Come Feb 16th 84 million registered voters in Nigeria, divided mainly between the People’s Democratic Party presidential aspirant, Atiku Abubakar, and the All Progressive Congress presidential candidate, Major General Muhamed Buhari - (seeking re-election), will be casting their ballot for the next president.
The current administration under Buhari has been marred by his administration’s unwillingness to combat the killings by Fulani Herdsmen. His silence for a long time gave Nigerians a sense of his support towards the herdsmen especially after he asked the state which had over 70 people killed by the herdsmen to be accommodating of the perpetrators. Not only have Nigerians suffered from herdsmen killings during the Buhari administration, but also Boko Haram and use of force by security officials. The current administration has also caused a stir within the international community as it recently sacked the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, within weeks to the election, citing corruption.
With direct threats from the governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, during a live programme on NTA on Tuesday February 5, 2019, stating that foreigners who interfered in the nation’s electoral process would be returned to their countries in body bags, gives little comfort to the registered voters that a credible election will be held.
A National Peace Committee set up and peace agreements signed by presidential aspirants, under the leadership of the former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Alhaji Abubakar (rtd.), is expected to ensure the existence of a smoth and peaceful transition during nd post election, as the country is in a state of agitation that could lead to a potential outbreak of war pending the outcome of the results.
With a population estimated at 190million people, Nigeria right now is experiencing one of the worst forms of anarchy under democracy as the lawlessness of security forces has led to increased use of jungle justice. Police officers are also being killed, while some police officers are killing innocent civilians and engaging in armed robbery, kidnapping, and unlawful detention.
After 19 years of democratic rule, the country is still marred by misappropriation, weak government, and a failing economy.
During the 2014 elections, a huge cry for change was spread all over the country. Shouts of incompetence and corruption against the Jonathan administration was the focus, especially after a series of bomb attacks, kidnaps and killing by the Boko Haram insurgency.
Having witnessed one of the bomb blasts that killed over 10 people, close to my residence I was traumatized. Worse still, the centenary celebrations during the period where an estimated 40 Potiskum secondary school boys had been killed and not a minute silence to honor the dead left me assured of the disconnection with the public by the Jonathan administration.
But Buhari as a president was not the answer I felt Nigeria needed then, and neither is he the same I feel Nigeria needs now. With declining health, as president spent most of his first 2 years in office flying abroad for medical treatment and also said to be suffering from dementia, of what use would a sick president be to the most populous nation in Africa.
Former president General Olusegun Obasanjo, a former military head of state and first democratic president for Nigeria, taunted Nigerians with the tearing of his PDP card and showing support for Buhari as the president during the run-up to the 2015 elections. He did same with Jonathan and even his successor Late President Yar’adua. His need to feel and be relevant has made him a meddler who causes instability based on his in and out friendships with his supported presidential candidates.
Unfortunately for Nigerians, who seem not to have learned their lesson Obasanjo is at it again. Taunting the citizenry with Atiku as a preferred presidential candidate, even after saying, on numerous occasions, he would never vote Atiku for president. His disenchantment with Atiku goes back to Obasanjo’s days as president with Atiku as his vice.
Atiku who in an interview aired on Channels television advocated for the sale and privatization of Nigeria’s National Petroleum Company, which is the main source of revenue for Nigeria.
Neither of these candidates is suitable, in my opinion, to run the country, but the country’s viewpoint is divided along the lines of financial power, political influence and, sadly, tribal pull. These three forces are what is deterring Nigerians from choosing a suitable candidate from the list of an estimated 30 presidential candidates, and an estimated 90 political parties.
With just two days to go the world is watching.