Nigeria and the 2019 Presidential Poll
By Carl Umegboro
Quadrennially, Nigerians exercise electoral franchise; choosing national leaders in pursuit of democratic norms as enshrined in the nation’s constitution. Resultantly, a new phase of the country will be determined on February 16 – presidential election. Politicians as usual are putting up diverse strategies in place and masses inundated with nice campaign promises- facts or fictions. Interestingly, the two dominant parties; All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) have records to show for their true colors unlike other political parties that are either newly registered or merely existing on papers. In the INEC’s final release, the list features 72 presidential candidates and their running mates. But couldn’t the electoral umpire create a guideline towards streamlining the number of political parties for presidency, maybe with a proviso for such a political party to control at least a state in the federation or have one member of the National Assembly elected on its platform and not by defection into the party? This will bring some civility in the system.
Thus, the battle for control of power for the next political dispensation will most likely, intensely be between the ruling party, APC with incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari as its candidate and PDP with Atiku Abubakar as the leading opposition’s candidate. Whilst APC is about rounding off a term; three and half years in power precisely, PDP had cumulatively occupied the seat of power for sixteen years with three different captains at the helm of affairs accordingly, beginning with Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and Atiku Abubakar as president and vice president respectively for eight years. The duo was more of a cat and mouse with several attempts to sack Atiku from office as vice president but resisted through judicial instruments. The acrimonies lasted till the end of the administration and almost led to punches with litany of accusations on corruption against each other. The party continued after them, however ruled until kicked-out through the ballot in 2015 election over admitted colossal failures and ineptitude.
Saliently, President Buhari’s unanimous endorsement as the champion of anti-corruption war of the African Union is convincingly indicative of Nigeria’s renaissance in the global record and cannot be taken for granted. Prior to this dispensation, the image of the country was abysmally battered that the green-and-white passport befitted eyesores outside the shores of the country. It climaxed that the global community imperceptibly blacklisted the country as “fantastically corrupt” thereby erroneously zeroed our great potentials by hasty generalization. Of course, the rating was justifiable vis-à-vis trending heavy foreign accounts and exquisite properties worth millions of dollars and pounds belonging to Nigeria’s public officeholders and their cronies.
On economy, Buhari in nearly one term has outstandingly, relentlessly put machinery in place towards diversifying the economy, thereby changing the nation’s pitiable status of a leading consuming nation it hitherto was on his assumption of office. By this singular act alongside other economic indexes, despite the high cost of living presently evident in the society, optimistically, improvements are imminent with the fundamentals visibly taking positions.
Notable economic giants across the globe particularly Singapore, China, Malaysia, among others similarly took the bulls by the horns akin to Buhari’s policies, and today, they are globally reference points on economic-growth and persistent productivity. Such systematic blueprints are indicative of socioeconomic growth and futuristic significant attainments. And if consolidated with enhanced exploits, incontrovertibly, dividends of democracy that would put smiles on the faces of the masses are foreseeable. It therefore empirically attests to the possibility of actualizing President Buhari’s ‘Next-Level’ packages.
Presently, local production of rice and other agricultural produce are encouragingly, gradually meeting local demands notwithstanding the high cost at the moment and if the momentum is sustained as prioritized by this administration, in no distant time, the market forces will drag down the high-prices from its present position accordingly. Another remarkable feat of President Buhari is the willpower to implement the TSA (Treasury Single Account) against all odds which has robotically blocked all the leakages and BVN (Bank Verification Number) thereby curtailing illicit transactions and improving the internally generated revenues for general interests.
On infrastructural development, from the number of capital projects; some abandoned now completed or nearing completion, rehabilitated and newly-awarded roads altogether over 350 spread across the nation alongside power generation of 7000mw from less than 2000mw inherited from PDP’s 16 years’ tenure, it is obvious the present government has shown proficiency. Inarguably, these projects in turn systematically provide diverse opportunities to the citizenry.
These days, uncompleted projects that had endlessly reflected in government budgets barefacedly for frauds, embezzlement of public funds at the detriment of the suffering masses are one after another being completed and commissioned for public use, paving way for commencement of new ones. The laudable efforts and exploits of the present administration to move the nation from the rot cannot be overemphasized, and therefore reciprocally demands collective supports. A leader that relentlessly sacrifices all personal interests for the nation deserves great accolades.
Without mincing words, the economy at the moment requires consolidation of the laudable policies in place by this administration. The willpower in motion that has effectively improved the nation’s internal revenue generation since this administration came on board shouldn’t be toiled with. With such positive development alongside accountability as can be attested in President Buhari, Nigeria is irrefutably on its way to greatness.
Logically, the present administration deserves more time to plainly implement its blueprints to the latter for appraisal of its capabilities. President Buhari selflessly, determinedly came on a rescue mission not just for this generation but for the generations yet-unborn to ensuring that the era of exploitations, wickedness in high places and willful impoverishment of vulnerable Nigerians are brought to abrupt end. Hence, in making our respective choices, national interest should prudently take priority over personal interests. No nation attained enviable heights without some radical actions, strength of mind and sense of purpose.
Umegboro is a public affairs analyst and Associate, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (United-Kingdom). 08023184542-SMS-only.