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The Nigerian Presidential Election: Matters Arising!
By: Sly Edaghese

Published February 9th, 2015

There's one vital question we all need to ask ourselves as the election fever grips the entire landscape. The question is: Why are we preparing for an election as if we are preparing for war? It is true that our politicians have always taken every election here as a do-or-die affair. That notwithstanding, never before in living memory has there been so much trepidation and the beating of war drums so threateningly loud just because of an election. And do you even hear the treasonous threats coming from the ex-war lords in the Niger-Delta who claimed to be acting on the behalf of the President? They have publicly declared that 'Nigeria will be history' if their kinsman Jonathan is not returned to his seat as president! Now why will everybody be sitting on edge and the whole country tension-soaked all because we want to go to the pools to elect a president? Many think the answer has to do with the main opposition party, APC, presidential flag bearer, General Mohammadu Buhari. Those in and outside the government who have skeleton in their cupboards would rather that they burn down the country than having Buhari, known for his zero-tolerance to corruption, mount the seat of power to replace Jonathan! Already General Buhari has sent an unmistakable word around, putting everyone on notice that his number one purpose of seeking the presidency is to combat corruption, the nation's number enemy. He has said all those who have bled the country dry or contributed in anyway to her present state of arrested animation should be ready to 'wear the same trousers with him,' as we say it in the local parlance. "I am going to send all of them to Kirikiri maximum prison," Buhari has warned.

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However, in order to make sure that Buhari doesn't get near the seat of power to carry out his threat, his opponents have embarked on a campaign of calumny against him. Their allegations range from the bland to the ridiculous. They said the General cannot remember his phone number! They said he does not have a high school certificate. They said that at 74 he's too old to rule the country. Also that he is a sadist and a fundamentalist Muslim with a hidden agenda to turn Nigeria into an Islamic State, IS!

You see, as ridiculous as these fears may sound, I must confess that no one can vouch for Buhari that he would not allow his faith to take a better part of him if push comes to shove, as they say.

But then you cannot eat your cake and have it! An uncommon problem, as I said, requires and uncommon solution. Looking at the three main problems that have bedevilled the country and brought her to her knees, namely, corruption, insecurity, and economic management, you need a person of Buhari's reputation- a background in military warfare and an anti corruption crusader-to step in.  Of course, if we were to judge between Buhari and Jonathan in terms of educational attainment, knowledge of world affairs, age advantage, or using some other well known criteria, Jonathan would tower higher than his contender. We know all this. But these are not ordinary times. Nigeria is in a big mess! In fact, Nigeria is finished, another word for a failed State. Resuscitating her is not for the rockies! Certainly it's not one an amiable Dr. Janathan can handle. This is similar to the problem the Nigerian Football Federation, NFF, is currently facing. They said they have had enough of Stephen Keshi as Chief coach of the Super Eagles and that he should go somewhere else and look for a job. But the presidency would not hear of that. They insist Stephen Keshi stay put on his job. That's quite wrong. Everyone knows Stephen Keshi has run out of steam. And also he does not have the knowledge that is required to galvanize the Super Eagles into a modern, world-class team. So he should be replaced possibly by a foreign technical manager.

Now returning to Buhari versus President Jonathan, what many are saying is that the issues at stake, that is, combating the nation's monster, corruption, as well as rescuing her from the killer gang, Boko Haram, require a man of iron and moral strength like General Muhammadu Buhari. This is not saying Dr. Jonathan has not tried. Of course he has, but just that you can't stretch a man beyond his strength. According to former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, at the APC rally on Friday, "I prayed that Nigeria would get better and would not need a man like Buhari (to run the country). But today we are in a great crisis." He turned to Buhari on the podium and said to him: "General Buhari, whether you qualified or you're not qualified, we are calling you to come and rescue us in Nigeria."

Tinubu added that when South Africa was in a great dilemma and was about to disintegrate, they called Nelson Mandela of 74 years old. The United States too in economic depression, he said, "called 73-year old Ronald Reagan because he was frugal and incorruptible." In another time in America, when the country was faced with depression and war, Tinubu said, "they called a retired General Dwight Eisenhower to rescue the country." And when France was faced with war and economic depression, "they called a retired General Charles De Gaul to rescue the country."

To Tinubu, whether Buhari presented a certificate or not, alluding to the present issues Buhari's opponents are having with his high school certificate, he's still qualified to rule the country. And I think the former governor is right. As I said earlier, an uncommon problem requires an uncommon solution. Please ensure you obtain your PVC and go to the pool on the 14th and vote for the candidate of your choice. But please try to read this article at least twice before you cast your vote for any of the presidential candidates. Nigeria is at a cross road. Your vote can make a big difference.  

Sly Edaghese

T: 2348028287553

E: slyedaghese@yahoo.com



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