Jesse’s take on the candidates…

The elections have since come and gone but the beauty of today lies more in what it can produce tomorrow yet there would be no today without yesterday. This article below is a flashback and it will help you understand to a large extent why we are where we are today.

The post below is a piece by Jesse Adeniji

The Candidates.
I must stress that if we want, we can pick holes in the personalities and ideologies or even the past actions/convictions of all of them and get away with it. but what is expedient however, is to look at the Nigerian circumstances, the flow of the global socio-economic order, and be practicable/pragmatic in the way we choose to get to the promised land. We’re stuck with these 3 tickets, we have an option to shaping the future with them, and probably the immediate, while we plan for the long term.
What is incontrovertible is, the first line of defence to building the future, remain stemming corruption and the spate of profligacy first, then we can look at strategy to get us out of the rut.

GEJ/Sambo Ticket

I am afraid the average Nigerian should be very tired of another PDP promise. This is a party that got, by hook or crook, her own candidates in the majority, into all the arms of government across all levels of political terrain and flunked the easiest of tests.
The party had an unprecedented opportunity, in terms of oil earnings, and debt pay-off, to rise up to massive developmental projects. It chose the exact opposite, self-destructing and regaling us with scandals after scandals as Nigeria drowned.
Goodluck is a lucky man indeed. But if you can’t make your luck count, then something is terribly wrong somewhere.


These are a breath of fresh air. Tempting offer of a former anti-corruption Czar and an astute banker. If we were a well run country trying to shift into the next gear, they would arguably be the best team to launch us economically among the available options.
Like I mentioned earlier, you could argue Ribadu did alright as the pioneer EFCC chief, but his war was deemed as selective and politically motivated in hounding the ruling party’s enemies he’s now sharing beds with. But he did play his part, he was courageous to even take on those thieves.
We don’t know his democratic credentials enough as well. He was quite vocal and confrontational while EFCC chief and was known to have told Tinubu he would definitely be jailed on the strength of his research and not the courts.
As for Fola, he was at the heart of Nigeria’s banking success story. GTB remains the best bank by a mile in Nigeria today. That to me is incontestable and his experience in making the same happen for Nigeria cannot be talked down. It’s a plus that his likes, success stories within Nigeria, not from some World Bank or Bretton Woods institutions are coming out to contest public office.


No other set of aspirants have divided the line down the middle like these two. They are a mouth-watering topic for conspiracy theorists. Newspapers can make a kill just feeding off the groundswell of strong opinions about these.
Buhari came into the national consciousness with the coup fads of the 70s/80s. He was an uncompromising officer with an autocratic stranglehold on the affairs of the nation. He was deeply loyal to the Northern Oligarchy as was prevalent in the officers from that geographical expression……something that could not be entirely divorced from the incidence of the very first coup in which Southern officers killed a series of politicians, with the North heavily affected.
Buhari, as a matter of factual history, suspended the constitution and jailed journalists. He also hung drug traffickers and shot alfresco, armed robbers.
He was the very worst nightmare of military intervention for most Nigerians.
Yet under his watch, basic, fundamental rules of national life and engagement suddenly became respected. Excesses were reduced and hardwork counted. You might have disagreed with their method – of which i do, you will understand that at that time in history, it was the available ‘thinking’ within military ranks across Africa and the 3rd world. To expect them to do better would be tantamount to expecting a Jew to eat Halal.
Bakare needs little introduction, the fiery cleric of Akilo Road is known for very strong opinions that makes some of his fellow Pastors shiver. But to his credit, he’s not covered his tracks in prosperity preaching and sit in the comfortable zones pretending all is well.

Who am i supporting on why?

I must be upfront on my political beliefs about Nigeria in order for you to fully understand where i am coming from.
I believe strongly in the return of Nigeria to the founding principles of true Fiscal Federal state, where the component units have the freedom to decide their own socio-economic future within the union. A system that gives responsibility to the federating units while allowing them the practicalities of local decisions for success.
This idea, which isn’t new to us, which accounted for the brightest era of Nigeria in history, played a large part in the search for the political party of the future for me.
That led to the eager expectancy for the manifestos of these parties.
CPC manifesto, while not declaring a full fledged reorganisation of the structure politically, seemed to have finally woken up to the wish of the people to have increasing control of their own future. They have a plan to create regional socio-economic zones, make bloc funding available to them to excel where they have comparative advantage, and generally devolve more powers from the center.
They were also forthright in their condemnation of corruption. What amazed me was the manifesto didn’t stop at the usual linear thinking associated with African politicians; it went further to spell out critical measurable steps about how to achieve the curtailment of the No.1 shame.
You might argue these were just a few lines of writing, but notice the basic shift in the thinking paradigm from a one way reaction that drove the operations of EFCC. The solutions being proffered took into account a deterrent and prosecution factors.

So if Buhari is so feared, why am i supporting him and his party in the 2011 elections?
I will answer by addressing all the known criticisms his opponents have thrown at him. But I’d like to reiterate this; The kind of debacle Nigeria face at this juncture of our union is massively ominous. The bottom is fast tearing apart. We have corruption at its highest levels in history. We have over 70% of the youth are unemployed and becoming unemployable, technology is fast exposing them to global standards and there’s a growing agitation from the minorities to take control of their own destiny.
We’re dangerously over-dependent on oil, a commodity the world is trying to replace. That gives us maybe 20 years or so to make the best we could of it……..our mono-economy needs to be diversified and infrastructural base have to be built now that the state has no welfare obligation to the citizens like in other nations {they will start demanding it soon}. And we’re saddled with governments and structures acutely outdated for modern nations and even global competitiveness all across the levels.
Yet a lot of people think we’re not dangerously angling close to disaster. No one thought 9/11 was possible in America. No one thought Ghadaffi would be challenged either we need to get it right.
In any business going under, the first thing you want to do is not talking about line extension and new product launches.
What you want to do quickly is to stem the losses and stabilize.
That’s exactly what we need Buhari/Bakare for. It’s a colossal decay we’re talking about here. We need people who can stand up to these cankerworms and palmerworms with extensive loots forming cancerous outgrowths on the polity.
Believe me, I may be wrong, I do not see a Ribadu standing up to Obasanjo or IBB. Never! That’s a fact. But I can picture Buhari doing exactly that. I can see from their manifesto the ways they will do. it.
1. Buhari is Undemocratic: This may be right when he was in military uniform. He’s since donned Agbada and contested twice and sought respite in the law courts when he had the option of resorting to violence. Anyway, he will have the constitution to checkmate him should the old streaks show up. I want to stress that his kind of personality might be what is veritable for us at this point in time. Winston Churchill was a very opinionated, unyielding folks detested for his temper and string views, the essential character traits that historians have now agreed made Britain stand up to Hitler during the WW2. Churchill bungled missions in the First World War, which led to the death of over 20,000 men in Turkey and also was culpable in the Fiasco of Norway Invasion prior to his nomination as PM. If we give prisoners the benefit of the doubt as to being reformed, why couldn’t we give that to Buhari?
2. Buhari is an Octogenerian: Yes growing old is a fact of life. It has benefits of hindsight. The ‘enemies within’ that are holding Nigeria back from development, the likes of IBB, OBJ, Jerry Boy, e.t.c are in the same age range. And being young doesn’t mean right behaviour either. We have the likes of Gbenga Daniel, Dimeji Bankole, who have turned out worse. Eisenhower, Theodore Roosevelt, Churchill, Mandela weren’t/aren’t exactly Young Turks yet they were/are beacons for their countries.
Whatever happens at the elections, whatever your leaning, I do believe we have a collective duty to get out the PDP. 12 years of unproductive frivolities is enough. We are at a critical state in our development. And I do not see any reason why Buhari can’t work with Ribadu. I don’t how Ribadu can’t be the anti corruption Czar still and Fola Adeola help to run the economic side of things in a Buhari government.
They are young, could learn their tricks in 4 years and get their own mandate! At least we would have saved Nigeria from the precipice.
Just before you cast that vote…………..think hard about Nigeria. Think about your unborn kids and the kind of country you want to leave for them.

Jesse Adeniji is a brand communication expert residing in the UK.

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