OPINION: Putting Light and Life into Nigeria 2019 ElectionAfrican News, Articles/Opinion, Featured Contributors/Columnists, Latest News Wednesday, November 8th, 2017
By Prof R. A. Ipinyomi, University of Ilorin, Nigeria
(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The song in Nigeria public places now is quite different from what they were singing at the onset of APC regime in 2015. The new song in the mouths of market women and their children sounds like, “We’d thought that APC would bring real change, Where children have free school meals and market women 5k a month, But every promise APC freely made isn’t fulfilled, So we want the real change come 2019”. We don’t know how many APC members still remaining beating their chests proudly, or whether they have heard the song in town, or whether the party has realised the allegation of itself disappointments. The focus at present is to analyse why there has been no real change. The regime started with a robust and healthy president but which didn’t seem to have lasted. We now have a series of unrestrained ambitious individual politicians, floating around from party to party, forcing themselves on the people with seemingly no element of party control or party discipline over them. Democracy works better when politicians are obedient to their respective political parties and policies. Freelance politicians should only operate as independent candidates.
For now it can simply be said that the so called anti-corruption fight was probably not meant to be holistic but a political weapon targeted at some perceived political enemies. APC has to defend itself on that. For example, if you are not considered a thief simply because you are a member of APC, or that you can’t be hired because you have no blood relationship with the men in power, then what is the definition of corruption? APC has spent all its efforts on intra party rancour and disagreement, caused mainly by selection of leaderships for the two houses. There was when APC threw away its own baby and the birthwater. Because of this failure, from the very beginning of their tenure, the people on the streets have added another song as between Saul and David over Goliath; “PDP stole $1 billion per day, APC has been stealing $10 billion daily, Hence we want PDP to come back in 2019”. How had the huge “Good Will” of the people towards Buhari in 2015 been allowed to filter away so carelessly?
Instead of the rambling politicians, trial and error politicians, and politicians that always overstate their anticipated performances by wide exaggeration, we need politicians that can make a significant positive difference to millions of lives around the country. We need politicians that know where Nigerians are coming from, why we are in this depression valley of life corruption, and how to get back to the top of the plateau where there is some freshness, light and life. Incidentally, APC, in my own estimate, has not been a total failure but a further learning process. Whether we needed that learning module in the process is quite another question. For now, no military former this-or-that qualifies to brag around the country claiming that the key to Nigeria moving forward is in the pocket of a military brass. If Obasanjo or Buhari has not been able to take Nigeria out of the corruption valley, where it sunk, we wonder who else can from the Military, from the North or its religious axis.
If APC must stand a chance to win in the 2019 general election it must be ready to listen to the different peoples of Nigeria and their various songs, priorities and demands. Secondly it must also be ready to select (not necessarily to elect) great combinations of candidates at all levels, especially at the presidency and governorship levels. President Buhari remains the strong man of Nigeria, come the 2019 general election, and has the key to Nigeria moving forward positively without much bloodshed, but may not necessarily keep this key in his pocket beyond that period.
Meanwhile we demand true peace and true progress and not a forced truce, not a false propaganda of a change. Nigeria is made up of several diversities but it’s progress is not a homogenization of differences, not a common ground that abandons our common African value system, our economy, infrastructure, history or home territories.
We demand a genuine oneness that sprouts from the diversity, the beauty that emerges from a panorama of ethnic groups and from the harmony of different religious beliefs each playing a unique part, not one overlapping the other’s domain as in a mere competition for numbers. Those who attempt to blur those borders, whatever be their motives, they are unwittingly destroying the country.
Even negotiating our common collective coexistence through compromises would be wrong. It would also be an error forcing a compromise between different faiths to please the other party instead of reality and truth, or engaging in socio economic compromising that fails to address the morality caused by poor governance. There is no light at the end of the road for a government grossly engaging in nepotism and ignorance, nor is there any life therein. We rather need more of ethical leadership and the consequences of the lack of it are what we read in the news daily. The possibility of Buhari providing Nigeria a moral ethical leadership has been his highest score card.
The major organ that could have rescued the resulting poor politicking is the INEC; but which has been chained down to the whim and dictate of successive ruling politicians. If INEC were truly independent, (in financing, appointment and legal powers) the hope of democracy in Africa might have been bright. But by making it a subject for serving politicians, to hire and fire INEC officials and making the organisation to request funding from a sitting government, a compromise (extraneous error) has been introduced. The recent Kenya experience is of great note where the results conducted by its own INEC were faulted and thrown out.
Nigeria’s democracy needs a helping hand at this time, especially from the incumbents. The incumbents in power have to choose between a lasting legacy or a life, between a united Nigeria or a further polarized nation. When one looks at a developed nation like Britain where I am today, Nigeria former colonial administrator, one cannot fail to see their unity of purpose and commitment . They had a point in time in their history when the worked together in one accord. They have uniform housing, running and functional infrastructure, high moral expectations for would be politicians, and zero tolerance to infringement on their territories. They have similar tribal differences and backgrounds but resolving this politically. Occasionally they have wars but their welfare and national economy is their priority. It is not a blind national restructuring being clamouring for in many parts of Nigeria but a restructuring of the mind and of policies. Development can’t happen by chance neither can politicians with loads of bankruptcy in their lives build an egalitarian nation.
Prof R. A. Ipinyomi
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