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Change Nigerians Want

IF Nigeria is ours, we should protect it; we should place the interests of Nigeria above personal ambitions. We want to see such thinking in action during the elections. Change in our attitude is more important than who wins and loses the elections. The most important attributes of the elections should be the equanimity, grace, humility with which contestants accept the results. It is the responsibility of contestants to lead their supporters to change that would ensure there is no violence during and after the elections. It is an important change that would secure the lives of Nigerians quicker than the long speeches we hear.

Such momentous positions, most likely to be seen as sacrifice, are rare in our politics. How contenders in the elections receive the results would determine our future in more defining ways than would be appreciated, now that the focus is just on winning.

Do their supporters realise losing is possible? Dr. Kayode Fayemi, former Governor of Ekiti State, showed that critical example last June when he conceded victory in the governorship election to Ayodele Peter Fayose. Dr. Fayemi conceded victory, called governor-elect Fayose, who he addressed as “my brother, congratulating him on his victory”.

Action made his words meaningful. Within hours, he met the governor-elect “to discuss the future of our dear State and how we would work together to institute a smooth transition programme.Despite our diverse party affiliations, and regardless of which way we voted, we must remember that we are all sons and daughters of Ekiti State. Ekiti is ours to build together.”

We want peace. The first catalyst for peace, contrary to what many propound, is not justice. Utterances of leaders are important, their lives, their examples are the next most important ways of changing society. Our people are tired of leaders who lead them to war, usually from behind, with the masses as cannon folders. In our search for ways of deepening our democracy, we tend to emphasise electoral victories over high note performances like the one that Dr. Fayemi gave.

The bellicose crowd forget that democratic governments are called to serve the people, by the people, on terms the people dictate.When would our politicians concede victory and not destroy everything in sight to make the point about their importance to the sustenance of Nigeria? We need men and women of character who know there is more to life than being in public office.

We need more people who want to serve the people, and who would accept the people’s decision on who serves them. Nigeria needs people who can make the difference – positively, people who want peace and would sacrifice for peace


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