President Goodluck Jonathan’s dismal performance in the last six years has brightened his opponent Muhammadu Buhari’s chances in next month presidential poll, the New York Times newspaper said.
The US-based international publication said in its editorial Monday entitled “Nigeria’s miserable choices” that Jonathan’s poor record has helped a lot in soaring Buhari’s appeal among Nigerians.
The March 28 presidential election “presented voters with the dispiriting choice of keeping a lousy incumbent or returning to power a former autocratic leader,” the newspaper said.
The newspaper editorial said, that Buhari “has emerged as potential winner is more of an indictment of Mr. Jonathan’s dismal rule than a recognition of the former military chief’s appeal.”
On the postponement of the polls, the New York Times said “any argument to delay the vote might be more credible if President Goodluck Jonathan’s government had not spent much of the past year playing down the threat posed by the militants and if there were a reasonable expectation that the country’s weak military has the ability to improve security in a matter of weeks.”
It said that “it appears more likely Mr. Jonathan grew alarmed by the surging appeal of Muhammadu Buhari, a former military ruler who has vowed to crack down on Boko Haram.”
By dragging out the race, Mr. Jonathan stands to deplete his rival’s campaign coffers, while he continues to use state funds and institutions to bankroll his own, the publication said.
The abductions and attacks by the group have exposed the weaknesses of Nigeria’s armed forces and the dysfunction of the government, the newspaper said.
“Although Mr. Jonathan’s government has in the past been less than enthusiastic, and at times obstructive, in response to offers of American and European aid, he appears to be growing increasingly worried,” the editorial said.
Under Jonathan’s rule, beyond insecurity, entrenched corruption and the government’s inability to diversify its economy as the price of oil crumbles “also caused Nigerians to look for new leadership,” the newspaper said.
The newspaper concluded that though Nigeria cannot afford an electoral crisis, “the security forces may not be able to safeguard many districts on Election Day. But postponement is very likely to make the security threat worse.”