A Piece Written By Matthew Ozah
Of late the need to salvage the country has taken a center stage along political camp. Barely a day seems to pass without news of fresh political twist among the political parties in their quest not only to occupy ‘Aso Presidential Villa’ but to save Nigeria. Indeed, the polity has been heated up over the choice of a credible and capable candidate among the lot parading themselves as intending candidate. They claim to have the magic wand to save the nation from its perennial circle of corruption among other vices that have gripped the nation’s jugular.
It is disheartening to note that many a time politician do not practice what they preach. Even as many have woken up from their slumber and taken advantage of the current narrative, and have become overnight apostles of restructuring as they promise to champion the course when elected as president. At the moment, Nigerians are in agony over the arching change that they were made to embrace. In all entirety, the APC’s change has revealed the incapacity of a sluggish incumbent whose slow pace and performance nature is like a grain of sand seeping slowly past the neck of an hourglass. Therefore, Nigerians do not seek to elect such an inactive leader in the 2019 elections. Also, the electorate should make it a point of duty not to vote a leader with sectional, parochial and tribal tendencies as being spotted in Buhari’s list of government appointments. It is paramount to note that whoever becomes the tenant in ‘Aso Rock’ will have to embody a new beginning, to allow the country to leave its current travails behind and usher in, a fresh horizon.
No doubt, apologist of the Buhari government seems to take the namby-pamby approach. They insist that Buhari is one of the most consequential political figures in Nigeria today. They claim that, he is known to be very upright in whatever he does. Therefore, it drives the willpower and it is impossible for any party or candidate to beat Buhari in the polls. What is more, they also thumb their chest and crow that Buhari is being feted by foreign leaders because he is incomparably credible and incorruptible. Indeed, it is hard to judge whether they are right because Buhari cannot be the only Nigerian with such a trait.
But are those qualities really necessary to run a country? How have such attributes boosted his performance in government and popularity among Nigerians? Or how does it bring about uninterrupted supply of electricity and create jobs among the teaming young population? Over the years, Nigerians appear to be complacent, clinging on hope and wishing that ‘tomorrow go beta’ without doing anything. The reality on ground now speaks for itself as majority among the voters are losing interest in the mainstream politicians and parties. Most people see Buhari as a political liability. This is as a result of the untoward hardship and sufferings people are going through under the Buhari-led government. Come to think of it, what does it profit a president to be highly recognized as a saint globally yet, young people leave the country in droves to seek greener pasture abroad? And in their sojourn, many are being treated scornfully and they put the image of the nation in bad light.
Gone are the days when Nigerian leaders were known for their selfless efforts to tackle both national and international challenges whole-heartedly. The other day, president Buhari said those leaving the country by road through the desert and Mediterranean Sea were on their own. Such a comment ought not to come from the first citizen of the country. This explains why there is a gap between the leaders and the people. It is common these days for one of Nigeria’s big parties to be in crisis of choice, while the other is in clover. The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) tore itself apart with internal rife during former President Goodluck Jonathan’s regime. The All Progressives Congress (APC) is currently on the verge. Perhaps, the strangest aspect of Buhari’s domestic or party difficulties is the defection of big-wigs from the party. Some political analysts suggest that the APC could end up failing to pass the threshold at election time. Especially as the party is drifting miles away from the founding principles due its unconvincing ways of handling issues. Therefore, the pendulum seems to swing the other way, indicating the erosion of ideas that the APC’s platform has no responsibility and commitment to its promises. And this has proven that the APC embraced a cause that it cannot exactly handle. Despite making the world believe that the party was the only savior to bring the nation out of the ‘political and economic wilderness.” Also, that it can break the shackles of poverty and unemployment within a short period in office. It is striking though, that none of these mouth-watering promises have been met as we approach yet another election year.
In the face of these failures, the APC still religiously regard Buhari as their best asset for the 2019 elections. Hence, the clever introduction of ‘direct primary’ and the subsequent usual Nollywood arrangements in purchasing the exorbitant price ticket for him. Indeed, this has become a metaphor in the history of Buhari’s nomination form buying. How does one cope with the stories behind the purchase? Do you ignore it or try to question the so-called well-wisher’s gesture? Of course, this is why the problem of corruption is not going away because those faceless individuals behind the form purchase will, one day, seek dubious favors in return. Or they will choose to act above the law because the president’s hands are tied with the nomination form purchase. The signing of ‘Not too young to run’ Bill, did not deter the APC as a party to hike the nomination ticket to 45 million naira, thereby, indirectly disenfranchising young people the bill was meant to protect.
Slowly, Buhari is building a reputation as a man who does not keep his promises. During campaigns for the 2015 elections, restructuring featured elaborately and Nigerians were made to believe that it would be done once in power. Today, agitators for restructuring are viewed with skepticism and termed as nation destroyers. He did pledge to make electricity stable, but power generation is poorer today. He said he would put the economy in shape, today the economy is either floating nor stock-in-mud. He promised to diversify the economy from dominance in oil to agriculture. Today, farmers are being killed and displaced due to insecurity as herdsmen impunity reigns supreme across the country.
Government is said to be the servant of the sovereign people and its mandate needs to be reviewed periodically. If the government fails the people, they can replace it. But society makes people selfish. The laws are always tilted and useful to those with possessions and harmful to those who have nothing. Hence Rousseau’s thundering declaration in “The Social contract” states that: “man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains” is an apt reflection of the rulers and the ruled in Africa. Let us vote and let our vote count to be free from bondage of underdevelopment. Let our leaders realize that misrule has consequences.
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