Nigerians in SA divided over next President
by SAVIOUS KWINIKA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – THE ongoing presidential poll is dividing opinion among Nigerians living in South Africa.
The Nigerians, numbering thousands here, are split over which candidate and party must be given a mandate to lead Africa’s most populous nation which also is the biggest economy in the continent.
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) led by incumbent Goodluck Jonathan and the All Progressive Congress (APC), led by former military rule, Muhammadu Buhari are in a close contest to win the polls that are ongoing.
Several Nigerians living in South Africa, interviewed by CAJ News, said they were closely monitoring the elections back in their country with keen interest with the hope they will be free and fair.
Ayere said he was a “non-aligned” who only hoped his country well.
“Nigeria is the richest country in Africa with abundant resources, but development is severely lacking due to ill-management.
“Whoever wins this weekend’s polls must be focused on addressing these challenges of electricity shortage, unemployment, tribal and ethnic divisions, otherwise we stand to lose big as the continent’s great nation,” Ayere said.
He however refused to be drawn into which party would win the election arguing that he wished the people’s choice prevailed.
“I’m a non-aligned Nigerian, so whoever wins will lead or government the country.
“Whoever wins this weekend’s election must fight corruption, drive investment and create economic opportunities for millions Nigerians,” Ayere said.
Economist, Nwora Okwonko, said PDP’s Jonathan would emerge victorious.
“I will not waste my time hiding my preferred candidate in these elections. I’m rallying behind PDP to win overwhelmingly in order to ensure our nation does not become an Islamic state as perpetrated by the APC.
“We cannot have Africa’s richest country divided on religious, tradition or ethnic because of a few narrow minded people,” said Okwonkwo, accusing the APC of standing for the minority ethnic people’s interests.
Several Nigerians interviewed by CAJ News in Johannesburg and Pretoria argued that any victory for the main opposition All Progressive People (APC) today) would be retrogressive for the country, although others differed.
“Buhari has huge following in the north but the problem with him is that he champions the cause for an Islamic state, something that millions Nigerians do not subscribe to. We want a united Nigeria whether one is a Christian or an Islam!
” So, I pray that Goodluck Jonathan prevails in these elections in order to continue with his reforming of the country. The PDP governing party has propelled Nigeria to become Africa’s top economy—-and this is what we want and nothing else,” said Okwonkwo.
However, journalist-cum-businessman, Kingsley Ibokette, differed with Okwonkwo saying retaining Jonathan would be supporting “corruption” and “government of “crooks.”
“APC will carry day today (Saturday)! If people are not going to vote according to ethnic groups, then Buhari will win overwhelmingly! Under the current PDP administration have seen only a few surrounding the president lining up their pockets at the expense of development in the country,” he said.
“Worse still, these people, they failed to bring back the Chibok girls until the latest campaign aimed at swaying the last minute vote, this not good at all.
“Educated Nigerians abroad would always want to see the country deal with rampant corruption so as to do business in transparent manner,” said Ibokette.
The elections are a topical issue among Nigerians in South Africa.
Nigerians could be seen gathered in their food outlets shops and internet cafes updating each another about the developments back home.
Others with smartphones were busy logging on to various websites to check progress while others were glued to television sets to follow the polls in the West African state.
The voting on Saturday marks 55 years since Nigeria attained its independence from Britain yet majority of the people still grapple with electricity shortage, fuel, unemployment and ethnic divisions.
– CAJ News
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