Jonathan and Buhari
Jonathan and Buhari

AS the year was running  to a close, there were signs of miracle and silent revolution to remind us that all was not lost. A clear picture was emerging to assure that Nigeria is truly God’s own country and with good effort we can fix the country well for all. As the Holy Book notes  everything has its season and it would appear Nigeria’s time of progress, self –realization, collective wisdom, agreement and determination to do the needful was at hand. In short  the eagerness to do things right was in the air: light was piercing through darkness. The elites have started to tame their tempers in the national interest.  All my anxieties about the emerging new year 2015 began to evaporate  and I became more convinced that elections will come to pass as planned and the country will remain one. The forces for progress and unity are far more than otherwise-the unifiers are more than the dividers.
Miracle is used here to mean an ‘event that happens unexpectedly, did not follow the law of nature’ so wonderful that it is attributed to God- for instance  turning of water to wine by Jesus.   Many people understand revolution in terms of violent change of a system  as in the French Revolution of 1789 or the Bolshevik revolution of  1917-18. This is not what we mean here.  Rather the term means a ‘great change in conditions, ways of working, beliefs that affect a large number of people, to completely change the way something is done’. The industrial revolution which started small in England around 1760 fits the bill here. As one author notes it was linked ‘to small number of innovation’ which spread to bring remarkable in the well being of citizens and the world over.  Such useful innovations were observed in 2014.
Perhaps due to pent-up pains and anxiety over the years there was general dissatisfaction with the present condition of the nation and collective desire to improve situation through a clean democratic process, civilized conduct and respect for the rule of law, a free and fair election. Here there was agreement by all parties informed by self-enlightened interest of the elites and the collective desire to do things right in the interest of all. As the depressing year was nearing its end I began to see some light in the tunnel and hope for the better. ‘Do not be afraid’ something inside me tells me: it shall be  soon be sun-shine for Nigeria. The ‘spirit of the age and country’, shared ‘feeling, ideas, hopes and desires’ of people for progress which Alexis De Tocqueville wrote years ago about American Democracy was felt here.
Truly a time comes in the life of a country when citizens engage in critical self-appraisal,  think over their problems and resolve to tackle them head-on. Call it the age of collective reason  and strong desire to do things right and the collective discovery and wisdom to so do the needful for the collective good.  This was 2014 appears and it may thus be remembered as the year of self –discovery  and redirection of efforts  to the path of progress.  It is thus significant for  the pebbles it provides for laying the foundation for the stability of the country and  strengthening  the unity of the country.
The formation and growth of  a formidable  opposition and its successful conduct  of Party Convention which produced Buhari – a man with great reputation for high integrity, the statesman-like statements of Mr. President for love of each other, patriotism to take the centre stage, repeated stress on free and fair elections, exemplary conducts, admonition  that politics is ‘not a do or die’ affair and plea  to all including supporters  to  shun acts of violence and provocation, and even the ability to raise nearly N22 billion  in one night in a country reportedly starved of funds are some of the reassuring signs of hope and progress offered by 2014. Some have condemned the latter  as obscene, inappropriate and out of tune  with current national gloomy mood. But it has its unity and stability value as it reminds us of source of funds within for domestic development. Certainly people with such vast wealth will not  allow the country to crash.
It has been observed that nothing stops the idea whose time  was ripe. Signs of quasi ideological  politics and two party system  manifested in 2014.The military once decreed a two party system for the country. The same Military abrogated it before it could deepen its roots.  Now through political evolution the two party system is fast emerging for our collective good.  Though the APC was formed in 2013 it was in 2014 that it showed its great promise through its exceptionally well organized convention  that shows that  Nigerians can equally do good or right thing  for democracy if challenged. In giving the mandate to  Buhari  a man reputed for integrity and austerity, the party members  showed the right way forward- the politics of principles informed by sane moral values. People power was on the ascendency in the country.
Buhari won the ticket but the real heroes of that convention were the co-contestants who upon losing stood to congratulate the winner and pledged support and loyalty. Their actions deepened democratic practice thereby pointing  the right way forward. However  former Vice President Atiku stands out for showing the world that he might be hungry for power but not greedy or slavish about it. Many thought he would immediately decamp but by his post election gesture  he corrected all the misgivings about his democratic credentials.  It became clear that his movements in the past were for good cause –search for justice in the interest democracy. The APC convention in Lagos was transparent enough and it met universal standards of  justice and fair-play. So Atiku accepted the result. Let others emulate because the perceived  denial of justice is often the cause of protest and violence after elections. A society without a collectively shared sense of justice is doomed.
The configuration of the structures of the parties  is another  sign of hope. Earlier in the year I had worried that neither the North nor South would accept the outcome of the 2015 presidential elections. The reported proliferation  of small arms in the country not withstanding – thanks to the  miracles of 2014, I now think otherwise. Reason- informed by self- enlightened interest of the elites and resurging elements of patriotism will prevail. Look at developments carefully. T he fault line is becoming thinner by the day with  growing consciousness not to rock the boat.  This can be gleaned from  political party structure. For instance the PDP National  Chairman is ALHAJI Muazu-a  Northerner who wants  the continuation of the status-quo under President  Jonathan, while Chief (Dr) John OYEGUN- a Southerner is chairman of APC which wants a change of the status-quo and thus fighting hard to enthrone Buhari – a Northerner.  You don’t  throw stones in the market where your loved ones are shopping.  It is a buffer against mischief and disability of society.
The year manifested other signs-the need to give peace a chance, the wisdom of running issue-based campaign, the importance and necessity of saving the country first as basis for  individual  survival. It is therefore likely that Nigerians will vote not on basis of primordial values of religion or tribe or region but on consideration of perceived ability to deal with the leading issues such as corruption, insecurity, unemployment, rule of law, poverty, infrastructural –under-development, manufacturing above all national survival. Gone forever is the arrogance of power- thanks to developments in 2014. With healthy competition and worthy options on board, never will any man have the temerity to declare that his party would rule till the end of time as though there was no democracy in place.
Nigeria is truly set to fly but the fight can be aborted if INEC bungles the 2015 election and the elites resort to excessive rough tackling and other nasty ways and unclean methods.  All that is mostly required is for INEC to run a free and fair election to eliminate the cause of post electoral violence that might culminate in  disintegration. With a well conducted election to the satisfaction all, the fear of injustice in form of rigging which could lead to anger,  protest, show-down,  rejection and perhaps civil war and break-up as predicted will disappear. HAPPY New YEAR.