BY ASIKA-RICHARD LUKUSA
‘’The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership, there is nothing basically wrong with the Nigerian character, there is nothing wrong with Nigerian land or climate or water or air or anything else’’
Nigeria’s near inchoate democracy in spite of almost nineteen years of the fourth republic typifies the piquant cliché “the sweet and sour.”
Our chequered history is riveting, No gainsaying, the sour tastes of unfulfilled promises, failed governance and a defunct change agenda outstrips the expected “sweet” dividends of democracy. So far in our annals and at fifty-eight years of independence, our sign-post can best be described as a moribund ‘work in progress.”
Ironically, our country’s pride of place amongst the comity of nations in Africa can never be over emphasized. The signification of Nigeria’s status within the African continent be it in her population, one out of every five African is a Nigerian. We are rich in abundant repository of natural resources as well as a relatively urbane and upwardly mobile intellectually capable citizenry with a mammoth global reach.
Painful as it is with the litany of our national inadequacies, one can best be pacified by the undeniable fact that we are expected as a nation to be a leading force in building strong states, veritable democratic institutions, enduring and modern economies. In the sight of our sorry impasse and persistent clamor for a national rebirth is the profound question, when will our leaders navigate our pathetic history out of the maelstrom?
Is it the wrenching poverty besetting majority of the people, the primordial ethnic creeds that instigate dichotomy and finally the wracking vortex of corruption which has decimated the very fabric of our existence? Even the alternation from civilian to military rule and vice versa in our quest for a better Nigeria did not yield the anticipated beacon of light that ought to have illuminated our trajectory to greatness.
Perhaps the most tragic of issues bedeviling our nation is the consistent lethargy and failure to attain our full economic potentials, the attenuated democratic dividends and a nefarious political class. We have a nation which merely thrives on the brinks of our potentials rather than forging enduring monuments that will make Nigeria great. we breed a votary of recalcitrant ethnic sentiments and religious bigots that limit and enervate our capacity to build a great country. It is disconcerting to say the labyrinth we have descended showcases our self-deceits, greed and dissonance.
The grand larceny, perfidy and trickle-down effect associated with our political leaders is such that voters for a morsel of cake and a mess of pottage sell their birthrights through the permanent voter’s card. Like Dele Giwa of blessed memory once wrote “Nigeria a nation where nothing works”- Newswatch magazine. 1985. The man will obviously die a second time given the opportunity to witness the level of our decadence thirty-three years after.
When you ponder at the indefensible agitations that our political leaders canvass in national discourses and the tapestry of our political life, they have inordinately intruded in our common senses by promoting their selfish whims and caprices to becloud any reasonable sense of patriotism. It is evident that in this guise our spirit of nationalism becomes seemingly distorted, we seek for things that divides us as against the unifiers. Our yardsticks of success and accomplishments as a nation is measured thereafter in warped antiquated indices mainly because the political class is consumed with an indefeasible satanic agenda to subjugate the rest of us right down to the fourth generation.
We seek for fluent and lucid paths in our trajectory to a better Nigeria because our confidences in the present A.P.C. led government has irredeemably waned. The social contract necessitated by the dubious political slogan “Change’’ merely created an anachronism in tune with the party’s name “Apathy Pandemonium Corruption.”
President Barrack Obama did say “if the people cannot trust their government to do the job for which it exists, to protect them and to promote their common welfare, then all is lost” The 2019 elections will assuage our yearnings, a watershed and an opportunity for stock taking. It will be a time for veritable choices far removed from the diatribe and narcissist posturing of the ruling A.P.C.
Late eminent author and critic Prof. Chinua Achebe captured it succinctly that “the Nigerian problem is the willingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility to challenge personal examples which are the hallmark of leadership” painfully begging issues ranging from unbridled penchant for sectional political appointees, the former SGF Babachir lawal debacle, the ikoyi gate $43m loot, the Ogoni clean-up and a host of others.
Contrary to the much vaunted position of President Buhari’s anti-corruption mantra is a disingenuous attitude akin to what late Dim Emeka Ojukwu surmised as a case of “selective amnesia” in the mindset of the President such issues are mere figment of our imaginations.
We are mindful to the shenanigans of the A.P.C led government and the devious “change mantra” needless to say, the change we aspire for is ostensibly in the eradication of “the poverty of the mind” so that we can vote in a leader that understands the intersection of realistic policies and playing politics leveraged on well thought out economic blueprints and guided by social justice driven on a focused leadership with the ability and vision to harness men and women of similitude in enlightenment, integrity and uncommon patriotism .
I daresay that our hopes are rekindled and I am persuaded to prognosticate that we are weary but not subdued neither will the pontifications of the A.P.C. hoodwink well-meaning Nigerians. Our expectations inclines to the inevitability of a new era that will ultimately dispel the raging storms of conflicts across the country from the brigandage of the Fulani herdsmen to the Boko haram insurgency, spates of kidnapping and abductions etc. Come February 2019, we will through the ballot box call forth a new leadership with clarity of purpose that will meet the lofty yearnings of the common man.
Indeed, an Atiku Abubakar Presidency will birth an era of rising tides of prosperity and quicken the still waters of much desired peace which has eluded some parts of the country.
Nigerians assuredly recognizes the options before us come February 2019, obviously the right choice is an Atiku team[A-Team] at the helm of affairs. Every vote cast for Wazirin Adamawa will be an eloquent repudiation of the A.P.C. government, our votes will mark an epoch as well as monuments for us and generation yet unborn because through the ballot box we will challenge sense of lethargy ,hopelessness, resignations, frustrations and the hypocrisy of an oppressive capricious A.P.C led government . An Atiku Presidency will further defeat the militating factors that impede our journey to a deserved greatness amongst the comity of nations. In deference to President Obama and for our people in the intervening months leading up to the elections, Our votes will proclaim “an end to the petty grievances, lopsided corruption, insurgency, nepotism and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas that for so long have strangled our politics” Alhaji Atiku Abubakar buoyed by the audacity of hope on your imminent emergence as the next civilian President of our beloved country.
I make bold to write that your mandate to rule Nigeria come 2019 is a “divine call” merely vested on you in trust and as a caretaker for the masses of Nigeria. It is neither for any emerging cabal nor political mongers even the over patronized elites cannot appropriate undue benefits. It would be in recognition of the “unsung, uncelebrated and anonymous Nigerians. Men and women scattered across the nooks and crannies, from the creeks of the Niger-delta to the slums of Ajegunle, Ogbunabali,Okpoko as far as the hillsides of the mambila,chibok, bakkasi peninsula etc Obscured and unacknowledged in their daily enterprise of toiling to eke out a living, struggling against all odds with an unmatched resilience and ingenuity encouraged by individual industry for survival, in most cases just to put food on the table and merely meet the basic needs of the youth and children.
It is a clarion order and God will judge you harshly if you fail to meet the yearnings of the people, HE has been inestimably benevolent to you in your quantum accomplishments in life, it is payback time. Needless to point out the incumbent fact you will address in tandem with the National Assembly and stakeholders to the project Nigeria the clamor for a restructured federation, bring to an end such unwholesome and shameful enterprise of fuel importation, insecurity, dearth and decay of social infrastructure and most importantly economic degradation.
The votes of the people will be a sacred charter, a social contract that will dismantle the pervading parochial interests, nepotism and mediocrity which has been the nemesis to a true egalitarian Nigeria. It is not a tentative inkling but an audacious hope that your emergence as the fifth Executive President in the fourth republic come May 2019 will engender policy thrusts which would erase stale political promises and practices that stagnates our economy, democracy and most times diminishes our stature before the international community.
We hope for a vital reengineering which will consign to the dustbin of history those glaring bad habits of our political leaders and further promote realistic templates that will justify our common good .
As well as encourage enduring convictions on the supremacy of our country as a “unifying vessel to our providential destinies as Nigerians.
-Asika-Richard Lukusa writes from Abuja, FCT