As the nation quietly throttles towards the 2019 elections, the daily prelude to the elections is on the high rise with series of political activities. An adage says – ‘When you put one leg to test the depth of a river and crocodile feasted on it, it will take a blind risk to put the other leg’ — this unifying narrative best describes the dilemma of the masses who are faced with another electioneering process especially with a constrained choice of choosing a worthy winner out of the record of 79 candidates in the race for the Nigeria’s presidential election scheduled to hold in February, 2019.
Without further Ado, it’s crystal clear to all and sundry that campaigns for the 2019 presidential election has formally begun and Interestingly, two leading candidates, President Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP have unveiled their plans and at the same time, hitting at each other’s policies.
Over the years, the two main political parties — APC and PDP — have largely dominated the national political sphere of the country thereby tactically relegating other lesser parties hence leaving the masses with dilemma of picking a lesser evil in between the two parties with respect to the Party’s popularity or the candidate acceptability.
The striking phenomenon which creates a physiological imprint in the minds of the electorates over the years is the catchphrase or catchy slogans used by these parties to cajole the masses. In the last presidential election, the APC used the ‘Change’ slogan which has generated mixed reactions upon their assumption into the office, so the question on the lips of many is ‘what has changed’? — Those who chanted ‘Change’ in 2015 never asked the direction in which the change was heading to.
Now we are faced with another dilemma of direction to which the nation is expected to tilt towards — Next level (up – progression or down – retrogression) — while those getting Nigeria to work again might have presented juicy policies, the question still remains which direction is the nation heading to? It appears that the nation seems to be faced with a partial political stroke even without support to aid It’s standing.
While it’s a known fact that politicians are birds of a feather, one can’t overrule Atiku Abubakar’s question concerning the status quo of Nigerians which re-echoes the silent yearning of the masses, he said “The most important question in this election is: are you better off than you were four years ago, are you richer or poorer? That is why our primary focus is to get Nigeria working again.” — the crux of the matter remains that the masses must gird their loins and prepare for another phase of 2019 herculean journey and beyond.
In contrast to plans and policy documents of both leading presidential candidates, Atiku has promised to attain single-digit unemployment rate by 2024 through the creation of three million jobs annually; usher in what he said would be the lowest tax rate in Africa, and plans for the generation of 20,000 MWs of power by 2024. While Buhari observed that education remained his biggest ambition in sight, but nevertheless acknowledged challenges, notably the farmers-herders clashes which he said have been aggravated by struggle for land, climate change among other issues, which he said were worsened through cynical manipulation by the political class.
President Buhari affirmed that the next four years will be quite significant for our country because Nigeria is faced with a choice to keep building a new Nigeria — making a break from its tainted past which favoured an opportunistic few. This, however, shows that our dear leaders are good with sweet-talking the electorates just in a smart bid to attain position and cling on to power. Interestingly too, Atiku in a 63-page document said his mission for Nigeria was based on unravelling Nigeria’s paradox, stitching Nigeria’s structural fault lines, and reinforcing Nigeria’s unity.
However, two things will decide how the ‘undecided’ will make up their minds — One is about the agenda, while the other is changing the support base. So many of these agendas by our dear politicians have failed, it’s either a case of fraudulence or tactical ploy to cajole and deceive the masses. They have only ended up proving to the masses that they don’t have what it takes to chart a way forward for Nigeria in a 4-years plan, well no man can give what he does not possess, so they end up living in denial of the pledges or pretend not to have made statements of promise during their manifesto ballyhoo.
Irrespective of the antics of our dear politicians, the fundamental agenda for the drivers of the political process should remain the transformation of Nigeria from its current status, to get Nigeria working again or to move to the next level, there’s need for a dynamic leadership with the strong capacity to transform Nigeria from the abyss of retrogression to the zenith of progress and prosperity.
Alao Abiodun is a journalist. He can be reached via Alaojoshua200@gmail.com.Tweets @Kingbiodun_