General Buhari and President Jonathan
General Buhari and President Jonathan

UNLIKE the polls of yore when the confidence of the ruling parties was bolstered by incumbency factor, and indeed was arrogantly flaunted and relied on for re-election of their candidates, the February 14 presidential election may radically present an emphatically different scenerio.
According to political analysts, an opposition party has emerged, so formidable and determined that even the ruling party appreciates that this contest is for real – different from what happened in 2011.

Some analysts say that the election will be tough and tight as Nigerians are poised to make a choice between an existing order and promise of change.
According to them this is good for democracy. John Imade a political analyst told weekend Observer. “We are happy for this development. This is going to be the mother of all elections. Nigerians who have been taken for a ride and brazenly, manipulated have changed their pattern of political assessment. The way things are now is such that neither of the two presidential candidate is so sure of overwhelming victory I am convinced that Nigeria’s have decided to join the league of civilized democracies. After this election there will be sanity in our political behaviour.”
Another public affairs commentator, Jide Idowu maintained that Buhari and Jonathan have history on their side. While Jonathan will be assessed on the basis of his performance in the past 6-years, Buhari will be placed on the scale of the various positions he has served the country. Speaking further he said “Nigerians will look at issues like corruption, unemployment, electricity supply, security e.t.c and ask themselves how Jonathan administration has done in addressing them. They will also look at Buhari’s performance as the former Head of State and Chairman Petroleum Trust Fund and then make a choice between the two.
“As far as I am concerned this election is going to be different from that of 2011 when regionalism and ethnicity were the major issues. Nigerians are no longer interested in that now because poverty cuts across regional boundaries. For example in the 2011 election the whole of southern Nigeria voted for Jonathan because he is from the south. That is not going to be the case now. The equation has been totally altered. The likes of Bola Tinbubu, Fashola, Oshiomole, Richard Okorochas are mobilizing aggressively for Buhari in the south. So Jonathan cannot expect to get the same number of votes he got in 2011 from the South. The calculation is that Buhari is likely to expand his political territory in the north beyond what he got in 2011. These scenarios are enough to send panic into the ruling party.”
Another respondent Emma Okoro said that never in the history of Nigeria have we seen a formidable opposition like we have today “I think Nigeria will be better for it because what I am interested in is simple. I don’t care where my president comes from whether east, west, north or south I want to enjoy uninterrupted electricity supply, go to tap and fetch water, drive on good roads enjoy security and be confident that when my child is out of school he will get good job. This is what I am interested in and any one that gives me this is my president.
Nigerians are no longer going to vote on the basis of sentiment, I am not moved by media propaganda I have made up my mind on who to vote for and that is personal to me, I cannot be swayed by  trivialities.
“Nigerians deserve to be respected in the International community but the level of corruption has damaged whatever reputation we had in the past. So this is the moment of decision and no amount of propaganda can deceive us anymore.
Former CBN Governor, Prof Charles Soludo in his assessment maintain
“IF Buhari wins, he will ride on the populist wind for change. I-asked my driver Usman, whom he would vote for President. He responded
“If they no rig the election, na Buhari everybody go vote for”. I asked him why, and his next response sums it: ‘the man dey honest. In short, people just-want to see another face for that villa”.
But if he wins, there will be immense pressure on him to magically deliver a ‘new Nigeria’ with no corruption, no boko haram or insecurity, jobs for everyone, no poverty, infrastructure and power in abundance, etc. The APC manifesto contains some good principles and wish-1ist a blue print for Nigeria’s security and prosperity.
Thus, his first job is to present a credible development agenda to Nigerians.
The second key challenge for Buhari arid his team will be to transit and transform from a group of what I largely refer to as aggrieved people’s congregation to build a true political party with a soul from the patchwork of political associations.
The lesson of history is that the best leaders have been the ones who went beyond their narrow provincial enclaves to recruit talents and mobilize capacities for national transformation. In Nigeria’s history, the two presidents who made the most fundamental transformation of the economy, Babangida and Obasanjo, were exceptional in the quality of the teams they put together. I therefore pray that Buhari will be magnanimous in victory – if he wins—to put together a ‘team Nigeria’ for the rescue mission. If Jonathan wins, then God must have been magnanimous to give him a second chance to redeem himself. Most people I know who support Jonathan do so either out of self-interest or fear of the unknown.
One person assured me that we would see a ‘different Jonathan’ if he wins as he has been rattled by the harsh judgment of history on his presidency. So far I just pray that he is right. In that case, I would just draw the President’s attention to two issues:
First, beside the coterie of clowns who literally make a living with the singsong of transformation agenda  President Jonathan must know that it remains an empty slogan. His greatest challenge is how to save himself from the stranglehold of his largely provincial palace jesters who tell him lie has done better than God, and seek out ‘enemies’ and friends who can help him write his name in history. Propaganda won’t do it.
Second, Jonathan must claw back his powers as President of Nigeria. He largely outsourced them, and must now roll his sleeves for a new beginning. I take liberty to tell you this brutal truth if he is not re-elected, there is little to remember his regime after the next few years. On 7th January 2004, I made a special presentation to an expanded economic management team to set agenda for the new year (as chief economic adviser). The focus of my presentation was for us to identify seven iroko trees that would be the flagship markers for the administration as well as how to finance them. I use the same framework to evaluate his administration. What I want to say is that his record of performance so far is like a farmland filled with grasses. Yes, they are many but there is no tree, let alone any iroko tree, that stands out. Think about this. The beginning of wisdom for every President in his second term is to admit that he is racing against time to cement his legacy. So far his report card is not looking great. You need a team of big and bold thinkers, as well as with excellent execution capacity. So far, it is not working!
Under the executive presidential system. Nigerians elected you to manage their economy. You cannot outsource that job. Our constitution envisages a federal coordination of the economy; and that function is performed by the National Economic Council {NEC) with
Vice-President as chairman.
Indeed, the constitution and other laws of Nigeria envisage the office of the VP as the
Coordinator on the economy.
Economic Institutions
All major economic institutions of the federal government are, by law, chaired by the Vice President including the national planning (see functions of the national planning commission as coordinator of federal government economic and development programmes), debt management office, National Council on Privatization, etc. As chairman of National Planning (with Ministers of Finance, Agriculture, CEN governor etc as members), the VP oversees the federal planning and coordination. Then the Constitution mandates the VP as representative of the federal government to chair the NEC, with only CBN governor and state governors as members—to coordinate national economy between federal and states. No minister is a member of NEC. Many people do not understand the logic of the design of our constitution and the role of the VP Of course, the buck stops on the desk of Mr. President. Only the President and VP have our mandate to govern us. Every other person is an adviser/ assistant. I bet that you will only appreciate this article AFFER you leave office. Now that you are in power truth will only hurt! Be assured that those of us who are prepared to die for Nigeria will never spare you or anyone else this bitter truth.
In his assessments of the situation Group Captain Adebola Lantiwo, former Military Governor of Kwara State asserted: “we should take advantage of this and see whether we can collectively get this change they have been talking about because we cannot continue to go on like this. There are no values any more and we are all aware of these problems of the North, South divide, ethno-religious crises, insurgency, etc, that are not settled. You cannot just push them aside and be dancing around, they will still be there and the greater the number, the more difficult it becomes. I want to say that we as people are in a fragile situation and my deliberate broad definition of a fragile situation is one in which the boundaries and identity of our society; basic operations of the state, essential public services and the day-to-day security of citizens cannot be taken for granted
President Jonathan as an in cumbent president is running based on his belief about what he has done in the last six years or so of his administration and we can all see physically and feel the effects of his performance on our roads, hospitals, schools, the. standard of living of an average Nigerian, the security system in the country the performance of the Naira, corruption elimination process, employments for the teeming youths in the nation, etc His scorecards are available for everyone to see and judge accordingly.
We can feel the effects of his clueless governance, deafening cacophonies of missing billions in the oil sector and the NNPC accounts, pension funds looting, oil bunkering, pipeline vandalization and kidnapping. So the question is do we continue like this or do we need change?
The candidacy of Buhari is about his disposition, character integrity and known credibility. How he performed as head of state and petroleum minister, state military governor and Chairman of PTF under the Abacha regime. Undoubtedly, he is a firm and disciplined individual with commitment to the cause of our country, very resolute and steadfast. All these are the qualifies that had carried him along over the years.
His firm, honest and disciplinarian traits will allow him to bring about the changes that are so much urgently required in the body polity of our nation — curbing corruption, insecurity and provision of essential social in frastructure and stabilizing the economy.”