BY ADETOLA LA LUZ
That the majority of Nigerians want a change in the 2015 elections in Nigeria is palpable if one gauges the outbursts of the citizenry (through the social network, in taxis, local bars and at football viewing centres) correctly.
The major angst has been directed at the incumbent president, Goodluck Jonathan, for his alleged impotence in the face of corruption and terrorism and his apathy where development and improvement in the lives of the citizens are concerned.
While the president’s supporters claim correctly that in his tenure, Nigeria has become Africa’s number one economy, an inquiry into the impact in the lives of the middle and lower class fails to turn up anything worthwhile.
There is a SURE-P programme, which the government uses to help Nigerians gain employment experience and a payment of N30,000, but this has also been categorised as a failure by those in the know. It has been said that it has become a tool for the powerful to increase their wealth. It is fair to say that both sides claim ownership of the truth.
The 2015 elections are however around and a significant divide in the political allegiance of Nigerians is obvious. While minnow parties like the Social Democratic Party (SDP), Accord Party etc. are available, the main parties are the incumbent party Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Both parties have existed side by side since 1999, with APC enjoying relative success in the south-west and not much elsewhere. The PDP has bossed majority of the country during this period but not without issues. Corruption has never been far from the party and prominent names such as Olabode George, Alamieyeseigha, James Ibori, Ayo Fayose, and Patricia Etteh easily bring memories of corrupt practices done in the face of the law.
Incidents like the Niger Delta crisis, the resultant Odi massacre, beheading and the Boko Haram menace have certainly scored the PDP governments very low with regard to security. Going into the elections, the PDP cannot shake off the fact it is behind in terms of people’s opinions. The fact that 200 Chibok girls have been in captivity for more than nine months (281days) now and have probably given birth to a fresh Boko Haram generation, must stay on the president’s report card for his six-year tenure. It is my opinion that the recent reduction in petroleum pump price (by N10), the vitriolic, “religious” and impolitic outbursts by Mr Ayo Fayose only point at PDP’s desperation to gain the people’s attention and maybe their votes.
The non-issuance of permanent voter cards (PVC), in my opinion, is political. Some eligible Nigerians are yet to get temporary voter cards (TVC) not to mention PVC. For the PDP to win this election, the calculation would be that they implement a system of “intentional disenfranchisement” of the opposition, where they ensure issuance of PVCs to their supporters and under the framework of INEC minimal issuance of PVCs to the opposition. The calculation would ensure that even if one was nursing an aspiration to vote the incumbent party out of office, this would be impossible.
It is my opinion that the PDP is the worst thing to have happened (apart from military rule) in the history of Nigeria. I further believe that the Jonathan government, having increased the income gap between the rich and the poor through various schemes of “stealing which is not corruption” for six years (75% of two terms in office), does not deserve to be re-elected (for a third term).
My argument is thus: If the Jonathan government, like a student, has failed for two terms in school, what Goodluck can bringing that student back for a third term do to prevent him/her from failing when an overall evaluation is done at the end of that term? For me, returning the Jonathan government to power is badluck for Nigeria.
However, my opinion with regards to Buhari is not different. Apart from the fact that Buhari has been linked to the Boko Haram terrorist group and there exists a YouTube video of him speaking Hausa and urging supporters to kill if he was not elected in the last election, he belongs with the generation that ruled the country during the era of the military dictatorships. For that, although his political campaign aligns with a “CHANGE” slogan, he definitely does not mean change in the political sense by a long mile.
The APC, in their campaigns, claim they will eliminate corruption in government but nearly half of their governorship aspirants have cross-carpeted from PDP. The argument is this: If the PDP is the emblem of corruption in the Nigeria’s democratic era, why then in the campaign to fight corruption, does the APC have its ranks filled with PDP decampees? Has the APC managed to preach a repentance and restitution message to them?
Because in the absence of a mechanism to delete the corruption files in these PDP decampees, surely if they win, they will carry on with “business as usual”. Secondly, how will APC probe its own members (PDP decampees) when they start to practice corruption?
Thirdly, if the PDP is the devil, why does it present a fertile ground for APC to gain disciples? Finally, why can’t the APC field fresh faces in line with its CHANGE campaign? Because if the Super Eagles coach were to advocate change and field Rufai as goalie, surely one would think he is mad.
There also exists the issue of a certain Tinubu and Fashola. The Tinubu administration in Lagos in the minds of most Lagosians perpetrated embezzlement and “authority stealing” like never before. Why then did Fashola never probe him throughout his own tenure? What also can Fashola point to as his achievement in his second term?
The APC represents the party of choice and change for most Nigerians, but I am not quite convinced. I am rather worried that neither PDP nor the APC represents any change or brings any hope for Nigerians. The PDP, in my opinion, is definitely not the party to vote in the 2015 election for any positive progress that will percolate downwards and throughout the country. But while most Nigerians would rather have any change that takes them away from the anomaly that is PDP, the APC as an agent of change is a suspect one.