Nigerians are on the march again towards the election of a credible and upright individual to lead the country out of the present doom. The 9th of April, 2011 is the date and it is imperative we examine the manifestos of the two leading candidates to ascertain their viability in our quest to develop our nation. Note that I am concerned with stated manifesto agendas and not platform declarations.I shall base the comparative analysis on six critical areas, namely:
1. GOVERNANCE 2.SECURITY AND CONFICT RESOLUTN 3.ECONOMY 4.ELECTRICITY/POWER GENERATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE 5.EDUCATION 6.HEALTH
BUHARI: Initiate action to amend our Constitution with a view to devolving powers, duties and responsibilities to states and local governments in order to entrench Federalism and the Federal spirit.
JONATHAN: restructuring Nigeria in the spirit of true federalism and responsible tiers of government, so as to achieve a just and equitable society. Resolving such fundamental issues as proper devolution of powers between the three tiers of government.
Verdict: Buhari’s agenda amounts to restructuring of the country and will meet the aspirations of those clamouring for effective and fiscal federalism. The Jonathan’s agenda amounts to the same old and vague sloganeering on true federalism. It is important to state that PDP and President Jonathan have been in power for 12 years without any effort at restructuring.
NOTE THAT BUHARI IS COMMITTED TO CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO ACHIEVE HIS AGENDA.
b.FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION:
BUHARI: Amend the Constitution to remove immunity from prosecution for elected officers in criminal cases. Seek to amend the Constitution to require local governments to publish their meeting minutes, service performance data and items of spending over N10M. Reform and Strengthen the Justice System for efficient administration and dispensation of justice along with the creation of special courts for accelerated hearing of corruption, drug trafficking, terrorism and similar cases of national importance. Prevent abuse of executive, legislative and public offices through greater accountability, transparency and strict enforcement of anti corruption laws.
JONATHAN: The principles of accountability and transparency in order to restore confidence in the institutions of government, discipline and leadership by example as basis for public life and personal integrity as an important moral value in the conduct of public affairs
Verdict: Buhari’s anti corruption agenda is precise, direct and imbued with adequate teeth to confront the corruption menace facing Nigeria.The Jonathan’s agenda is the usual mantra lacking in substance and enforcement
SECURITY AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION.
BUHARI: Establish a well trained, adequately equipped and goals driven Serious Crime Squad to combat kidnapping, armed robbery, militants, ethno‐religious and communal clashes nationwide. Begin widespread consultations to amend the Constitution to enable States and Local Governments to employ State and Community Police to address the peculiar needs of each community. This would mean setting boundaries for Federal, State and Community Police through new Criminal Justice legislation to replace the Criminal Code, the Penal Code and the Police Act.
JONATHAN: No discernible security agenda in the manifesto of the party. Apart from paying allowances to “repented” militants, there is no constitutional measures to address the security problems facing the country.
Verdict: The Buhari’s national security programme is all encompassing considering the present crime rate in the country. The implementation of this commitment will drastically ensure the safety of lives and properties of Nigerians. There is no stated security programme by Jonathan.
BUHARI: Initiate policies to ensure that Nigerians are free to live and work in any part of the country by removing state of origin, tribe, ethnic and religious affiliations and replace those with state of residence. Establish a Conflict Resolution Commission to help prevent, mitigate and resolve civil conflicts within the polity. Bring permanent peace and solution to the Niger Delta and other conflict prone areas such as Plateau, Taraba, Bauchi, Borno and Abia states.
JONATHAN: There is no stated conflict resolution roadmap. The crisis in Jos and the militancy in Niger Delta typified the colossal failure in this regard. The sole application of carrot without the stick approach in Niger Delta is a recipe for disaster. The majority of the citizens are deprived of the benefit of their God given resources, while a few are placated with carrots to showcase a semblance of peace.
Verdict: Even the most unrepentant critic of Buhari will identify the potency of his conflict resolution agenda. It took into consideration the absence essential legal framework to tackle the numerous conflicts all over the country. The commitment to initiate policies to confront this evil is highly commendable. There is no stated commitment by Jonathan on conflict resolution in the party’s manifesto.
BUHARI: Maintain sound macro‐economic policy environment and run an efficient government and preserve the independence of the Central Bank. Restore financial confidence by putting in place a more robust monitoring, supervising and regulating of the financial institutions. Make Information Technology, Manufacturing, Agriculture and Entertainment key drivers of our economy.
JONATHAN: Pursuit of a strong, virile and diversified economy built to stm(?) rural urban migration through investment in modern agricultural methods. Develop a middle class driven by small business owners, professional class with access to credit. Create easy access to transferable property rights in urban and rural areas.
Verdict: The Buhari’s policy initiative on the economy is structural and in line with developmental routes navigated by developed economies to their present status. Jonathan’s policy has something good on agriculture which is a commonality with Buhari’s policy as well as plans for the middle class. But its adherence to Property owning democracy is archaic and elitist in nature. It has been discarded by developing economies because it is a creation of Bretton Woods institutions.
BUHARI: Embark on vocational training, entrepreneurial and skills acquisition scheme for graduates along with the creation of Small Business Loan Guarantee Scheme to create at least 2 million new jobs by 2015. JONATHAN: Protect the weak and poor through initiatives that is designed to integrate them in the economy. Verdict: This is an important area and Buhari took the bull by the horn and declared an unwavering commitment to Job creation. He did not only state the number of Jobs, but the ways and means of creating the jobs. Jonathan has no visible job creation programme. This is key to youths and unemployed graduates and Buhari has put his hard earned integrity on the line. This is pure gold for the youths.
BUHARI: Put in place a N300bn regional growth fund (average of N50bn in each geo‐political region) to be managed by the REDAs, encourage private sector enterprise and support to help places currently reliant on the public sector. Create additional middle‐class of at least 2 million new home owners by 2015 by enacting a national mortgage system that will lend at single digit interest rates for purchase of owner occupier houses.
JONATHAN: There is NO DISCERNIBLE ACTION PLAN in manifesto.
Verdict: The action plan of Buhari is overwhelming and captures the essence of micro economic development and the need for affordable housing for Nigerians. It eliminates lopsided regional growths and limit migration to big cities like Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Kaduna, Port Harcourt ,etc.
Based on the three(3) areas analyzed so far, it is obvious that the CPC(Buhari) agenda is extremely supreme to the PDP(Jonathan) agenda. It is important that we eschew sentiments and political allegiance in casting our votes in April because the misrule of the country affects everybody. Sentiments and parochialism can not buy you cheaper petrol, cheaper homes, cheaper food, etc.
Finally, I want you ponder this: The PDP government earned an average of US$105.984Billion/annum and this amounts to US$1.271808Trillion in 12 years.
This country cannot run on goodluck…or gridlock!