Today is the moment that makes great feats possible, yesterday is history, the future scores the moment, we must work hard in the NOW such that posterity would say of this generation of Nigerians, when the moment of change came, a great band of patriots rose up and took it.” – Prof Chris Nwaokobia Jnr.
Since the March 28 and April 14, 2015 General Elections, our nation has recorded about 23 Trekkers and Bikers, the young and the old alike, traversing the nation, doing unimaginable distances with glee, some in support of Buhari, some pro Goodluck Jonathan for his presumed love for peace, ditto the concession of defeat at the polls, and some for peaceful coexistence, unity and progress. In all of this, the score is manifest; democracy is the winner and Nigeria the victor. By this, Nigerians have said in no uncertain terms that we want to remain together and make our Fatherland great.
The profound euphoria that inundates the public space makes the template for a better Nigeria less tenuous, it leaves our nation with great faith in the oneness or so of our people. The truth is that we have more reasons to stay united than the scores that disunite us. We have shown an unrivalled bond for national affinity and consanguinity than we have of our differences. Yes, we can make the best of this halcyon moment; we can like the Phoenix recreate Nigeria.
A new national orientation paradigm must seek inclusivity and genuine brotherhood predicated on no less a margin than the development of the human capital, excellence must be the watch word. We must cease to permit and pardon mediocrity on the altar of the Federal Character normative. We must begin a rework of our morals and mores such that all Nigerians will embrace patriotic proclivities and enable a progressive redefinition of citizenship. We must sediment values that confer pride in this collective constituency knowing that we have got no other but Nigeria.
The zoning and power sharing normative are only stop-gap measures, they are values that appear conciliatory and inclusive, but in actuality they divide us and deepen our differences. The defeat of the PDP at the last General Polls and the fact that for the first time since the Nigerian Civil War we saw an ethnically divided and polarised polity is a lucid manifestation of the failure of the zoning, power sharing cum Federal Character ordinance and normative. It is a copious minus for debaters who insist on zoning and power sharing as the path to effective national integration.
Thankfully, with a CHANGE driven regime, I’m confident that we shall begin the excavation of the needed pebbles that must unite us as one great people. I’m convinced that when we make the development of the human capital the major thrust of governance every other thing will follow. With sound education and technological growth comes the realisation of a universe without bounds, and by Jove a nation with fewer dichotomies, bias and variegation, and such is the minimum template.
When we begin to see Nigeria as our major collective; when we begin a collective overhaul of our morality in and out of power; when service to nation becomes the narrowest permissible margin for leadership; when East, West, North and South or if you like our six geo-political zones make dedicated service to the people the governmental minimum; when making real the promises of democracy becomes the summum bonum; when creed and clan regresses to personal loyalties rather than national mantra; and when CHANGE deals with all Nigerians as equals, then the profound voyage to our Isles of Good Hope shall have commenced.
As a people we have reached that turn in history where quick fixes and stop-gap measures at enhancing national cohesion must be jettisoned. We cannot afford the luxury of un-researched response to serious national questions. The greatest threat to our nationhood is not in our differences, but in the politics thereto, it is in corruption and in the corruptive demolition of our values, it is in the egocentric invocation of ethnic prejudices, it is in the devaluation of the allowable leadership minimum, and it is in the deficiency of organisational quid pro quo such that mediocrity and compromise have become the benchmark for a successful climb on the ladder of power.
We must begin a rework of the values on which we predicate our National Honours. We must remove our National Honours from the platform of political freebies. We must deepen the measure of value and price the Green-White-Green as our grandest prize. We must not only insist on political appointments that adhere to the ’round peg in a round hole or square peg in a square hole’ normative, but on appointees whose love and passion for nation is manifest and profound.
The urgency of the now is hinged on the vote for change which the Nigerian people made when a new order was thumb-printed into time, we cannot overlook or undermine this reality, Nigerians are congregated at the mount of great hope where it will no longer be business as usual, anything short of this will fuel a national angst that may just fritter away the pervasive goodwill that the GMB magic enjoys. The leaders of our great party, the APC may well take heed of this profound urgency; we must hit the ground running and rightly so.
I have chosen faith over despair; I have elected change over business as usual; I have studied the Nigerian resilience and the Nigerian brotherhood; I have more than enough reason to conclude that it may not yet be Uhuru, but we are getting there. It was said that incumbents scarcely lost elections in Africa, but Goodluck Jonathan lost. It was said that only a moneybag can win a Presidential election in Nigeria, but GMB isn’t a moneybag. In all of this none of the chief gladiators is the winner or the loser, Nigeria is definitely the winner, so I cannot be more hopeful.
We must take the National Orientation Agency and its message to the streets; we must encourage the emergence of national corps and volunteers to whom our national flag and memorabilia will count hugely. We must raise our National Anthem and The Pledge to the status of our national prayer such that the Christian, and/or the Muslim opening and closing prayer normative will cease to occupy our socio-political stage; creed should be treated as personal and denied its national vehemence. That way, we can diminish all political allegiance to faith, and that way our politico-social allegiance will be to Country first.
In my voyage across the country whilst campaigning for the high office of President in 2011, I discovered chiefly that those who believe in this collective patrimony and are hopeful of the best for Nigeria remain in massive preponderance. I won the greatest chunk of votes in my entire haul from the Northern States of Katsina, Kano, Kaduna and Sokoto, my home State of Delta perhaps felt that I was too young at 40 to vie for that office. However, that experience taught me a great lesson, one that fuels my faith in the great nation that we can weave when the things that work littleness are made Shibboleth and those that work for greatness made prime.
Countrymen and women, we cannot continue to trade blames, we cannot overlook the fact that every region has its share of guilt in the national drift. We cannot excuse the collateral damage that un-studied policies and un-researched cum emotive programmatic have brought Nigeria, what Nigeria needs is responsible and responsive leadership, not ethnic jingoists and religious fundamentalists. What Nigeria needs are good men who must redefine our values and deepen our morals. What Nigeria needs are leaders who will kill corruption and give life to committed service to Fatherland. And what Nigeria needs is a new regime of rectitude and patriotism.
God bless Nigeria.
NB: First published July 2015
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