Ever since Nigeria’s Independence in 1960 and becoming a Republic in 1963, the country seems to have been living on the edge; living dangerously, like the adrenalin-junkies of the extreme sports scene, so to speak, tottering on the edge of the precipice; sitting on a keg of gunpowder and generally courting one political disaster or catastrophe or the other and surviving, incredibly. It has been an amalgam of comedy of errors and journeys into fear and desperation, so much so that several Western countries, especially the United States, in exasperation, had often predicted the break-up of the country in anarchic and possibly traumatic fashion.
Yet, every time – 1964 post-election violence in the south west , the pogroms that led to the Civil War; countless unsuccessful and successful coup-de-etat’s, religious and ethnic conflicts; kidnappings and terrorisms; vicious dictatorships and electoral violence, massive looting and corruption of its leaders, etc. – Nigeria just about manage to be pulled off the edge by some unseen hand in the nick of time and rights itself up, and goes on as if nothing has happened, its citizens happy to continue with their sedate and contented ways of life as if nothing has happened, and the leaders live to fight again, while the whole watching world heaves another sigh of relief and shake their heads in awe at the resilience of these people called Nigerians. It is an incredible phenomenon.
Yet another proof of this uniquely Nigerian phenomenon is what ex-president Obasanjo said recently in a Washington, DC recently. He said “countries across the African continent are happy over the outcome of the presidential election in Nigeria, which saw the defeat of incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan”, and that “President Goodluck Jonathan was a moving train who was providentially stopped from collapsing Nigeria”.
The former president described Nigeria as a country that obsessively plays “a dangerous game of moving close to the precipice …. the country came close to disintegration in the run-up to the 2015 elections but switched swiftly to the path of redemption after the polls”. Obasanjo observed that Nigeria’s tendency to flirt with near-death experiences stretches back to colonial times when it almost cost the country the chance of gaining political independence from Britain.
“I hope we will not fall over one of these days,” Ebora of Owu added. So do I.
So I consider it rather unfortunate that some short-sighted, aggrieved and selfish unpatriotic politicians and their followers are taking the unprecedented defeat of an incumbent president and therefore the defeat of the ruling PDP to an opposition party as personal political and material loss, rather than exercising and expanding their brains and look at the bigger picture for the benefit of the common good. Such people are devoid of any progressive and development interest of Nigeria and Nigerians and the larger African society.
I have always posited, and never wavered in the belief, that Nigeria Elections 2015, for me has never been about Jonathan or Buhari, PDP, APC or any other political party or candidates, at the national level; neither do these matter to me at the state and legislative levels.
With some altruism, I believe well-meaning, sincere and truly patriotic Nigerians should be looking at the procedures and outcome of these elections as a maturing experience in the democratic process that we have embraced. Nigerians, again, well-meaning ones, should be happy relieved that a CHANGE has come over our people – that even the grass root people are now gradually recognising what democracy is about, are embracing it and most importantly, are exercising their rights as a people and citizen of this world. They are finally realising that their votes will always count, unlike before where unscrupulous, evil, greedy and selfish politicians hijack the people’s will and votes. How many of the so-called elites in Nigeria living in high-brow areas scattered across Nigeria leave their air-conditioned living-rooms on election days to go out and queue in the sun and rain to vote? It is the ordinary grass-root Nigerian that constitute the voting majority and that is a very positive sign. It is these people you see in the polling units, persevering, being bullied, patient, resilient and dogged in their intention to cast their votes, come rain or sun; either drenched in the soaking rain or sweltering under the harsh sun and heat. Tell me how many Lekki, Ikoyi, VI, GRA, Bodija, Garki residents can stand all those inconveniences just to vote.
My people are now gradually realising and happy in the knowledge that they are the architects of their own lives and society, their own government, progress and development, and that they are embracing a system of government, and electing their own government which allows them to grow, determine their own destiny and reap the benefits derived from the vast wealth and resources of their own country.
They have realised that the resources and wealth of this country is not at all for the select, greedy, decadent and shameless cabalistic few who have been holding their welfare, well-being and progress back and hostage for the past five decades.
Yes, it is good for Nigerians, it is good for Africa and it is indeed good for the world.
It is only self-serving people, some of who are suffused with ethnic and religious bigotry, who will not accept that Nigeria cannot continue to be run erratically, corruptly and with “fire-brigade” approach, as we’ve been doing for decades, while we call on God to save us, yet condone the evils being perpetrated on us by these God-less hypocrites. Why don’t we call on God to destroy these people? Or at best, to change their ways? These are people who are finding it difficult to accept defeat and see the bigger picture. They are unpatriotic people who consider not being in government as a personal affront and a denial or blocking of their access to the wealth, resources and power that comes with being in the ruling party or with the political office to which they have now been excluded.
Ultimately, what do this ilk of people use these power, wealth and resources for? Nothing, except to oppress their less fortunate fellow men and women.
We pray for our leaders in church and mosques every time; we pray for them in our minds, yet they never change. They even join us to pray, and adding insult to injury, they even exhort us to pray for them, knowing fully well these prayers will not be heard or will not work, having made up their minds on the various indignities they have designed for us.
A truly holistic approach is that Nigerians should not see this as a defeat for President Jonathan and a victory for Buhari, or as a shame to the PDP and gloating for the APC, rather it is a defeat to poor, visionless, focus-less and corrupt governance and mismanagement of our vast resources and wealth and a victory to us, Nigerians, for our patience all these decades, our sufferings, a triumph of democracy in Africa, and an optimism for Change. We are now assured in the knowledge and praxis that in four years’ time, barring any attempt to scupper our gains, our vote will count again, and we can vote Buhari and his APC government out (as well as the any wayward state governor, senator, representative, assembly member, councillor and local government chairperson) if they are not doing what we elected them to do; what we want and expect them to do.
We were heading to doom, like ex-president Obasanjo put forward, the way we were heading. We were heading, and at very great speed, towards the abyss of disintegration and despair. And the drivers of the train either were blissfully deliberately unaware and/or do not care where they were driving the train of destruction to. We have now had a chance to arrest the plummeting of the country into failure, anarchy and chaos. Let’s keep the momentum of this change going, and do away with the “bad belle” of the sore losers.
That is the sweetness of democracy. It is sweet if we do it right. It is beneficial if we do it right. It is progressive if we do it right. We can be what we want if we do it right. It will certainly make life better for us if we do it right.
This is our power. We must use our power.