Why I Might Not Vote Next Year
About a week ago, I wrote a post on my blog on my preferred choices for the Office of the President next year, arranged all the aspirants in descending order of preference and detailed reasons for each choice. That was before the All Progressives’ Congress (APC) conducted its presidential primaries which former Head of State and perennial candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari won. Of course, incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan had long been confirmed to be the candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) – the “primaries” confirming him officially was just a formality.
As evident from my blog post, my candidate of choice, who was former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar (on account of a very detailed manifesto with plans and his support of my ultimate political ideology, fiscal federalism) was trounced at the primaries. Now, my choices are either Buhari or Jonathan and it is really hard for me to make a choice.
Let me share a message a friend on Facebook sent me that quite captures my quagmire:
I hope you are well. I just wanted to say quick hello. I opened the pages of the papers today expecting to be inundated with policy articles and proposals kick-starting an exciting campaign towards 2015 and I found nothing really.
Neither of the 2 leading presidential candidates seem to be in a hurry to set the theme, tone or main issues of the campaign. Neither has a functional campaign website and no one seems to be in a great hurry to explain their specific position on important issues of the day: education reform and failing schools; corruption and criminal justice reform; energy security and PIB; national security and defence strategy etc.
Maybe there is no point. Maybe most voters have already taken a side and are no longer open to be persuaded.
I do hope that the candidates will speak for themselves and not allow self-appointed friends and sectional champions muddle up their message. Nigeria could do with a clear and positive vision and a firm hand at the helm that speaks in a way that unites and edifies us.
To borrow Lincoln’s words, I hope we end up with leaders that will appeal to the better angels of our character and whose personality and sense of duty will rally the nation together to make our Federation a better, more effective and stronger family.”
Even the most casual observer of political happenings cannot but agree with a lot of the truths in that message.
The lack of detailed plans from both candidates is an issue I have expressed publicly often, with supporters of both camps.
Jonathan’s supporters reply that their detailed plans for the future are evident in his performance, oblivious to the fact that his performance so far, while good in some aspects, is overall less than satisfactory.
Buhari’s supporters, on the other hand, point to his performance as Head of State, a past that is long distant, even before I was born, forgetting that a lot has changed in three decades and the solutions of that time cannot work for the challenges of today. Context is very important and is lacking in his campaigning.
My hope is that in the next two months, these candidates will do better in selling themselves to undecided voters like me, and we are more than a few.
If that does not happen, the Saturday of February 14th, 2015 might just find me glued to my television set at home rather than on a queue exercising my civic duty as a Nigerian citizen.