NIGERIA is on the brink. She is engaged in a wild struggle with some unseen forces. The violent whirlwind has been blowing for a long time and no one knows when or how it will end. From 1999 when democratic governance was again restored in Nigeria, hopes were high. Nigerians were already before then tired of Military rule. Much was entrusted in the struggle for the actualisation of democracy and it was only natural that much was expected from leaders in the new dispensation. It was as if a new dawn had arrived and the air was charged with full expectations. Political leaders took oath of their various offices and Nigerians generally were happy. The euphoria did not last long as people could not notice any major difference between Military rule and democratic governance. Something was not right. Situations appeared to worsen and people began to wonder whether or not they fared better during the Military rule. It took Nigerians a considerable period of time to come to terms with their new-found situation. Things got out of hand when politicians put on their real garb and showed what stuff they are made of. They behaved irresponsibly and embodied their activities in one entity called corruption which easily unites unpatriotic Nigerians. They put on the garb of evil and made life one terrible nightmare for Nigerians. They forgot the oath they took to defend the Constitution. They forgot that the purpose of governance is to provide solutions for problems of society instead they became the problems themselves and burdens of extra-ordinary magnitude to Nigerians. They have taken corruption to unprecedented and mind-boggling proportions. The much loathed and rejected Military rule with the evil it seemed to represent pales out and becomes a child’s play when compared with the complicated web of evils political leaders have brought to bear on Nigerians.
Much has been said, written and depicted in expressive manners about the evil and unconscionable corrupt activities of Nigeria’s political leaders. Encouraged by a section of the public with a wrapped sense of values, many political leaders brought the evil of corrupt practices upon us including the shameful act of outright sharing of public money by politicians who see themselves as Godfathers. For example, till this moment, Adams Oshiomhole, the good Governor of Edo State is hated and critically condemned by this category of people simply because he refused to make available the lean resources of the State for sharing. Military rulers afflicted us with whips but democratic rulers scourge us with scorpions. Nigerians are in servitude under politicians. In a democratic dispensation, this is an aberration and a travesty. Politicians live in corruption, eat corruption, sleep and dream corruption. Corruption in Nigeria has become endemic under democratic rule since 1999. In recent years, it has taken diabolical and demonic dimensions as corrupt activities do not happen by accident. They are deliberate. They are well planned and executed by evil and depraved minds. Corruption discourages hard work, makes nonsense of competence, kills patriotism and mocks the Constitution with disastrous consequences for ordinary citizens. If Nigeria’s political leaders could disinherit just 50% of their corrupt practices, this Country would witness astronomical and unbelievable growth in a few years. Corruption in Nigeria is a conspiracy aimed at enriching a few and asphyxiating the vast majority. Political leaders at the highest level are at the centre of this evil conspiracy that threatens to destroy the very fabric of the Nigerian State. Ordinary Nigerians do not deserve this. It is a calamity. It is very unfortunate but more unfortunate is the fact that most Nigerians irrespective of the pitiable situations they are in cannot claim blamelessness in all these as every society gets the kind of leader it deserves.
Democratic governance is supposed to right the wrongs of many years of Military rule but irresponsible leadership has been foisted on Nigerians since 1999 and the processes of installing these incompetent leaders have been with the aid of these same suffering Nigerian masses. The Constitution provides opportunities to change unfavourable leadership at election time once in four years but time and again we chose to remain with the antagonistic Governments that we often complain have made our lives so miserable. Do we as a people lack the will to effect the much needed change? Political office-seekers themselves, extremely corrupt, are often involved in desperate quests and go to any length to get what they want including the shameful act of buying voter cards from the electorate. It is shameful because of what is offered by politicians and what is accepted by voters. When we complain of vote-buying by politicians we seem to forget that without sellers there can be no buyers. What will make a man sell his vote to a politician for a paltry sum of one thousand Naira, a politician he knows will make his difficult life even more difficult in the next four years? Some say it is poverty, some say it is ignorance while others think it is a combination of both and probably some other factors. What is really the case? The mind of such a voter is distorted. The voter has in his hand the enormous powers to send to the bin of history the oppressive leadership he has always complained of but what does he do with his vote? He gives it away like that for less than peanuts as a function of the distorted mind. He wants change but cannot take the necessary steps to effect the change. He has eaten his cake and still wants to have it. He does not even believe in the ability of his vote to effect the much needed change he so desires and he decided to get whatever he can get from the politicians at election time. What he gets is less than peanuts.
People with such defeatist attitudes are always encouraged to come out and vote and Adams Oshiomhole’s case is always cited as an impressive example. Prior to 2007 election, there was the widespread belief that our votes were of no consequence, that whether people voted or not the winner had already been determined but Comrade Oshiomhole as if sensing the mood of the people repeatedly urged them, the electorate of Edo State, to come out and vote. He promised to defend the votes and that promise was faithfully kept. No one knows from where the wind might blow. Had the people of Edo State stayed away from voting in 2007, one wonders what the Election Tribunal would have relied on to declare Adams Oshiomhole as the winner of that election. It is important that people come out and vote on Election days.
In recent years, strange twists have been brought to bear on the psyche of Nigerian voters. Nigerians brought out their worst characters when in 2011 they cast their votes along ethnic and religious lines for the highest Office in the land. In the count down to the 2011 Presidential election interactions with many Nigerian-men and women, young and old indicated clearly that the Nigerian voter was going to vote for his preferred candidate not on the basis of merit, not on the basis of what the contesting candidates could do to help solve societal problems but because “he is my brother”, “we come from the same area”, we belong to the same religion”. All entreaties to the Nigerian voter to base his decisions on merit, antecedents and what he believed that candidates could do to reduce sufferings fell on deaf ears. The Nigerian voter put on ethnic or religious toga and the die was cast. Many voters of Northern extraction made it clear that they did not care about whatever the Presidential candidate from the Southern part could do for this Country, that they would not vote for him because he is not their brother. It was the same story with voters of Southern extraction. Many of them went further to make it clear that they were aware a certain Presidential candidate from the Northern part of the Country was the one best suited for the job but that they would not vote for him because of where he came from. There was another group that was determined to vote for any candidate who would pay between five hundred and one thousand Naira (a miserable sum by any standard). That is the situation of the Nigerian voter. He knows his problems, knows the solutions to his problems but because of ethnic or religious considerations he refuses to apply these solutions. It is a strange extra-ordinary twist of fate that people who ceaselessly complain of extreme and oppressive leadership had to rely heavily on the criteria of ethnicity and religion in choosing their leader at the highest level. It is worrisome. It places a big question mark on the seriousness of Nigerians to do the needful. How does one explain the workings of the mind of an otherwise intelligent, even though a deprived fellow who would degenerate to the level of voting for a candidate not because of what he can do to help the Country but simply because of where he comes from? Is this political docility or immaturity? Is it bankruptcy of ideas on the part of an otherwise intelligent electorate on what leadership is about and should be? Is it influenced by the inadequacy of ignorance? The convergence of these variations is difficult to understand.
With more than three years gone, how has the Nigerian voter fared under the leadership he helped and installed as a result of his ethnic or religious sentiment in 2011? The Nigerian voter should have faith and strong belief in the ability of his vote to effect the necessary changes in leadership for a better future and should, therefore, come out and vote on Election Days. The Nigerian voter at this point in our National history should throw away the ethnic or religious considerations and do the right thing by voting for the right candidate, the one who can do the job efficiently. The Nigerian voter should know that allowing sentiments in the elections will do this Country great harm. He must put sentiments aside. The problems of this Country have gone beyond mediocre leadership. Purposeful leadership is what is needed right now. Words are no longer enough to describe the situation of this Country from security problems to infrastructural decay to everything one can think of, the situation is heart-rending. The Nigerian voter shares a very big blame in the situation because he wasted the opportunity of 2011 and succumbed to sentiments. The Nigerian voter of 2011 was not interested in what the contesting candidates for the highest office in the land could offer. He was not interested in what the candidates could do about the economy, security, power, education, health, infrastructure and others. The voting pattern of 2011 was shameful and degrading but that was in 2011.
The future of this Country is in the hands of Nigerian voters. The time has come to do away with the mantra of “he is my brother”, we come from the same place”, “we belong to the same religion”. A leader of strong character and nobility of spirit is what this Country needs in these perilous times. A leader who will steer the Nigerian Ship of State out of stormy waters and put her in the right direction. This Country needs a man of integrity whose steadfastness is made of fine steel. A leader who will say and stand by his yes, one who will say “no” and stand by his no. A man whose patriotism and commitments to Nigeria and Nigerians know no bound. An incorruptible man who is different from others. A man who has seen it all and a tested achiever who has been weighed on the scale and found to be upright. The leader that will have the moral right to confront and fight corruption to a standstill without being consumed by the System. The leader who understands that leadership is about solving societal problems and not giving in to lamentations. A man who is made of Presidential timber. The leader on whose shoulders the salvation of this Country will rest. Does such a man exist in the Federal Republic of Nigeria? Did God Almighty in His infinite Mercy deem Nigeria and Nigerians worthy to be given such a leader? The answer is yes. In our various places of worship, Christians, Muslims and Traditional worshippers, we cry to Almighty God to come down from His Divine abode and save us from the hands of “bad leaders”, We ask why He chooses to give us oppressive leaders and see ourselves as very unlucky with leadership. We lament and often wonder why He “deliberately” refused to bless us with good leaders, such as Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and a host of other leaders living or dead. Indeed, we do not seem to realise that every society gets the kind of leadership it deserves. If Americans have a good leader, it is because they were able to identify him and his ability to solve their peculiar problems by putting sentiments aside and simply went for the best.
In every generation, of every society, there are always a very few people who are cut out for selfless leadership that is responsible, sincere and purposeful. This type of leadership is not and was never meant for just anyone. These are leaders who put the interests of their people first. They bear the burden of their people because they feel their pains and identify with them in times of joy, in times of sorrow, in good times and in bad times. They never deliberately do anything to hurt their people. Every society or every generation including our Country, Nigeria of today, has its own share of these leaders. Today, free citizens of this Country, identify Muhammadu BUHARI as that selfless and patriotic Nigerian leader. This is not the time to become emotional. This is not the time to gamble with leadership at the highest level. This is the time to face reality. The truth is that today only Muhammadu BUHARI can rescue Nigeria from the current System that is sustained by human bondage which is resting on the basis of the suffering of Nigerians and leadership moral bankruptcy. My brothers and sisters, especially those from the Southern parts of the Country, let us stop deceiving ourselves. If we are serious about the change we need, then the leader that can bring about that change is Muhammadu BUHARI. We should be grateful that uptil now the retired General continues to offer himself for Service in leadership. This is visibly Nigeria’s last chance to use him as the genuine Agent of change. We appeal to the conscience of Nigerian people from East to West and from North to South not to miss this opportunity to put to use, this wonderful gift that Almighty God has given us. Let us not again waste this opportunity.
BUHARI will restore the Nigerian State which has been battered by many years of PDP’s maladministration. In spite of everything that has gone wrong with the security of our Country, he will restore the pride of our Armed Forces so that they can thoroughly perform their duty of protecting lives, property and the territorial integrity of Nigeria. The few beneficiaries of the perverted System who have told so many shameless lies against his person are those who are panicky because his commitment to the welfare of ordinary Nigerians many years ago and the inexplicable satanic avarice of our political leaders which now meet in confrontation. Many people in the corridors of power, the beneficiaries of today’s corrupt System, hate him not because he is bad but because they know he will stop the satanic crimes they are perpetrating against Nigerian people. They know they cannot bribe him to compromise. They know that he knows them and they are afraid he will put them in proper places. His presidency will ensure that everyone and everything are put where they rightly belong. Some people for purely selfish political reasons try to make issues out of his age. At his age, Buhari will make a better leader for Nigeria than hitherto as he will be more experienced, sagacious and cautious in the handling of National issues. Moreover, our brief history in recent times has shown clearly that Muhammadu BUHARI even at 85 will do far better than any youth by whatever connotation. Besides, a Country is in serious troubles when the King is a child (youth). A youth in power can be impatient, irrational, vengeful and harsh. Again, for selfish political reasons some have tried desperately to link him with religious fanaticism. This is a lie that was sowed and spread by the desperate and contaminated minds and swallowed by gullible members of the public. Nigerians today are wiser than ever. He is falsely labelled an Islamic fundamentalist. He has Christian employees in very sensitive positions in his life. His cook for 32 years and driver for 30 years are Christians. His last daughter is married to a Christian. The desperation of those who are bent on giving him a bad name is tied to many false stories. He is guided by God. He prays regularly. All we need to do is to jointly support him as the next President of this Country.
He is a man of proven character and integrity. He will not fail this Country. His track records of patriotic Service in his days in the Military, through his times as Nigeria’s disciplined Head of State, prudent Chairman of PTF down to this very day is an “Opened Book” as a Case Study in Leadership. There are no contradictions. The combined qualities and attributes of great World leaders are embodied in him. Let us reason with our heads and do the right thing by queuing behind this God’s gift of ours and save ourselves and our unborn children from bondage and penury. BUHARI is made of the finest character and among our political leaders his honesty is incomparable. Jonathan’s tenure in Aso Rock is an anathema being an outpost of Nigeria’s political decay, politically uneventful, intellectually unproductive, vastly unsuitable, morally deficient, symbolically incompetent, monumental prodigality, heavily mumunised and grossly financially reckless. We must believe in ourselves, see ourselves as one, no matter what part of the Country we come from and accept that bad leadership is our common problem. Let us join forces to confront this common problem by consequently giving our support to the man who can give us sound, responsible and purposeful leadership. It does not matter where this leader comes from or the religion he practises. Let us accordingly stop seeing ourselves as Southerners or Northerners or as Christians or Muslims. Let us see ourselves as Nigerians, united in purpose, identifying with ourselves both in good and bad times.
Our problems will remain unsolved until that day when that man from Sokoto or Kano identifies that the severe man-made environmental degradation in the Niger-Delta caused by oil spillage are not just South-South area problems but the problems of all Nigerians. We will collectively be troubled until the day when that Nigerian from Enugu, Port-Harcourt or Lagos identifies that the severe security crises going on in Borno and some other neighbouring States are not just problems of the North-East but problems of all Nigerians, we will remain divided until the day when some people would stop seeing themselves as having a divine right to rule Nigeria forever and accept that all Nigerians no matter where they come from have equal rights to the “Throne of Nigeria”. It is desirable for us to quickly and sincerely unite in genuine brotherhood so that these irresponsible political opportunists will not continue to use religious or ethnic card to dominate and enslave us. We must remove the wool from our eyes and put to shame all political manipulators who thrive on the basis of bitter politics, capitalising on the weakness of sectional sentiments to divide and rule us.
We are particular about Buhari’s Presidency because he sincerely loves this Country. He has proved, time and again, that he can never short-change the people of this Country. The poor suffering Nigerian masses will realise their desires through Buhari’s Administration. He is the one who has the moral right to deal with the many vices that have held this Country hostage for a very long time. With Buhari, our long and tortuous journey in search of a good leader and our desire for strong democratic National Institutions will be achieved. Thank you for Muhamadu BUHARI. As the next president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Dr Oyakhire, Ph.D, OON.