It is a happy time in Nigeria and for many Nigerians. After many travails and years of patient suffering, the will of the people has had its way. Millions of people around the world can hardly believe that an incumbent democratic President contesting for a re-election in Nigeria can ever be defeated and cast aside by the votes of the electorate. It has never happened in her democratic history. It is indeed a happy time, a victory of Nigerians.
Victory of Nigerians. That is important to note for this election has not quite been about the one who has now won the election. We have argued at several times that erstwhile General Buhari who now becomes a democratically elected Mr. Buhari is merely a figure for a greater tidal change washing through Nigeria. The people are seeking for a change in their lives. They are tired of a life of a slave in their own country that supplies the world of energy resources yet lacks energy within herself and her people.
Yes, they saw in General Buhari a figure of a past leader who is resolute and true, dedicated to his words and capable of giving a direction, yet his election and choice goes beyond him. It is much more about the unquantifiable search for a change and for a real meaningful change. This is why the duel is not yet won by anybody. There is indeed no victor nor vanquished. It is not the North that won, it not the South-South that lost.
If there was any victor at all in this duel, it is the Nigerian people whose will has come to bear, whose votes have become powerful than a National army or the fear of Boko Haram’s bombs. The victor is the resilience of a people whose national resources can afford them a beautiful, comfortable life but who have suffered ignominy and misrule for decades of years. Nigerians are the true Victors. You cannot all be named! From the good minds and individuals in the opposition party to the several others across the divide, from the millions within and millions in diaspora, congratulations to us all. On such a day like this one would also want to remember the likes of Moshood Abiola, Ken-Saro Wiwa, Gani Fawehinmi and many others who have gone before us for their contributions to the democratic gains of today.
Having in view the aforementioned fact that we cannot possibly name all those who have been instrumental to the success recorded by Nigeria today, let us all the same recognize three main individuals who are men of the moment as far as Nigeria Election 2015 is concerned. Their special recognition is necessary not only for the sake of history but for a multiplication and repetition of such sacrifices that they have made, so that it can become seeds to be further sown for a more fruitful future.
1. First on the list is the President-elect, General Buhari himself. Consider the campaign of hate and deceit against this man in the past few months. Consider also the fact that, like one with a Lincoln-syndrome, this is the fourth time he is contesting the position of democratic President. This man has more than enough to live on, yet he is known to be very frugal and simple. He is therefore not looking for position to enrich himself. In spite of that he chose to suffer these insults and calumny of many, some of whom are now shamelessly beginning to pander to his side. It is a shame one can call them brothers but for a re-building of a new Nigeria, that is what they indeed are.
Buhari has thus won a temporary name for himself with this development. It is for him to now make that name permanent and not disappoint the people. Buhari Sir, the people voted for change; if they voted for you it is because they voted for change. That should keep ringing in your mind. The hope is that you will surround yourself with great minds (which abound in the country) and beware of the sycophants who indirectly worked towards installing you by pulling poor Mr. Jonathan down with their selfish and sycophant prodding and hosannas.
It is time for you to stand up and keep faith with the yearning of nobility and performance that fuelled the people’s choice of you. I need not tell you that many are already around you, dancing with so much zest, whose desire is merely some stomach infrastructure. Be careful sir, and be true to what is expected of you. Nigerians who chose you are now awake more than ever with the strength of the PVC (Permanent Voter’s Card) technology and its allies whose future is so bright and its power beaming. So also is the ruling party that is now becoming an opposition party going to be watching you keenly. No matter how you see it, you cannot afford to fail.
2. The second man to give kudos in this whole development is the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Professor Attahiru Jega, together with his team of staff. On behalf of all Nigerians, and indeed on behalf of several millions around the world praying for and wishing Nigeria well, I sincerely thank you and your team. This election, like many worldwide, has had its challenges and imperfections. It is our hope that they shall serve for a better performance, particularly in the forthcoming Governorship elections in April. The PVC has brought a new dawn to the political clime of Nigeria and in spite of its shortcomings, it is internationally acclaimed as the way to go. A better political stage is indeed being laid out here in Nigeria, and the hope is that things can only go better. Thank you for your gentlemanliness. At a time that many have made thuggery and unruly ways the hallmark of politics (even in the collation hall!), thank you for making Nigeria proud.
3. I would like to propose that the incumbent President deserves commendation for his humble and matured acceptance of defeat in this election. That is a hallmark of a good fighter. But much more, it is a sign of someone who has the good of Nigeria at heart. At a time when the elders were stoking up the heat of rejection and hate, and the FFK’s threatening fire and brimstones, President Goodluck Jonathan was one of the very first persons to congratulate the President-elect. Thank you for this very matured decision. Those outside of that office might not know its import or the strength of mind needed to make that submission. But several individuals in position of power and anyone who has tasted authority knows how humanly difficulty it could be to give it up, particularly in the present Nigeria. It is a cultural dirt that we hope will soon be gradually washed away.
Be that as it may, gentlemanly as this singular action is, one can not however forget to say much more was expected from the President in the past. My argument always, in my little knowledge of President Jonathan and I stand to be corrected, is that this man was never the one thirsting after power like a carnivore for meat. He was only being goaded along to satisfy a few who wanted to maintain the status quo which was favourable to them even if inimical to tens of millions of Nigerians. I argue that the President should have resisted that goading, if indeed he was the president, rather than keeping on and allowing the nation bear the brunt and the world laugh us in the face. The cabals working at different fronts of our national life and somewhat keeping the President under ransom should have been resisted by him and exposed. If he could not do that, then he should not have accepted to be President talk less of re-contesting to be one. Lesson for another day maybe, but then this honourable acceptance of the people’s will is indeed gallant and praiseworthy.
In any case, it is now time for work. It is time for a new dispensation. It is time to leverage on the newly but surely growing tempo of desire for a change among Nigerians. A true leader is now needed more than ever. It is therefore time for Mr. Buhari, more than ever, to show his magnanimity and shepherd this country to green fields. Your manifesto and that of your party is in the hands of Nigerians and they are waiting anxiously for your keen actions on same.
Surely this is not about giving the people water and light. Big do as that might seem, the Nigeria that would be meaningful in this dispensation is not one in which the government beats its chest for providing the basic necessities of life. That is what our fore-fathers worked at providing for hundreds of years in history, though I must say we have not quite done well even in that area. You only need to look at the quality of our energy, health and education infrastructures, to mention a few, to concur with that. The irony is that the young ones dancing for victory today are doing so within the Fela state: “suffering and smiling.” What with the deluge of ridiculous English grammar that we have witnessed in the media in the past few months! It tells us a lot about the state of our education sector, like other sectors. But I digress.
All the same, at this juncture in Nigeria much more is needed if the country is to favourably compete with the committee of nations. What is urgently and necessarily needed is the setting up of a Nigeria which is run on good policies and merits; a Nigeria to which anyone can crave to come because his right is protected and his interest secured.
This is the sort of Nigeria that would bring in the much-needed foreign investment and promote trade and diversification of our economy. It is a Nigeria in which the rights of subjects, the dignity of individuals, the contracts of businesses will not depend on the changing moods of some Director General or Inspector General or Governor of a State. This is most important. To make Nigeria run on efficient and internationally credible policies must be a guiding vision of Mr Buhari and his eventual cabinet. This way Buhari would have built a Nation and not just lead for the next four years. He would have built a virile nation which can be further developed by subsequent governments, a good foundation having being laid.
This would seem to be a key factor to the success in the so called first world countries. It is not that they do not have their own problems. It is not that there are no incidents of corruption or some misrule. It is rather that such nations have enduring structures which are able to keep the country running always, and whenever such incidents like corruption and misrule show their heads, these capable and enduring structures are able to deal with them and ensure justice and equity. Of course one of such structures is the constitution. That one needs a revisit as quick as yesterday.
To me this is the Hercules’ task before Buhari. Build a nation, not just lead or rule. Revisit the issue of having a true people’s constitution than the forced and incompetent rules we have right now. And let us begin to rebuild this nation anew, ridding it of mediocrity at all fronts and truly developing our people. It is time for us to wake up from the mediocre sleep of a kitchen cabinet of some President’s wife and be guided by policies and principles which apply to all, high and low.
It is about time Nigeria maximized the several potentials within her reach. It is time for Nigerians to be consoled from the many night-years of suffering and living on the legendary two dollars per day. It is time for Nigeria to truly rise up and unshackle herself from self-inflicted shame which even trails us abroad, with governments of less than half of our GDP refusing qualified Nigerians visa to their countries!
There is a big task before the incoming President and it sometimes makes one shudder. But a good man of vision and resolute mind can accomplish this task. It is that man that Nigerians hope they have elected.