The next Nigerian president

Casmir Igbokwe

On Saturday, September 18, 2010, President Goodluck Jonathan formally declared his intention to contest the presidency of Nigeria in 2011. It was at Eagles Square in Abuja before a mammoth crowd. He had earlier offered his services to the Nigerian people on Facebook. Before his formal declaration, I got his customised text message which reads, “We are on the road to rebuild our nation. Stand with me. Stand for transformation.”

At least, seven other aspirants have made their ambition to lead the nation known. They are Generals Ibrahim Babangida and Muhammadu Buhari, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Messrs Bukola Saraki, Bashir Tofa, Nuhu Ribadu and Dele Momodu. Each of these candidates has dreams of what to do or what not to do for the country.

Some of these candidates are serious; some just want to make some noises. Since they are just aspirants, we will not devote much time to them for now. Our analysis will centre mainly on their antecedents and chances of making it through the primaries. Today, I will give you a few hints and leave the analysis to you.

Let’s start with President Jonathan. So far, he has been a very lucky man. He has undergone tremendous transformation from a poor village boy to an unknown lecturer; from a deputy governor to governor; and from vice-president to president without contesting any election. Now he wants our votes to make him a truly elected president of Nigeria.   

His major promise if elected is to always tell the truth and carry everybody along. “I know you are tired of empty promises,” he said, “so I will make only one promise to you today…to promise less and deliver more if I’m elected.” That is if his wife, Patience, will exercise enough patience and calmness throughout the campaign period. Remember her reported altercation with Governor Chibuike  Amaechi of Rivers State the other day.

As more and more candidates emerge, more groups will also come up. People are actually looking for where to butter their bread. That is what politics usually throws up in an underdeveloped country like Nigeria. One of such groups called Association for Better Nigeria placed an advertorial in THISDAY last Thursday. It made attempt to compare Jonathan and Babangida on the issue of trust.

According to the group, Jonathan promised to appoint a credible Independent National Electoral Commission Chairman. He kept his word by appointing Prof. Attahiru Jega, whom it described as a credible civil society activist. Jonathan also promised, among others, to provide every support to ensure INEC succeeds in its assignment. “He kept his word by approving the release of N87bn to INEC,” ABN enthused.

On Babangida, the ABN noted that the former dictator promised to hand over power to civilians in 1990, 1992, and 1993 but betrayed his word by dribbling the Nigerian people; that he promised chief M.K.O. Abiola that he would hand over to him if he won the election, but betrayed his word by annulling the free and fair election won by Abiola.

Good message. But is this not the same ABN that helped Babangida scuttle the June 12, 1993 elections? Headed then by Chief Arthur Nzeribe, the group did all sorts including obtaining a court injunction to stop the election. So, is it now born again? Or has it come again to put a spoke in the wheel of our electoral process?

It means the vultures have not gone to sleep. The coming days and months promise to be interesting. We will definitely see more turncoats, numerous desperadoes and chronic liars. Babangida has promised to do one term of four years. Judging from his antecedents, do you believe him? Send me your views.

New reports indicate that Babangida, Atiku, Mohammed Gusau and Saraki have resolved to present a common candidate. If the report is true, I wonder who will step down for the other. Atiku, for instance, had left the PDP for the Action Congress of Nigeria on whose platform he contested the 2007 presidential election. He failed. He has since jumped back to the PDP, with hope that he will still actualise his dreams. Considering the former vice-president’s desperation to go back to Aso Rock, will he agree to step down? Gusau and Saraki? Forget them. They are nothing but also-rans.

I hear Alhaji Bashir Tofa also wants to be the standard-bearer of the crisis-ridden All Nigeria Peoples Party. Remember that this man contested with Abiola in 1993 on the platform of the National Republican Convention. He could not even win in his own state, Kano. So what has he come out to do again? Nigerians are watching with keen interest.

“I have a dream for a new Nigeria. I have the dream of a changed Nigeria. I want to see if there is a possibility of opening a new chapter for the country.” That was Nuhu Ribadu. He spoke to journalists a few days ago about his ambition. As a former anti-corruption czar, he did his best to stamp out corruption in our country. He has boasted that he will put a full stop to corruption if elected president. Will you vote for him? Please let me know.

Buhari? As a military ruler, he ruled with iron fist. But he was disciplined. So far, nobody can link him to any fraud when he was in power. However, he has been contesting for the presidency since 1999 to no avail. I pity him. He left the ANPP for the CPC, but will his new party make a way for him?

 Ah, I almost forgot Bashorun Dele Momodu. He submitted his letter of intent to run for the presidency on the platform of the Labour Party last week. As a member of my constituency, I have a soft spot for him. I am sure you know he is the publisher of Ovation Magazine. But his party doesn’t strike me as the one that could win the presidency. Anyway, miracles do happen.

In all, many Nigerians would want someone who will recognise what some citizens call their PhD certificate. That is Poverty, Hunger and Diseases. Of all the candidates, who do you think will collect this certificate and replace it with good jobs, three square meals, and other good things of life?


1 Comment »

  1. 1
    Babatund olamilekan Says:

    I urged all nigerian’s to forget the past and focu for the betternes of our great country!One adage says that “we should forget the past,so that we can see who to play with”.Vote IBB 4 PRESIDENT 2O11.Remember:a man that sold petrol at rate of 12niara per barrel,a man that can stand on the truth,a man that can transform.

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