Why I Will Fail to Vote for Mr. Jonathan Ebele Azikiwe Goodluck Tomorrow [opinion] (allAfrica.com)

The 2015 Nigerian presidential election holding tomorrow has two dominant themes: Change or Continuity (Transformation). On the face of it, the choice seems simple and clear. If you believe that the country is on a good course and your personal economy is vibrant, chose the incumbent. If you feel the country is on a downward trajectory, reject transformation and vote change. Simple choice it would seem.
Personally, I have decided not to vote for Mr. Jonathan Ebele Goodluck tomorrow.
After listening to our president over the last five years, and specifically during the electioneering campaign period, I have failed to once hear a clear, broad vision for the transformation of Nigeria or even see the capability to execute such a vision. Instead, I constantly see adverts and stories about how he has transformed Nigeria. This mythical transformation that no one has actually witnessed or experienced.
I hear the president has brought back the groundnut pyramids and reinvented the train (locomotive) system in Nigeria. I hear he has transformed the airport terminal network across Nigeria and massively transformed employment through the dynamism of Sure-P and You-Win (programmes that have affected an insignificant number of Nigerians). I hear he won’t send you to prison for petty stealing, neither will he ever put you in a situation where your wife would have to visit you in Kirikiri. I hear he has given women folks 35% representation in all federal government positions and that we now have the first female head of OPEC, thus he has transformed the role of women in Nigeria. I hear he changed the educational system in Nigeria by creating Al-Majiri schools and dramatically increasing the number of universities across the country. I hear he will completely eradicate corruption in four years using technology and reform the NNPC in his next term, despite not getting the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) passed in four years. I hear that militants will be armed to guard our pipelines and therefore be converted from their errant ways and transformed into guardians of the Nigerian state.
I hear, I hear! Not once have I heard a grand vision that will truly transform Nigeria. Only piecemeal patch work suggestions. All I hear are completely meaningless inanities and straight out lies.
His opponent simply says, “I will create a Nigeria that our children can be proud of”. He states that I will do this by drastically reducing corruption and using the monies raised from plugging government income leakages to drive the agriculture and SME sectors. I will reform the primary income source for Nigeria, the NNPC and create a PETRONAS of Malaysia or an ARAMCO of Saudi Arabia. The incumbent is busy discussing the semantic difference between ‘stealing’ and ‘corruption’ and telling stories about yam and goats and their innate nature.
When I think of Mr. Jonathan’s Executive Committee (cabinet) members, my heart fails me and I descend into a state of despair. One conducted a mass recruitment scam which led to the death of a significant number of young adults in a well reported story, while fighting with the head of his primary parastatal (Customs) over how the income from the recruitment exercise would be shared. Another is the head of OPEC and completely disregarded a Presidential Executive Order to remove Kerosene subsidy; she even went further to hire a private jet for 10 billion Naira to ferry her very important self up and down for a year, on the bill of the government. Forget that N10 billion could provide about 33 million meals for school children if channeled in that direction.
When I think of a Mr. Buhari cabinet, I literally salivate. Imagine, if you will, a certain Mr. Fashola as the minister in charge of the oil and gas ministry and the true transformation that would bring? Or even as the super minister in charge of the economy; or a Mr. Ameachi in charge of defence, fighting militants; or maybe a Mr. Fayemi as the minister in charge of foreign affairs, eloquently enunciating Nigeria’s positions at the United Nations; Mr. Kwankwaso in charge of mines and industries; Mr. Gbajamiala in charge of information; Mr. Adams Oshiomole in charge of Labour; Senator Mamora holding office at the trade and investment ministry. The prospects of this sort of cabinet excites me more than a returning gaggle of GEJ under-performing sycophants.
I am even tired of the relevant question: are you better off today than you were four years ago? You aren’t, of course you aren’t. You and I know that for a fact because I am typing this piece using a friend’s generator and sweating while doing it. I know it because the prices of food in all my usual haunts have increased by 20% to 30%. I know it because I will shortly be buying dollars at the N210-N220 exchange rate. I know it because the retail kiosk in front of my friend’s house is now barely stocked at all. I know it because my Igbo friend’s importation business has crumbled and he now wants to borrow money from me; I know it because, I am not a blind, tribally motivated numbskull.
Finally, a colleague of mine at work (a rabid supporter of the incumbent) gave me more ammunition, to vote for anyone but the incumbent, this past week. In trying to persuade someone else to vote for Jonathan, he said that even though he ‘knows Jonathan is not smart, he will consider both sides of an issue and take time before making a decision’ unlike Mr. Buhari who would make up his mind and jail people. If that’s the only problem with Mr. Buhari then he certainly has my vote!
Oluwafemi Akinfolarin, a Lawyer, writes from Lagos.