(OPINION) #NigeriaDecides2019: Tough Choice To Make - Buhari Or Atiku Or Moghalu
The roll call for those debating was quite interesting especially with the front line runners preferring to abstain from what some of their supporters have described as "banter with junior peers".
As Nigerians head to the polls on Saturday February 23 to choose who would leads the nation (hopefully from the front this time) there seems to be a misrepresentation of what democracy truly means.
Before you stone me, think about this. Why do we have 72 political parties on the ballot hoping that their candidates would earn the gem jewel?
Why are we mentally and physically trapped within the chains of tribalism and nepotism?
This is even our sad reality especially among the highly educated and elite.
Why are we so scared to accept our reality as a nation lost in the dark with leaders that are a true reflection of the innate character of the majority of the people?
I am one of those that seek for the Africanization of democracy where we can practice it based on our reality.
When you hear our leaders talk or give speeches, they talk about the nation being indivisible, about people having freedom and the economy resurrecting from the recession; I wonder, do these people really know who we are?
The elections may have been postponed for another 7 days but the candidates are still on their marks.
The race to Aso Rock would be long, tasking and draining; only the very brave would brace the tape. There are several forces at play this time and the nation is on the edge of both damnation and greatness.
To my mind, there are only three candidates and the choice to pick would be daunting and not as clear cut as the national choices made in 2007, 2011 and 2015.
Meet The Athletes
Muhammadu Buhari - The General of Daura is the most experience politician in Nigeria when it comes to contesting for the top job.
He ran this race 4 time before he eventually got the mandate of the people.
The chant then was "Anything But Jonathan" as Nigerians were clearly tired of the mounting allegations of corruption and disregard for rule of law within that administration.
It appears we are walking the same path again with chants of "Anything But Baba" slowly gaining mass momentum.
Buhari like Jonathan is known to be a fairly honest gentleman surrounded by dark-hearted men with ultimate agendas to keep themselves endlessly on the corridors of power.
Hence, my worry - if Baba is not the man to run the administration, allow us meet directly with the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo who is clearly taking on several roles to keep the administration running.
The Buhari integrity match box has been set on fire with several allegations of highhandedness, disregard for the judiciary and gestapo plots around the leadership of the Nigerian parliament.
Baba is old. Baba is the face of the administration but Vice President Yemi Osinbajo is the brain box that has potential to drive the promised progress.
What could we possibly get in the Next Level? Another sick leave would be too much to take.
Another hunt of the Senate's leaders would leave the executive's brilliant ideas and proposed policies within the white and black of printed documents in dusty bulky files.
Why not bring Osinbajo forward and allow him run the race? The phantom fight against corruption would be futile if we are held bound by the same authorities that ought to oil the wheels of democratic dividends.
Are you Abubakar Atiku-lated?
The former Vice President, Abubakar Atiku may have the ears of prospective foreign investors and global business leaders but does he have the trust of Nigerians?
It is clear that Atiku is competent - health wise. He has the mental capacity to understand the economic trends shaping the destiny of Africa's largest democracy and economy.
He has the potential to be a great leader with a legacy that would be long remembered for job creation and running a realistic administration; but does he have the will?
Atiku has many friends. The good, the bad and the ugly.
He has exciting plans to make Nigeria Great Again. He has an eye for talent having spotted and hired some of Nigeria's brightest Ministers over the last 8 years; but can he understand that the nation must remain the Federal Republic of Nigeria and not the Republic of Atiku and Co?
Does he know when enough is actually enough?
With a commonly known plan to willingly grant amnesty to some already accused looters, while focusing on his plans to plug the leakage gaps and holes; I am alarmed that the past would hunt the West African nation's brittle future.
Let's call a spade, a spade. We cannot bury our past and think we can move on just like that. We tried that experiment in the past, we got our hands burnt.
"No Victor, No Vanquished" but we are licking our wounds from the bloody Civil War fought between 1967 and 1970.
We still have our heads bowed and shoulders lowered when we remember the ultimate price paid by MKO Abiola in his fight for justice and democracy.
We are reminded of our failings as a nation when we remember our haunting silence when Ken Saro Wiwa was murdered.
If Atiku tries to bury this corrupt past and build on a horse-traded foundation to secure the future, we would rise for the short and mid-term but the great fall in the longer term might then finally snap the weak stitches holding our fragile unity.
Is Your Dream As BIG as Kingsley Moghalu's
I got to speak to him one on one. He is intelligent, witty and a honest gentleman.
He is presidential material but would you agree with me that Kingsley Moghalu of the YPP may have begun the journey to become Nigeria's youngest and greatest leader too early?
It is a journey not a sprint and perhaps he might need more warm up sessions on the sidelines of the race track.
Moghalu is the leader of the alternatives. Of the lot he is the most experienced with a reasonable sense of national duty having served as former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and wearing several diplomatic caps for our fatherland. I have a right to my opinion, you are free to disagree.
But Moghalu doesn't have the popularity base to push through the North-West and North-East where the election winning votes are obviously based in Nigeria.
He may not even pull the most votes in the South-East region where he has his roots.
Moghalu is a gentle man that may not be ready to drive the headlamps-less Danfo called Naija without the aide of a conductor while finding his way through the labyrinth of challenges.
Moghalu would need the Nigerian situation to be improved by those who can muster the people at the grass root before he walks in with his Google Map on an automated tab to take the reigns of leadership.
This does not mean he is incompetent or lacks the courage to lay the foundation Nigerians so desire.
Far from it. He is disciplined and hardworking but he doesn't have the philosophical traditional tools for mass support at his finger tips.
Does he have the mythical popularity commanded by Sai Baba or Waziri of Adamawa in a nation where tribe and ethnicity are still more valuable than a Harvard crested resume and global trade experience?
Can Moghalu stay the course and reject the tempting offers of Federal appointments?
Can Moghalu create that much needed third force that would serve as the obvious and true opposition to APC-PDP united front?
Can Moghalu push through the very high walls of tribal politicking that have been in existence since the 1914 protectorates while also refusing to see Nigeria as North and South but as simply Nigeria?
You may choose to disagree with me, but there is very little that we have in common as a people from 774 local council areas and a youth-dominated population of about 200 million.
Okay let me make a small illustration - the general elections were postponed for 168 hours barely 5 hours to the start of simultaneous accreditation and voting.
You ate breakfast, lunch and dinner. You also went to bed thanking God for your family and self-imposed peace mind.
You expressed disappointment at INEC's failure to pass an examination it had 4 years to prepare for. If INEC was your child what would you do?
Exactly, that's what we all ought to be doing right now.
INEC ought to embrace its failures and those responsible should be made to face consequences.
Like you say "Long Live The Federal Republic Of Nigeria". I say "Ok".