By Emeka Obasi
Frederik Willem de Klerk was so ultra conservative that it sounded strange for Apartheid to end during his time as president of South Africa. After releasing Nelson Mandela, he stunned everyone by accepting to serve as deputy to his former number one prisoner.
President Muhammadu Buhari has an open window to change the course of Nigerian History, in the next twelve months. Critics may consider this impossible but statesmanship is all about abandoning the temptation of clannish aggrandizement for the common good.
De Klerk came from a family of core supremacists who believed that Black and inferior were one and the same, like six and half a dozen. The Boers bullied as many Zulu as they did Xhosa, people they met as owners of the land.
When de Klerk became president in 1989, expectations were that Apartheid would continue as a state policy. By the time he left in 1994, it was an entirely different story that began a new chapter in the History of South Africa.
From permitting secret talks in Geneva with African National Congress (ANC) exiles, Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma, de Klerk visited Mandela in prison and met privately with Allan Boesak and Frank Chikane in Pretoria. That was how Amandla (freedom) was achieved.
Buhari has one last opportunity to free Nigeria of corruption as his party, the All Progressives Party (APC) preached on the way to winning presidential elections in 2015. And one sure way to achieve this is to conduct free, credible elections.
The atmosphere is hazy presently. It appears like fixed odds and permutations. I grew up reading about pools and betting. Now we have what Nigerians call kalokalo. The younger ones are used to Bet9ja. It is all about making money.
The new face of politics in Nigeria is not just money, it is hard currency. The years of naira pool are long gone. We still have face to face and the language is in dollars. If you are a dullard and dole out enough dollars to delegates, you may be declared winner.
Politicians have come out in thousands, looking for juicy positions. In a country where jungle justice gels with religion and politics, they are not talking of how to do things differently for real change to occur. The only door ajar is dollar.
The two major parties are enjoying a ding dong affair. Drop dollars and you are baptized. If your dollar is dull, your dreams are doomed. Dig into bank vaults, drag Aboki from Bureau de Change, you are declared winner. It is easier to see a State governor now than to sight one hundred dollar bills in the bank.
That is the brand of politics that reigns supreme in Nigeria. Definitely, the good ones are hovering around us but they have lost already because money makes movers of votes. You can only win elections if you have enough hard currency to answer a trillionaire in naira.
Buhari can stop all this by creating a level playing ground and insisting on equity. The loud agitations coming from certain parts of the country should be addressed. Those who think it is limited to a Geo political zone are creating a frightening future.
When Boko Haram started in 2007, some dismissed it as a North-East affair. This same group moved from there to the North-West, infiltrated the North-Central and gained access to Abuja. The country is still bleeding, from rail tracks to the airport.
The grapevine is awash with stories. Everyday, I listen to pop group, Fleetwood Mac, through their hit album, Rumours. The polity is full of second hand news. In every day Life, yesterday is gone but history stays. We have to learn from history.
One trending rumour is that Buhari will settle for someone from the South-East as his successor. Ahmed Lawan, from the North-East may become Vice President, one step up from his present position of Senate President. Ibikunle Amosun, from the South-West goes in as Senate President.
The rumour is incomplete without a Speaker from the North-West and Rotimi Amaechi as Secretary of the Government of the Federation. That fills the South-South slot. The next President will be encouraged to pick his Chief of Staff from the North Central Zone.
Nigerians are wonderful people. They create scenes and fill in the gaps. The one that makes me laugh is the idea of keeping something for Abubakar Malami. The something is minister of Internal Affairs. I love that.
While the youth lead in these permutations, it will gladden my heart to see them rise against electoral malpractice. Old men do not snatch ballot boxes. Ministers do not carry weapons about, from polling booth to collation centre. The Indomie generation should figure this out.
The energy put into EndSars demonstrations will come in handy against rigging. The younger ones can make things happen. Life is not about following politicians like leeches. The future does not belong to those who are looting the country dry.
Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe started climbing the ladder as a young man. Sir Ahmadu Bello was not a senior citizen when he began to mobilize the people. It was the same with Chief Obafemi Awolowo. Tomorrow starts today, let the youth hear me.
It is not enough to refer to people as ‘ancestors’ and go back to them for crumbs. The same group that sees Odion Ighalo as old for the Super Eagles will accept an ‘ancestor’ as leader simply because he spends dollars and sprays naira on them.