*/
BusinessDay
Ceo forum 2023

Nigerians yearn for national re-birth

Nigeria is at the cusp of political transition. Millions of dispossessed Nigerians, who chafe and suffer under the weight of excruciating poverty caused by our political leaders’ maladministration, want a change for the better. They have seen through the ruse of the APC-led government, which is incapable of offering us purposeful, meaningful, and result-oriented leadership. So they want a change for the better.

The 2023 presidential election offered them a chance to assert their will and effect political leadership change in the country. Who doesn’t know that the 2023 presidential election was the conduct of a referendum on APC to determine its suitability and eligibility to continue ruling Nigeria?

President Muhammadu Buhari who won the 2015 presidential election; and reelection in 2019 on the political platform of APC has recorded disastrous outing as the president of Nigeria. He couldn’t bring about positive change in Nigeria as he had promised before he became the president of Nigeria. Based on the indices and metrics for judging an economically prosperous and technologically advanced country, Nigeria is an underdeveloped country. Is Nigeria not technologically backward; and is her economy not in tatters and in a tailspin?

The fact is, President Buhari has failed to shore up the economy of Nigeria. Consequently, our naira has depreciated in value, which necessitated the APC-led government’s implementation of the naira redesign policy. The new naira swap policy has caused immense hardship to millions of Nigerians as we are experiencing acute shortage of the new naira notes.

Again, Nigeria has been sucked into a maelstrom of violent killings owing to the ineffectiveness of the security agencies to perform the cardinal duty of government, which is protection of lives and property. While the Boko Haram insurgents, terrorists, and the Fulani herdsmen are decimating the populations of the north, kidnappers are kidnapping well-heeled Nigerians in the south for ransom. And gunmen have run amuck in the southeast, killing people to actualize their their political ends.

So nobody can gainsay the fact that Nigeria is an unsafe country whose economy is depressed. And her successive political leaders have failed to evolve Nigeria’s technological culture, which will make Nigeria have a productive economy, and not a consumptive one. And the infrastructural rot, which characterizes Nigeria has continued to impede her national development.

So millions of Nigerians want a change for the better. They want to reclaim their country from the jaws of destruction and predatory political leadership, which have assailed Nigeria and Nigerians. And they had cast protest votes to make sure that Nigeria experiences national re-birth. Not a few Nigerians want a political renaissance that will lead to a change of guards at Aso Rock, which will usher in a transformational government in Nigeria.

Nigerians had spoken. The long-suffering hoi polloi had cast their protest votes to elect the next president of Nigeria, knowing that sovereignty or the ultimate power in the country belongs to the people. They can vote out bad leaders, and vote in new ones. And our political leaders derive the legitimacy of their government from the people’s acceptance of their government.

That’s why subverting the political will and choice of the people will imperil Nigeria’s political stability and derail her democratic trajectory. So it is incumbent on top INEC officers not to succumb to pressures being mounted on them by unscrupulous political desperadoes regarding manipulating and doctoring the electoral results for pecuniary rewards. But subverting the people’s political will and thwarting Nigeria’s democratic growth will cause political apocalypse in Nigeria.

Nigeria , as it is now, is bedevilled by the divisive factors of religion and ethnicity. And in the run-up to the presidential election, the campaigns conducted by the political candidates deepened our religious differences and ethnic animosities. Nigerians are acutely conscious of their ethnic origins; and they owe allegiances to their ethnic homelands at the expense of their country, which is Nigeria. The situation is caused by the fact that Nigeria is not yet an organic whole.

So, as a result, Nigeria’s peace as well as unity, is fragile. Based on this, if bitter disputations about the presidential election result arise among the presidential candidates, it can cause Nigeria to tip over the precipice. Nigeria had fought an internecine and gratuitous three-year civil war, which caused the wastage of human lives, spillage of human blood, and destruction of people’s properties. So if Nigeria descends into another civil war, it will, certainly, lead to her dismemberment. The greatness of Nigeria, which we all know , lies in her ethnic and linguistic diversities.

Nigerians are one people, who are united by a common shared colonial experience. And the peoples of Nigeria had co-existed peacefully long before the advent of the British imperialists in Nigeria. So let us place our ethnic allegiances beneath the national good so as to make Nigeria great. And if Nigeria goes up in political conflagration, the spillover effects will cause the destabilization of the West Africa sub-region.

So I beseech the top members of the national electoral umpire to discharge their duties dispassionately. Officers of INEC should resist the temptation to do the biddings of corrupt and unscrupulous politicians.

Nigerians do not want a reenactment of the MKO Abiola political episode, which led Nigeria to a political cul-de-sac and dilemma. Rather, Nigerians want a smooth transition to another civilian government, which will herald our country’s political re-birth.