12th January, 2015
By Eneruvie Enakoko
The campaign for the 2015 general elections has mostly been divisive and spiteful but the Nigerian people do not need such a campaign. What I and every other Nigerian need is issues focused campaigns based on what is best for Nigeria.
The leading presidential contenders, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) candidate and incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan, and the All Progressives Congress (APC) nominee, General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) had so far engaged in hurtful and insulting campaigns devoid of substance, and that so often focused on their persons and the assassination of their individual characters, and I can understand that, because when candidates do not have a viable and solid record to run on, they paint their opponents bad and resort to denigration of their person and character; but henceforth, these two men need to redefine their campaigns and focus them on such essential issues as security and welfare, jobs, education, healthcare and vital infrastructure like roads, transportation system, potable water supply and power supply necessary for the seamless running of a country. And I am determined, as do so many other Nigerians that this campaign should be based on these critical issues germane to the lives of individual Nigerians. Jonathan and Buhari should tell us where they stand on major issues; they have to demonstrate to us which of them has the right temperament to be the next President and Commander-in-Chief.
I am certain most Nigerians already know where Jonathan stands is on these issues, as can be seen from his almost five years record in office, which I do not want to over-flog; but Buhari should now tell us, with the opportunity he now has, if he is a better alternative and if he can be a better Commander-in-Chief. He has to tell us how he intends to fix the ailing sectors of the economy, especially education, healthcare, infrastructure and the power sector that is a trigger to the fibre of the economy; and he should present convincing claims of how he can make the next four years a better experience for Nigerians as against the last four to five years.
And as for President Jonathan who is seeking to retain his elected position as President and Commander-in-Chief, he has to make the case for why Nigerians should re-elect him. He really has to convince Nigerians to decide why the next four years should be exactly like the last five years that he has been in office, first as Acting President in early 2010, then as a President that took office on the demise of President Umaru Musa Yar Adua in May 2010, and subsequently as elected President in 2011. So, Jonathan will have to find the rationale and give the motivation for why Nigerians should choose to make this next four years precisely like the period he has already spent in office, and unless he has something up his sleeves regarding the general elections next month, I really do not see how he and his handlers will make that case, knowing the gloomy state of the economy and the parlous state of the nation in the last five years.
How did a promising presidency with so much expectation four to five years ago reduced to such ignominy? What an irony! This president really has to convince Nigerians if he has the right disposition and personality to continue as President and Commander-in-Chief.
Nigeria is at a critical crossroads now, and the nation must get its acts right and fix the real sectors of the economy (electricity, education, healthcare, security and welfare, and infrastructure) if it is to move ahead. These are the crucial issues that should decide this campaign and election, and not whether someone is a Muslim or a Christian, a northerner or a southerner; for war, terrorism, insecurity, poverty and disease know no religious or ethnic barrier.
•Enakoko is a human rights activist