By Chiedu Okoye
IF Nigeria gets her politics right, she will effortlessly achieve economic prosperity, technological advancement, peace and unity, and a good democratic model. But sadly, Nigeria is still mired in national underdevelopment as no country in our contemporary world can rise above the aspirations, visions and dreams of their national leaders. Malaysia, Singapore, and some other Asian countries were propelled to the acme of technological and economic successes by their visionary leaders who possessed leadership qualities and probity.
Since her attainment of statehood and political sovereignty in 1960, Nigeria has not been led by her best and able politicians.
This sad state of affairs is partly caused by the British imperialists who surreptitiously foisted Alhaji Tafawa Belewa on us when either Nnamdi Azikiwe or Chief Obafemi Awolowo would have become our prime minister and laid the groundwork for the evolution and growth of our democratic model and Nigeria’s speedy national development.
So, it did not come to many Nigerians as a surprise when the First Republic failed; and consequently, Nigeria descended into a fratricidal civil war with its dire and devastating consequences.
Thereafter, Nigeria suffered military interregnum which hindered the evolutionary trends of our country’s democratic model and put our economic and technological advancement in abeyance. During the Second Republic, we embraced presidentialism. But the politicians in that political dispensation or epoch put their selfish and primordial interests above the people’s collective good in their governance of Nigeria.
Their doings imperiled the continued survival of Nigeria then. This led to the truncation of the Second Republic by the sanctimonious military men, who would brand their military government as a corrective one.
The soldiers ruled Nigeria for a considerable length of time with General Ibrahim Babangida embarking on a despicable political transition rigmarole. And while he has been accused of institutionalising corruption, General Sani Abacha mindlessly stole Nigeria blind. In addition to that, Abacha, brutally hounded members of NADECO who opposed his planned transmutation to a civilian president.
Thankfully, Nigeria has been enjoying uninterrupted democratic governance since 1999. So far, the PDP had ruled for the greater part of the Fourth Republic with Chief Obasanjo chalking up eight years of it. PDP’s reign and leadership of Nigeria ended when Muhammadu Buhari defeated Dr. Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 presidential slugfest.
Muhammadu Buhari won the election on the coat tails of his perceived integrity, zero tolerance for corruption and zeal for political leadership. More so, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s leadership helped Buhari’s political cause and ambition. But Buhari’s leadership of Nigeria has led to the unraveling of his mystique.
I feel he has deepened our ethnic and religious fissures with nepotistic inclinations. Didn’t he recruit only Northern Moslems to occupy our top security architecture? This has drawn the ire of the Igbo people and others. And there is a connection between Buhari’s actions and the violent resurgence of pro-Biafra separatist sentiments.
He failed to tweak our economy for it to improve tremendously. Today, the naira is weak against most foreign currencies, and millions of Nigerians who eke out a precarious existence, live below the breadline. Now, millions of unemployed university graduates who wear threadbare clothes and disintegrating shoes search for elusive white and blue collar jobs, daily.
Worst still, Nigeria has returned to the Hobbesian state of nature where life is short, nasty and brutish. What with the Boko Haram insurgents causing unremitting blood-letting in the North-East of Nigeria, and the killings by the itinerant herdsmen. Now, Nigeria under the leadership of President Buhari is reeling under severe insecurity of life and property.
Consequently, in the run-up to the 2019 Presidential election, the anti-Buhari sentiments ran very high. More so, Nigerians are afraid that APC cannot lead us out of the economic doldrums, technological backwardness, and infrastructural rot. So, they were not sold to APC’s 2019 electioneering slogan of Next Level.
Atiku Abubakar is perceived as a rallying figure and pragmatic politician who can entrench peace and unity in Nigeria and drive our economic and technological initiatives. Atiku, who has cosmopolitan outlook, is amenable to change. However, against all expectations, INEC declared Muhammadu Buhari the winner of the 2019 Presidential election amidst claims of electoral fraud committed by the ruling APC.
The opposition is of the opinion that if not reversed, INEC’s action will deepen our political culture of electoral malpractice and erase people’s confidence in the electoral body. It can cause political trouble in our deeply fractured nation-state. Millions of Nigerians are seething. Their indignation is justified, and not misplaced. But as these are uncertain and trying times, our politicians should not do anything untoward and violent to throw Nigeria into a huge political conflagration, which can lead to its demise.
It is advisable for Atiku to challenge his electoral loss in court, although some say the court in the land has been compromised and emasculated. But we have placed our hope in God, the just Sovereign of the universe.
Okoye wrote from Uruowulu, Obosi, Anambra State.