Nigeria is a place of firm beliefs. We believe in our religions firmly, dogmatically, and wholeheartedly. We believe in our family and tribal traditions and have great respect for where we come from. But one thing we don’t believe in is our politics, or in fact our politicians. And quite rightly so.
There is no firm ideology, no left or right. Can you tell me what the difference is today between the core ideas and worldviews of our leaders and the various candidates? The answer is clearly no.
So when we go to vote in these historic elections, what are we looking for, if not ideology and ideas? Let’s remember what sort of state our country is in right now. We are in total crisis. The lack of jobs; crisis. The lack of affordable healthcare; crisis. The lack of basic foodstuff, crisis. The endemic violence; crisis. And of course, the bleeding jugular of our economy, our governance, and our polity; corruption, the lynchpin of our contemporary crisis.
When living in a truly existentially crisis, both on a national and individual level, it is incumbent upon us all to first recognise that the status quo is unsustainable. Things must change. Some 99% of the country, who aren’t the corrupted super wealthy, or the lucky heirs of a family fortune, come home daily to their families frustrated.
And for all those who recognise that change is necessary, they must ask themselves, how will that change come about? Who is qualified, experienced, and driven to move this behemoth in the right direction? Who understands the economy? Who is experienced in business and succeeding against all the odds? Who enshrines democracy, freedom, and productivity?
There are many new and interesting candidates in the race this time around. But we all know that this is a two-horse race. It’s the APC against the PDP, and no matter how many more acronyms are thrown into the ring, or how many individuals put up billboards and commercials, the choice we are making lies between those two parties. It’s Buhari versus Atiku.
The APC came to power four years ago with grand promises, and of course, the PDP is making the same noises today. But if you are like me and don’t trust promises, or campaign pledges, if you think politicians are full of hot air, then look for something more substantial. Look directly at the candidate. Look at his character, look at his background, look at his experience. Look for a track record!
The current president has been at the helm twice already, and has failed. He has failed to deliver on his two most basic pledges: security and corruption. Today we are jobless and we are hopeless. The president of course is not alone in his decision making apparatus, yet despite a huge support network of supposed experts, the military minded Buhari is making no ground. Perhaps he is stuck in the mindset of a leader of a military government, blinding him from taking on board consultation from ‘lower ranking officers’ or in this case advisors? Or perhaps, he has been stifled by his years of experience in public sector and military roles whereby bureaucracy places barriers to progress, and there is nothing the so-called decision maker can do about it.
Whatever is the reason for Buhari’s failures, he has had his chance. He has failed. It is now time to look beyond his failed leadership and the APC, and toward a leader’s whose track record is the polar opposite of the corrupt and inefficient bureaucrat.
Which brings us to the PDP. Whether you like the party or not, Atiku gets things done. He may not be the young Barack Obama we have all been dreaming of, but in a two-horse race, he is the stronger horse. He may not be perfect, but he is certainly the more likely candidate to lead us out of these multiple crises in which we find ourselves. Why? Because he is a doer. A businessman. An entrepreneur. A man who understands the pitfalls of the public sector, privatises where necessary, and puts efficiency and productivity above all.
And when we are mired in crisis, struggling from day- to- day, what could be more important for a nation the size of Nigeria than efficiency and productivity? It’s time we had a businessman not a bureaucrat. It’s time for change.
Victoria Abuto, Abuja