NIGERIA'S NEXT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION BY CHIEDU OKOYE


Please note, this article has nothing to do with Elcutiee's Opinion



Can Nigeria get it right in the next presidential election? Will a man of probity who has patriotism and leadership qualities become the next occupant of the presidential seat in Nigeria in 2015? Good political leadership translates to development in any country. And, politics is a component of democracy through which our leaders emerge. Periodic election is central to the sustenance of democratic governance and culture in any country. It offers the hoi poi and other people in a country the opportunity to elect leaders of their choice. 


In countries where the votes of the electorate count, bad leaders are voted out, and good ones voted in, during elections. Nigeria has been conducting elections for a long time. But a myriad of factors, such as ethnicity, religion, and the power of incumbency determine to a large extent the person who emerges as our president. In 1960, the departing British imperialists sowed the seed of imposition of leaders in Nigeria when they clandestinely installed Alhaji Tafawa Balewa as our Prime Minister. In the second republic, a political dark horse, Alhaji Shehu Shagari, bested his political superiors, such as Chief Awolowo and Nnamdi Azikiwe, to become our first executive president in 1979. 

Chief Obasanjo was made the president of Nigeria in 1999 in order to appease the indignant Yorubas over the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election. Did these leaders offer us qualitative leadership? The development of a country is a function of the leadership obtainable in that country. No country can grow above the visions and abilities of its leaders. African countries are underdeveloped because visionless and selfish leaders are controlling political powers, there. And, they will push for constitutional amendments, which will guarantee them limitless terms in office. Africa is teeming with this species of political despots. Think about Paul Biya of Cameroun; Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe; and the deposed Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso. Unlike some African countries, Nigeria is not laboring under the despotic rule of a political leader. 

We have been enjoying democratic rule for fifteen unbroken years after military interventions had disrupted the growth of our democracy. Expectedly, President Goodluck Jonathan has declared his interest to run for the office of President after keeping us in suspense for a long time as to his next political move. The months leading to his declaration of interest to contest the Presidential election were filled with intense and frenzied political activities orchestrated by the Transformative Ambassadors of Nigeria. They urged President Jonathan to seek re-election in the 2015 presidential poll. Their sycophantic expression and demonstration of support for Jonathan’s candidature bears striking resemblance to Daniel Kanu’s Youths Earnestly Ask for Abacha. 

But President Goodlouck Jonathan is the favourite to win the 2015 presidential election irrespective of his unimpressive and unflattering leadership score-card and go-slow attitude to issues of leadership. Although his rhetoric and anecdotes of personal privation will not sway our support to him, he will use the incumbency power to tilt the odds into his favour. He will sweep the votes in the south-east and south-south. In the south-west, he will keenly battle for the votes with APC. And, there is no monolithic north anymore. So, given this scenario, Jonathan’s foot soldiers and campaigners can make inroads into the core-north, and win the people to President Jonathan’s side. But, the absence of a strong political opposition in Nigeria will aid the re-emergence of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as our president. Some political parties coalesced and merged to become APC. But APC, the so-called main opposition party, is not ideologically different from PDP. They are much of muchness. It is afflicted with corruption, lack of internal democracy, leadership myopia, and visionlessness – the same ailments that are troubling PDP, a behemoth. APC’s Presidential candidate in the 2015 presidential election will determine how far the party will go in the next presidential poll. Rtd General Buhari as well as Atiku Abubakar has picked the APC forms for the presidential election. Rabiu Kwakwanso is battling to become the APC’s standard bearer in the 2015 presidential election, too. Buhari, an old political war horse, seems to be ahead of other politicians fighting for the APC presidential ticket. Buhari has much baggage hanging over his head like the sword of Damocles, however. He contested the presidential election three times, and lost those elections. That is not a psychological boost for him. And he possesses anti-democratic credentials. He promulgated draconian laws that punished suspected state offenders in retroactive ways. It was he that unjustly incarcerated Ambrose Ali, Jim Nwobodo, and other political leaders soon after he became Nigeria’s head of state via coup d’├ętat. Buhari is an unreconstructed religious bigot whose leadership style as well as world-view is not suitable for today’s Nigeria. His only selling point is his legendary honesty and self-discipline. And, Atiku and Rabiu Kwakwanso seem to me to be presidential aspirants on the APC’s periphery. The fact is, Nigeria is without a formidable, credible, and vibrant opposition party that can offer us a presidential candidate who will be better than Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. The opposition parties should present pragmatic economic and educational polices as alternatives to those of the government present federal government. And, they should field candidates for elective posts who are with proven probity, integrity, patriotism, vision, and leadership qualities. But, Nigeria is practising multi-party system only in name. Some smaller parties may have been collapsed into PDP. Is APGA an appendage of PDP? Nigeria is tending towards a one party state. The boast by a PDP Chieftain that PDP will rule Nigeria for Sixty years is gradually becoming a reality. To contest a presidential election in Nigeria on the ticket of PDP is a guarantee of Success. Where are the opposition parties?

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