With the 2015 elections fast approaching, the question of who to vote for at the presidential election seems more daunting. Although some people have a clear idea of who they are voting for, or are at least leaning towards a particular direction, some others are still on the fence and might I say a very high one at that.
Being my first time voting, I did not expect to have this much mixed feelings about the elections. I mean, I am excited for the chance to take part in this exercise as a member of the society, however, I am also understanding the power and the underlying significance of the choice I make. That said, I would very much like my vote to count and maybe even make a difference; so who am I voting for? Well, let’s see.
Here’s the information out there. Starting with some of the “successes” of the present administration, we have: revival of the automotive industry, promotion of a global business community which both helped to create jobs; revival of the railway systems; construction of major interstate roads such as the Lagos-Benin expressway, the Abuja-Lokoja road etc. The administration can also be credited for the transformation in the agricultural sector and also its role in empowering women. However, it hasn’t been all roses as there has also been talks of widespread corruption within this administration which was somewhat affirmed by a statement made by the President himself when he implied that stealing was not corruption; Pity right? Other incidences such as the missing Chibok girls, the missing $20 billion and the continuous state of insecurity in parts of the country have also cast a great shadow on this administration.
On the opposing side we have Major-General Muhammadu Buhari who has a strong background in military tactics and is known for his intolerance towards corruption during his regime in 1983. General Buhari who is often described as a pragmatic and well-disciplined man is promising to bring change and also to take actions that will lead to the resolution of the current insurgence taking place in the country.
Personally, I’m not sold on any of the candidates and here’s why. First of all, yes I want change and I want to give another party with a different perspective a chance to rule the country if for anything at least to have something to compare the PDP terms to. However, I feel like the APC candidate is not a strong enough option. Yes people say that General Buhari is honest and is not corrupt and has the qualities of a good leader, but does he have the democratic know-how to run a country? It’s much easier to be in the military and give orders, but will he be able to play politics and go through the process of bringing a bill to the senate, rallying for votes and then implementing the law there after? Or will it be his vice running the show again? At what point does it go from perseverance to desperation? After all he has contested for this same post more than a couple of times. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to be negative, nor am I in support of the present administration; I also want change but I just have a lot of questions about his agenda and how the “acclaimed” change is going to happen.
Anyway, I’m still undecided on this issue, so I decided to speak with a few of my friends and find out what they are thinking. This is what they had to say:
OLA: For now he is still undecided as well on who to vote for. He says he believes in General Buhari and would like to see what he can do, but he is not sure that now is time for that. He also said that although it’s easy for most people to blame the President for the chaos currently going on in the north, he believes that it may also be due to lack of investment in the military which he cannot entirely blame the President for as it is not a recent occurrence. He added that if all the opposing side will promise is good roads and water and power and the likes then he really cannot decide who to vote for just yet.
EBERE: She said she is tired of the bloodshed and the constant state of unrest that has plagued the north and will vote for General Buhari to pacify the northern terrorist group and bring peace.
ADAM: He says that he has no faith in the President who he believes is terribly incompetent. He said he believes it’s time for change seeing that we have been ruled by the PDP for about 15 years now and he believes that APC represents this change. He says he will vote APC regardless of who the candidate is.
ANU: She says anyone apart from President Goodluck Jonathan is good enough for her, because she said and I quote “is so over PDP”. She says only PDP has been ruling since Nigeria became democratic and this makes the so called democracy seem almost autocratic. She believes that if there is no change, it may lead to a situation where there is political apathy and people lose interest in voting and consequently the society. Therefore, she is voting for change.
EMEKA: He says that he doesn’t believe in General Buhari as a person saying that yes people say he is honest, but being a somewhat historic leader, he hasn’t seen the influence that General Buhari as a leader has had on this generation and even in general on a small scale talk more of on a larger scale. He believes that if someone has been around this long and claims to want to change the country in one way or another, then they should already be influencing said change in some way within his society. He too would like change but doesn’t see it in the General.
TOSIN: She is very displeased with the concurrent administration and its inability to tackle the major crisis currently going on in the country. She believes the President is being superficial about things saying that why should we be spending money to make new 100 naira notes when 200 girls are still missing? She too would like change, so she is voting APC because she believes that the current administration has failed the country and has nothing else to offer.
TUNDE: He first of all noted that he would have preferred to have a man like Governor Fashola as president however; he believes that General Buhari is a better option because he is the least corrupt, is objective, pragmatic and can act without sentiments. He believes that President Jonathan has a somewhat underwhelming character and in 6 years has not achieved anything comparable to the 20 months General Buhari had in power. This is why he believes that General Buhari is the better option.
IVY: She is still undecided however; she says she wishes that factors such as ethnicity and religion could be separated from the state. She believes that there should be no other reason for someone to be considered eligible for a post as significant as this other than competency. She believes that although zoning may seem like a good idea, but how can we as a people promote unity if we are excluding or writing off individuals based on their religion or ethnicity. She added that it’s easy to make promises from afar and say whatever you believe people want to hear, which is why she would like a presidential debate to be held where candidates have to speak on topics on the spot so that people can have a clear idea of their thoughts and “hear from the horse’s mouth”. She believes this will definitely help her and a lot of others make a decision on who to vote for.
UYI: He says he personally doesn’t trust the ‘General’ and cannot clearly see his motives. He says that although he is not President Goodluck Jonathan’s biggest fan, but if people are accusing the President of going against his word to not run for a second term, then the same should be said of General Buhari who also said he would not run again after he lost in the 2011 elections. He added that he doesn’t believe that General Buhari has the political prowess need to run a country such as Nigeria.
Having heard all this, I see all the different points they have to make, and at this point this is what I have to say; there can be no progress without change. However, change is relative in the sense that change is what you want it to be. So as the campaigns start and the promises begin to roll out here are a few things I would be like to be on the list: the promise of a decent life in terms of healthcare, education and other basic amenities; promise of mutual understanding between the government and the people that the leaders appointed have only the interest of the people and the Republic at heart; and finally a promise of hope.