May 28, 2023

2023 Election, Dora Akunyili and a failed rebranding project

female governorship candidates

By Goodluck Edafe

FORMER Director-General, National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, Professor {Mrs.} Dora Akunyili was a patriot. Until her early death, she struggled tirelessly to secure a rebranded Nigeria. She said, “Today as we speak, our citizenship as Nigerians, we cannot take it to the bank. We want to bequeath to our children a Nigerian citizenship that they can take to the bank otherwise God will not forgive us”.

Unlike several countries that doctored their former names, Akunyili wanted the Nigerian name to remain but demanded for a change in attitude. Akunyili wanted all forms of dirty lifestyle – corruption and all kinds of irresponsible social behaviours thrown into the dustbin. Hear her, “When we talk about inefficiency in the educational sector, health sector, political sector, governance and all, everything boils down to corruption. And corruption is not just about giving or taking money.

Corruption is about not doing the right thing. And when we look at the way we behave to ourselves and to this country, Nigeria for which we have no other country that we can call our own, it’s all about bad attitude. That attitude of the past and even the present that we are saying through rebranding, we must change, and if we don’t change, nothing will change in the country”. Just few years after her death and it seems she did not preach any message in Nigeria. Did Akunyili labour in vain?  For it’s painful that the Nigerian elites are yet to come to terms with her effort and concept of rebranding – a change of attitude as the surest pathway to national development.

As at today, the 2023 elections have come and gone but the ripples are yet to settle down. Politicians have played their part by participating at the elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC has equally played its part by conducting and returning winners at the elections whether right or wrong and now, all eyes are on the court, especially the Supreme Court to see whether or not; it’s truly the last hope of the common man.

All eyes are on the Supreme Court to see whether or not; it will affirm or disaffirm the declarations of INEC, which as it is, can only demonstrate the direction of loyalty either to the nation or to individuals. And which by extension can determine the pace of sociopolitical, moral and character development in our body politics and democratic practice and whether or not; Politicians and the INEC will become responsible citizens in future elections.

Visibly, the current widespread concern about the 2023 elections and INEC declarations is not just about the narrow interest of politicians but much more about the promotion of political sanity, attitudinal change and value re-orientation in our political system. Evidently, Nigerians currently yearn for a leader with passion and love to build a productive nation for all citizens to enjoy, not a leader with insatiable greed for avarice, vain material acquisitions and a satanic influence.

Thus, since the Supreme Court began its sitting on the presidential election, like never before, Nigerians have invested enormous emotional energy, time and money daily asking the questions: Does the Supreme Court have the courage – a mind of its own to do justice in this matter? Will the Supreme Court be consistent in character to replicate its judgment in Bayelsa State that denied the All Progressive Congress, APC candidate, David Lyon sfrom becoming governor?

To say there is anxiety in the land is to capture or demonstrate aawareness of the mood of the people. And it calls for caution and carefulness. It’s within the legal practice that not all cases require the rhetoric and manipulation of law. And that is because the direction of justice in certain matters is clear for all to see. So, at our level of educational development, issues of legal technicality cannot be a substitute for justice, peace and national development, which the Nigerian people eagerly yearn to see in the Supreme Court judgment.

Dora Akunyili has said it all, “…That attitude of the past and even the present that we are saying through rebranding, we must change, and if we don’t change, nothing will change in the country”. The question is: Does Akunyili labour in vain? No doubt, until we change our attitude of corruption, our attitude of hatred for one and love for another, I mean until we change our attitude of covering truth and justice because they favour an opponent, nothing will change in Nigeria, Akunyili has said.

*Edafe is a journalist and lives from Port Harcourt