By Hauwa Yusuf
Nigeria, as a nation, has never had it this rough and tough economically, thus, making the elections of Saturday a matter of life and death. Yes, life and death!
When faced with a dire situation such as this, what is demanded of us, especially the voting population, is to put aside primordial sentiments and prejudices in electing the right candidate(s) who will deliver on their promises. The burden of electing the right leader(s) is an enormous burden one must admit.
In this election, and on the ballots, are the issues that’ll define our existence as a people and by extension, as a nation. Have we thoroughly scrutinized the manifestoes of the political parties and those of the candidates? How well do we think that by implementing those agendas, the problems we collectively face will be addressed? Do the candidates even have an agenda or are just vying for the highest seat for the sake of power and what is in it, and nothing more? Where there are policy documents, are they achievable considering where we are at the moment, financially?
Nigeria desperately needs a quick-fix!
The hyperinflation on food commodities, unbearable high tariff on electricity, shortage of petroleum products, which has caused over 100% increase in the cost of air, rail, road transports, cooking gas and kerosene, the ridiculously low strength of our currency, the Naira, against foreign currencies, insecurity, and recently, the unavailability of the newly redesigned Naira notes by the apex bank, which have unleashed untold hardship on the masses, among others are the issues Nigerians are expected to interrogate as they make the decision of a lifetime in deciding who pilots the affairs of the nation. Oftentimes, as a people, we have paid little or no intention to the policies and the implementation strategies as put forward by persons vying for political offices at all levels. But the situation today requires every eligible voter to smartly approach each candidate’s policy document with an open mind devoid of ethnic, religious or even political party affiliation sentiments with a view to making the right choices.
Nigeria is in the intensive care unit, as such, she needs an experienced hand and not a learner on the job. This is not the time for “it is my turn to be president”, rather, “it is the time for the most prepared, most experienced, and the one with a clear path to achieving success” for the entire country.
Those who preside over the affairs of our economy and so on, are always quick to remind us that Nigeria does not exist in isolation, and as such, we are not insulated from the harsh effects of the happenings around the world, especially, as it relates to Covid’19 pandemic, the Russian occupation in Ukraine, among others. Yes, countries around the world are feeling the brunt of the current economic realities, but Nigeria’s case scenario is at all-time high with no-end-in-sight to the suffering. Nigerians are dying as a result of extreme poverty, lack of purchasing power to buy prescription drugs and so on. We are in this situation largely because of the poor judgment on the part of our economic managers – their actions, inactions, corruption and misguided/misapplication of policies are the core bases for being where we are today. For every bad choice we make, at the receiving end is always the masses, who coincidentally, decide who is president, governor, state and national legislators, and eventually, the local council chairmen/chairpersons in states where the governors are able to conduct local government election polls. With all these, I dare say that the voting population must vote with their thinking caps on to save the country from this calamitous situation. We cannot afford to get it wrong this time around, as four years to wait for another golden opportunity would seem like eternity. God forbid!
A glance at the policy documents of those vying for the highest office in the land thus far, Atiku Abubakar is the only candidate with a policy agenda capable of pulling us out of the doldrums. This is an indisputable fact! His policy agenda aimed at addressing Nigeria’s current malaise, would have a direct positive and meaningful effect on all of us. In a deeply fragmented country like ours, the first task in a plethora of tasks is to unify the country and hopefully, stem the separatist agitations.
Many may, and have argued that Atiku Abubakar has been participating in presidential election for far too long, but no one has discountenanced the fact that he has consistently put forward his plans/policies to prove his readiness and genuine intentions to address the issues of governance as the situation demands. Gone are the days you could list Nigeria’s problems on your fingers, nowadays, the problems are threatening to consume not just the physical entity called Nigeria, but the inhabitants because of the disunity amongst the people, insecurity, youth unemployment, crisis in our educational sector, infrastructure, unfathomable high cost of living, inflation on food commodities, and, of course, the thorny issue of restructuring. No other presidential candidate other than Atiku Abubakar has demonstrated how he intends to solve the problems hindering our progress individually, and collectively as a people under one umbrella.
For the other candidates on parade; the question is what are the issues they are espousing? Ranging from those promising to fix the problem they have minimal knowledge about, to those dancing before the crowd on the campaign rallies, and those who see the entire country through a regional prism, only Atiku Abubakar possesses the ideas that is completely apposite to the present difficult situation we all seek to put behind us.
We cannot afford to hinge our successes on luck, if we truly are determined to own our destiny.
Atiku Abubakar, proverbial old wine, and his policies are the pills that are worthy of consideration and the Waziri of Adamawa, undoubtedly, remains our best option!