Sometimes there are no good options. Sometimes we have to settle for the least awful, not the best. Naturally, this is not a position anybody wants to be in, but many times we are. Nigeria will have to make a decision and choose the “least awful” on March 28: Election Day.
Nigeria has been one of the world’s fastest-growing economies over the past 15 years. Last year it enjoyed a one-off statistical boost when its GDP was revised upwards to take account of the rapid growth in new sectors, such as mobile phones. It leapfrogged South Africa as the continent’s biggest economy. Its population is also growing rapidly and is forecast to surpass that of America in the coming decades.
From an outsider’s perspective, it seems that Nigeria is becoming a thriving nation. The country’s high oil prices have allowed this prospering to happen. However, a fall in the price of crude oil has led to a sharp deprivation in Nigeria’s currency, the naira. Even though Nigeria has made attempts to diversify its economy, many economists are speculating a future stunt in economic growth this year.
What Nigeria needs during this time of economic change is a strong leader. The country needs a forward thinking president, who is willing to tackle the pressing issues and tasks, such as nation-building and economic diversification. The two men currently up for elections, namely the incumbent Jonathan Goodluck and former dictator Muhammadu Buhari are not ideal options. However, Nigeria has to choose the least awful of these
Let’s start off with Goodluck Jonathan. After his predecessor Umaru Yar’Adua fell fatally ill, Goodluck was sworn into office and has been here ever since. It is difficult not to be critical of this president. Rampant corruption in Nigeria’s government is being reported and what does Goodluck do? Not much. The jihadist group Boko Haram is attacking civilians, claiming a territory as large as Belgium and what does Goodluck do? Not much. He is ineffective and too weak to take on Nigeria’s many difficulties.
The opposition is not looking promising either. Muhammadu Buhari, an ex general from northern Nigeria, ruled Nigeria from January 1984 until August 1985, taking charge after a military coup in December 1983. During this time, Buhari acted as a dictator, harshly enforcing discipline (Civil servants late for work had to do frog jumps) and violating human rights.
Nigeria has a difficult decision to make. Should the people give Buhari, who might fight corruption and terrorist groups like Boko Haram, another chance? Or should citizens play is safe and opt for Goodluck? What do you think?