My Presidential Choices for 2015

So it is election season again and like play, like play, four years has almost passed since the 2011 General Elections. A very eventful four years, I must add. There has hardly been any moment of calm, as something is a-brewing every time. Whether it is the post-election crisis in 2011, the fuel subsidy removal protests in 2012, the many political scandals and what I believe should be the most defining issue for this election – the Boko Haram terrorist group and its campaign of bloodletting.

Next February, we shall queue up to pick who we find worthy of entrusting the management of the affairs of this country to for another four years. I have been watching the political space – those who have declared, what they are campaigning on, those who did not and why, etc. I think I have observed enough to decide who I will vote for next year, in order of most preferable to the least preferable, and why.

I have restricted myself to only those who have bought the nomination forms of their parties and will stand for primaries. Any other aspirant who has not done this cannot be considered serious.

Please note that these are my PERSONAL opinions.

So here goes:

  1. Atiku Abubakar (Former Vice President, APC)

Above and beyond, this is the best presidential candidate in the field. He has been campaigning on issues from the start and has         the most comprehensive manifesto of all the candidates, a 94-page document you can download from here. But in case that is             too voluminous for you, you can see them broken down on his campaign website. He has covered every aspect properly with             what he intends to do in those areas when elected President: from infrastructure to education to anti-corruption to fighting                  terrorism and improving security. But above all, he is the only candidate that is talking about a solution to Nigeria’s issues that         I believe in dearly – fiscal federalism [See articles I have written about fiscal federalism here: 1, 2, 3,]. His plans might be                        inadequate but it is far better than nothing coming from the other candidates.

Atiku also has the benefit of 20 years plus of preparing for the office, from the time he first ran in 1993 on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) at the prompting of his late mentor, General Shehu Musa Yar’adua. He has used the PDM platform of late Yar’adua to build himself a national network of associates, enabling him to have knowledge of Nigeria beyond his native Adamawa (also earned by living many years in Lagos as a Customs officer and marrying from places far from his). Not only that, almost three decades in building multi-billion naira businesses has taught him how to assemble good teams. A clear evidence of this is the efficient media team, which I believe is a benchmark for public office holders, including the Presidency.

Whatever questions I had about him – especially his dark reputation as a corrupt VP were put to rest in his interview here with The Cable.

Okay, let me stop gushing about him.

  1. Goodluck Jonathan (Needs no Introduction, PDP)

President Jonathan got my vote in 2011 mainly because of the fact that he was the better of the lot that was running then (Nuhu Ribadu inexperienced and not articulate about what his plans were, Muhammadu Buhari for reasons I will get to in a bit) and the zoning issue really irked me. I could relate to and still relate to the desire of someone from a minority ethnic group to aspire to any political office against the desire of some who felt they were the ones “born to rule”, being someone from an ethnic minority myself, in Nigeria and my state and from the religious minority in my state as well. Even if President Jonathan serves only one term, he has smashed the glass ceiling for not only Niger Deltans, but minorities all across Nigeria, and that is a good thing.

In all fairness, President Jonathan has done far better than many Nigerians will admit, although blame also has to be laid at the feet of his very ineffective media team for not doing a good job at laundering his good works. He has revived a power reforms program that was stalled for three years under his late boss (I should point out that achieving full, constant supply of power is something that even if President Jonathan served two terms, he would not achieve – he is basically pounding yam for someone else to eat. But consistency with that vision is very important), he has constructed roads that have been troublesome (Benin-Ore Road, Vom-Manchok Road and Bwari-Kaduna Road, for instance), redone many others and is on course with others (e.g. East-West Road). Agricultural production has also been up and food import bill down (appointing the super-efficient Minister of Agriculture, Akin Adesina has been a masterstroke) and our airports are starting to wear better looks (although the reconstructions were stalled after Stella Oduah ‘resigned’ as Aviation Minister).

However, his two biggest failings are handling the Boko Haram terrorist scourge and fighting corruption. Let me start with the smaller one:

  • Granting his former boss, DSP Alameyeseigha who was convicted of fraud committed while in office as Bayelsa State Governor in 2007 and is on the run from the United Kingdom for similar crimes there sends all the wrong messages about the intent of the President to take on corruption head-on.
  • The statement of the President on public declaration of his assets that he does not give a damn sends another wrong message. While he is not legally compelled to publicly declare, he could have used it to set a higher bar of transparency for government officials.
  • There has not been a single idea or move from either his administration to make fighting corruption more effective. One would expect that this administration will  be pushing for the passing of bills like the Whistleblowers’ Bill and the Asset Forfeiture Bill, or the merging of the EFCC, ICPC and Code of Conduct Bureau into one agency to take care of overlaps and make the agency more effective, but there is no push in that direction.
  • There has not convicted a single politically exposed person (PEP) since 2011. While the President’s supporters are quick to point out that the EFCC, ICPC, Code of Conduct Bureau are independent of him, one only needs to look at cases where the EFCC withdrew corruption cases against some prominent individuals (e.g. Mohammed Abacha,Hassan Lawal, Femi Fani-Kayode) for reasons not given and always after they joined his party, the PDP, lending credence to rumors of deals struck in exchange for political support. This is not to mention cases that have stalled, such as the one against those involved in the fuel subsidy scam.

Then the big one:

  • Admittedly, the Boko Haram terrorism problem predates this administration, but the handling of the issue leaves a lot to be desired. Too often, the response from the government has been far too slow.
  • There seems to be a lack of courage on taking on elements within the military that are profiting from the insecurity. Despite increasing the amounts voted for security since 2012 [from N348billion in 2011 to N921billion in 2012, N950billion in 2013 and N968billion in 2014], the Federal Government still had to take $1bn loan to fight this war, against the background strong allegations of embezzlement in the military top hierarchy. This is not to mention allegations of some of the closest people around him also benefiting. One would have expected heads to roll, but no, everyone is sitting pretty.
  • Far too often, the statements of the President have put him in a quandary, such as declaring that he knows members of the terrorist group, and some are even within his administration, yet doing nothing to fish them out and have them dealt with.
  • His party has politicized the issue, constantly accusing political opposition of being the backers of the group. Although the opposition is not left behind in politicizing it, the President has neither reined his party in nor arrested these “terrorism sponsors” and charging them to court to prove his party right.
  • Many other times, the Presidency has kept silent when they ought to speak, or acted as though they were oblivious to the events and mood of the country. For instance, after 46 students were murdered in Federal Government College, Buni Yad, Yobe State in February, there was no word or statement from the Presidency which went ahead with the country’s Centennial Celebrations. Similar silence after the kidnap of 270 schoolgirls from Chibok in April was what caused frustration that coalesced into the #BringBackOurGirls pressure group. Then there was the rally by the President and his supporters in Kano in April, the very day after the horrendous bombing in Nyanya, Abuja, the insensitivity of this action adding to the shock of a nation.

But still, in the event that Atiku does not pick the APC ticket, President Jonathan gets my vote and I hope there will be improvement.


  1. Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano State Governor, APC)

About three weeks ago, I was part of a group of social media influencers that visited Kano on the invitation of the state government to tour projects executed by the incumbent administration and have a parley with the governor and that trip changed my view about Governor Kwankwaso completely. Prior to that trip, I had viewed him as a rabble-rouser going by his many antics, show of braggadocio and sometimes reckless statements; and talk of his achievements mere propaganda. But what I saw in Kano wowed me. I was super-impressed [Read an accurate account of the tour here].

Governor Kwankwaso has achieved in less than four years what many governors have been unable to achieve in eight years. He has pursued an excellent vision of all-round development for his state and for his people. I only wish more people visit the state and see it for themselves. I also wish his media people did better with laundering his image and the achievements of his government.

However, an action such as his government’s breaking of beer bottles, which make for effective populist politics in the state, will be used to show a man intolerant of beliefs that are different from his, playing on the paranoia that Christians have about the Sharia legal code.

Also, he did not lay out specific plans of achieving some of his intended goals if elected President, such as how to achieve a capital-to-recurrent expenditure in the budget of 70:30, which is about the only idea he has brought so far in his manifesto.

There is also the question of whether he is prepared to lead a country that is far more diverse than Kano State, which I believe is very important.

  1. Muhammadu Buhari (Former Head of State, APC)

Is it not weird that an aspirant that has been presidential candidate three times before and is still by far the most popular politician in not less than one-third of Nigeria (12 million votes in 12 states consistently) is this far down my list? I have good reasons for this:

General Buhari’s strongest campaign point is his integrity and hands unstained by corruption, considering that he has held many offices where others in same place used to enrich themselves. However, while personal integrity helps one avoid being stained with corruption, it is not enough to fight corruption and this is where Buhari fails: he is yet to bring forward a single idea on how he will go about fighting this scourge that has bedeviled our country.

The lack of ideas does not stop here – he has not brought any idea for improving Nigeria in anyway at all. His most recent interview with The Cable here only added to my confusion about what his plans are.

Nigeria desperately needs ideas moving forward, and not just honest men, or even worse, one honest man. In the absence of ideas from him, I cannot be voting for what I consider mere hot air.

This is not to mention the fact that he is about Nigeria’s most divisive politician right now – he is as loved by many Nigerians as he is despised by others. How did he get here? By making statements that are either religiously alienating, capable of inflaming ethnic passions or even innocent statements that are easily twisted by opponents because it is an otherwise harmless proverb in his native tongue.

I do not see him winning the Presidency, and I think he really should consider retiring from running for office next year and focus on transferring all his political goodwill to a protégé.

  1. Sam Nda-Isaiah (Newspaper Publisher, APC)

Nda-Isaiah, who is the publisher of the LEADERSHIP Newspapers, was actually the very first person to declare interest in being the occupant of Aso Rock next year. Talk about giving the dark horse a very early start.

However, Nda-Isaiah is sorely lacking in not only name recognition across Nigeria, but also in the experience to manage its affairs. I believe he and Nigeria will be better served if he ran for either the Senate or at most, the Niger State Governorship. He can then use that office to build experience towards the 2023 elections.

Not only that, for an aspirant whose campaign slogan is “It Is Time For Big Ideas”, it is really ironic that he has not presented any big idea or any idea at all for how to make things better. Like the typical Nigerian politician, he has expertly laid out the problems albeit embellished in many places, but has fallen short of proposing solutions.

  1. Rochas Anayo Okorocha (Imo State Governor, APC)


I am sorry, but I have to laugh here. Okorocha’s desire to become Nigeria’s president next year is funny            . Obviously, he thinks it is a comedy contest, because that is how I view him – a comedian in Nigeria’s politics.

Okorocha has mastered the art of playing to the gallery in words and actions to gain popularity, and of doing excellent propaganda work. However, his performance in Imo State since 2011 has been below par. One expected better from him considering all the noise that comes from him, but then, there is this thing they say about empty barrels.

Maybe this is the best way Okorocha can secure the running mate slot to the APC presidential candidate. I just hope that he does not lose his chance at running for re-election while at it, but then, will it be a loss to the people of Imo State if he does?

So there you have it – my preferred choices for the Office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from 2015 in descending order.

I am looking to hearing your thoughts and comments. Please let us keep it civil.

40 Comments on this post

  1. Mark, a very good write up as usual. However, I seem to disagree with you on a few issues. One, Sam Nda-Isaiah has quite clearly laid some of his Big ideas open to the public. Two, some of the achievements of the incumbent are mediocre at best. Repairing Benin-Ore roads are not acts associated with great leaders. I really think he shouldn’t have come in second but as you said, they are your personal opinions. I like the humour infused in it but I would advise you stay away from Rochas for now. Well written but perhaps more research next time. Hope I can share it with others.

    David / Reply
    • On Sam Nda-Isaiah: I actually did check online for the big ideas, but even his campaign site does not have them. But if you do have them, please post a link.
      On GEJ: While we all want grand ideas, we should not neglect the importance of low-hanging fruits. I believe people should be applauded for doing the right things, especially when it solves a problem that has lingered for long.
      On Rochas: You lost me there.

      Mark / (in reply to David) Reply
    • Perhaps, David can enlighten us us with the ideas presented by Nda- Isaiah. I can’t seem to find them anywhere.

      Mhysaf / (in reply to David) Reply
  2. Hehehe…even before reading, I knew buhari would be your last or virtually it. Not too bad an analysis. However, from your arguements, it’s pretty obvious the bad sides of Atiku and Jonathan are just not what Nigeria needs moving forward.

    Buhari is my first choice, though I absolutely agree with you that he has to brought forth solutions. You would also agree that from your piece, Kwankwaso is better than Atiku and Jonathan (considering, in addition, his many years of experience in state and federal level governance).

    jelil / Reply
    • I put Atiku in number one not just because of his plans, but because of his support for fiscal federalism. That alone would have still put him up there. Buhari did not make it last, he is there in the middle.
      Thanks for reading.

      Mark / (in reply to jelil) Reply
    • You did not point out the bad sides of Atiku though. He is my number one not just because of his comprehensive plans but also because of his support for fiscal federalism. That alone does it for me even

      Mark / (in reply to jelil) Reply
  3. *meant to say I agree with you that Buhari has not spoken of any comprehensive plans to solve Nigeria’s problems.

    jelil / Reply
  4. I agree with this too. However, Atiku is the only guy I can vote for on here

    A-Maz / Reply
    • I strongly agree with your opinion about Atiku being the man fit for the task. Nonetheless, all that Nigeria needs right now isn’t just a mere paper plan without execution.

      Bwala A.M. / (in reply to A-Maz) Reply
  5. well said about Atiku he has been my choice from day one. and I still put it to any one that he is the best candidate for Nigeria come 2015. Another spot on analysis that left me laughing really hard was that of Rochas.That guy and his lepatata Mambu (vuvuzela) kind of Governance is more confused than a jambite during post ume screening.

    Jerrycrisp / Reply
  6. This analysis is great. Sharing ASAP!

    Chidi / Reply

    “The army after toppling our democratic regime have no option but to install Buhari as head of state so as to avoid credibility problems, especially in the sight of the international community because of his being an epitome of integrity.”
    – SHAGARI.

    “There are only 2 honest & reliable Nigerians. Myself & Buhari. All what PDP is saying of Buhari being fundamentalist is mere hot lies. They just fear, let‘s go to jail “
    – OBJ

    General Muhammadu Buhari as a member of the Supreme Military Council and as Head of NNPC was by nature taciturn and introvert. But he took any work that was given to him very seriously. He is reliable as he is hardworking and honest, his path of moral probity and rectitude” Incorruptible
    – President Olusegun Obasango , in his book, “Not My Will”.

    “Buhari was a big brother & a father to some extent that mean nothing in life & to the nation always other than good. So, I fear no harm from him.“

    “Buhari was honest & sincere in all his conduct that perhaps, only very few Nigerians could match in integrity.“

    “Gen. Muhammadu Buhari was a true patriot, respected former head of state & elder statesman & a nationalist.“

    “I have realized our collective mistake in over-throwing you. I have seen the terrible damage which our inaction caused to the Nigerian psyche. I am most sorry. Please, come and do what is best known about you. Patriotic service to the nation.“
    –LATE ABACHA (PTF inaugural speech).

    “If Buhari quit PTF job as he promises & as we knew him to mean his words, all along, I support the idea of scrapping PTF as no one else can do the job as him.“ –IBB

    I respect Buhari. He was my Boss.He was an honorable man. And I can say this anywhere”.
    -General Ibrahim Babangida.

    “As a member PDP BOT, I decided personally to donate the #5,000,000 to Buhari‘s campaign organization because of my firm believe in his ability to right all the nation wrongs-

    “Buhari is as clean as the book I am holding”
    ~ Alhaji Isiaku Ibrahim, a Member of PDP Board of Trustees @ a Book launch in Kaduna

    “The issue of Gen. The Buhari‘s presidency was always being derided by the criminals who looted the nation to stupor by embarking upon a campaign of calumny so as to smear his name with a view to denying Nigerians having a leader who can improve their lots.“

    “If the truth must be said, Buhari remain the only real threat to PDP wither he runs for the presidency or not due to his wider followership among the masses that now hit the elite circle.“

    ***Kindly share this if really you believed in NEW Nigeria & that another Nigeria is possible***

    bashir / Reply
  8. Hi Mark, good analysis. It seems like outside of Atiku, there’s really no choice though. For Jonathan to come up 2nd after your analysis of his tenure exemplifies that. The social contract requires that the least a state can do is protect lives and properties so highlighting roads and agriculture pale so much in comparison that it shouldn’t really be an achievement. Plus there’s nothing the media team could do, as you cannot give what you don’t have. If insecurity is the issue and a weak or worse no response has been the order of the day then that just shows a disregard for Nigerian lives. No leader should be allowed to return if he does not value the lives of his people. He symbolised that a minority can make it but Nigeria has had enough of the ‘sticking the head in sand’ attitude we’ve gotten. My dear Mark, I agree with you on Atiku he knows how to get the economy to run as it should but as our brothers keeper the leader that has allowed Nigeria to be a cesspool for corruption and dead bodies should not be number 2. The blood on our land is too much for any patting of the back of an irresponsible government. Well done for sharing.

    simi / Reply
  9. Hello Mark!

    I write with profound joy having read this long note and commend your ability to take time in making meaningful observation regarding our candidates. Even though subjective, your opinion is nonetheless respected.

    You took time to make analysis regarding each contestant irrespective of party affiliations. I agree with you on variety of issues ranging from aligning with individuals whose campaign strategies are issue based rather than mere rhetoric to those issues that bother on collective interest of individuals or groups. However, I disagree with you on the notion that antecedents aren’t enough justification to be qualified to contest an election or simply put, administer the affairs of the country.

    We’ve had experiences in the past where good campaigners & strategists have harnessed resources to emerge as winners but were unable to keep to their promises. In essence, it doesn’t stop with mere talk. We need people that could administer and implement their promises with as much seriousness & commitment as people that are serious minded.

    I respect your choice of candidate. I do not question your judgement. I admire his confidence & resilience. He’s one of Nigeria’s finest democrats alive. He’s bold and unrelenting. Perhaps, a good tool to go forth. However, we need an additional quality which he may not have or hasn’t been able to portray which is popularity. We have a candidate that has posed to have greater followership than himself. We need someone with a good pedigree and that has a goodwill for everyone, with his imperfections but that can do the job more passionately. Believe me or not, General Muhammadu Buhari is the man for the job. He may not have been able to put up a structure that may have lured you to endorse him but believe me he can get the job done. He could adopt Atiku’s policies & strategies in order to win. We want a win/win solution. They can best form a formidable team, not as running mates but as a strong team that set out to bring about positive change.

    I do hope you’ll let this sink and have a change in mind. Thank you!

    Suleiman Ibrahim Yaro..

    Suleiman Ibrahim Yaro / Reply
  10. Excellent piece…..very impressed. I lean towards Atiku because he’s the only one with a policy statement which states precisely where he stands on most things. This should be mandatory for every aspirant. Agree with it mostly but don’t know enough about Kwankanso and Nda Isaiah but was very intrigued by both. Will probably put Buhari ahead of GEJ .

    Toks Shaw / Reply
  11. Personal as the opinions might be, I think the write up is a public document now. I agree with you giving it to Atiku for the effort of bringing fort a working document. I think you innocently exerggerated GEJ’s achievements. For the fact that we are all not safe is enough a reason to send him packing. Voting for GEJ in the absence of Atiku tells that you little concern for security situation in the country. Buhari might have not come up with a working document but he’s my first for uprightness and integrity. Our first and last problem is corruption if only we can get rid of this corruption, every other thing will fall in place. I agree with on in Nda,Kwankwaso nd Rochas

    Yab / Reply
  12. I personally agree with your arrangement, especially with respect to Atiku, have changed my mind about him in the past few months, especially with the perception that he is corrupt and also I like the issue based campaign he has been embarking on, which is the reason,he is the only APC personality I follow on twitter. As I supporter of the President, I personally think he should have done better in certain aspect, but I think also that he has not been anywhere as bad as people say. As for Buhari, I think he should support Atiku and go ahead and be the chairman of our campaign against corruption(EFCC chairman) in an Atiku presidency, bcos nigeria’s problem will not be solve by an anti corruption campaign alone.

    Ikechukwu / Reply
  13. Mark,

    A first time visitor to this blog and my comments are:

    Atiku: He is my preferred candidate for the reasons you identified and more. Regarding his perception as being corrupt, I don’t see him as more corrupt than an average politician or public office holder. However, the people he needs to convince are hardly that discerning. His answers in that interview did not address the issue either. The accusation is that he’s being INVESTIGATED and WANTED in the US on corruption charges not that he’s BANNED from the States, issues that are mutually exclusive. In my opinion, the only adequate response will be to visit the US and probably organize a dinner or something for his supporters, words alone won’t suffice.

    GEJ: While one can’t legitimately question your opinion, I believe it’s fair to dispute the bases. Apart from agriculture, Jonathan’s performance has been abysmal in most areas. the economy has no direction, government finance is a huge scam, our President only cares about being president. His judgments and grasp of issues have been poor. That’s why your point about voting him because of his minority roots disappointing. Before GEJ, we’ve had 4 democratic Presidents in Nigeria, 2 of them were Christian and southerner. The longest-serving military head of state, Yakubu Gowon, was a minority Christian. Until OBJ brought UMYA to truncate Atiku’s hustle in 2007, we would have had an Odili or Duke as president in 2007. That where he hailed from matters at all is a denigration of our collective intellect and nobody actively promotes such inanity as Jonathan and his advisers. Of course, you’ve dealt with his handling of insecurity and corruption.

    Buhari: Not much to say about him beyond the fact that he seems to have a God-complex about him. So, it’s consistent with that that he doesn’t see any reason to present his policy objectives. He seems to also live with the illusion that a civilian president and a military head of state have equal powers so much so that he intends to decree corruption away and beat people with koboko if they fail to comply.

    Kwankwaso: I saw him debate in the last general elections and found him rather articulate and clear in intentions. Whether those intentions are adequate is another matter entire. And going by reports, he seems to have done well in Kano. He’ll be my second option, his religious excesses notwithstanding.

    Nda-Isaiah: While it is true that he’ll be a hard sell as a candidate, I don’t agree that one needs to have held public office to build competence. Competence is mostly about aptitude. Otherwise, we won’t have a GEJ who has progressively held executive positions for 15 consecutive years being as uninspiring as we have right now.

    Okorocha: LOL

    That’s my humble submission, sorry to have written a rejoinder

    Olvgbemi / Reply
    • On Gowon, he was not elected. He came in through a coup, albeit one he did not take part in carrying out. The Northern officers who carried out the coup appointed one of their own and that is how he became HoS. On OBJ, the Northern power brokers ceded the Presidency to the Yorubas to pacify them over Abiola’s situation, and it was a survival tactic. They knew that doing otherwise would have pushed Nigeria over the edge. If the Northern politicians in 2011 had not brought up zoning, they wouldn’t have made people like me to be reactive to vote GEJ.
      Thanks for the rejoinder

      Mark / (in reply to Olvgbemi) Reply
    • Olvgbemi, can you pls give me a call on 07067939313 or a mail on Thank you.

      David / (in reply to Olvgbemi) Reply

    sirOscie. / Reply
  15. Atiku is busy unveiling his plans for Nigerians. What are the other aspirant doing?
    Among all the presidential aspirants, Atiku is more prepared for the task of leadership. He understand the challenges facing us as a nation and a preferred solution to it.

    I feel this country is overdue for a change. Jonathan’s administration has spent four years proving that the next four/five years will be more of the same – misfits. His inaction and flimsy excuses has brought this nation to the state we find ourselves today.
    As things stand, Nigeria needs a strong and viable candidate, one with creative imagination and vision. Buhari does not come across as the person who can fit this profile. He lacks a complex understanding on how to deal with Nigeria’s issues.

    It is high time we saw leadership beyond luck, sentiments and favour. People who work so hard equally deserve an opportunity.

    Abucheadams / Reply
  16. Campaign of issues is the best thing and Atiku has done that that is why he remain the best man because he is the most prepared for the job. / Reply
  17. Interesting piece, a genuine summary of every candidate.

    Mogul / Reply
  18. Nice analysis, its obvious that for a better change Atiku has to be in the race. The point on Atiku having knowledge of Nigeria Beyond his native town is the must important quality of a great leader. It made me realize how we do neglect that quality in a leader while making our choices, when it should be what we look out for. Its important that a leader has a connection with all the people, especially in a country like ours, then he can feel and understand their uniqueness. With that in his mind he becomes appreciative of every region’s contribution to national growth and will continuously work on building a one indivisible Nigeria.

    So i totally agree with you Atiku is the man, but i will not vote Jonathan, because he could have handle the security issue in the north east far more better than he wants us all to believe, one could rightly say he has no connection with the region and its people.

    Zirem / Reply
  19. Absolutely, you came out with an outstanding ideas that challenge all political desperadoes, to be aware of people’s awareness of all their political records and concerns. However, i think that my suggestion would base on – “we should encourage ourselves and others to be non-judgmental in their conversations.” By doing this, i think is going to help us to have more questions to ask, and more strategies to use to control the situation for better position. At this juncture, let’s keep working together for #ABetterNigeria…

    Ridwan Salaam / Reply
  20. Interesting analysis. What I found more interesting is the claim that Good luck Jonathan shattered the ‘glass ceiling’ for ‘minorities’ to rule Nigeria. It’s always good to back up such assertions with indisputable evidence. A cursory look at history would readily dispute this claim.

    First of all, General Yakubu Gowon, the country’s second military head of state who ruled for nine years, longer than any civilian or military leader in the country’s history is a northern ‘minority’. Gowon is ethnic Angas from Plateau state, and even in Plateau dominated by Beroms, he is a ‘minority’.

    Second, General Ibrahim Babangida, military ruler from 1985 to 1993, is of Gwari ethnicity, from Niger state. Again, since Niger has the Nupes as the dominant ethnicity, it makes IBB an ethnic minority not just in the North, but even in his own state.

    Third, even Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Nigeria’s democratically elected Prime Minister in the First Republic was of Bageri ethnicity, a ‘minortity’ group in Bauchi state.

    Fourthly, why don’t you dig a little into Alhaji Atiku’a ethnic background as well.

    This oversight in your analysis is a huge and worrying blindspot.

    zainabusman / Reply
    • 1. Gowon was not elected – he came through the barrel of the gun when Northern officers after a counter-coup wanted a Northern Head of State. The North was also far more united in 1966 than it is today.
      2. IBB also was not elected and he came in via a coup. Again, the ethnic and religious divides in the North and Nigeria were not as pronounced then as now.
      3. Yes, Tafawa Balewa was elected, but in 1960. We are in 2014. A great plenty things have happened in 54 years. And actually, Tafawa Balewa was Sayawa (Za’ar), not Bageri
      4. Atiku claims to be Fulani and I have no proof of otherwise.

      Mark / (in reply to zainabusman) Reply
  21. Great work mark! But as for me atiku will come second and jonathan first. These are my reasons:
    1. Have you thought about what militancy in niger delta will look like if jonathan lost? It will be far worse than what boko haram are doing now. Come to think of it, most of these millitants have been trained either as pilots, engineers and the rest of them. Imagine a nigeria were militants fly fighter jets. Nigeria can’t afford to fight a war from both ends at the moment.
    2. Secondly, I desire to see power stay far away from the north for a long time, and even if power will come to the north it should not be a muslim because the believe is that their are no competent christians in the north. That is why I am not comfortable with apc as a party. There is no way you will say you can find two competent muslims and you can’t find one competent christian in the whole of nigeria. Whether we like it or not religion has become part of our politicsm
    3. PDP remains the only party that is truely national (not based on propaganda) and any candidate they produce even if he is dull will have a plan.

    daintelectual / Reply
  22. So, your definition of Nigerian rulers on which you calculate the number of years ‘minorities’ have held power is restricted to democratically elected leaders?

    If that is the case, out of Nigeria’s entire post-independence history, only four leaders were democratically elected. Tafawa Balewa, Shehu Shagari, Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan. Balewa was an ethnic minority. I fail to see how this is evidence that Jonathan somehow shattered the ‘glass ceiling’ for ethnic ‘minorities’ to rule Nigeria as a whole or to hold elective or public offices around the country.

    This is not to say that discrimination against minority groups especially within States is not a huge monster that needs to be tackled.

    However, I fail to see the supporting evidence for the claim that ethnic Minorities, however so defined, prior to Goodluck Jonathan, have not ruled Nigeria at the very highest level of public office

    zainabusman / Reply
    • There have been five democratically elected leaders, not four, including Umaru Yar’adua

    • I also talked about the context of those times Tafawa Balewa, Gowon and IBB came to power. For me, the talk of zoning really got me irked because I know when they talk about the North getting power, ethnic minorities do not feature in the conversation.

      Mark / (in reply to zainabusman) Reply
      • Okay. Zoning is a different kettle of fish. I was initially opposed to it, for the reasons you mentioned, and more (it was an elite affair), however I’m now ambivalent, simply because looking at Nigeria’s history, and that of other ethnically/religious/racially diverse societies, some form of power-sharing agreement is necessary to stabilise the political system. One of the foundations for the durability of the peace agreement in Northern Ireland was the power-sharing between the unionists and the nationalists from 1998, for instance. This power-sharing agreement however has to be inclusive, and acceptable to all groups. I digress.

        Anyways, I mostly agree with the analysis. Atiku seems to be the most prepared, Buhari is the most popuar and Jonathan is the most powerful. Interesting times.

  23. Hi Mark,

    Quite impressive, your write up. Filled with facts and indeed wits . I couldn’t have agreed any less on your opinions, as I have always stated severally amongst my social circles about the chances of Atiku spare heading the affairs of the Nigerian state with aplomb.

    Unlike his fellow APC contestants who are embarking on a journey without a road map on how we can get to Eldorado or even worse getting us close to a glimmer of its endowment. Nigerians are more politically inclined than ever. Buhari as a ticket bearer would only make GEJ victory a smooth sail, because he does not possess the political craft to sell himself and also, he is a leader that seemingly lacks the breadth of vision. Like my friend stated in his article, the General is too honest. Politics is scarcely a turf for people of his nature, not glorifying the deeds of our nation’s saboteurs. But am only stating the obvious, judging by the reality of times.

    Hmmm.. GEJ has performed below par, meaning he actually performed, right? However, performance being good enough is highly questionable, judging by the myriad of challenges embattling tthe nation which leaves so much to be desired. I honestly don’t see him doing any better when he gets a second term. His strides(if any), can be charted in a new course by a leader who is willing to infiltrate the Lions den, striking a fatal blow to its pride against all odds. This would restore our hopes, that the sleeping giant is on rise again.

    God bless Nigeria!!

    Osemhen / Reply
  24. Excellent piece. I have always come to expect vintage writing from you. I share most of your sentiments but I never took atiku too seriously until now after reading your article. I guess Atiku should be grateful to you for helping some of us see him in better light.

    Wakbul Gofwan / Reply
  25. Well done Mark for this unbiased analysis.

    Jenom / Reply
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  27. […] from it, or even politicized by people around him. It was time to support someone else – and I threw my weight behind the candidature of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the […]

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