2019: Between Atiku And Buhari (II)


Being the concluding part published last Wednesday
Section 131(d) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended, qualifies any Nigerian for election to the office of the President, if he/she has been educated up to at least school certificate level, or its equivalent.
School certificate implies Ordinary Level. This therefore renders anyone that has attained or acquired education leading to a certification by the West African Examination Council (WAEC) or its equivalent eligible to contest for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
With Buhari’s military experience, the term, “or its equivalent” exonerated him, according to the argument of those who declared him qualified, based on his military trainings that saw him rise up to the rank of a General.
But the snag in all of these is the various razzmatazz associated with the entire certificate saga, both in 2015 and recently, up to the point at which the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) handed him an attestation.
When the Buhari’s certificate issue started initially, the explanation was that the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate, now known as Cambridge Assessment had the certificate, it later became that the military was in possession of it, and finally the WAEC attestation.
The question that readily comes to mind is why somebody of the President’s caliber found it difficult to state categorically, and hence resolve the mystery surrounding his certificate as soon as it came up? Who leaves originals of a certificate with any institution? Does this not amount to dishonesty, and hence corruption of sort?
Again, following the APC primaries in Imo State ahead of the 2019 Governorship election, the Governor of the State, Rochas Okorocha, has openly accused the APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, of haven received a bribe of #400,000,000.00 million to make his (Okorocha’s) son-in-law as the party’s gubernatorial candidate, but failed to do so.
For all the attention it attracted, the issue was not considered to be significant to the Presidency.
This leads to the second key question, which is that given the fore-going, who between the two key contestants for the 2019 Presidency, in the fold of Atiku and Buhari possess the most testable credentials to lead Nigeria out of the abyss it currently is?
For very empirical reasons, the pendulum strikes towards Atiku. The reasons are numerous. For one, both Atiku and Buhari are Fulanies, understandably being the tribe fingered to produce the President, but Atiku is closest to all sections of the country, if for nothing else, through his businesses which are across the country. He therefore not only mixes freely, but also understands and appreciates the multi-ethnic nature of the country.
Another advantage Atiku has, going by the standard set in 2015, is that any government unable to better the lives of the populace in its first tenure should not be given a second chance. Nigerians believe that it is for the same reason Goodluck Jonathan was voted out in 2015. So, why should the goal post be adjusted to suit some persons?
Consequently, if the Buhari-led Federal Government has made life more unbearable than it was in 2015, after promising to make it easier for the populace from three months of coming on board, another person should rightly be tested. Atiku is only fortunate to be the best contender, in the same way Buhari was in 2015.
Again, even as Atiku has been unjustly painted to be “so corrupt”, he has never been found guilty. Many express the belief that putting the country in his hand could be the best thing that could happen to Nigeria. This, they say, is because with such corruption toga unjustly placed on him, he is more likely to do everything possible to disprove his accusers by turning the tide for a better Nigeria, especially with his business acumen and contacts as an international businessman.
The reasoning is that if Atiku can be so successful in business across the country and abroad, he is in a better position to apply the same dexterity and principles that earned him success in business in building Nigeria’s chequered economy.
There is also the esoteric belief acceptance of the “Atiku personality”, unarguably based on the belief that he is an achiever. This explains why even when they know him the way they say they do, those who want to succeed in politics still want him on their side. The only time they relate him with any negative toga is when he refuses to work with them.
On the other hand, if Atiku also fails to make any reasonable difference in the lives of the people, Nigerians still have the opportunity to remove him after four years, that is if the leaders will continue to be comfortable with a leader doing whatever he likes under the protection of the immunity clause, and he cannot be removed before his tenure expires.
The important thing is that it will be morally very wrong and suicidal to let a leader who has proven to have nothing better to offer the citizenry order than complains over the previous government, and words of deceit, to the point of telling Nigerians that the Government spends as much as #3.5 million to feed a prisoner, who is an acclaimed terrorist, in a month, when a worker who makes sacrifice for the growth of the country is paid #18, 000. 00 per month.
If for nothing else, it will begin to instill a feeling of true democracy in the polity: that the citizenry can after all still remove from power a leader who proves to be unsatisfactory in governance. Unless this is not the essence of democracy.