Muhammadu Buhari has won Nigeria's presidential polls, in the country's first election victory by the opposition.
His party said his opponent, the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, admitted defeat and congratulated him.
Gen Buhari was ahead of Mr Jonathan by at least two million votes.
Observers have generally praised the election but there have been allegations of fraud, which some fear could lead to protests and violence.
However, a spokesman for Gen Buhari's All Progressives Congress (APC) party praised Mr Jonathan, saying: "He will remain a hero for this move. The tension will go down dramatically."
"Anyone who tries to foment trouble on the account that they have lost the election will be doing so purely on his own," the spokesman added in quotes carried by Reuters.
Finally the long wait is over. The opposition's Gen Buhari has won this pivotal contest.
This is a hugely significant moment in Nigeria's history. Never before has a sitting president lost an election and it feels as though Nigeria has turned a corner.
Since independence from Britain in 1960 there have been numerous coups and rigged elections. This poll has brought to the surface dangerous religious and regional differences. The outcome may be disputed by some and there is still a fear of violence.
But many Nigerians feel for the first time they have the power to vote out a government that is not performing well.
Results at 18:00 local time (18:00 GMT) showed Gen Buhari with 15 million votes, and Mr Jonathan with 12.8 million votes.
Mr Jonathan had led Nigeria since 2010, initially as acting leader before winning elections in 2011.
Nigeria has suffered from several attacks by the Islamist militant group Boko Haram, which has killed thousands of people in its drive to establish an Islamic state.
Many voters have said that they believe Gen Buhari is better positioned to defeat Boko Haram.
The Igbo people around the country and South East political zone in particular will ultimately decide who will be next Nigerian president. The arithmetic is quite easy to understand and the only zone that does not necessary connected directly to the main political actors is the South East political zone. There are no Igbo vying to be president or vice president in any of the major political parties in the country. Therefore the process and the interim development empowers SE zone and Ndi-Igbo to be the centre of attraction and the deciding factor in the election.
The political party, be it Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) or All Progressive Congress (APC) that is able to convince the Igbo people and South East political zone will definitely, comfortably and reliably win the presidential election in February 2015.
Geography also favours Ndi-Igbo in the fort coming election. The Igbo people are one group in Nigeria that are evenly distributed and naturally placed around the country. There is no state or geo-political zone in Nigeria that Igbo people are not a secondary major group after the indigenous population. The interesting thing is how the Igbo have methodically and assiduously assimilated in every corner of country, living peacefully and comfortably with rest of other groups and fellow Nigerians. The Igbo love of Nigeria and adaptation is pointing to future of Nigeria that is devoid of tribalism and nepotism. As far as Ndi-Igbo are concern the entire Nigeria is home be it north, south, east or west.
With this patriotism and Nigerian –eccentric comes a unique advantage that Igbo people enjoyed in Nigeria more any other group. They participated in all diverse cultures of Nigeria and speak almost all the major languages in Nigeria. At the core of Ndi-Igbo is a true Nigerian that accepts Nigeria as one nation. Therefore in 2015 election, Ndi-Igbo will reap the benefit for residing in every nooks and corners of Nigeria. For the path to victory must go through the contours of Igbo political landscape.
In Northern Nigeria despite the threat of Boko haram, Igbo people are still residing in all major centers of the northern Nigeria and they are fully assimilated and speak Hausa, Fulani and other indigenous northern languages brilliantly. In the south West Igbo people reside populously in Lagos, Ibadan and other parts of south western Nigeria.
No matter the propaganda in the media and on internet, Ndi-Igbo and SE have not made the final decision on who will get their precious votes and support. The battle ground for election decision and victory will not be in the North or South West because both parties PDP and APC have active presence in those regions and in the geo-political zones. Therefore the final battle ground is in South-East political zone; and whichever political party that sweeps the SE area and have the support of majority of Igbo will ultimately win the presidency in the forth coming election.
, Principal Policy Strategist at AFRIPOL. His works have appeared in Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Forbes and many other important journals around the world. His writings have also been cited in many economic books, publications and many institutions of higher learning including tagteam Harvard Education. Africa Political & Economic Strategic Center (AFRIPOL) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa. To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, sustainable green environment, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and probity in Africa. www.afripol.org
First and foremost, what do I mean by 21st century Nigeria?
The word 21st century is now ubiquitous and superfluous in any political and economic dialogue but its significance have not diminished nor become pliable.
21st century has been called the century of possibilities and at one point it has been called the African century. The 21st century is anticipated to be a century that Africa will put her house in order and take her place under the sun. Nigeria being the largest economy and most populous in Africa is expected to be in the vanguard.
The antecedent century was marked with African humiliation of conquest by European invaders, swiveled around slavery and colonialism. Therefore with the emerging 21st century, Africans in general and Nigeria in particular must assert themselves with innovative breakthroughs and scientific ideas in high technology, modern education and high standard of living to achieve sustainable freedom and true independent.
All things being equal, it is necessary, if not indispensable that the 21st century Nigeria must be a century of possibilities and political rebirth consolidated with enlightenment and optimum economic development. So, whatever happens in Nigeria politically could determine the sustainability of the country’s progress in 21st century,
Nigeria is gearing and getting ready for an important 2015 election in February. The two rivalry parties, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its major opposition, All Progressives Congress (APC) have finally produced their presidential candidates. The incumbent Nigerian President Jonathan of PDP will be challenged by retired General Buhari of APC.
This is a serious election due to the circumstances that Nigeria found herself. Nigeria has surprise both her friends and foes on her economic and political sustainability especially on her continue existence as a corporate entity. Contrary to the proposition forwarded and propounded by naysayers Nigeria must continue to exist as a united country beyond their 2015 prediction of disillusion and meltdown. That is where the question of leadership comes in; Nigeria needs an intelligent, prudent, reliable, patriot, peaceful and unity conscious leader.
President Jonathan or General Buhari: who is the best candidate suited to be called the leader of 21st century Nigeria and who can lead Nigeria to the promise land. As I have aforementioned Nigeria is in a unique position. Economically speaking and despite the falling oil price, Nigeria has achieved an affirmative and quantifiable macroeconomics stability. Nigeria at the moment is the largest economy in Africa, no matter how you look at it, it is a great achievement. The economy is projected to grow at above 5 percent and inflation rate is below 9 percent and attraction of foreign investments conyinues.
Although, the nosedive of oil price is nibbling on the strength and value of naira due to overvalue US dollar and fervent aggressive currency speculators, the streams of foreign investments have not waned. Nigeria continues to have its low debt ratios which make it attractive to investors and inducement to leverage capital.
On the other side, Nigeria has some traceable and intractable problems with poverty and unemployment. The huge issue of Boko Haram and its destructive tendencies are threat to political stability especially in the north east of Nigeria in particular and the entire northern Nigeria in general.
The triumph over corruption must be comprehensive and long term. The defeat of corruption becomes sustainable when the political and social infrastructures are set up and effectively managed. The civic institutions including the security apparatus, courts and media must be independent and incorruptible. The citizens must be empowered to participate in creating a corrupt free society. The clergy, schools and moral leaders must be employed in the eradicating corruption. Our children and next generation of Nigerian leaders must be taught in schools on how corruption annihilates and minimize the wealth and wellbeing of a nation.
Nigeria needs a leader that understands and formulates economic policy that can be effectively communicate to investors and can be able to speak the language of economics to capitalists and potential investors. Nigeria needs a leader of purpose that can unite the country’s diverse population for the greater good of our country. Nigeria needs a visionary leader that comprehends how the 21st century world works and understands that a local action and decision have an international implication.
Thank you Mr president, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for letting Nigerians and indeed the whole world know Nigeria's political twosome liabilities by declaring that Gen Muhammud Buhari [retd] and Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu are both responsible for Nigeria's unending political problems. It is indeed a resounding comments from Mr president.
Gen Muhammudu Buhari's legacy; war against corruption and indiscipline, and good fiscal policy are still an endless footprints on the sand of Nigeria's history. Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu's eight years on the saddle of Lagos State as the executive governor is a testimony of ruggedness and commitment, having withstand former president Olusegun Obasanjo seizure of Lagos State allocation and also denied PDP onslaught in capturing Lagos State in the 2003 general elections.
These two political liabilities footprints and careers is intimidating enough. The dovetailing of Action Congress of Nigeria [ACN], Congress for Progressive Change [CPC][, All Progressive Grand Alliance [APGA] to form All Progressive Congress [APC] is enough to create and instill fear in PDP''s bone marrow. The coast is getting clearer ahead of 2015 general elections.
With the impending sinking of PDP armada by the advancing All Progressive Congress battleships and armored personnel carriers [apc], PDP and Jonathan's media musketeers; Metuh, Okupe, Abati, and Maku are making a mountain out of a molehill. President Jonathans' footprints so far; crude oil thefts, N5.2tn frittered away, pension and fuel subsidy scams, failed contract award, Wadata plaza moonlight tales, and press gag, what president Jonathan should have concentrate on should have be, how far? Allow the electorates to judge comes 2015, Mr president.
There was a time my president couldn't afford a pair of sandal, now my president can afford N2billion banquet hall to eat, while 100million Nigerians goes home hungry daily. You can fool people some of the time, but cannot fool people all the time. Mr president, let Nigerians decide the main Nigeria political liabilities; Buhari, Tinubu, or Jonathan nay PDP. 2005 is already knocking, Mr president, let's wait!
Buhari and Tinubu; Advance Airborne warning Control System [AWACS], let Mr president consult the Prophets, Imams, Astrologers, Stargazers, Ouija board, Marabouts, Diviners, Palmistry, and Oracles to tell him the ominous signs and Nigeria's political unending liabilities, if Mr president is dreaming!
Taiwo Lawrence Adeyemi.
Cells:+234  701-224-8573.
+234  816-950-3218.
What is the problem with Nigeria’s democratic rule that worries General Muhammadu Buhari so much? Is justice denied in Nigeria? Is poverty tactically or openly enforced upon the masses? Is ignorance prevailing the society especially in the north from where the General hails? Is there an organized conspiracy to torment the underprivileged, oppress the will of the populace, suppress perceived opposition and massively loot the money of the people?
For some Nigerians, Buhari is overdue for retirement from the political scene of Nigeria. His efforts, according to this group, have grown from unpopularity to unpopularity that all he needs now is to be a political oracle for consultation and not being an errand play boy in the swampy wave of Nigerian politics. Just similar to former heads of state, he would maintain relevance when the need arises.
But others believe that Buhari is a unique type of humans who prefer to die for the cause they believe in than the cause to die before them. Buhari saw or at least heard all that happened in 1999 when Nigeria returned to democratic governance – how former President Obasanjo was imposed on the people. Buhari saw all that happened in 2003 reselection processes. He saw all the political eyesores of 2007 and another electioneering lopsidedness in Nigerian politics in 2011, having participated actively in the last three political dispensations. What of Nigeria’s democracy does Buhari detest?
Speaking from the mind of a frustrated patriot who, however, wishes that things should not continue the same way in Nigeria, he made a parable of the dog and baboon. Journalists, probably those who prefer the sensational aspects of speakers’ speeches picked on this, thus generating another heat in the already overheated politics.
Buhari wants a democracy where justice is enforced, where poverty is suppressed, where ignorance dwindles and where society becomes an organized one for unity, peace and development, so that citizens and their properties will be safe – a government of the people, by the people and for the people, not a government against the people, upon the people and cruel to the people, at least according to his perception.
However, in defence of Buhari’s democracy, many prominent Nigerians have made certain points that are relevant in resolving the political dust raised by this. It is left for posterity to judge and for the witnesses of today’s politics in Nigeria to decide which way is better for the country to tow.
General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida alias IBB recently in Minna, the Niger State capital challenged journalists to go for translation training to guard against misinterpretation of viewpoints of speakers. This was at a function where seasoned journalists were present. This was surely in reference to General Buhari who spoke in Hausa language and was believed to be misquoted in the journalist’s attempt to translate Buhari’s statement. IBB clearly said, “I wanted to speak in Hausa but now that I see journalists here, I will speak in English because I do not want to be misinterpreted”.
Translation is a very difficult exercise and journalists should not even attempt translating people’s opinions from one language to the other. That is why some well-established news outfits employ the services of specialists in different local and international languages. That is why some of the media have the local versions of their newspapers once a week at least to summarize the happenings of the week in the local dialects of their common readers.
That is why some books which have undergone series of translation from one language to the other have lost their original meanings. In every language, there are loan words which cannot be rendered into an equal meaning with a single word in another language. This is a difficult task for the translators some of who would prefer to use the words as they are, but would give an interpretation in brackets.
Former FCT Minister, Nasir el-Rufai was even harder and blunter in defence of General Buhari. el-Rufai believed that if things are allowed to continue the way they are in Nigeria today, then 2015 may never be witnessed by an entity called Nigeria. He hinged his defence for Buhari on the fact that the nation has witnessed bad elections since 1964 through 1983 and 1993, leading to the overthrow of the authorities whether at the state or federal levels.
“There is a pattern to this that people do not want to look at. That is why I was surprised when the government was trying to attack General Buhari because he said if elections in 2015 are rigged there will be violence. History has said that. So Buhari did not need to say it and it is the truth and the PDP should understand that if they rig the 2015, they will not survive the aftermath,” said el-Rufai.
Continuing, “They will not live to enjoy the fruits of their rigging. They should understand that everybody is up to his necks in anger and frustration. Take it anywhere. They need to understand that is not Buhari talking; ask any man in the street, they will tell you the same thing. All this talk about 2015, in my opinion is a distraction,” the former Abuja boss insisted.
Deputy Minority Whip and CPC House Caucus Leader, Hon. Garba Datti Muhammad took a swipe on those who seem afraid of doing the right thing in Nigerian polity. Muhammad was of the opinion that the current dangerous wave of crisis and insecurity in the North was a game plan by the Presidency to give the impression that the North is making good governance difficult for the President and discredit its leaders in order to attract sympathy from within and outside the country. He, therefore, called on the Federal Government to demilitarize the North and evolve a more civilized and technology driven strategy for security surveillance and operations.
“No matter how Buhari is despised or whatever any thinks about his views, he would remain unruffled, resolute, blunt, bold and daring to call a spade a spade anywhere, anytime. Whenever Buhari sneezes, the PDP catches cold and the Presidency get feverish. Therefore, if they are frightened by the dog and baboon theory, they must conduct a credible election in 2015 and we cannot be fooled again,” the CPC House Caucus Leader averred.
In a related development to journalism, the director general of the National Orientation Agency (NOA) Mike Omeri recently while receiving the leadership of Nigerian Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Zone D urged journalists to be thorough in their investigation of event before relaying them to the public, as according to him, “the more responsible the media is, the more credible it would be because foreign media rely considerably on the local ones.”
Chief Moses Oyinlayefa and Comrade Peter Izonkeme, president and secretary respectively of Izondeinyefa Renaissance Movement, in defence of General Buhari, acknowledged that Buhari spoke in Hausa language, such statements from which a translation was made into English. The translation read, “God willing, by 2015 something will happen. They either conduct a free and fair election or they go a very disgraceful way. If what happened in 2011 should again happen in 2015, by the grace of God, the dog and the baboon would be soaked in blood”.
The group condemned the rigging of elections in any form but warned that those who desire to rule Nigeria with a view to plunder resources of the Niger Delta should be reminded that such action would be resisted in any form. Oyinlayefa and Izonkeme appealed to General Buhari to desist from making inciting statements and allow the President to concentrate on the job of governance. They said, “If President Jonathan fails to deliver on his promises in an atmosphere devoid of threats of war in the next three years, then the electorates will decide his fate in 2015.”
They threatened to deploy any necessary means to defend their OWN from any threat, in accordance with the fact that no individual, section or group(s) of Nigeria has the monopoly of violence.
In his article Nigeria: the systemic reduction which appeared on the weekend edition of Peoples Daily on May 26, 2012, Ibrahim Sulaiman was of the opinion that the Nigerian people were losing control over their political destiny to foreigners. According to him, the nation’s Democracy Thieves (DT) – the supreme cabal – have stolen the lion share of Nigeria’s democracy. All the cabals and all the thieves in the oil industry, in the telecom industry, in the banking industry, in governance industry and in all other sectors are very active in the political sphere and have almost wrested democracy from the Nigerian people. They handle democracy in exactly the same manner as they handle oil. Oil flows in their direction and in their interest, so must democracy.
Which democracy will save Nigeria: PDPsm, Buharism, Tinubuism or Nigerianism?
"I cannot teach you violence, as I do not myself believe in it. I can only teach you not to bow your heads before anyone even at the cost of your life". -Mahatma Gandhi.
The candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) in the last presidential election and former head of state, General Mohammed Buhari in Kaduna last week predicted revolution which he said could take any form which the ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP) will not be able to cope with. He based his prediction on the absence of what he called social justice in Nigeria. For someone who ruled via a coup to achieve political objective, this may not mean anything.
However, Nigerians are not unfamiliar with such comments from the General. We could recall his directive to his followers "to deal with whoever tries to rig this election", which tantamount to asking people to take laws into their hands. It backfired as thousands of streets urchins went on rampage during and after the April 2011 presidential election, leaving blood and tears in its trails in some parts of the north. Those CPC members with milk of human kindness in them must have regretted what happened.
General Buhari was at first in support of the electoral processes, particularly when Professor Jega was appointed the Chairman of INEC. But he later changed his mind by pouring venomous comments on the process when the outcome wasn't favourable to him. These were comments enough to paralyze the system. Unfortunately, General Buhari had strong opinions of all the international and local observers to contend with since they had applauded the elections.
The recent bashing and discrediting of the Nigerian political practices by General Buhari is seen as another calculated attempt to diminish the legitimacy of the incumbent. And to do it effectively, he had to position himself politically by breaking his solemn promises. First, he broke his promise not to go to court if the presidential election was not favourable to him. Second, he broke his promise not to contest again if he lost2011 presidential election. General Buhari went full hug to get judgment from the courts. And now he may even contest the next presidential election at the age of 74 years in 2015. He will be setting a record of being the oldest to ever contest presidential election in the history of Nigeria.
One may want to ask what could be responsible for the vacillation between promises and breaking of promises and what they impact on the psyche of General Buhari's political followers. It seems this creates a perception for followers that when all is lost for your political leader's ambition to be realized; you set yourself on the desperate and violent path. You are encouraged to try alternative route to liberal democracy and that visible alternative is violence and anarchy. Little wonder there were sporadic violence and senseless killings after the last presidential election. The Sheikh Ahmad Lemu committee that investigated the violence that followed the last presidential election was able to draw this linkage which the CPC leadership did not agree with.
General Buhari's prediction of revolution has been addressed by the PDP Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, who noted that that the statements had disqualified him as a democrat, pointing to the 1983 coup that truncated a democratic government. In days that General Buhari was the maximum military ruler of Nigeria, it would have been treason for any democrat, human right activist or ordinary Nigerian to speak glibly of expectation of revolution. Chief Metuh did not add this to his response to General Buhari, and it would have made some sense. General Buhari ruled then with a fist of iron. Those were times when even your thoughts could be read and considered treasonable by the state. It was a time when governance lost all its human face.
One could also recall other combustible statements from the leadership of General Buhari's CPC, calling on voters to use "means" to defend votes and also their pledges to make Nigeria ungovernable if General Buhari lost the 2011 presidential election. All these statements put together were forerunners to the violent turn that the political culture is witnessing today.
If we go back in time a little, we will recall that the General Buhari's political party, had been accused of aggravating political tension through inciting statements made by its leadership during the April 2011 elections. For instance many had expressed bewilderment that the violence that accompanied the election targeted political opponents and were only widespread in places where CPC had majority support and won the election. It was enough for analysts to conclude that CPC had premeditated violence, planned to discredit the electoral process and cause anarchy. CPC explanation that the violence was spontaneous certainly did not hold water against the background of the above mentioned facts.
Musa wrote from Lokoja.
Source: Daily Trust
Although I was quite confident that the Supreme Court would deliver a sound judgement contrary to a popular one in regards to the court challenge from the number one Nigerian opposition party of today, the Congress of Progressive Change (CPC), I could not hold my tears as I pondered over the speech of General Muhammadu Buhari on the verdict on Tuesday December 28, 2011.
My continued main worry for the General is that he so much believes in Nigeria and has often felt that things are not done the right way, thus his resolve at every political dispensation to fight the evil cartels that have held the nation to nothingness in terms of development, unity and peace. Each time he mounts his horse to the warfront; the same men who prepared the horse for him would desert him and dine with his enemies.
The General has been forsaken. But I cannot be sure that he has really realized that the war to change this country towards the right direction is not for Godly, soft-hearted and considerably humane people. Such people much be characterized by qualities that can be the semblance of chameleon, tortoise and in the commonest quote a green serpent in green grass.
I had often refused to believe that there is gentility in the army. I grew up partly in an army barrack and as a small boy, I thought that the army is a set of people built to defend the weak. I also attended Army Day School where we were trained to be not only stubborn in the right direction but to be orderly and manly. So, one feels lost contending with how the General climbed to this enviable position in the army with a civic mind. But I also know that soldiers do never surrender.
What are the General's crimes that he can never be allowed to make a trial in REDIRECTING Nigeria? What did he do wrong while he was the Head of State? Why have all the Generals lost the espirit de corps bond in the military and the security force at large as it regards this lofty-hearted General? Summarily, why is this General fearfully feared by a dreadful cabal?
Many compatriots are undone by the daily ugly development in the country since the return of Nigeria to democratic governance in 1999. Things have continued to worsen. Each government that comes democratically proves to be incapacitated to handle the complexity of the Nigerian nation. Four success democratic government! Is 2015 going to be any different?
After a thorough scrutiny of the General's speech, few points lined themselves up for my admiration. The first is that the nation has not conducted any widely accepted general elections since 1999. Four of such jamborees have been organized. In 2003 and 2007, the elections were also challenged at the Supreme Court and the verdict was not unexpected.
The General says that all Nigerian patriots who witnessed the conduct of the elections knew that the decision of the Supreme Court has always been politically motivated, thus having little judicial content. Therefore, he bitterly posited that the 2011 Supreme Court has proved no better than the Supreme Courts of 2003 and 2007.
Secondly, there was the misconception that a new umpire for Nigeria's elections would make a difference after Professor Maurice Iwu-led INEC announced prepaid results in favour of the ruling party. There was also the misconception that the judiciary was the last hope of the mass. At that time, the Justice Idris Kutigi-led Supreme Court after indiscriminate adjournments, declared the election valid, with three justices dissenting.
Thirdly is the significance of international observers who condemned the elections in no uncertain terms, yet their governments were quick to send congratulatory messages to the presidents from such elections. What do the observers tell their governments?
However, having been part and parcel of the 2003, 2007 and 2011 presidential elections, the General concluded that what happened in 2011 elections superseded all the other elections in the depth and scope of forgery and rigging. The hopes were chartered. Then, another INEC Professor, Attahiru Jega was bought in for the job, and after asking for and getting close on 100 billion naira for the elections including biometric data with all ten finger prints to conduct a thorough electoral exercise, he botched it.
Furthermore, the riots that broke out in parts of the country after the announcement of the 2011 Presidential result was wrongly ascribed to the General. The Justice Ahmad Lemu Panel had a different interpretation in its detailed causes of the reactions from the fallout of the election. As the General stated, the facts were that people were deeply angered and deeply provoked at the wanton conduct of the elections: the snatching and stuffing of ballot boxes, violence unleashed on opposition supporters, use of the police and elements of the army to intimidate injure and kill opposition supporters and flagrant change of results after collation such as in Niger, Bauchi and Kaduna states. Moreover, he asserted, the declaration of 86% - 90% of votes registered and cast in most part of the South-East and South-South states was highly implausible given the general turn-out of 50% - 60% in the rest of the country.
Wonderful how election can be regarded as credible where 100% of votes cast were for one candidate in many constituencies and 90% in some states! No election can be validated if 100% of those registered all cast their votes in favour of the same candidate! Was it for these reasons that INEC refused to release the biometric data? Why then did the Supreme Court turned a blind eye and deaf ear to all these irregularities that have run through all three elections since 2003?
The General warns on an emergency situation that looms in the country. To many of Nigerians, the situation is more pathetic when law and order are broken with impunity at any time, while the political leaders feel complacent with verbal promises and theoretical solutions in place of practical actions.
Steps which are known to all Nigerians and which have been proffered by many citizens were re-echoed by the General. These solutions are never new but what is new is that he advocates abolishment of security votes. Other steps to assist in good governance are:
- drastic reduction of the cost of governance in the three tiers of government
- drastic reduction of salaries and especially allowances
- security votes should not be increased as the 2012 Budget has done
- votes for the Armed Forces, Police and Security Services should be transparent and accountable
- foreign travel and estacodes should be stopped for at least six months except for the Presidency, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and medical emergencies
- government house expenses in all the states should be drastically reduced
- foreign travel for state officials should be suspended for a while
- allowances for members of the National Assembly should be reduced substantially while their foreign travels should be stopped
- savings from these sources should be channelled to education, infrastructure and agriculture with emphasis on youth employment through meaningful and practical emergency programmes.
In his words, if all hands are on deck to help save Nigeria from imminent collapse, the country would stabilize. When stability is attained, Nigerians can then come together to discuss the country's structure in a calm and unemotional atmosphere. Are these Biblical and Qur’anic recitations on a seemingly ruined land and people by its people? Hopefully not!
If wishes were to be horses, beggars could ride. But Nigerians are neither wishful thinkers nor beggars. Likewise, if pledges were to be realities, the Nigerian people would have been the best in the world. This is the time to harvest pledges, just like before, from our politicians. Some have been carelessly making promises for the impossibilities or things that are not rational.
Three promises that have attracted my personal attention and which are being discussed by many Nigerians are from President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Gen. Muhammadu Buhari of Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) and Mallam Nuhu Ribadu of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).
Jonathan wishes to put in place a mechanized farming system to ensure steady food on our tables and improve our economy through the agricultural sector. Buhari wishes to remove immunity clause from the constitution so that politicians in elective offices can be challenged and dragged to court for mismanagement of public funds which is the order of the day. And Ribadu wishes the fabulous creation of 120 million jobs so that even the under-aged Nigerian citizens can work and assist their parents to earn a better living. By this, Nigeria can become the highest in the provision of jobs to its citizens and the country will then have to open a department for green-white-green residential cards for foreigners.
The PDP presidential flag-bearer has made a lot of pledges. By my assessment, if the valour with which he makes these promises is turned to action, the next four years of democratic rule in Nigeria will be different. One hears, "I will do this. I will do that." And the future seems to be assured by the use of this strong futuristic verb "will". He often says he despises mentioning what he has achieved in the last one year in office as the president of Nigeria.
I am much more interested in the promise that Nigeria will operate a mechanized farming system. Farming, or to put it appropriately, agriculture has been the most neglected sector of the economy since the discovery of oil and gas in Nigeria. Most of the world powers of today, despite their technological advancement, do not relent in daily development of their farming system. In short, most of the richest men in the world, some who are not known and do not want to be known, are farmers. Food is the most needed thing in life. On normal circumstances, one must eat before actualizing daily activities. A healthy brain is in a healthy body and a health body is primarily built on good food. In the colloquial language, "Man must wak". It is a must and without farming, life would have been a mirage.
When we talk about farming in Nigeria, many people would disassociate themselves from it, basically because a farmer is not respected. A farmer is regarded to be a poor person who has very little relevance to the society. In our villages, farmers are hard because they are still using archaic methods. Unlike in the olden days when a damsel will choose a husband based on his strength at farming or war, a man can be disqualified for his coarseness, even if he is a big farmer.
So if President Jonathan can assure Nigerians of mechanized farming and its attendant wealth, there is hope that the next four years would be great. Added to this, he should intensify efforts to provide stable electricity and qualitative education. Three point agenda, period: Power, agriculture and education. Nigerians are not asking for too much. Let him say very little and do much more. What he has done in the last one year as the president of Nigeria should speak more for him.
On the expunction of immunity clause from the constitution by the CPC Presidential flag bearer, this could be the great weapon to fight corruption to a standstill. Both national and foreign observers and analysts have maintained that the highest level of corruption is perpetrated in the government houses and the environs. This implies that the elected in particular and the appointed political office holders in general are the corruption mongers. They squander public funds which are meant for human and infrastructural developments on frivolous things and personal aggrandizements.
The immunity clause in the constitution do not allow for their trial while in office. This gives such category of the citizenry the effrontery to spend public funds without accountability. Since the return of Nigeria to democracy in 1999, this singular clause in the constitution has caused us trouble in the management of public funds. They are not accountable. They are not frugal. They are not checked by even the assemblies, because all are partners in this criminality against our motherland and her peoples. I do not know if any Nigerian can precisely say how much Nigeria has lost to this menace since 1999.
So, if Gen Buhari can, amidst expected adversities and challenges, expunge this part of the constitution, methinks in the next four years, Nigeria and Nigerians will have cause to rejoice and give thanks to God. The politicians will then be accountable and the monies meant for development will be properly utilized. All sectors of the economy will witness transformation.
People may claim that the governors or the president will be distracted as some citizens perceived to be opposition will engage them in legal battles. It may be so in the beginning. After all, the political office holders have been using public funds to fight the oppositions. But when the initiative stabilizes, every politician will welcome it.
However, expunging the immunity clause should not end there. The constitution must clearly spell out serious punishments for financial mismanagement. One who is convicted of stealing between one to five million naira should go behind the bars for six months with hard labour. Five to ten million naira should attract one year imprisonment. One to five billion will mean two years imprisonment with hard labour. Ten billion and above should be life imprisonment. Let whoever inhabits the Aso Rock Villa from May 29th try this for our dear country.
As for job creation, it is a necessary antidote for slot, hooliganism and youth restiveness. An idle mind is, surely, a devil’s workshop. The rate of crime and moral decadence that are ravaging the country, namely: armed robbery, kidnapping, political thuggery, pick-pocketing, human trafficking, child abuse, prostitution, all forms of examination and electoral malpractices, among others, are natural products of joblessness.
Creating jobs for even two third of the Nigerian population and most especially the youths is enough to reform the society and push the country to its deserved position in the comity of nations.
But these should not be like before when politicians made very empty promises, knowing fully well that they would not deliver. The public should therefore scrutinize these politicians and discover the promises that can possibly be delivered and vote for the genuine ones. It has been discovered that political manifestoes are written by political jobbers who study members of a society and tell them what would stir them up. Enough is enough!
The unguarded waggling of the tongue with promises, just as it used to be during electioneering campaigns has baffled many patriotic and prominent Nigerians. Foremost of them is the Sultan of Sokoto who was moved to demand that the incumbent President Jonathan makes a written undertaking to fulfill all his promises when voted to continue. This is because, in the past, not one quarter of the pledges made by politicians is actualized. Most of our politicians often become incommunicado after winning elections.