Nigeria, the most populous black nation, will go to the polls by February 2019. It did, last time, in 2015, when the then opposition – All Progressives Congress, won the presidential election and caused a political change. True to democracies, it is normal to have citizens show enthusiasm towards elections, particularly the Presidential which affects the soul of the country. And since elections provide an opportunity to either affirm or reject political leadership depending on the majority’s decision, it may not be out of place to see the zest rise.
However, for Nigeria, the fact that the country has been trudging under the weight of sharp economic descent, poor living standards, rampant unemployment, insecurity across the nation and rising poverty would make one believe that the enthusiasm is about the opportunity to effect leadership change and bring about economic growth.
In growing the country, however, the agenda must be clear and achievable. Citizens and parties with ambition to the presidency of the country must give clarity to manifestos and direction to solving the challenges that presently confront the country. While presidential aspirants across the divides have served the people with litanies of what the country needs to progress and what they – as potential leaders- wish to do to make the country better, Dr. Bukola Saraki whose own agenda is #GrowNigeria, seems to be finding good reception.
There is no telling the need to Grow Nigeria. The needs are dire and they live with us daily, demanding decisive political solutions to solve the myriad socio-economic challenges faced by Nigerians. The campaign, since its first expression, seems to be finding increasing relevance in the public sphere. The GrowNigeria theme has found a convenient consensus with a preponderance and its tenets permeate daily. It tells us the need for an institutional fight against corruption, the need for government to live up to citizens’ expectations and the importance of the Private sector in job creation and the growth of the country. It also reinforces the message that investors must have confidence in the policies that govern our business environment.
GrowNigeria speaks of the plan for a Nigeria where every citizen has the inalienable right to feel a sense of belonging, no matter their background or creed, or what part of the country they come from. It states that Nigerians do not deserve to live in the poverty capital of the world. It expresses the will to grow Nigeria out of poverty, to stimulate the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as one of the ways of energising the economy and create wealth; to run a government that’s driven by youthful energy, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit, where Nigerian youth will be given all the opportunities to realise their potential to the full within a national framework that guarantees inclusiveness.
The message is instructive. It reminds a nation of its leadership’s undoing and warns of imminent collapse if Nigeria’s destiny is not salvaged forthwith. The message offers the willingness to secure Nigeria by redesigning its national security architecture, while adequately equipping security agencies to fulfil their primary role of protecting lives and property. It laments infrastructural deficit and provides sustainable solutions through aggressive financing initiatives including mutually beneficial PPP arrangements, regular floating of bonds and other financial instruments, which will ensure stable, adequate and reliable funding to see to the completion of core projects.
The Grow Nigeria message heralds the need to protect all Nigerians and defend their constitutional rights and freedoms, and to uphold at all times the principle of the rule of law; the bedrock of any democratic governance. It says how Nigeria cannot afford to compromise her institutions with proxy wars against perceived political opponents but rather focuses on strengthening institutions, with a particular focus on deterrence because it recognizes the fight against corruption as crucial to Nigeria’s economic development.
To Grow Nigeria, in getting her destiny right, we must emplace a leadership that is driven by empathy, where leaders are responsive to the citizens’ needs, where the people know that government truly cares. There’s only one way to achieve the dream, and it is in electing a competent, innovative and visionary leader who is capable of bringing inclusive growth and prosperity for all.
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