Barring any unforeseen occurrences the major political actors in the 2019 presidential have emerged.
With the conclusion of the party primaries and the emergence of President Muhammad Buhari of APC and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the PDP,.
Both of them of the Fulani stock, one from Jada, Adamawa State and the other from Daura, Katsina State the fight for who occupies the presidential Villa on the May 29th 2019 has began.
The journey would be guided by issues but the leading tophic on the agenda for the debate will eventually narrow down on “competence and anti corruption”.
Prior the 2015 general election President Muhammad Buhari whose pedigree as an in corruptible general earned him blind support of the electorates.
This led to the ouster of the sixteen years of the PDP government in 2015.
His name became synonymous with the 2015 elections. Infact the Buhari tsunami led to the election of many of the un electable in government.
Buhari worn the election on the change mantra and anti corruption.
Three and half years down the lane the corruption fighter Is now dogged with corruption from within.
Atiku the former Vice President under the Obasanjo Administration one of the founding member of the PDP carries the stigma of corruption associated with his party.
This in spite of the fact that neither him or his principal (Obj) have ever been charged to court for corrupt practices. But he has been sentenced in the public court as corrupt because of the successes in his businesses.
The dictum now being popularised in the fight against corruption that “You are guilty until proven innocent” has some serious consequences on the citizens. It has hurt and destroyed many innocent people.
The concept itself is antithesis to the provision of the constitution and legal jurisprudence, which advocates “ You are innocent until proven guilty.
The labelling of corruption may not stick this time around because the Buhari government in last three and half years have not come out clean on the accusations of corrupt practices.
The Buhari apologist may argue that the President is clean, but how true is this assertion?
But even for the sake of argument, let us give it to the President that he is in corruptible.
But how can one explain the corruption going on under the nose of the President.
The NNPC saga, where the President is holding the portfolio of a Minister the Ministry of Petroleum.
The corruption issues associated with the chief of staff to the President.
The detention of the ADC to his wife by Dss for allegedly stealing over two billion naira of her money, which the state is now claiming he was collecting from state governments without her knowledge.
The corruption saga that led to the removal of the former SGF Babachir.
The hob knobbing the government is having with corrupt officials that have milked the treasury of their states dry and ran to the government for succour.
Recently, it took the court to compel the EFCC to investigate the stupendous wealth of one of the senior member of the APC whether this would be obeyed is another story all together. The list is endless.
It is this selective application of the fight against corruption, that is fighting the corruption agencies back.
For me if the law is allowed to take it course most of the people now parading themselves on the streets causing all sorts problems and confusion should have been in the gulag,
On the competence scale its on record the American President, regrettably was quoted to have referred to the Nigerian President as “lifeless”, this goes to show how some of the leaders of the world perceive the president, as some one who lacks capacity.
Atiku, certainly can not be accused of in competence, “lifeless” or some one who lacks capacity, his pedigree in business and as the Vice President is clearly there for everyone to assess.
But he too would face big task of purging himself from the baggage of corruption that characterised the tenure of the government of which he was a senior member.
In this regard, both the candidates have their weaknesses and strength. While Mr. President is seen to be in corruptible the issue of lack of capacity hangs over his head.
Atiku, arguably has the competence and capacity to deliver, but the corruption issues of their government will constitute a dark cloud over his head as well.
The choice in 2019 may be reduced between “competence and anti corruption” depending on which side of the divide you stand.
That is why we are saying, the “labelling of corruption” may not fly the kite this time around. As both parties have enough issues bordering on corruption in their baggage.
The voters may hold the key to where the needle on the Scale would tilt during the election but will their ballot count?
My take on this depends on how those we have entrusted with the conduct of the national elections allow the process to go full circle with out manipulation of the out come. I know we have been promised impartiality but what happened in the Osun election speaks volumes.
The Police and other Security Agencies must be impartial so that the process plays out completely for the good of democracy and the country and let the best be.