For sixteen giddy years (fraught with fiscal heist and misgovernance) the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) ruled over Nigeria and Nigerians. What started in 1999 with the second coming of the man from Owu whom the late Gen. Sani Abacha had wanted to liquidate through his ‘implication’ in a phantom coup plot ended on May 29, 2015 as Goodluck Jonathan handed over power to the opposition leader, now President Muhammadu Buhari, who trounced him silly in the polls. The house of cards Olusegun Obasanjo constructed collapsed because the foundation was morally shaky. A ‘democracy’ built on lies, corruption and misapplication of values is bound to come tumbling down one fateful day. Nigeria and Nigerians are happier with the sound defeat of the oppressive party that had projected ruling the richest country in Africa for sixty years! So, instead of sixty what they got was sixteen and achieved very little or nothing.
When on May 29 this year history was made in Nigeria by the peaceful hand-over of power democratically between GEJ and GMB Nigeria was celebrated the world over and Nigerians, even in the face of daunting socio-economic challenges, at home and abroad, were proud of the great positive news emanating from our motherland. From the Jonathan era to that of Buhari democracy remains the greatest victor and beneficiary. For the very first time in our chequered democratic evolution (from the truncated first Republic to the present nascent one) true democracy prevailed as the incumbent patriotically acknowledged defeat without looking for ways to cause confusion or trouble (reminiscent of the June 12, 1993 electoral debacle) in a land where Boko Haram terrorists are causing enough trouble already by committing daily atrocious acts against defenseless citizens here and there even beyond our frontiers.
The new Nigeria of our dreams must be realized in our generation lest we be called the wasted generation! The new Nigeria began on May 29 with the smooth transition that served as a lesson to other African nations still under one form of dictatorship or the other. The Buhari presidency marks the very beginning of a new dawn when the lost glory of the African giant should be restored in full. There is no doubt anywhere that ours as a nation is endowed with great potentials. And Nigerians are indeed formidable! We salute the courage and stoicism of our people in the face of failed leadership at the centre. Providence has placed on our collective shoulders the huge responsibility of providing for the millions of our poor and hungry compatriots by empowering them economically through the provision of mass employment, good heath care delivery
and security of lives and property.
The new Nigeria entails a radical change in the democratic culture of our people making it possible for people power to triumph at all times. Our normal way of doing things in a ‘business-as-usual’ climate ought to change if we must give birth to the new Nigeria being envisaged. The new Nigeria demands peace, harmony, and unity from all and sundry. It exhorts us all to love our nation no matter the imperfections and challenges and work together towards her greatness. The new Nigeria calls for our collective efforts toward deepening the democratic acquisition by shunning complacency and aloofness. It challenges us to live up to our responsibility as law-abiding citizens and people of grace and honour.
Making justice, fairness and egalitarianism the established values in our lives should constitute the battle axe. We must therefore say a resounding ‘no’ to any rogue regime and corrupt leadership in both the federal and state levels. The change we seek cannot come from without but within! It takes determination and courage for a people to wage a revolution that would alter the way and manner society ought to be structured to favour the masses and criminalise other interests that subjugate them and their well-being.
The new Nigerian is one who obeys the laws of the land and shuns every vice that would bring her fatherland’s image into disrepute. He is that citizen that abhors corruption and joins forces with the crusaders against same. He is that person who tells the truth at all times and upholds the virtues of honesty, justice and good neighbourliness. She is that woman who holds herself and her Nigerianess in high esteem making effort to improve herself in every department of life. He is that man that values democracy and works assiduously towards the greatness of the nation.
The new Nigerian is he that allows peace to reign and prays for the economic sound health of the nation. It is she that says ‘yes’ to life — living and letting others live as well. The new Nigerian is a good ambassador of his country wherever he is found or based projecting a good image of Nigeria and believing in her unity and progress. It is that fellow who is ever ready to die in what he believes in including making the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the nation. The new Nigerian is the one that buys into the idea of discipline and work as essential tools for self-reliance.
The new Nigerian cannot be an economic saboteur, internet scammer, petrol hoarder or cultist. (S)he is not that person that is playing truancy in school or practising sex-for-grade in the Ivory Towers. When your ‘business’ is oil bunkering or ‘419’ then you do not belong to the new Nigeria and you are not a new Nigerian. When you go to school to fail your exams rather than excelling in your studies as a studious student then you have failed yourself as a new Nigerian in the new Nigeria! When you are a young girl and rather than studying hard to be among the best you go after lecturers or teachers for grades or marks by seducing them then you have counted yourself out of the Nigeria we are working on. And when you are a lecturer or teacher and you fail in your duty of impacting knowledge deserving of your wage then consider yourself as not part of the change we are seeking. When you are a parent and allows your children to be wayward then you have done a great disservice to the society by not raising your children well to be good citizens.
The new Nigerian is one that is tough enough (but not rough) facing the vicissitudes of everyday life with the conquering intrepid heart of the lion. He is the tough fellow that would say the truth to power no matter whose ox is gored. He is that tough smart guy who would defend the defensible and seek justice for his fellow being no matter their origin. However, if you are tough enough as an outlaw engaged in such criminal activities as hired assassination, narcotics peddling, baby-making factory proprietorship or international prostitution import-export business then you are not part of our new vision. If you allow yourself to be hoodwinked into jihadism by Boko Haram by becoming a suicide-bomber then consider yourself a member of a lost generation destined for hell!
We have wasted 55 years of our national independent life fighting some necessary and unnecessary wars (war against indiscipline, Biafran war, war against graft etc) and stealing trillions of dollars from the national treasury in a mind-boggling demonstration of both unpatriotism and cupidity — achieving very little or nothing in the process. We have spent decades antagonizing one another on ethnic lines hacking away recklessly at the roots of national unity that it remains a miracle that the confused house has not yet fallen apart! The time is now for a national re-birth, one anchored on mutual respect for our diversity and unassailable patriotism and honesty.
Together we must resolve as a committed people with the fear of God or Allah to start in earnest the quest of rebuilding our battered institutions and destroyed values. We have on our hands the onerous task of rebuilding our miserable nation and building the new Nigerian. The future awaits no one and that very future is Now!