By Abamara Nnaemeka and Chinedu Onyeizugbe
THE emergence as President, of General Muhammadu Buhari was heralded with optimism as a catalyst of much-trumpeted change in 2015. Many Nigerians wanted a change of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s administration that was tagged as corrupt, and the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC was seen as the last resort for the masses to bring about the change. Unfortunately, since the inception of the APC-controlled government of President Buhari, Nigerians have not experienced any iota of change to justify their mandate entrusted to him as Commander-in-Chief.
The Buhari government had made the fight against corruption its topmost priority, but despite the orchestrated propaganda, the fight has been vague. Today, Nigeria is adjudged to be among the most corrupt countries in the world. From our assessment of the current dispensation, we believe that corruption has eaten deep into the fabric of our society and our national conscience; and to tame this monster, we need true democrats in the persons of Abubakar Atiku and Peter Obi at the helm of affairs. We should not deny that there were attempts by the present government to recover some of the loots from our past leaders and other political gladiators. However, the APC-controlled government cannot give satisfactory account of what they have done with the recovered funds – in terms of ameliorating the sufferings of the Nigerian masses.
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The grave situation of the Nigerian economy is highly unprecedented. The economy is in a battered state of hopelessness, coupled with its attendant inflation. There is complete embezzlement and strangulation of our commonwealth. The pathetic state of our economy had made most Nigerians very vulnerable to poverty. Suffice it to say that about 70 per cent of the Nigerian population is living in poverty, a pitiable situation of abject penury. Many Nigerians in urban and rural areas are dying of hunger and starvation in the midst of plenty. An overview of the Gross Domestic Product, GDP shows that the Nigerian economy has been vacillating and chronically unstable – a mono-economy in which the country’s budget depends on the price of crude oil in the international market. Meanwhile, there have been allegations and counter-allegations of ‘Budget-Padding’ between the executive and legislature. The ripple effect of this magma has since snow-balled into high level of unemployment, economic hardship and the inability of the federal and state governments to increase workers’ minimum wage from a pittance of N18,000 per month to a modest NLC demand of N30,000 per month.
The insecurity in the country has been a source of great concern to most Nigerians and the international community. Thousands of people have been killed and billions of naira worth of property destroyed in the North-East region by the terrorist religious sect known as Boko Haram. This sect claims to be against western education and civilisation. Also alarming is that many dedicated members of the Nigerian Armed Forces are also losing their lives to deliberate acts of omission and commission in logistics and intelligence management.
The most gruesome demonstration of religious bigotry and killings in the history of Nigeria has been going on in the Middle Belt states of Benue and Plateau as well as Taraba State. These murderous activities are perpetrated by the Fulani herdsmen against defenseless farmers.
In the meantime, the Myetti Allah – an umbrella organisation of Fulani herdsmen, has been declared as one of the deadliest terrorist groups in the world. While their activities go virtually unchallenged, the APC government of Buhari has remained insensitive to the ethnic cleansing against indigenes of those states.
In the South-East, the situation is one of peaceful protesters being routinely murdered and maimed by government security forces. It is callous and irresponsible for any government anywhere in the world to watch the citizenry being murdered in cold blood, without adopting serious measures to curb the ugly trend.
The ensuing acrimony across the country has brought up the imperative for total national reconciliation and atmosphere of peace and tranquility. And these can only come about if Nigerians massively support the divine mission of Atiku and Obi by voting wisely in the 2019 Presidential and general elections. It is also expected that perpetrators of the mayhem of murder and destruction would be brought to book, and lasting solutions established for the recurring ethnic and religious conflicts.
Against this background, the time has come for us to take our destinies into our hands and decide who will run our collective affairs. We should no longer watch and criticise corrupt practices and other anomalies of governance by majority of politicians and public officers.
We, the Academic Frontier Initiatives, AFI, cannot stay aloof and watch pseudo-political leaders and mediocres decide our fate and continue to rape our monumental heritage. For instance, the current ASUU strike is a case in point. ASUU is about the only force standing between the political class and the bastardisation of tertiary education in Nigeria. Today, the leading universities in Nigeria cannot compete favourably with the best in the world because of inadequate funding, brain-drain and political interference and lack of financial commitment. ASUU has our unalloyed, total support for its on-going efforts to save public universities from total collapse.
If we must live and succeed as a nation, we need to be mobilised and motivate the masses to vote wisely in the 2019 general election through the powers of the ballot. Dear compatriots, we need to retrieve and revive the pride of our nationhood from the entanglement of clutches. Providence has given us an alternative to liberate us from these doldrums of economic, political and social coma. Let us re-orientate and sensitise our people on the importance of picking and being in custody of their PVCs and be ready to cast our votes for the right presidential and vice-presidential candidates.
Our votes must sincerely count for a better Nigeria, and our posterity to come.
*Drs. Onyeizugbe and Nnaemeka, members of Academic Frontiers Initiative , wrote frm Awka, Anambra State.