded politician or citizen in a right-wing political party and vice-versa. Even though a politicians may have some ideas minutely different from those widely held by the party, the core ideology remains the same, and when it does change, the politician moves to a party that more reflects his new ideology.

In Nigeria and as it concerns politics, gender, tribe,religious affiliations are the deciding factors even as early as during the party primaries. Nigerian Political parties are not an embodiment of strongly-bond politicians with similar ideologies as how best to run the country, they are rather a cartel of loosely-bond politicians with the sole aim of being in or around the corridors of power. This explains why a politician would lose primaries in DPP and then decamp to PCA in the bid to still contest; it also explains why switching parties is not common placed in the western word because ideologies are not easily changed. As a matter of fact, it would be a futile effort trying to understand the difference in ideologies as it concerns how best to run Nigeria between PDP and APC - Nigeria's most dominant parties. It is well known that APC is flooded by ex-PDP bigwigs who left because of differences concerning power other than differences in ideas on how best to move the country forward.

For the purpose of this divination, let's pretend for once that we are not the average Nigerian and that our decision on who leads us for the next 4 years will be based on real issues with the country and not on other sentiments. So what are these issues? Most Nigerians would readily pick Boko Haram, corruption, unemployment and lack of/irregular electric power. Obviously,there are still issues with transportation, healthcare delivery, education etc.but we have reached a point where these seem a luxury we can live without but are grateful for if and when we do receive them. 

As I earlier said, there exists no concrete ideologies or difference in ideologies between PDP and APC as to how these 4 major issues of terrorism, corruption, unemployment and power shall be resolved...they have only stated that their candidates will fight corruption, end Boko Haram,improve employment and power generation but how they will do these no one knows.Since political parties have provided us with no clues, perhaps, we could gather some from the two main presidential candidates: Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP and Muhammadu Buhari of the APC. Let's find out.

 Boko Haram

Goodluck Jonathan: A search on Google for speeches by Goodluck Jonathan on Boko Haram shows that all he has done and continues to do is promise an end to it with little or nothing about how he intends to do so. His speeches are mainly characterised by the rather unconvincing word 'will' not 'how' nor 'plan/strategy'or other words that show criticality. I am sure that even he is tired of giving false hope to Nigerians especially those directly affected by the menace.Little wonder that he chose to condole with France on the Charlie Hebdo shootings that claimed 12 lives while saying nothing about Baga killings which Amnesty International puts at about 2000 deaths although the Nigerian Government had since argued it was about 150...big difference huh?

Away from his speeches, how has GEJ's government actually reacted to BH? He instituted an Emergency rule...or quasi-emergency rule in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states since May 1st of 2013 and these states have witnessed increased attacks till date. Soldiers were initially sent out to police areas that were prone to attacks, yet under their watch over 200 students were abducted from Chibok. To his credit, an onslaught was initiated against Boko Haram in 2014, a strategy which seemed to be working despite inadequate military hardware and low motivation in the Military camp until a supposed peace deal was struck. This deal caused the Nigerian army to cease fire and allowed the terrorists room to recover and re-strategize. They have since captured towns and Hamlets in Borno, the latest being Baga plus a key multinational military base which was abandoned by fleeing Nigerian soldiers. 

So the question here is: what is GEJ going to do differently in the next 4 years to quell Boko Haram? This is a simple yet powerful question that I doubt he has a different answer to apart from the usual "I call on the international community to...". In addition, for a President who still seeks another term and whose re-election'hinges' on his ability to tackle Boko Haram to have remained largely unsuccessful in that front even as elections draw closer, I doubt he will be successful at it during his last term ever as a Nigerian President. My argument is that if GEJ cannot manage to land heavy blows on Boko Haram especially now that he desperately needs to and the stakes are high, he probably wouldn't when it becomes politically unnecessary. 

Muhammadu Buhari: Just like Goodluck Jonathan, Buhari's speeches as it concerns Boko Haram have been laced with 'will' and not 'how';it's been about promises but not strategic plans; it's been about mere words and not critical thinking. I dare say even a Primary one pupil can discuss his desire to end the menace just like these men have done-no difference. Buhari has, however, mentioned the need for political will in this fight...that political will to take on the high and mighty in the fight against BH, a factor which I sincerely think GEJ lacks. Asides that these are mere talks, Buhari's antecedents as being tribalistic cast doubts as to if he would really take the fight to BH whom after all are his Northern brothers.

Buhari indeed has a strong-man attitude which if utilised would cause BH and their supporters in the Nigerian politics great worry; but this same attitude may come into play in some issues where it isn't needed; for example, imagine a Buhari-NLC standoff…the man go just sack all the workers wey no return to work. Buhari is best fit for countries where even members of the ruling class are constrained by the rule of law. Although Nigeria practices democracy and is supposed to be governed by the constitution, the members of the ruling class as we know do just about anything they want regardless...so a strong-man Buhari would at one point be a nuisance if not a Tyrant.

The Verdict: As it concerns winning the fight against Boko Haram, I am more confident in a Buhari presidency than in a Goodluck Jonathan's. But would this make me vote for him? The answer is no. I would rather vote Goodluck Jonathan and hope he eventually sees the fight against Boko Haram as a personal affront and a must-win than vote Buhari  and risk sacrificing some benefits of democracy on the altar of defeating Boko Haram. I do however appreciate the fact that Nigerians, especially those who are directly affected by the BH menace,  would want to see the back of Goodluck Jonathan this year just as they would care less about whatever benefits of democracy they may forfeit under Buhari as long as Boko Haram is halted. 

To Be Continued...

The Oracle has Spoken!!

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