Following the recent controversies that have trailed Gen Mohammadu Buhari’s decision to contest in the coming presidential elections. Political analyst Adedayo Ademuwagun, gives 5 reasons why Buhari is so popular right now. Excerpts below
Muhammadu Buhari is probably the most popular politician in the country right now. The hashtag #FeBuhari has been trending on social media and a lot people have been rooting strongly for him around the country. He just might win the election coming up next month. Things are going really well for him.
Buhari has run in the last three elections and lost all the time. However, this time some things have changed the equation in his favour and given him an unprecedented advantage. Here are five reasons why he’s so popular right now.
Jonathan’s Popularity Has Dipped
Goodluck Jonathan was simply the most popular candidate going into the 2011 elections, but his record and policies as president have cost him that popularity. Many people today detest the way he’s been dealing with corruption. They think he’s been too lenient and that he doesn’t even have the political will to fight corruption seriously.
The fuel subsidy removal in 2012 also changed the way people think about him. He had won the election the year before by a landslide because people thought he was refreshing and could lead the way forward. But he lost nearly all of that goodwill after he oversaw that subsidy removal.
Besides, people expected him to do more during his tenure to end the bloodshed in the north and stop Boko Haram, but he didn’t deliver. His reforms in the power sector and some others have also not met the expectations of the Nigerian people. This makes the people think he’s incapable of leading Nigeria forward, and it’s why a lot of them now look on to Buhari to take charge and make things happen.
People Are Desperate For Change
Perhaps the worst problem standing in Jonathan’s way this year is the party he’s in. The PDP has an awful image among the people. The people think the PDP governments have been corrupt and incompetent and that things won’t change if PDP continues in power. PDP has been running the presidency for 16 years now and most Nigerians are frustrated about their government. The people are longing for a change.
So even though many aren’t sure the opposition is the answer to the problems the country has, they want to give another party a chance. The people’s desire for change is a major factor driving Buhari’s popularity.
Buhari Is The People’s Alternative
This election is effectively a contest between Jonathan and Buhari, and hardly anyone even knows who the nine other candidates running for president are. People have the impression that Buhari is the only alternative to Jonathan and that they have to choose between Jonathan and Buhari. So Buhari has no real competition apart from Jonathan.
Linda says, “I don’t believe things will get better if Jonathan gets a second term, but I’m also not sure things will be better if Buhari wins. Nevertheless I don’t want Jonathan, and there’s no other prominent candidate in the race except Buhari. So I prefer Buhari. I’ll vote anyone other than PDP no matter the age or religion of the candidate.”
Buhari Has Stronger Media Backing
Buhari and his party are clearly flawed. Many top politicians in the party are disreputable and even Buhari himself is over hyped. But the party has strong media backing.
The party has obviously spent a lot to malign the president in the media and belittle his good sides, while at the same time masking Buhari’s defects and overstating his capability. But Buhari didn’t have this opportunity during his past three campaigns, so now that he does, it’s made him more popular than ever.
The Merger Is Working For Him
Buhari scarcely registered any support in the west last time, for example. He beat Jonathan and everyone else in the north. However, he barely won 1% of the votes in the west and Jonathan beat him flatly. But now he’s the leading candidate in this region, thanks partly to that merger that gave rise to the APC.
Buhari has benefited very much from his current party’s goodwill in the west where the party has the strongest following and is by far more popular than PDP. The merger has worked like a charm for him. It’s one of the main things that have changed the equation in his favour and given him an unprecedented advantage.
Recently the governor of Plateau state, Jonah David Jang, asked the presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress, Gen Muhammadu Buhari, to give up his presidential ambition as he has contested three times for the post and failed.