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Buhari, Jonathan: Are they two of a kind?




By Adebayo Obajemu

The politics of 2015 elections was one of the most engaging in the post-independent Nigeria, and according to Azeez Oladejo, medical director Ayonio Medical Centre who is an engaging commentator on national issues, ”the elections were a referendum on the power of the masses and the choices opened to them in our political system”.

There was an attitudinal shift of the voting public as many Nigerians were yearning for change. The mood of the nation was to have a new direction in governance. Enter APC with its change mantra. Enter Buhari, the purveyor that change.

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”I can tell you the reason many Nigerians voted for Buhari was because of the widespread perception of his 20-month rule in the 80s which was strongly anchored on anti-corruption and war against indiscipline, that was all, not many Nigerians actually understand Buhari’s stand on many issues of interest to Nigerians such as resource control, reform of the political system, fiscal federalism and constitutional conference”, declared Adejumo Adeyemi, National President Yoruba Youth Agenda.

In spite of the Peoples Democratic Party’s power of incumbency, the All Progressives Congress won the election as a result of people’s perception that APC with Buhari as flag bearer was going to bring massive change, turn Nigeria around within days with Buhari’s famed magic wand.

Jonathan’s presidency was largely viewed as a man that was not prepared for power but had the singular honour of having power thrust on him. He took time to take decision while in office, had poor communication, and lack significantly quality of character that one could associate with leadership. ”for me Jonathan was poorly equipped for high office, there was complete lack of a synergy with the people, and his regime was marked by high level  of  poor communication with the people”, Fiki David,  an Ahmadu Bello University don told Hallmark in a telephone chat.

One big sin of the Jonathan’s administration was its flippant approach to issues, and its inability to rally the people around a national cause according to Oladejo.  It was this attitude to governance that made many Nigerians to vote for Muhammadu Buhari, ”who many saw as a strong-willed individual who can turn around the country within weeks”.

For Ade Afolabi, a business man whose line of business is handset repair, the coming of Buhari is a big relief as it has relieved tension in the land. He told Hallmark that like many Nigerians, he’s anxious now that the new president has spent two weeks without functioning government and with Boko Haram escalating its war against the state. ”My brother, I voted for Buhari because I believed the man would repeat his feat, but now I don’t know what to say. All my profit goes into servicing my generating set. Buhari should sit tight, enough of this junketing around the world”.

Many who spoke to this newspaper are of the view that basically Buhari is a ”cloned” Jonathan in many respect”. Short of calling him ”Baba go slow”,(euphemism for his measured, tardy approach to governance), there is growing perception that the new president is slow in his way, that his regime lacks character and that his media management is a repeat of Jonathan’s lackluster media management, that was not effect in projecting the president.

Beyond relocating the Army headquarters to Borno, which is largely viewed by Nigerians as symbolic gesture, there’s no significant change in the approach and outcome of engagement with the terrorists. For two weeks now, the terror machine has intensified its attack on the people of Borno , with high number of casualties. For many, there’s no difference so far between Jonathan and Buhari.

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