Buhari Vs Jonathan – The Lesser Of Two Evils? – By Paul Omoruyi
As Nigeria's political parties vie for who will be the next president of Africa's most populous country, many Nigerians are perturbed about the potential for violence in the days leading to and after the election; at least if the past is anything to go by. All the rhetoric and campaign verbiage leading to the February election have been macabre and sometimes comical.
On one hand is the People's Democratic Party (PDP) and on the other is the opposition party, All Progressive Congress (APC). The PDP has been in the helm of affairs in Nigeria since 1999 when former president Olusegun Obasanjo won the presidential election amid controversial circumstances.
In 2011, General Mohammadu Buhari (GMB) and Goodluck Jonathan (GEJ) competed for the presidential position under APC and PDP tickets. Of the 39.5m votes cast, Mr Jonathan won 22.5m while General Muhammadu Buhari only picked up 12.2m, according to figures from the national election commission. General Buhari's team queried some of the results, especially those from some southern states where turnout was over 80%.
After the results were announced, youths in the Northern part of the country (especially Kano and Kaduna) took to the streets violently protesting the veracity of the election results. In Kano, they tried to burn down the home of a traditional Islamic ruler thought to be close to PDP. In Kaduna, they set fire to the house of Namadi Sambo, Mr. Jonathan's vice-president. Curfews were imposed in both of these states and several others.
The 2011 election stoked religious and political generational distrust between the Northern and Southern parts of the country. The faultlines between the two regions have only gotten bigger with the rise of Boko Haram. Most Southerners believe Boko Haram is the making of Northern elite to undermine the government of Mr. Jonathan. Some Northerners see Jonathan as a “Christian Southern President” who will marginalize them and reduce their influence in the country. Mr Jonathan tried hard to convince northerners that they will have say in the government and not to turn to political/religious extremism; albeit unsuccessfully.
Once again Nigerians are forced to choose between GMB and GEJ in the February 14 th , 2015 presidential election. It has become a Hobson's choice for Nigerians. The question is who will be the lesser of what most Nigerians see as two evils? Both GEJ and GMB supporters passionately see each other as the evil tormenting the Nigerian nation.
Unfortunately, in the past, Nigeria elections are mostly based on my tribe vs your tribe, North vs South, my party vs your party. There is less debate over important issues like economic development, crime reduction, international relations, educational system improvement, research and development, technological innovation, youth unemployment, foreign trades and investments and health care.
I want to believe that Nigerians are more sophisticated voters now. What should well-meaning Nigerians (not the tribal and religious bigots or the heartless thugs!) use to evaluate who will be the “lesser evil” between GMB and GEJ? The question should start from what has GEJ done to move Nigeria forward in the last couple of years? What has GMB being doing (or done) to make Nigeria a better place today?
While answering the above question, I encourage Nigerians to follow me in this journey of using the below parameters to determine who will be the lesser evil (and better president) between GEJ and GMB. On a scale of 1 (less able) to 5 (more able), rate GMB and GEJ before casting your vote:
Improvement in Nigeria Education Sector
Investment in Local Academic Research and Development
Increase Nigeria's International Presence
Less Corrupt in his ways
Increase Foreign Trade
Build Local Capacity/Investment
Willingness to go after corrupt practices
Improve Nigeria's Health Sector
Stop Nigeria's Oil Theft
Invest in Nigeria's technological innovation
Create jobs and reduce youth unemployment
Diversify Nigeria's economy from oil
Total: GEJ = ? GMB = ?
What is your score?
The next president of Nigeria should be someone with a vision for the country. The result of the election cannot be determined by either the anachronistic actions of Boko Haram or the baseless vituperation of hoodlums in Bayelsa creeks.
Average Nigerians on the streets of Ajegunle, Kebbi, Sokoto, Aba market, Benin, Benue and Niger should determine who they want as president. This is a defining moment in Nigeria's history. It is a battle for the life and soul of the Nigerian nation. What Nigerians decide (by hook or crook!) undoubtedly will define where the nation will go in the next decades.
Any erroneous permutation by the politicians might lead to the nation's worst nightmare and unimaginable consequence on the West Africa sub-region.
Good luck Nigerians. May God bless Nigerians and the Federal Republic of Nigeria!
Blog @ www.diasporascope.com
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