By Denrele Animasaun
No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path—Gautama Buddha
So much is expected and the future of every Nigerian rests on the outcome. After the dust must have settled and every vote counted, reality will determine if Nigerians will get the government they voted for and that they deserve.
The younger generation should hold the politicians to higher standards for a better Nigeria. The future of Nigeria, ipso facto, lies with the young and regardless, of the election outcome, there can be no more empty promises. This is no time to throw the proverbial baby out with the bath water. There can be no it’s my way or the high way. Nigerians expect so much and as history has shown that these expectations always fallen way below what is delivered.
The World Poverty Clock estimated that 91.16 million Nigerians are living below a dollar a day as of February 13, 2019. Most Nigerians have had it so bad, for so long.
Perhaps the expectations are not lofty at all; basic living standards, reduction in the number of people living in abject poverty, creation of millions of jobs, better amenities, safer and more accessible health care, increase in the average national salary, reduction in corruption practices, better security and policing, free and quality education from ages 6 to 16. It is not too much to ask for, is it?
The time has come to demand real and lasting change. Real change begins with every Nigerian. Our young people have paid a hefty price because they have been ignored and deprived of education, training and employment. The number of young people experiencing mental illnesses has reach an unprecedented level. The feeling of helplessness and hopelessness has become a commonplace. The trauma will take a lot of years to rectify. They say, youth is wasted on the young, sadly, young Nigerians have been robbed of their childhood and their youth.
The apathy of many Nigerians is very real and sadly for so long their future seem to be at the whims and in the hands of the politicians.
No, it should not be but was believed to be the case. For far too long many people believe they do not have power and that they are powerless. This is the illusion perpetuated for decades and routinely hammered in the message to control the population by distracting Nigerians by tribal, religious and social divides.
Root and branch, a paradigm shift to ensure every Nigerian has a productive future, guaranteed a basic but a better standard of living.
So many want this but they are not ready to put in the work. This may be a culture shock but there can no be real change or progress otherwise.
We expect no violence and instability. All contestants have signed a peace accord agreement that they will abide by the decision and they will be held accountable.
Nigerians have got to go back to basic: civility,t ruth,tolerance,empathy, self-control,empathy and the sanctity of human life. Time for a collective development of a robust moral compass.
The run up to the election has been rife with fake news, misinformation, hate baiting and whipping so much sectarian violence and aggression;. “Political parties support and encourage the dissemination of divisive ‘fake news’ on their behalf but have little control over its development and spread,” stated Jonathan Fisher, who is overseeing a project looking at the role of WhatsApp in Nigeria’s elections. The level of desperation is shocking and infantile. Cross Check Nigeria is another outfit that has been working hard to sieve fact from fiction, like I said, culture change will be led by young Nigerians.
Both groups have acted responsibly to actively sieve through the fake news, written posts, photos and videos that littered and shared on several social media platforms including those on Facebook and in private WhatsApp groups, spreading unsubstantiated rumours about the candidates.
The debunked one being that there is a clone of the President who stands for him in public events or the flipping of photos to prove a clone standing. It is clear that some are willing to believe things said or shown that can not be corroborated just to justify or galvanise their interests. It is time that people dismiss anything that insults their intelligence . Anyone that misinformed and with the intent to mislead the public deserves a swift and sharp treatment of the law. Everyone has to be responsible if sharing falsehood and the days of shirking responsibility should be numbered. There is a well-known saying, that loose lips sink ships. Where there is freedom of expression,there are responsibilities and consequences.
One of the most prominent is that a double or a clone purported to be standing in for President Buhari at public events, which he has repeatedly and firmly denied.
Both of the main political parties strenuously denied responsibility but have accused the other of spreading misinformation.
Muhammadu Buhari, and Atiku Abubakar, have been in heavily doctored campaign materials: “There has been some efforts by the PDP campaign to push disinformation,” according Tolu Ogunlesi, head of digital communications for President Buhari. And; “The APC is predicated on propaganda – they have manipulated pictures and words,” says Paul Ibe, a media adviser to Mr Abubakar.
Both parties deny any knowledge of people inside their respective party spreading disinformation.
Crucially, the free press has a role to play in maintaining professional integrity and transparency . Time to set its house in order.
The malicious and mendacious propaganda that has become the currency of the powerful does not have a place in present day Nigeria. We have got to fall in love with the truth and be duty bound to tell the truth for truth’s sake.
We can not afford to build walls where there should be bridges. Far too many young people have risked their lives and died attempting to make a living abroad.
In 2016, almost 40,000 Nigerians arrived in Italy, more than any other nationality. We cannot afford to haemorrhage our young people. The last forced exit was slavery and over 400 years and the loss is long-lasting. For every single young person that leaves our shores, is loss of a potential scientist,engineer, doctor, civil servant and more.
We deserve peace in our children’s time and our young people are the largest group in the population. Surely this should be reflective in the next government and all decision-making arena.
Fear is, I believe, a most effective tool in destroying the soul of an individual – and the soul of a people.-Anwar Sadat
From my Archives
Why cant politicians relinquish power 2012
As promised here is the post I received: So have a good read: “In 1979, Bamanga Tukur was the Governor of the defunct Gongola State (now Adamawa & Taraba) and 33 years after, he is still the Chairman of the ruling Party. Dr. Bello Halliru was commissioner in the Old Sokoto State (now Sokoto, Kebbi & Zamfara) and 33 years after, he remains the Minister of Defence(until recently); Major General David Mark (rtd) was the military governor of Niger State in 1984 and 28 years after he is still the Senate President. Also, Governor Murtala Nyako was the governor of Niger State in 1976 and 36 years after he is still the Governor of Adamawa State; Ogbonnaya Onu was governor of Abia State in 1992 and 20 years after he is still the National Chairman of ANPP “ and the list goes on. I will not bore you, but you get the gist and then it concluded that “ in 1985, IBB was the president of Nigeria and he wants to be the president again”.