March 28, 2015 – Nigerians are this morning trooping out to choose the next president from the 14 Presidential aspirants that are taking part in the race.
They include President Goodluck Jonathan, for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari.
Other candidates include Senator Tunde Anifowose- Kela for Action Alliance (AA), Mr. Rafiu Salau, Alliance for Democracy and Alhaji Ganiyu Galadima for Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN).The African Democratic Congress (ADC) is fielding Dr. Mani Ibrahim Ahmed as a candidate while Ayeni Musa Adebayo is the candidate of African Peoples Alliance (APA).
The Citizens Popular Party (CPP) is fielding Chief Sam Eke as presidential candidate while High Chief Ambrose Albert is standing in for Hope Democratic Party (HDP).
Peoples Party of Nigeria (PPN) is presenting Allagoa Kelvin Chinedu as candidate while the United Democratic Party (UDP) is featuring Godson Mgbodile Ohaenyemi.
Of all the candidates, General Muhammadu Buhari and President Goodluck Jonathan remain the candidates to beat. Buhari is former dictator that rose to power through a bloody revolution and has a record of high handedness and murdering many who were acquitted by the court of law under his regime. Part of his credentials is Decree 2 which restricts press freedom.
He prides himself as somebody who abhors corruption yet there are record of corruption and inflation of contract in the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) which was under his control. He is also alleged to have a record of missing N2.8 billion from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) way back in 1984 that was allegedly traced to his private account in London.
For many he is the most righteous of all mortals and he rightly prides himself as such. For Buhari, Jesus’ illustration at Luke 18: 9 – 14 is quite fitting. It is about the self-righteous Pharisee and the self-confessed tax collector.
“He also told this illustration to some who trusted in their own righteousness and who considered others as nothing. Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and began to pray these things to himself. Oh God, I thank you that I am not like everyone else – extortioners or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I give the tenth of all things I acquire.
“ But the tax collector, standing at a distance was not willing even to raise his eyes heavenward but kept beating his chest saying, O God be gracious to me, a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his home and was proved more righteous than that Pharisee, because everyone who exalts himself will be humiliated but whoever humbles himself will be exalted”.
Will this illustration come to a reality? Besides, he is believed to have surrounded himself with people like Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Senator Bukola Saraki, and Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State who are alleged to be corrupt and cannot therefore be above board. Again the popular adage made it very clear, “show me your friends and I will tell who you are”.
As for Jonathan, Nigerians will be examining his record of achievement so far, positive and negative. He is seen to have embarked on massive infrastructural renewal. Over 25 kilometres of roads have been constructed and rehabilitated, the railways are back, he claimed to have created about 1.2 million jobs in the last four years, transformation in the airport and partial privatization and unbundling of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria(PHCN). Some are however quick to point out that the privatization is yet to yield desired results.
But the Jonathan regime has built a lot of power plants and has raised 2000 megawats generated when he came to power to 5000 megawatts. He is seen as a humble President with body language clearly suggesting he is nothing but an imperfect sinner.
He agrees that what is obtained is not the best but that things will get better as saborteurs of gas pipelines are eliminated and gas fully supplied to the plants.
His critics also point to the fact that he condones corruption as well as record of missing fund from the NNPC even when the auditors, Pricewaterhousecoppers has exonerated the corporation of any missing fund.
For critics, the President has often alluded to elimination of corruption in agriculture through e-wallet such that fertilisers are now delivered directly to farmers. He is also credited to have eliminated Ghost workers from the civil service through the use of technology and in the process saving billions of Naira in addition to strengthening public procurement process to reduce inflation of contracts and the use of technology to collect revenue to minimize cash handling and the lure for corrupt enrichment. So as Nigerians troop out this morning, they will choose between a Self-righteous Pharisee and Self-confessed Tax collector. Contributed by Emmanuel Ukudolo