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Campaigns for the February 2015 general elections have commenced with the respective political gladiators traversing the lengths and breaths of the country conversing for votes from the electorate.
The Nigerian voter who had severally been deceived and cheated by the political class of Nigeria is once more getting all the promises the politicians can contemplate and possibly muster all in a bid to sway votes in their favour.
The ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the centre which the leading opposition party the All Progressive Congress (APC) believes should be shown the way out of the Aso Rock Presidential Villa for alleged administrative incompetence and the prevalence of brazen corruption in key sectors of the nation’s economy is not taking the challenge lying low.
The PDP and its presidential candidate President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has been upbeat in telling the electorate why he should be given another opportunity to rule over the country once more for another four-year term.
The president who formally launched his campaign at the Tafawa Balewa Square in Lagos on Thursday January 6, 2015 responded to all the issues raised against his government by the APC and warned the voter against those he described as incapable of delivering on their campaign promises.
The national leadership of the opposition APC had since commencing its presidential campaigns at the Adokiye Amiesimaka Stadium in Port Harcourt on Monday blamed the Jonathan administration for the present woes besetting the nation
The APC presidential candidate General Mohamadu Buhari specifically blamed the Jonathan administration for the present wave of insecurity in the country, massive corruption in government, and the growing rate of unemployment among youths. He however promised to cause a reversal of the problems when given the chance to rule over the country once more after he was booted out of the State House in 1985 by the General Ibrahim Babangida junta.
He specifically assured that all those who have deployed the nation’s resources as their private estates would be sent to Kirikiri Prisons.
But President Jonathan would not agree with this model as he said his administration has commenced the institutionalization of a self accounting system that will make it impossible for any body to steal government money, arguing that sending every corrupt person to jail was not going to stop corruption just as the shooting of armed robbers has not stopped that particular type of crime.
The question the president did not possibly contemplate is why the justice system under his administration still sentences suspected armed robbers to death by hanging.
One would have expected the president to stop at assuring Nigerians of the determination of his government to fight corruption. His analogy on death sentence for armed robbery suspects not serving as enough deterrent is a justification of the position held by critics of the justice administration modus of the Jonathan administration who have always blamed him for implementing a justice system that protects the rich but quick to send the poor to the gibbet.
In as much that not every Nigerian trusts the opposition APC to posses the magic wand to solving the myriads of problems confronting the country, they will however prefer a president who without deploying crude methods to punish persons in and out of government who have been found to have misappropriated our common wealth while we await the evolving technology that will make stealing of government money impossible.
Undoubtedly, the Jonathan administration has performed creditably in many sectors of the economy but its failure to institute a mechanism aimed a checking corruption and the administration’s perceived lethargic approach at bringing corrupt officials to book as well as the continued retention of some officials in his cabinet who have been accused of over spending the nation’s wealth for the comfort of their families including the alleged use of N10 billion to charter and maintain an aircraft by the Petroleum Minister Deziani Allison Madueke has been his weakest moment.
Also, the president’s open association with some indicted businessmen over the subsidy scam remains his albatross in the build up to the general election.
The resort to mud slinging by President Jonathan in response to accusations of incompetence in dealing with the Boko Haram insurgency against his government by the opposition party could have been handled differently. The president rather than inferring that the Buhari administration when it held sway did not purchase a single AK 47 rifle for the Nigerian Army should have explained to Nigerians why the war on insurgency has not been won by the Nigerian Armed Forces despite its global acclaim in warfare.
The president must also be reminded that he was not voted into power by the mass of Nigerian electorate to bicker on his successes or failure. His Public Speech Managers must begin now to package him on how to respond to accusations coming from those who want to take over from him no matter how provocative they may be.
As for the opposition politicians, they should refrain from pointing accusing fingers at the government in power but come up with blue prints that would present them as credible alternatives to the present government.
This is so because the Nigerian electorate is no longer docile; they know what they deserve from the government in line with global best practices. They are capable of appreciating a government that has lived up to its billing or punish that which performed below their expectations.
The electorate is basking in the euphoria of the seeming credibility of the electoral system owing to the assurances from the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) Professor Attahiru Jega that the present poll will be fraud free following plans by the electoral umpire to deploy the right technology to achieve that.
As a result the average Nigerian electorate will have the opportunity to deploy the instrumentality of the voter card in his possession to reward performing politician or political group and if possible punish those who have mismanaged the affairs of the nation. Which ever way it goes, the average electorate would be the better for it as he would consistently deploy the voter card as an instrument of reward and punishment until the nation gets it right politically.
To the average Nigerian electorate, the opportunity of the February polls is golden. It will offer them an opportunity to take their destiny in their own hands by entrusting the affairs of State to only those who mean well for the nation.
They will have the opportunity to rate those who will drive away the present grinding poverty among the average Nigerians who toil daily to eke out a living.
Added to this is the mass unemployment occasioned by the lack of vision to generate jobs to engage the mass of unemployed youths through value addition to the mono product economy due to absence of visionary leadership that would be ready to take the nation through the furnace of restructuring that will be people centred devoid of any cosmetics.
The average Nigerian voter would want the evolving electoral process be used to launch the country to a new era of people oriented governance. An era that, would redefine the socio-economic life of the nation; an era, which will cause a change from the old ways of handling the affairs of State which has only led to a dislocated economy where more than 80 percent of the nation’s over 150 million people live in excruciating poverty while the less than 10 percent of the population who are in government or are close to those in power feed fat on the nation’s vast revenue.
The electorate desires a country where every citizen irrespective of status or class can feel a sense of belonging by reason of the amount of care and protection he/she gets from the State.
Most importantly therefore, the election year 2015 remains very strategic in the life of the nation as the all important year offers Nigerians an opportunity to determine the political direction of the country by performing their civic duties in electing those who will pilot the affairs in the next political dispensation.
To the electorate, it is an opportunity to interrogate the political system operating in the country under whose burden of unfulfilled dreams and hopes we are suffering.
It is also an opportunity for the average voter to stand up in defense of the true character and purpose of governance in Nigeria in line with the principles of justice, equity and fairness.
They will have the opportunity to query the skewed justice system exacerbated by acts of corruption with the absence of adequate deterrents for elitist crimes of official corruption which has turned the country into a huge stage where corruption and other forms of official stealing are rather celebrated than subject offenders to public odium and punished as is the case in civilized climes.

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The opportunity of the February polls must be utilized to challenge the present order which enables a few individuals to help themselves with the nation’s common wealth irrespective of the level of governance. The practice over the years has been such that gives incentives to dubiety, corruption and maladministration with the attendant culture of impunity which now reign supreme in the land with the powerful feeling a sense of being above the law.
It is also an opportunity to raise question as to how much of the present huge bureaucracy that has taken the nation to no where is needed to galvanise the economy for the good of all. The time to act is now.