By Yomi Obaditan, Osogbo
2015 is a decisive year. It is a year of decision; it will determine the hopes and aspirations of millions of Nigerians, young and old and even generation yet unborn. It is a golden opportunity for our political leaders to decide for the majority, whether we are going to fulfill the American prophecy that Nigeria’ existence may be terminated or we shall throw such prophecy into the trash can.
Nigeria will be weighed by the American Author, Bernard De Voto’s book titled: “ The Year of Decision.” The author looked at the American war with Mexico, which led to the annexation of New Mexico, Arizona and Califonia, and how America settled her long-smoldering dispute with Great Britain and became a sovereign nation in Oregon, thus beginning the process of making the South West and West Coast a part of the American Republic.
The situation in Nigeria today is not rosy, but we cannot continue to lament over the economic downturn, insecurity of lives and property, mass youth unemployment, poor infrastructure, haphazard educational policy and poor power supply to sustain industries. What must be done will be to review our political leaders’ efforts in the last 15 years and x-ray the opportunities they have had to better our lots, and do a comparative analysis of the missed opportunities and look ahead to attempt at correcting the wrongs of the past.
According to John F. Kennedy: “ Let us not seek to fix the blame for the past; let us accept our own responsibility for the future.”
Our responsibility, therefore, will be how we shall fix round peg in a round hole. We have arrived at a point where ethnic consideration must be jettisoned for merit. We must drop the campaign on the platform of religion for the factor that will not only save our much-fought-for democracy, but must save our nation from total disintegration. We as a people must recruit men and women of timber and calibre; men that office cannot buy nor wealth corrupt, statesmen that the nation needs in order to get out of the present economic mess and insecurity that is currently overwhelming the military.
“We have the power to make this the best generation of mankind in the history of the world or to make it the last,” says J. Kennedy. That power is the power of the electorate; as February 2015 approaches, we must come out and use the power that the powerless majority has over the powerful minority that are our representatives in various political offices. From the office of the President to that of the state House of Assembly, we must vote only for the best in an hour and times like this.
Boko Haram insurgency that has eliminated thousands of innocent people, and displaced millions in the North-East of Nigeria calls for concerted effort among all Nigerians. The implications of such insurgency have multiple effect on our socio-cultural, economic and political instability. Our neighbouring countries are today living in fear and apprehension, just as we are.
Our internal insecurity has now snowballed into regional insecurity. We must keep reaching out to our neighbours in West Africa, that we need them to secure our boders. World peace Kennedy said is”like community peace, that does not require that each man loves his neighbour; it requires only that they live together in mutual tolerance, submitting their disputes to a just and peaceful settlement. And history teaches us that enmities between nations, as between individuals, does not last forever.
However fixed our likes and dislikes may seem, the tide of time and events will often bring surprising changes in the relations between nations and neighbours. “ For instance, Ife and Modakeke in Osun fought themselves for several years, today, they are harmoniously living together under the dynamic Governor Rauf Aregbesola. Before then, who would have thought that Osun would be one of the most peaceful states in the country as it is today? The Zango Kartaf in Kaduna State shed blood among themselves before they eventually sheath their swords. For over 50 years, the United States and Cuba were arch-enemies, but President Obama has put an end to it.
Election must hold
The President of Nigeria, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, must rise above party politics between now and January 2015 and mobilize all security agents and see that they are well-equipped to terminate the insurgency in Yobe, Adamawa, Borno, Kano Bauchi, Gombe with all urgency. Election must hold in the above-mentioned states, otherwise, it may be wrongly insinuated that the ruling party intends to disfrenchise the electorate in that region to the disadvantage of the opposition .
As Chief security officer of Nigeria, Mr. President and by Section 14 (4) of 1999 Nigeria Constitution, which provides that the government must ensure the security of lives and properties, as well as guarantee the welfare of the people, and must see to the return of peace in the said states.
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) must awake to its responsibilities, as we have less than two months to the elections. Just as the commission did its best in the conduct of Osun gubernatorial election which its chairman acknowledged to be the best ever, the nation’s peace and political stability depends on the INEC in 2015; the body must not give room for any excuse.
The commission must be transparent in all its operations. Any of its officials, whose integrity cannot be guaranteed, should be removed before the February elections. The commission must not allow politicians, whose trade mark is “do or die” be allowed to have their ways. This nation is greater than an individual. Evil prophecy must not be allowed to come to pass. We as a nation cannot afford to disgrace the black race as the most populous black nation in the world. If we allow politics to destabilise our nation, we must remember and avoid the Ruwanda and Kigali genocide, which was a fall-out of political instability.
The sign that the 2015 elections may be violene-prone is gradually unfolding by what have happened during the party primaries. Four people were reported to have been killed during the primary of a political party at Ebute Meta, Lagos. Asari Dokubo has promised war in case the incubent President loses out in the election, but no security agent has attempted to arrest him or invite him over such statement.
If we love our nation, must we kill and maim to get power? Violence begets violence; we must avoid it and not just paying lip-service to the rejection of violence in our polity. We the people must condemn any political leader that provokes violence in any form and mark them out for rejection. The media must not be silent on this ugly practice.
The innocent Nigerians that were killed during the 2011 elections, particularly, the case of those corps (NYSC) members in the North that were killed, is still fresh in our memory. Their blood is still crying unto God for vegeance. Those who thought those young Nigerians died just like that should remember the bibilical Abel’s blood crying to God, even when only Cain knew about the crime, and Cain eventually got punished for the crime.
Patriotic Nigerians must support Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi’s appeal to President Jonathan and General Muhammadu Buhari over the perceived fear over 2015 elections where he asserted: “The certainty of violence afer the 2015 elections is higher than it was in 2011. If President Jonathan wins, the North will erupt into violence as it did in 2011. If Gen. Buhari wins, the Niger Delta will erupt into violence….. The violence of 2015 is going to be horrendous and worse than the one of 2011 for the simple reason that the illegal, massive importation of weapons of into the country has reached such alaming proportions that I really wonder which is better armed; the militias on one hand or the official armed forces.”
This Prof. Akinyemi’s clarion call to political actors must not be ignored as we approach 2015 elections. To ignore his call is to invite state of anachy, that may signpost the begining of the end of the artificial creation called Nigeria. We must bear it in mind that just as it was in the First Republic, when some politicians set the nation ablaze and fled abroad, leaving the common man to bear the brunt. We must not allow history to repeat itself.
Politicians should focus on issues rather than on individuals. It is issue-based politicking that can change our country for good. Tell the nation how our economy will be improved upon. Tell the youths how unemployment will be reduced drastically. To do otherwise, and be raining abusive language on the political opponents will be an open invitation to political violence. It will also show the stuff in which such politician is made up. Enough of blood sheding, we must bring hope and good tidings to the people, heralding a new era in a country that has long awaited its hour of redemption from the multiple challenges.