By Samuel Akpobome Orovwuje
Regretably, the presidential candidates of the APC and the PDP are engaged in a desperate fight for their political life in an election which is just a few days away and in my view the conversation are shamefully and glaringly bereft of well articulated proposals and issues. So far, the political campaigns lack logic, research and indeed the core issues of governance and development. The individual candidate’s lack of content and salesmanship calls for worry and above all, the tendentious statements and loathsome promises give a gleam prognosis of what Nigerians should expect in another four years !
Indeed the national question is the single most important issue facing Nigeria after corruption. Yet it is the one issue on which you cannot find a sliver of difference between President Goodluck Jonathan and his opponent, Mohammed Buhari, in selling themselves and their parties to the electorate. Furthermore, the claim by the opposition to fight corruption from the tyranny of the PDP has not resonated in the campaign rhetoric of the APC. Whether that can only be guaranteed through legislative means or whether significant devolutionary or federal mechanisms can be made to work in Nigeria from 2015 should be subject of debate in this campaign.
So far, the campaigns issues are not broad based and the political parties electioneering template for mass mobilisation for the 2015 general elections are not designed to reinforce the conviction that there is an urgent need for a manifest change as being promoted by the APC leadership on the one hand and the PDP other hand to convince Nigeria for continuity in office for another four years. I think Nigerians are in difficult situation of alternative choice. Just a few days ago Mohammud Buhari, the APC presidential candidate seemed unassailable on the issue of integrity, transparency, probity and riding continuously on the tide of Buhari-Idiagbon War Against Indiscipline (WAI) rhetoric, as the man who will win the war on corruption and the growing concerns over the widespread insecurity appeared initially to hardly dent his popularity and image. But the recent event about the minimum certificate as required by INEC and by extension legal requirements for public office must be clarified and should be one of the major issues on the table for APC campaign. In my view it has became necessary to clear the doubts and criticisms that has follow the outburst and above all, it will help to reinforce the moral leadership compass for the APC, but if not well managed by the party hierarchy as the campaign train move round the country it will further deplete the moral bank account of their candidate in the forthcoming elections. One other issue there are important differences is that Mohammud Buhari has pledged to end the corruption of the President Goodluck Jonathan era, re-establish discipline and the rule of law. He says he will give the poor monthly stipend and the unemployed allowances and re-establish the primacy of financial accountability. This climate of triumphalism being canvassed by the main opposition, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has not reflected on their campaign proposals and their reputation as the party for change and the dream for a new Nigeria is also suspect in the wake of the presidential campaign flag off in Port- Harcourt and the lack of commitment to the real issues of nation – building.
Indeed the unwholesome behaviour of name calling and heating up the political space has become a commonplace in the jamborees called campaign. Faced with that, some Nigeria has taken the view that they cannot support Buhari against Jonathan, because neither offers any policy to recognise the legitimate grievances of the common man.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has also not displayed any serious commitment in promoting its performance in the last 15 years of playing at the centre and by extension could not articulate the transformation agenda of the incumbent President particularly on the achievements in the last 5 years by the incumbent President in some key sectors of the economy. Strangely, the President and its party could not sell its own policies and programme because of implicit lack of salesmanship skills in the face of pressure from the opposition and the media. Perhaps the PDP requires some skill set in marketing communication and strategy!
But the majority of Nigerians look forward for a change – including the so called peevish alliance for a new Nigeria who will eventually threw their weight behind Buhari on the grounds that although he would not take them nearer to political solutions and social – economic justice, getting rid of the profligate and treacherous PDP would at least remove one difficult stone block to Nigeria progress.
In this year presidential campaigns too many huge questions remain. Firstly, will the election be conducted fairly? There have already been several reports by the opposition that most Nigerian eligible voters are not having permanent voters cards (PVC) mainly against INEC and the Jonathan administration, the use of the military during the elections, and the security agencies alleging the opposition of fraud on the account of registration of some of its members and the fear of not conducting elections in the North- East and indeed the disenfranchising those displaced as result of the boko harm insurgency.
*Orovwuje is Founder, Humanitarian Care for Displaced Persons, Lagos. He can be reached through Orovwuje@yahoo.com.08034745325