BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

Electoral value, national and religious value, and political impunity

To our politicians, we are electoral assets with colossal value to get them into offices and milk our commonwealth for their unborn generations.

We are the ‘mugu; no EFCC’s Magu can release from the bandage. That is why you will see our politicians in various pre-election Nollywood movies. Have you watched any? There are many.

One featured Adam Oshiomhole eating corn on the streets of Benin City when he was campaigning for Godwin Obaseki. You will see all forms of charities and praise singing to get our votes.

To satisfy our emotions, they appeal to our religion and ethnicity. That’s why we have thrown merit into the trash bin for the quota system.

We have denied people their rightful place in society by favouring those that align with our religious and ethnic sentiments. In the process, we have developed a culture of impunity.

We set a peculiar pattern of rotation. That’s not bad. We have religion being a consideration for who is to be the president or vice president.

That’s also not bad. We have peculiarities, and our democracy should be tailored to meet our specific needs and diversity requirements.

Countries that have developed into viable nations have consciously taken national values and worked painstakingly over the year to produce a political environment where accountability and decency is the order of the day

However, a Christian Vice-President had not protected Christians. Christians have been killed in the last 10 years more than ever. Rather than representing the Christians or Muslims, we have leaders who put their self-interest to advance their political power and financial status above their faith and people. We are all seeking our self-interest. Thus, our politicians are using us as electoral value.

The northern leaders are more guilty of the dire state of Nigeria. They are paranoid and have developed voters who have been used and dumped. They are now the bandits and the extremists terrorising the whole of Nigeria and killing innocent people, both northerners and Muslims.

What’s Nigeria’s national value?

National values and principles constitute the framework for the exercise of state power and the spirit in which we relate to fellow citizens and the communities to which they belong. Americans have Patriotism as their national value. Chinese are known for Harmony. The British are for Selflessness.

Countries that have developed into viable nations have consciously taken national values and worked painstakingly over the year to produce a political environment where accountability and decency is the order of the day.

We have countries that have taken to collectivism against individualism; some are Power Distance, and others are Uncertainty Avoidance, Gender Egalitarianism and Assertiveness.

Since Independence, we have been unable to merge the different values of the constituent nationalities into what we can confidently call the Nigerian value. A significant national value of resilience has developed among Nigerians over time.

Take a clue from our sporting activities on the world stage. We are always with the worst form of preparation. We owe athletes, yet they strive to deliver medals for Nigeria with all their might.

An example is the Atlanta Olympics, where the football team won the gold medal. The duo of Ikpeba and Okocha are among those who use their credit cards to fund the team’s activities.

Nigerians are resilient people and can survive hardship and uncertainty more than anyone in the world. They are from a rich environment yet poor due to leadership failure and impunity.

God has been faithful to Nigeria. We have overcome many problems, a few of which are potent enough to cause disintegration.

We have been blessed with resources, of which oil has become a curse. We have been unlucky with leaders who cannot unite and move us forward as one big and united people.

We pray God will give us a leader after His own heart but without relinquishing our responsibilities.

We do not have a pronounced national value. Still, we have political immunity, which signifies future danger for our country. Our politicians are above the law.

Our president has been lopsided in his appointment, especially in the military composition, without regard to the diversity of the people. No wonder APC can throw caution to the wind by selecting a Muslim-Muslim ticket.

APC can replace Lawan and Akpabio in an election they did not contest. PDP is also not an angel. They can, without reproach, turn their back on the people of the south and want Atiku to rule after eight years of Buhari. If we are such ethnic bigotry, we can conclude that Atiku will be another worse experience.

Where do we go from our nemesis? We are stuck between the devil and the red sea. We have been deceived enough by the same flog of politicians who are so effective in collaborating for power against their people. We must therefore look for alternatives to the devil bewildering our country.

We must stop the use of religion to divide us. Religion has no value where there is no tolerance, as preached in the Holy Books.

If I were asked to choose between Atiku and Tinubu, I would go for Tinubu, who without doubt had done something we can point to in governance.

Read also: 26% of Nigerian electorate willing to sell votes in 2023 election – Report

But can the political environment allow him to replicate the same prowess at the federal level if elected? Atiku is detribalised, unlike Buhari. Nigeria might be united. However, the standard denominations among the two leading aspirants are what Nigerians know and what had destroyed us. Corruption.

Will any of them be able to turn the tide against the massive expectations of followers who want to benefit from fulfilling their dreams for them?

Peter Obi’s third force had brought excitement into the hope Nigerians had to longed for. However, the excitement in the south by voters who reason out of logic will be damped by the breed of uneducated northern voters who will never border to think beyond religion and ethnic sentiments.

This is where the Labour Party vice-presidential aspirant has a lot of work to do. Datti Baba-Ahmed must campaign differently and do something unusual to turn the tide in the north for his party if all things are equal in the south for Peter Obi. In Nigeria’s politics, all things cannot be equal. I bet it on you.

We need a national value before we get our leadership selection right. We must elect leaders who can creatively and ingeniously develop a national matter with which they can live and lead. Peter Obi has done that by conducting himself and the Anambra State.

For now, the precursor to having a national value is to ensure the rules of law and adherence to our constitution. However, our current constitution is defective, an imposition of the northern military oligarchy against the people of Nigeria, including our northern majority.

We need to have a national dialogue and develop a constitution that will consider our diversity if we desire to build a country we would be proud of. Nigeria, without a doubt, needs restructuring in all spheres of lives – people, leadership and, most especially orientation. We are better as one big country, but not most, except we are ready to make it so.