I have done my civic duty and registered to vote. The presidential elections are in April and the key contenders at this points are:
Yar'Adua - Obasanjo's pick
Atiku - Current Vice President
Buhari - Former military ruler
Now, i dont think much of any of these guys but i will vote. So who will get me vote?
I follow the news religiously. I live with a political pundit who also knows history. So my dad will give me insight from years back which i enjoy hearing. My brother has joined us at home and with an undergraduate degree in politcal science and international relations, i have very smart, well read men to answer my many questions.
I now state that of the lot, my vote will go to Atiku.
The man has no doubt lined his pockets but then again who hasnt. They have all done it - its just a question of how much. Some have stolen more, some less. Even the people in the private sector have at some point lined their pockets. My dad calls it enlightened self interest. It is human nature though as its done worldwide. We are just not as sophisticated as the West in hiding it.
But the man has something about him which if channelled properly can do this nation some good.
Did you know that Atiku recommended Ms Okonjo-Iweala to the president after looking her up and being impressed with her achievements at the World Bank?
Atiku is is a savvy business man who isnt afraid to hire the best to take care of business.
I am most impressed by his stubborness.
Atiku has given it hard to Obasanjo since this saga began. Let's not forget that Atiku "won" the elections way back and the powers that be including one of my favorite people - IBB decided to put Obasanjo in power. Atiku was not pleased but there was an agreement which led to him being made VP. There is the story of the famous humiliation of OBJ. OBJ had to prostrate for Atiku and this is apparently true.
Anyway, OBJ decided to get rid of his Vice when he thought he was done with him around the time his efforts to get a 3rd term began to pick up steam. Suprise, suprise. Atiku refused to do the "right" thing and resign.
Atiku has exposed some of the sins of our holier than thou president including looted funds, companies used as fronts and even gifts to women (our president seems to LOVE the ladies).
OBJ and his cohorts have tried to declare the seat of the VP vacant but its not working so far. Yesterday, the papers carried the headline: "Atiku......tops EFCC list". This morning, the papers state: "Atiku sues Ribadu". Atiku is one fearless, stubborn man.
He has made some sound statements in the past few weeks. If anyone goes to the CNN website today, Nigeria is THE news for today - in particular, the Niger Delta. Its harrowing. Atiku stated that the current administration was not doing anything about this area. He said the sophisticated weapons used by these young men were being supplied with the knowledge of the administration and the solution to this problem is not being addressed. He quite eloquently said this business of kidnapping and paying ransoms is just the tip of the iceberg. That this seemingly "little" matter of MEND (movement for the emancipation of the Niger Delta) could destablize this whole country.
I agree with him and i think a lot of people following this matter will agree with him. How can the reason for all the greed and corruption - this oil, be coming from an area where the inhabitants live in conditions so deplorable, that there are no words to describe it. Add to that able bodied young people watching the expatriates come and go and there is nothing to show for it. When the traditional rulers and governors are settled by the oil service companies and this windfall doesnt flow down to the people? I went to Bayelsea state - Yenagoa and i couldnt believe it. Its a shame.
Atiku pointed this out again last week when these militants stopped 2 governors from attending the PDP convention in one of the states in that region. These men stood in the middle of the road and stopped the convoys while firing some shots in the air. The governors simply turned back. And the OBJ administration doesnt think this is a serious enough problem? The kidnapping of expats is increasing. I can only thank God that these men are not killing the hostages. A lot of the released hostages say they are treated well and the young men treat the older men with so much respect. That's not the point though. The point is why has this been allowed to degenerate to this level?
Anyway, i guess the point of this post is that at this point, Atiku has my vote. He isnt the best person to run this country and i dont know who is. Definitely not a technocrat and i dont see any politicians now that can run this country. Sure some of them can be given portfolios - Donald Duke should handle tourism, Oby Ekwesili should go back to solid minerals even though she is doing well in education...etc.
Let me be even more radical and go out on a limb and say that i believe that women should be given certain offices to hold. This is not about feminism or gender equality, i am just being realistic. Certain types of women are soooo stubborn, so principled and are willing to take even the old boys to get things done. See what Dora Akinyuli, Ms Okonjo-Iweala, Oby Ekwesili, Ifueko Omoigui have done. These women are a different breed. These women are not the wear jewelery and expensive lace ladies. These are action, focused women who have made a difference in such a short time and i am sure behind the scenes, they face so many obstacles. Imagine what would have been achieved if these women were given free rein?
I will halt here and state again as i have done so many times before that i love my country and this is my home. In my own way, i believe i am making a difference with some of the things that i am doing and what my company is doing. And i know that i will do more as time goes on. Because we have all been exposed to the rest of the world in different ways, we tend to compare this 46 year old nation with ancient civilizations that have been around for centuries. We are not where we should be but we are growing and jumping some growth stages and i really truly believe that when we are a century old, we will be something else. Hmm. Actually, i beleive that in 10 years, Nigeria will be a far cry from where we are today.
Here's to this nation of resilience with a future so bright.....