Opinion: Buhari V. Jonathan, let us compare

by Bala Muhammed

The All Progressives’ Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) recently held their Conventions to elect/confirm their respective presidential flag-bearers. In the two parallel events held in Lagos and Abuja, former military Head of State, retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari, and incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan emerged as the two parties’ respective representatives at the February 2015 presidential elections. In their respective Acceptance Speeches, the two candidates kicked off their campaigns with a list of promises. This Column presents excerpts of those speeches so readers can on their own compare and contrast and start to prepare for 2015. (Names of the candidates are in alphabetical order, of course.)

BUHARI: God bless you. God bless our fatherland – Nigeria. Thank you.
JONATHAN: God bless you all. God bless our great Party, the PDP. God bless Nigeria. I thank you all.


BUHARI: To my fellow contestants…I pay my absolute compliments and congratulate you on the success of your respective campaigns. I extend my gratitude to you all for accepting the outcome of this convention and agreeing to support my candidature as we move forward. I shall meet with you all in the coming days to fashion out how we shall confront the challenge ahead.
JONATHAN: I thank the Party and the Organizing Committee for a successful convention. I thank all the delegates for a smooth nomination process.


BUHARI: Shall we continue in a situation where 250 of our daughters have been abducted and the government has been unable to rescue them or provide credible information about what steps they are taking?
JONATHAN: On my watch, the security of all citizens shall continue to be of utmost priority. With the exception of the civil war, never before in the history of our country have we faced the level of threat we see today. I assure all Nigerians that this Government will continue to do whatever is required to provide the security we deserve. It is encouraging that the security situation is improving, and by the grace of God, elections will be conducted in all states of the federation.


BUHARI: On corruption, the government will enhance EFCC’s powers to investigate independently. Moreover, we intend to plug the holes in NNPC accounting. There will no longer be two sets of books, one for public consumption and another for insiders who profit from this slick fraud. In an APC government, the public will know how much NNPC makes and where all the money goes. No longer shall illegal flows of massive sums leave these shores to finance other economies. While our people languish in poverty, we effectively give financial aid to nations that is not justified. I am sick of this. It must stop. The money saved will finance jobs, health care and the provision of social safety net for the needy, weak and vulnerable of our land.
JONATHAN: Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, our fight against corruption is on course. Our systematic efforts have been acknowledged and we will do more in the coming years. Corruption degrades development; we will continue this fight, without compromise.


BUHARI: What I say today is for all Nigerians: Christian and Muslim, Southern and Northern, rich and poor, young and old, man and woman. We are all citizens of Nigeria. There is no dividing line among us that I care to honour. Either we advance as one or fail altogether.
JONATHAN: Today, it is to our collective credit as a nation, that in spite of our challenges, our unity remains solid. All across our nation, the positive gains of the Transformation Agenda are being progressively enjoyed by our people.


BUHARI: We shall institute just policies that afford people the dignity of work and pay them a living wage for their sweat and toil. We intend to do this by instituting a national industrial policy, coupled with a national employment directive, that together shall revive and expand our manufacturing sector, creating jobs for our urban population and decreasing our reliance on expensive foreign imports.
JONATHAN: These last four years, my priority has been in building a strong and stable economy. We have created the enabling environment for businesses to thrive. These are essentials for securing Nigeria’s future. Back in 2008 and 2009, the country faced strong economic challenges arising from unstable oil prices, but we confronted it consciously and overcame. As the economic challenges of oil price-fall, looms in the months ahead, Nigeria needs tested hands that will provide certainty, in an uncertain world. We have a strong and capable economic team, which has already worked out strategies to manage the oil price volatility and curtail its effects.


BUHARI: We shall implement a national infrastructure master plan that will provide construction and related jobs across the land. Furthermore, by improving our transportation infrastructure through road, rail and port construction we expand the outer bounds of economic growth as no economy can grow beyond the capacity of its infrastructure… Shall we at home continue to live in a condition where the Power Holding Company and its successors seem only to have the power to hold us in darkness?
JONATHAN: Has change not come to our railway system? Has change not come to our airports? Has change not come to our roads network?…Is change not coming to the power sector?


BUHARI: Agriculture remains the backbone of the economy. Our government, when elected, will establish an agricultural policy that provides farmers a dignified living through improved inputs, improved extension services, access to credit and price support mechanisms.
JONATHAN: Has change not come to our agricultural sector?


BUHARI: We will be a compassionate government, for out of compassion arises the truest forms of wealth and progress a society can attain. We shall open the door to tertiary education to excellent students who otherwise could not afford it. Pregnant and poor women and children shall be entitled to basic health care.
JONATHAN: And we can do all this! Nigeria is not a land of despair. We are a people who show commitment and unity of purpose. Just look at how we stood up to the Ebola Virus Disease. We are a hard-working nation. And we will go from strength to strength.


BUHARI: I make these five pledges regarding the government if we are elected next February: We will govern Nigeria honestly, in accordance with the constitution; We will strive to secure the country and efficiently manage the economy; We will strive to attack poverty through broadly-shared economic growth and attacking corruption through impartial application of the law; We will tolerate no religious, regional, ethnic or gender bias in our government; We will return Nigeria to a position of international respect through patriotic foreign policy; I shall treat you equally as my people, my national family, my brothers and sisters…
JONATHAN: This will be a campaign, and an election, that will serve to consolidate our successes. I will give my all. I will not let you down. I will not fail the PDP. I will not fail you. Above all, I promise, I will not fail our great nation, Nigeria.


BUHARI: God bless you. God bless our fatherland – Nigeria. Thank you.
JONATHAN: God bless you all. God bless our great Party, the PDP. God bless Nigeria. I thank you all.


Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

Comments (4)

  1. Buhari spoke truth from the heart while Jonathan repeated the lies that saTAN has been feeding us with.Buhari remains the best man for the job.

  2. First off, I must state that speeches are not always representations of the intentions of the speaker. Most times, they are voices of the writer who more often than not differs from the speaker.
    Having established that, There will always be a diffrence between “I will…” and “I have…”

    Buhari speaks based on intentions, GEJ tells us what he has done.
    You might want to say “well, GMB is not president, he can only promise” That’s false. Obama wasn’t president when he campaigned and majority of the things in his speech were things he had done while he was senator or even school leader.

    Leadership should NOT be bestowed on glowing promises but on demonstration of ability. The president has shown that he can DO and if I’m to compare, I’ll pick him over Buhari anyday.

  3. I have compared both and i will go with GEJ.

    Good job, writer!

  4. Thank you for illuminatiing that Buhari has no ideas on how to move the nation forward in your process of elevating the discourse. It is interesting to note that Buhari was interviewed by ThisDay last week and when asked to comment on how he will handle challenges of economic changes, stayed he’ll use members of the armed forces. Fantastic! He didn’t even understand the question.
    Buhari’s manifesto states that he will amend the Constitution and also mentioned removing immunity. No one has realised that the General still thinks in terms of the army? Constitutional amendments come from the National Assembly and the General should have specified how he intended to battle the NA on the immunity clause without making decrees.
    President Jonathan has encouraged Bills that promote social good by signing them into law. He has set up facilities both economic based and shelter based to ensure that citizens get the most out of governance.
    Taxes are being streamlined and made easy with less chances of bribes happening.
    Government agencies now have FUNCTIONAL complaints desks.
    Agriculture has received an in depth boost and not a cosmetic one.
    Gen Buhari had re power of making decrees that would have helped the citizens. He didn’t have the burden of the national assembly but the decrees he made were Decrees 2 and 4 which suspending Chapter 4 of the constitution and killed the press.
    Show me structures assembly cross the nation put up by the Buhari Junta?

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