By Carl Umegboro
Africa’s most populous nation, Nigeria is witnessing another sturdy moment in the history of the country over control of political power as the present administration winds up in few months. About 91 political parties have lined up for the battle for various positions while only few presented presidential candidates to the electoral commission. Leading contenders are President Muhammadu Buhari and former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar as candidates of All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) respectively. Incidentally, the duo is of the northern extraction. Others are former Minister of Education, Dr Oby Ezekwesili (ACPN) and Kingsley Muoghalu (YPP) from the Southeast geopolitical zone, and few others. Resultantly, the polity is intense and electoral process gathers momentum.
By ‘SWOT’ analysis, the battle will be hotly contested between President Buhari and Atiku particularly on account of popularity, national clout alongside their wherewithals. Their individual philosophies are the distinguishing factors. Although, Nigeria’s political system has no clear distinct ideologies, nonetheless, the two leading contenders alongside their political parties have obvious distinctiveness. For instance, Atiku’s political party, PDP from 1999 to 2015 had ruled Nigeria without directions except squandering crude oil revenues and finally plunged the economy into coma. The major virus, corruption was fantastically at its peak for sixteen years which made the best hands that served in the governments to achieve nothing meaningful or substantial as the jingle ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ was on marble. It was indeed disastrous. Monumental fraud and administrative deficiencies were apparent. Ahead of 2019 elections, PDP on 26 March, 2018, formally admitted its blunders and maladministration and tendered apologies for the colossal failures.
On the other hand, Buhari; an apostle of anti-corruption has led APC government for nearly one term and progressively diversified the economy ranking the country as a producing nation instead of a leading consuming nation it hitherto was prior to his assumption of office. Inarguably, local production of rice and other agricultural produce are presently meeting local demands albeit on a high cost at the moment as well as export ratios. If the momentum is sustained with more supports and credit facilities granted to farmers for large scale productions, in no distant time, the market forces will pull down the high-prices as presently experienced accordingly. Another feather to President Buhari is the political-will to daringly implement the TSA (Treasury Single Account) which has robotically blocked all the leakages and BVN (Bank Verification Number) thereby curtailing illicit transactions; making it difficult for public funds to be diverted to private pockets, thus, no more business as usual.
In terms of infrastructural development, it is quite understandable that Buhari wouldn’t have performed magic having assumed office in a critical moment when his predecessor couldn’t pay workers’ salaries without loans. The government almost collapsed if not for his prudent management and determination to make a difference. Having successfully managed the economy out of recession coupled with accurate revenues generation that now flow into the treasury accordingly, the government has all it takes to transform the nation in no distant time if given more support. The fundamental work for actualizing a prosperous nation has been put in place by circumventing all the loopholes. With prudent management, federal government can proficiently tackle the secondary aspects which include infrastructural development and economic empowerment to boost security. The two deadly elements that held the economy to ransom for years were monetary leakages in various quarters and mismanagement of public funds, and not inarticulacy or ineloquence. By doggedly getting rid of the duo, President Buhari has remarkably put the machinery in place for significant attainments in years ahead. If articulateness or charisma is all needed for leadership, Gen Ibrahim Babangida’s junta ought to successfully set the pace for economic progression for the country. But it didn’t. Leadership therefore goes beyond vocalizations, rhetoric or oratory.
The economy at the moment requires consolidation of the policies in place by this administration. Any party’s manifesto that is promising or offers absolute restructuring is merely deceiving the people as the system cannot constitutionally accommodate such except gradual restructuring by legislative systems. That is the essence of legislative arm. The mechanism in motion that has effectively improved the nation’s revenue generation for the past three years of this administration shouldn’t be toiled with. With such positive development alongside accountability as can be attested, Nigeria is irrefutably on its way to greatness. The present administration deserves more time to clearly showcase its capacities, visions and missions. Government cannot be changed for changing sake but for a just cause. PDP having woefully failed the people as formally admitted cannot be in a hurry to take back power.
At this juncture, PDP should remorsefully, devotedly watch and learn as events unfold in the polity. By formally admitting colossal failures of over one-and-half-decade, logically, its successor, APC must face such difficulties to take-off, and must first have to clear the accumulated messes before setting the stage for advancement. It is therefore tantamount to mockery, irresponsibility and insults on peoples’ sensibilities for a political party that openly admitted monumental failures that held the nation in captivity for years to be asking for votes to come back to power immediately. Irrefutably, the government is on course. To sum, consolidation, stability and sustainability are the way forward.
Umegboro is a public affairs analyst and Associate, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (United-Kingdom) -07057101974 SMS-only.
By Carl Umegboro