By Robinson T. Sibe
The Presidential election is in two days time. Hopefully, this will be my last post (safe for sharing news articles), on my choice of candidacy. As expected, it’s a two-horse race. I have no sentimental attachment for either, therefore it’s an easy choice to make using basic parameters of development, world view, policy thrust, national cohesion, good governance, restructuring, etc.
You all know I didn’t vote for President Buhari in 2015. I was hoping he’ll prove me wrong by delivering good governance; he didn’t, and allowed all my articles in 2014-15 read like a fulfilled prophecy in 2019. There’s nothing happening now, that I didn’t predict in 2015.
Even when you judge the incumbent by the standards promised, he’s been abysmal. He won elections largely on 3 key issues: Security, Economy and Jobs. On security, while he recorded initial successes in the North East, the terrorists came back stronger. They are now bold and daring; consistently advertising their prowess by attacking military formations. Only yesterday, we read they attacked the Governor’s convoy, killing three innocents.
Today, Boko Haram has metamorphosed to a deadlier ISWA, that if not checked, might be a major threat to the entire West African region. They are sophisticated and audacious, and we have done very little to equip the military and lift their morale. In the last 3 years, violence (as corroborated by the comments from the INEC Chairman) has spread to many other states. The Fulani Herdsmen were on a killing spree, unchecked, in several states. The nation is now more divided than at anytime in my lifetime.
On the economy, you all know we went south in all key economic indices. In jobs, we have more jobless youths today than at any time in our history. Last year, we got the depressing title of “World Capital of Extreme Poverty”. It’s been a gloomy four years. Why will I, in good conscience, elect to “reinforce failure”?
As you all know, I will vote for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, because he ranks higher on all indices above. Atiku may not be the best in the country – and quite frankly, I wish we filed behind a younger and better candidate – but he’s clearly the better of the duo from the standpoint of governance. The pair of Atiku and Obi, who both have deep and practical knowledge of the Nigerian economy, clearly holds great prospects.
Both have the experience of governance – Atiku a former Vice President for 8 years and Obi a former Governor of 8 years – and should hit the ground running. When Obasanjo and Atiku took over in 1999, the country was in a terrible post-military trauma; with GDP Growth less than 1%. They went about working, and didn’t complain; by the end of the 3rd year, GDP Growth was 2-digits, with crude oil price far below what it is now. Lest we forget, as Vice President, Atiku was Chairman of the National Economic Council. That regime recorded the most reforms; including setting up major institutions of governance now being used by the incumbent.
Atiku and Obi both have the experience creating jobs as private business men. Both have the goodwill from the business community, both locally and internationally. Nigerian Stock Market has fallen the most (in dollar terms) globally, in the last 3 years. Predictions from reputable organizations have suggested the stocks will rise with the news of Atiku’s victory. I think so too!
I don’t need too much from the government: all I need is good governance, rule of law, business friendly policies, a system that promotes meritocracy and not clannishness and cabalocracy. I have no doubt that an Atiku Presidency will be better than the lackluster 3+ years of the incumbent. If you’re undecided, you should consider this option if you have the interest of this nation. It’s the pragmatic choice!
Finally, I urge you to vote, and not fight. The nation is already bleeding; we don’t need more bloodshed. Say no to violence!
See you after the elections.
Robinson Tombari Sibe lives in Port Harcourt, Nigeria