Opinion

Ogundana Rotimi: Dear Buhari, Don’t Mind the Polls You Have Not Arrived!

As at the time you will be reading this piece, it is my uttermost desire that the Chibok Girls abducted six months ago by the violent Boko Haram sect would have been set free. The hope for their release was brought alive on 17th October 2014 when the Federal Government, through the Nigerian military, said that it had agreed to a ceasefire deal with the violent sect and that the Chibok girls would be released soon. The deal was announced by the Chief of Defence Staff; Air Marshal Alex Badeh.

As the 2015 general election is underway, the two major political parties are warming up, the political system is heating up and the parties are doing all they can to secure victory.

While we`re already sure of the Presidential Candidate of the ruling political party (People Democratic Party) which is President Goodluck Jonathan, four candidates- General Muhammadu Buhari, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and Leadership Newspaper Publisher- Sam Nda Isaiah, have all shown interests for the opposition party`s (All Progressive Party) Presidential ticket.

On September 24 2014, the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, officially declared his interest to be the 2015 presidential election flag bearer for the All Progressive Congress (APC) while on October 15 2014 at the Eagle Square Abuja the former military ruler, General Muhammadu Buhari, officially declared his interest for the same position . Kano State Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso and Leadership Newspaper Publisher- Sam Nda-Isaiah are yet to officially declare their interests for the prestigious position.

From all indications, General Muhammadu Buhari may likely be the All Progressive Congress` (APC) candidate to contesting against President Goodluck Jonathan who is the flag bearer for the ruling party- (PDP) for the 2015 presidential election.

After General Muhammadu Buhari openly declared his 2015 presidential ambition in Abuja, an online opinion poll run through an independent third-party service called POLL conducted a survey.

The survey asked: ‘If the 2015 Nigerian presidential election were held today, with President Goodluck Jonathan as the PDP candidate and General Muhammadu Buhari as the APC candidate, who would win?’

The survey which lasted for 24 hours had 14,314 voters. The result of the survey showed overwhelmingly support for General Muhammadu Buhari, who won the Poll with a rating as high as 78%.

However, the fact is, in the Nigeria of today, majority of those that participate in Polls are the few educated elites of the society, most of which do not participate in real elections.

General Muhammadu Buhari may have won the Polls, but that is not an assurance that he will win the presidential election come 2015.

The 2015 general election will not be about political parties alone but about their candidates and Propaganda will be a powerful tool that would be employed by any of the parties that`s really desperate for victory.

Though, a lot of Nigerians may be interested in the change of governance and may want to see a transition of power but that does not imply that they will vote for a candidate that has been widely tagged as a religious fanatics.

General Buhari has been regarded as being honest and incorruptible, disciplined and principled, with his modest lifestyle acknowledged even by his opponents. With these qualities he is well suitable for the prestigious position of the country.

But on the other hand, he has also been widely criticized as being a Pro North than a Pro Nigeria and also as a religious bigot. Those alone could stand against him in a country that is so polarized along religious and regional lines.

He must therefore not be carried away by the results of the Polls, but rather concentrate on how to get the voters to change the false notion they have about him.

In this case, It is so important to remember that, it was the same Poll that rated the Ex- Governor of Ekiti State; Governor Kayode Fayemi above Governor Ayodele Fayose as the preferred candidate for Ekiti State governor by majority of registered voters in the state. The poll was conducted in May 2014 by one of the Nigerian leading research company- Brand Survey Ltd.

But unfortunately for him, the result was widely different when the election was conducted. Governor Peter Ayodele Fayose defeated him to be the winner of the Ekiti State gubernatorial election.

It was the same Poll that rated Mallam Nuhu Ribadu approximately 90% high over President Goodluck Jonathan and General Buhari in 2011. But the result was not the same when the election was conducted in April 2011. In fact Mallam Nuhu Ribadu didn’t even come second after the election was over and results released, but came last amidst the two other candidates he was rated above by the Polls.

Saying that General Buhari won`t pose a big threat to President Goodluck Jonathan in the forth coming Presidential election is far from the truth but relaxing on the results from the Polls will do him more harm than good.

Buhari must therefore, get his campaign strategies right, and top on the list must be aimed at convincing the people that he`s not a religious fanatics. Especially the people at the grassroots- those market men and women, those religious minded people that still carry the notion as cooked to them by his enemy.

If possible he should try attending the forthcoming Christian religious gatherings like the HolyGhost Congress 2014, Shiloh 2014, Pray your way to 2015, and others. He could also visit the Synagogue, Read up Rhapsody of Realities and the likes, and most importantly meet up Christian religious leaders. These will go a long way to convince those that still believe he is an Islamic religious bigot that he`s not. (Remember Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun State applied a similar strategy when faced with the same criticism).

It would be better, if his case is like that of Benjamin Netanyahu- the Israeli politician, and current Prime Minister of Israel, who always lose the election in the polls, and win it on election day.

And until he is declared winner of the 2015 Presidential Election, he should not mind the Polls he has not yet arrived!

God Bless Nigeria!

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Ogundana Michael Rotimi

Follow me on Twitter @MickeySunny

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