#NigeriaDecides2019: 'Nigeria's Election, A Referendum On Honesty' - New York Times
The New York Times has described Nigeria's election as a referendum on honesty.
It is a christening that has put the media organisation among the trending topics in Nigeria when you check Twitter, but many who see this description by the New York Times have had cause to probe further.
It was an article published after President Muhammadu Buhari was declared winner of the presidential election, securing a second term in office and defeating a former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, who is the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Why will the media organisation describe the outcome of the election as a referendum on honesty? Someone will ask.
Flashback to some years before now, a former President of Nigeria, Dr. Olusegun Obasanjo, had written a book and had in it made some damaging comments about Mr Abubakar.
"What I did not know, which came out glaringly later, was his parental background which was somewhat shadowy, his propensity to corruption, his tendency to disloyalty, his inability to say and stick to the truth all the time,a propensity for poor judgement, his belief and reliance on marabouts, his lack of transparency, his trust in money to buy his way out on all issues and his readiness to sacrifice morality, integrity, propriety, truth and national interest for self and selfish interest," Obasanjo wrote, when talking about Atiku.
Years down the line, these lines have now reflected in the nation's general election when it was time to choose between President Buhari and the man described in the paragraph above.
President Buhari had again told Nigerians that he would continue to fight corruption when given an opportunity for a second term in office.
There have been criticisms against his anti-corruption war, with the opposition shouting that it was lopsided, but that was not enough to make the people choose an Atiku over him, the New York Times pointed out.
Atiku had promised Nigerians a better future (get Nigeria working again) at a time that the nation emerged a leader when extreme poverty is mentioned, but the man who had several businesses and seen as the second highest employer of labour in his state, Adamawa, could not hold the hearts of Nigerians, especially those in the north and sway their fingers towards the umbrella logo of his party on the ballot paper.
"Never allow anyone call you a thief, without clearing your name from it," is one adage in Delta State that may have caught up with the candidate of the PDP at a time that young Nigerians, are increasingly facing unemployment and at a time the nation's education system has continued to decline, resulting in the production of unemployable graduates.
A lot was going for him, but the mud be had been dragged into by the former President, who latter said he had forgiven him even though he was not a saint, had remained indelible in the white garment that he may have put on prior to the election.
The New York Times, however identified a few circumstances it said had played a major role in making this 'referendum on honesty' a reality.
From the postponement of the election that resulted in voters' apathy to the disconnect between the youths and old politicians who do not have any agenda so enticing to motivate them to come out and vote, a situation that resulted in Lagos State muscling only one million votes in the election out of over six million registered voters.
The people have lost interest and faith in the ability of the old generation politicians to give them a future that they seek.
Most of them who have their own means of making money genuinely and otherwise have only chased the collection of their Permanent Voter's Cards for identification purposes.
They had showed their enthusiasm to vote on social networks, but killed it on the day of election, when it was time to choose between a Buhari and an Atiku who had been described as a man with integrity issues.
New York Times said the choice was between a President that had no evidence of corruption against him and another whose name had been dragged in the mud after the 16 years of the Peoples Democratic Party's rule that was characterised with corruption.
Now that the choice has been made, Nigerians will only hope that the killings in the nation, the abuse of rule of law, poverty in the land and the insignificant economic growth will be a thing they will not carry into the NEXT LEVEL encapsulated in four years.
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