There are Consequences

by Opeyemi Ajayi

Our dearly blessed country, Nigeria is currently on a precipice but how did we get here?
The acclaimed giant of Africa is snoring while its citizens die from curable diseases, the pride of Africa envisioned by the nationalist is currently a mirage.
The economic boom that enveloped the country after independence has been taken over with the title of the poverty capital of the world.
The purpose driven vehicle envisioned to lead the negro race out of racism & economic retardation into an economic giant is currently battling with lack of electricity, ethnic/ religious crisis, corruption and several other vices in the twenty- first century.
When democracy came in 1999 after long military rule, it was highly celebrated. Everyone had a breath of fresh air.
Individuals who cashed into political prominence with the nascent democratic dispensation seem to have forgotten so soon that many lives were lost just to have periodic elections.
The days of letter bomb, Sgt. Rogers killer squad, people missing mysteriously and other evil invention that characterized the military regime seem to have been deleted from our memory, hence the inability to care and nurture this democracy.
How did we get here where democracy seems not to be a system of value to our countrymen? How did we get here where votes are being bought like biscuit and bitter cola on election day?
Lives were lost to have this democracy that we are toying with and seem not to care about today.
Democracy came in, in 1999 through the most unexpected means, the political calculators of that time didn’t even trust the administration that handed over due to past failed promises.
Majority of those who fought military administration did not believe that Gen. Abubakar will hand over power as promised, many of them did not participate in the electoral process.
At the Presidential election, we were left with only Olusegun Obasanjo and Olu Falae in 1999.
The “owners of Nigeria” settled for Olusegun Obasanjo.
Some pundits have argued that it was a wrong choice, however, the owners of Nigeria seem to mean well for the country and their reasoning and decisions might be difficult to fault.
Would Olu Falae have been able to identify and negotiate with the several “god’s” who dominate several regions and government houses in Nigeria?
Would he have had the capacity to demobilize the military like Obasanjo did?
We will never know.
Unfortunately, the choice of the “owners of Nigeria” was just released from years of detention, he needed time to understand the current realities.
He used many months to understudy the system, it was definitely different from what he left in 1979, things have changed drastically.
By the time he had a grasp of governance, 2003 election was around the corner.
He began campaigning for 2nd term earnestly, he couldn’t do enough.
Rather than raise a successor after the elections, he was scheming for constitutional amendment to seek for a 3rd term in office.
Nigerians from almost all walks of life opposed it.
By the time he realized that 3rd term was impossible, it was too late to mentor a successor.
He couldn’t trust any of the folks around him, he chose an unknown Yar‘Adua.
Yar’Adua became terribly ill and couldn’t function effectively till his death.
Goodluck E. Jonathan became president; he took over the death of Late President Yar’Adua.
Then Gen. Buhari took over in a keenly contested election in 2015.
Due to our long stretch of military administration, the F.G. has too much responsibilities on its plate.
A lot is at stake for whoever is the President. Until we restructure the country effectively, it’ll continue like that this, very few things should be controlled from Abuja.
We keep allowing the political class to cause strategic divisions with religion and ethnicity, we allow political patronage to becloud our sense of judgement rather than capacity and or ability to deliver good governance.
Unlike military administration where power cannot change without a coup or death of the C-In-C, democracy offers us the ability to regularly change government.
How we keep voting well known incompetent folks and expect premium democratic dividend is a subject to be critically studied by psychologist, our voting pattern needs to be processed.
Another opportunity is upon us to elect leaders across the board from state Houses of Assembly to National Assembly, from the Managers of 36 States, to Aso Rock landlord and his /her would be vice.
We should subdue emotions and allow critical reasoning to critically analyze whom we’re voting.
Capacity to unite all the various tribes as one Nigeria, practical understanding of religious tolerance, ability to allow rule of law, understanding of the basic knowledge of economics, ability to negotiate effectively and represent us at international fora.
People who are not greedy but have the capacity to create wealth and create opportunity for men and women with ideas to thrive should join political parties. You don’t have to contest elections, but we need sane minds to determine whom our candidates would be.
Above all, register in the on-going CVR exercise and have your PVC.
Nigeria has the ability to become the most desirable country to live on earth but we must elect good leaders.
There is a very thin line between whom we elect into political offices and the price of salt. Those we elect will determine price of petrol, kerosene, diesel and gas. Whether or not kidnapping, banditry, shooting in churches will stop depends on whom we elect in 2023.
May we make the right choices this time around.
Elections have consequences.

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