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2019: Keeping hope alive

THE much-awaited 2019 is here. May we congratulate all Nigerians who were privileged to cross over into this onerous Election Year.

Atiku and Buhari

It is, indeed, a privilege, because many people who nursed grand dreams for the New Year were unable to see it. When painful things happen to others and not us, it should give us additional reasons to be grateful to the Almighty for His mercies.

The greatest event of the year 2019, obviously, is the impending general elections. Already, the United States Institute for Peace, USIP, had, in July 2018, warned of a high risk of violence in states like Rivers, Kano, Kaduna and Ekiti.

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The US had actually predicted the possibility of Nigeria’s disintegration after the 2015 elections, but the situation was saved when former President Goodluck Jonathan conceded to his rival, General Muhammadu Buhari before the results were announced.

We have a burden to prove to ourselves and the world that what happened in 2015 was not a fluke; that free and fair elections and the healthy practice of democracy have come to stay here. We have to prove these prophets of doom wrong once again rather than given them reason to boast that they saw the future ahead of time.

The job of ensuring free and fair general elections lies in our collective hands. We must maintain utmost vigilance to ensure that the genuine, supreme will of the people prevails. It is only when we allow enemies of our democracy and of the nation to steal the vote that trouble will be unleashed. Nobody should be allowed to take us back to Egypt which we left behind in 2015.

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When the new government assumes power on May 29, 2019 (irrespective of who wins), we must join hands with it to squarely face down the twin evils that threaten to overwhelm country: poverty and insecurity.

Even President Buhari had recently confessed that the economy is in bad shape. In fact, the numbers indicate we are in a worse situation than we were in January 2015. Poverty, hunger and unemployment are threatening to overpower this country. We must fight back.

We still have Boko Haram very much on our hands in the North East. Added to that are the additional threats from armed herdsmen in the Middle Belt, and bandits holding the North West by the jugular. Without defeating our enemies we will never be able to develop this country with our scarce resources.

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These are the real issues facing us this year. The election is only a vehicle for the enthronement of good governance. If we allow the election to be stolen our future will be bleak.

There is hope, only if we choose wisely.

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