Muhammadu Buhari If you belong to any of the ethnic nationalities in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, it is in your best interest and the interest of those you love and cherish to vote for General Muhammadu Buhari. There are no compelling reasons to vote for Jonathan, but for Buhari. Sure, Jonathan is the “son of the soil;” but really, you ought not to be thinking in that direction. Don’t think small. Don’t be provincial. And don’t be trivial with your electoral decisions.

Let’s start with three simple questions: (1) in what ways has your life and the lives of your relatives and friends and neighbors improved since Jonathan became the acting and later substantive president; (2) what are his concrete and meaningful accomplishments in terms of political and economic growth and development; and (3) if he has not positively impacted your life the last six years, what makes you think he would after you entrust him with another four years? Believe me: there is nothing to be gained pouring water in a basket.

After all these years, what has Goodluck Jonathan done for the region and its people? What has he done for the poor, the needy and the underclass? GMB is the better man for the hope and aspiration of the everyday people of the region. There is every reason to believe that within the framework of the law, he will solve many of the age-old problems and challenges of the region (which include environmental degradation, lack of commensurate federal presence, creation of states, and socially responsible behavior on the part of the oil companies).

What I am driving at is simple: don’t entrust four more years to a man who has been a political failure the previous six year? To do so is to waste ten years of your precious life. Don’t you think so? Well then, do the right thing on March 28, 2015: Vote Buhari!

I am a Nigerian with very deep roots in the Niger Delta. Essentially, therefore, we have a shared lineage, shared historical experiences, and shared humanity. What is wrong is wrong and Jonathan, a fellow Niger Deltan, have been wrong for the region and wrong for our country. A man who was not able to expand our past and our present in terms of opportunity and possibilities should not be entrusted with our future.

Don’t let anyone deceive you. GMB is not what his critics and idle minds tell you he is. But instead, this is a very honest man, a purposeful leader. Public records indicate has never stolen or mismanaged a naira that belonged to the people. He is responsible and responsive. If you work for him or work with him, you will be held accountable for your egregious actions and inactions. Can you say this about Jonathan? Can you vouch for the “son of the soil”? Can you?

No one is happy at what the “son of the soil” has done and allowed others to do to our collective wealth.  No one is happy at what his wife has done and continues to do. On both sides, there has been no restraint, no accountability, and certainly no scruples. They’ve been sharing and chopping, chopping and sharing. That’s abuse of power. Imagine what four more year of waste, larceny and mismanagement would do to our economy, culture and society and to our governing institutions.

We come from the Niger Delta. But we are more than that. We are Nigerians. This country is ours; and so we cannot afford to let it collapse. We must vote wisely to save it.

President Jonathan did not create many of the problems we now face. But under his watch, things have worsened. In addition, newer problems have germinated. Through it all, he has not exhibited strong or purposeful leadership, or given the nation hope. We cannot continue this way. To accord him four more years is to guarantee the complete collapse of our fatherland.

And since President Jonathan has shown that he is incapable of making a difference, the time has come for us to pit our tent with a different man – a man and a leader capable of resetting our collective clock. He is able to bring a decent measure of decency, sanity, security and hope to a political and economic system gone awry. We are a hopeful and joyful and civic-minded people, we Niger Deltans. Let’s give GMB -- a hopeful and joyful and civic-minded leader -- the chance to right many of the wrongs of the last 30-plus years.

I have said this before, I will say it again. And again: Age is not and should not be a factor in this election. Second, GMB’s reasoning and decision-making faculties are in order, and in fact, his mind is sharper than many half his age. Third, his ideas and worldview are still relevant; and is a man who is open to contrary opinions. This is a man with a steady voice, steady hands and legs and with an intellect to match. His reputation, in and outside of the country, is an added benefit. Buhari will not use his office to enrich himself or his family. He will declare his assets. Sadly, we cannot say this of Jonathan -- the “son of the soil.” Oh, when was the last time he declared his assets?

In terms of violence, please talk to your sons. Talk to your daughters. Talk to your neighbors. Talk to those you love not to take up arms against the people or against the Buhari administration (should Jonathan lose the election). Elections are mostly about numbers. If a majority of the Nigerian electorates vote for GMB, he wins and becomes the next president. He becomes the “will of the people.” Let the new man have his turn and have his say. Do not encourage or condone violence!

Don’t disappoint yourself, don’t disappoint future generations. Help make March 28, 2015 the V-Day -- a day of victory for all Nigerians.  In massive and overwhelming numbers, vote for CHANGE. Sure, Jonathan is the “son of the soil,” but the fact is that incompetence is incompetence no matter who is at the helm of affairs. Similarly, a thief is a thief whether or not he is your brother, or a complete stranger. The pain and anguish you suffer will not be less. You don’t tolerate indignity simply because the perpetrator is your relative. What is bad is bad.

Respect and love yourselves. Respect and love our country. You do so by voting for a leader who has your interest and the interest of our country at heart.

Again, I ask you: how does a man who has been a political and economic failure tell you he will do better if you entrust him with another four years. Haba, we are Niger Deltans. We are smarter than that! Jonathan can’t be any better than what he has been the last couple of years. A mediocre! He does not have the capacity to be better. Move on. Vote Buhari.

Sabella Abidde lives in Alabama. He can be reached at: [email protected]

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