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2015: Time for real change

President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan rode into Nigerian national consciousness upon the death of President Umaru Yar’Adua on May 5, 2010 after a protracted illness.…

President Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan rode into Nigerian national consciousness upon the death of President Umaru Yar’Adua on May 5, 2010 after a protracted illness. Jonathan’s ascension to the Presidency was not without rancour but the Nigerian masses, intelligentsia, labour and a voluble section of the political class stood by him as he served out the late President’s term of office. When he stood for the Presidency in his own right, most of us supported him against retired General Muhammadu Buhari. His rag to riches or rather a shoeless kid to a Doctorate degree and to the leadership of the world’s most populous black nation won the heart of most Nigerians including this writer. Here was a man you could trust to be on the side of the impoverished Nigerian masses. Events over the last five and a half years of Jonathan Presidency have proven most of us wrong and President Lincoln right – Jonathan withstood his childhood adversity but doesn’t know what to do with power!
    The Nigerian masses were tired of Military Rule and their recklessness. We decided that democracy, with all its faults, was the way forward. Thus we chose the Presidential type of Government. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been the Party in power since our current democratic dispensation, which started in 1999 with the coming to power of President Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo. Obasanjo was the choice of the Nigerian establishment. He was a relic of the past Military misrule having been a Military Head of State between 1976 until he voluntarily returned power to a democratically elected government in 1979. That singular action cemented Obasanjo’s place in Nigerian history. Obasanjo’s return to power in 1999 as PDP’s candidate was to most Nigerians the better of two evils. In fairness to the man, his government stabilised the polity, negotiated us out of the crippling Nigerian debts, recreated the Nigerian middle-class, introduced the now familiar mobile phone system, refurbished Nigerian University Teaching Hospitals, established the anti-corruption agencies such as Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) etc. Under him, Nigeria regained some international respectability.
    The coming to power of PDP’s YarAdua/Jonathan was to herald a much acceptable phase of Nigerian democracy. Both of them were young and well read. Both were scientists and were hailed as our bridge to the future. With the passing of Yar’Adua, the mantle of leadership soon fell on the unprepared shoulders of Jonathan and the rest, as they say, is history. One struggles to pin down a significant achievement to Jonathan’s Presidency. This amiable man under the Fedora hat just doesn’t know how to exercise the enormous responsibility and power entrusted to him. I reluctantly agreed with a friend who labelled him Shagari Mark 2 in reference to the government of Alhaji Shehu Shagari who also ran Nigeria aground in the 1980s. Under Jonathan, the poverty level has climbed to excruciating levels; criminals have been given Presidential pardons thus allowing them to contest for elective offices; the oil subsidy criminals are roaming around and contributing to his campaign funds; the universities were shut for almost a year while the students roamed the streets; the unemployment rate is at a record level; the much promised improvement in electricity generation and supply haven’t happened; the anti-corruption agencies have been emasculated, and properties and lives are no longer secure. Most importantly the security and corporate existence of our nation are being threatened by Boko Haram.
   The next Nigerian election is just around the corner in February 2015. The Peoples Democratic Party has Jonathan as its Presidential candidate. It is the belief of this writer that the PDP as a Party in power since 1999 has run out of ideas. One wish to point out that Ghana, a smaller version of Nigeria with similar problems started democratic practices around the same time as Nigeria. She has succeeded in changing her ruling parties on three occasions since then and she is better for it to the extent that a lot of Nigerian businesses relocated to Ghana. Nigerian students now flood Ghanaian universities in search of educational stability lacking in the Nigerian universities. The situation in our dear Nigeria is now hovering perilously towards the Zimbabwean situation. Even the megalomaniac President Robert Mugabe who ran Zimbabwe aground took a pot-shot at Nigeria’s failings! That’s how low we have sunk.
    The question is – can we continue like this? The honest answer is NO! This writer was one of those against General Muhammadu Buhari in 2011 on account of his military past. Time has changed and one must change with it. Buhari was a Military Head of State between 1983 and 1985. He was known to be highly disciplined, honest, hardworking and incorruptible. He was a no-nonsense soldier who valued the security of our nation above everything else as can be attested to by the Maitatsine Islamic militants. Buhari served as a military governor, oil Minister, Chairman of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Military Head of State and Chairman of Petroleum Trust Fund. To a criminally minded person, these were avenues to amass wealth but not a Buhari. He retired a decent poor man for which he is now derided by a Jonathan’s crony in the person of Dr Doyin Okupe. Buhari is a statesman and not a politician. According to Lincoln, “a statesman is he who thinks in the future generations, and a politician is he who thinks in the coming elections.” That is the difference between Buhari and Jonathan. Buhari has offered himself for election in 2015 as President to save his country from impending calamity. For the first time, one thinks that Nigeria needs and deserves to give Buhari a chance to turn her fortunes round come 2015.

Dr Bamigboye, a consultant gynaecologist, wrote from the UK

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