By Clem Aguiyi:Email: email@example.com
We are yet in another election season where you find people not lowering their voices to hear each other, and in the process, miss out on important issues.
We all agree that Nigeria is sick and require rescue and yet we are headed on the wrong path and about to hire the wrong physician. I see religion and tribe taking prominence over national issues. The leader that will rescue Nigeria isn’t the most gifted in the act of seduction and rhetoric, who want to be cheered for making outlandish claims but the leader that will unite, secure and build a prosperous economy.
I have in my shock and disbelief heard people argue over their heads that any Igbo who vote for a Fulani or Northerner is a slave. I have seen Northern Moslems swear that they will not accept a Christian Northerner as Vice President, talk-less a Christian President from the South. I have also heard pastors and imams via from their sermons to ask their congregations to vote for only members of their religion. Is this the future we want? If all the Muslim presidents we have had in the past , including Buhari couldn’t solve the problems of the North, what’s the guarantee that a Southerner or a Christian president will solve all the problems faced by Christians?
My point is that a bad leader is a bad leader irrespective of tribe and religion. Buhari is an example of bad leader. Despite the trauma of his bad governance, it’s also time we recover our reasonings and understand that election is competition. It means A supports B ; C supports D. An Igbo man who supports a Northerner is not a slave, likewise a Yoruba man that supports an Igbo is not a traitor. It is unfortunate that rhetoric is now hotter than reason and I don’t see us getting it right if we continue on this path. For now, to win any presidential election , you must at least win 24% of all major ethnic groups . This is constitutional wisdom hence we must allow people make their individual choices to support whomever they want to support without ethnic or religious profiling. I wish the clergies and clerics will take politics away from their pulpit and face their true callings of soul winning.
We are justifiably angry that the country is messed up, yet we are unable to put the blames squarely where the belong. In our frustration we let the bad guys mix up with the crowd and escape our scrutiny because we are fighting everyone. We blame Lord Lugard for the amalgamation of 1914. We blame our founding fathers for gifting us with independence in 1960. There is no past leader that we have not blamed. As if that’s not enough, we let the driver off and in turn blame the conductor for an accident.
I think we have been very unfair to most vice presidents of Nigeria. Imagine blaming Dr Alex Ekwueme for the leadership flaws of Alhaji Shehu Shagari or blaming Prof Yomi Osinbajo for the incompetence of President Muhammadu Buhari. This is what I find some of us doing to Abubakar Atiku. We have forgotten how President Obasanjo mistreated his Vice President because he Atiku stood against Obasanjo’s attempted third term in office, yet to us Obasanjo is a saint and the victim a villain.
We don’t even know who are our friends and who are our enemies. Because we are unable to prioritize our problems, we are unable to identify solutions. That we are angry is no justification for us to be sucked in emotionally by any promises of miracle by some demagogues preying on our frustration. Most countries that made the mistake of electing bad leaders, including those that elected Buhari and Hitler did so because they saw in them a messiah. Beware of the saints because there is no saint in politics. What we need is a leader with the character to unite and secure this country and build it back to prosperity.
Our major problem today is lack of unity. Nigeria’s number one obstacle in this regard is President Buhari. Once he is gone by 2023, it will be like a heavy load lifted off every everyone. Once he gets out of the way and we will begin our journey of social, political and economic recovery.
Buhari is a problem not because he is Fulani or Moslem but because he is a bad leader. His leadership character is catastrophic. He is grossly incompetent and has no clue about anything. Not even the issue of security which ordinarily should be his turf did he record a pass. We have had leaders from Azikiwe to Buhari . I don’t think anyone of these leaders compares to Buhari when it comes to incompetency and polarizing the country . He is the one standing in our way to stand in brotherhood despite the difference in our tongue , religion and tribe.
I have personally reviewed all the major candidates in this upcoming election and the only one that seemed prepared to lead and with the character to unite, secure the country and build it back to prosperity is Atiku Abubakar. His life transcends religion and ethnicity. He is one leader whose mother , father, wives , children touch all sections of this country. I have no doubt in my mind that as a leader he will be able to recover our social cohesion and restore back people’s faith , trust and confidence in the country. So far, he is the major candidate that is not phony about his choice of Vice-Presidential candidate. In choosing Ifeanyi Okowa out of the three potential nominees presented to him by the party, his choice of Ifeanyi was deliberate. He was partly influenced to choose him as a running mate because he is Igbo. Atiku understands that the Igbo need to be in the same room with other Nigerians to build unity. It’s now left for us as a people to rebuild our bridges and recognize the Igbo in Anioma, Ikwere and other artificial divides and accord them all dignity and respect deserving of a brother. We must realize that we cannot fly far with one wing.
I have also heard people argue about the major political parties and which of them will win 2023 presidential election. I acknowledge that it is still too early in the day to reach a definite conclusion on how the election will unfold. I also acknowledge that this election will be the first election since 1999 where some fringe parties will pose a threat to the two major parties. I concede that NNPP and Labor Party will make impact in this election. They may garner some millions of votes but I don’t see them causing major upsets.
In the end, the election will be a contest between the ruling APC and opposition PDP. This election is PDPs election to win for the reason that APC in the past seven years took Nigerians to hell and back. Virtually everyone is tired and fed up with the incompetent leadership of the party. I am reluctant to endorse NNPP and Labor Party because these are parties that had not been tried and tested before. I cannot also reasonably compare them with either PDP or APC and therefore cannot entrust our fragile federation in the hands of some amateurs.
However, I am much more comfortably disposed to compare PDP and APC and say which era is better. As an adult, I lived through PDP leadership from 1999 to 2015. I saw the efforts made by the party to build a strong economy and maintain social cohesion. Like most governments they solved some problems and created some problems too. They were not perfect and of course one of the weakest oppositions in recent memory. But compared to APC administration which commenced from 2015 to date , PDP years were better. APC is to say the least , evil. They had no agenda other than to ruin, and had successfully ruined the country and anything they touched. If PDP is successful in 2023 as I wish the will, I pray that they should to restore us back to 2015 and improve on their records, that will be change.
The Presidential candidate of PDP has repeatedly harped on social cohesion , security, productive economy, quality education and devolving more powers to the State. He needs to amplify these issues so that they will sink. He also will need a team that will not just embody his leadership skill, but talents with common sense economy like Kingsley Moghalu, the frugality and prudent management of resources like Peter Obi, the courage of Nyesom Wike, the frankness of El rufai and audacity of Rabiu Kwakwanso. That’s the unity government I expect post Buhari where every good hand irrespective of party, religion, tribe and tongue is on deck to salvage the country.
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