(This topic is adapted from Joel 3:14.).
Every four years, Nigeria goes to a poll to elect a new leader that would pilot the affairs of a nation with over 200 million people. It is estimated that this population would exceed 300 million in a decade or more. At present, Nigeria ranks 6th in the index of the world population.
This quarterly election determines who will steer and direct the destinies of millions of citizens of Nigeria. Death and life, progress and retrogression, poverty and riches, education and illiteracy, peace and crises, unity and disunity, high inflation or minimal inflation, food scarcity or food security, and ill health are some of the issues that would be decided by the outcome of this election.
It is yet to be known if the actors past and present in the leadership of Nigeria know this much. In recent times, Nigeria, a so-called “giant of Africa” has been humiliated all around because of the quality of people we elected to lead us. This paper has no intention to list the many national failures of our nation. If I do, no space would be enough for it or in any medium. There would also be no space to list the achievements of individual Nigerians around the world as there are millions of such achievements. It is well known all around the world that Nigerians are innovative, creative, smart, intelligent, goal-getters, leaders, and resilient people.
Papers and lectures have been given on the Leadership failures of Nigeria. It is a universal knowledge that Nigeria is a paradox where a goat leads a group of lions.
Our poor electoral system seems to favor the awkward and weird. We have in the past evolved an electoral system where money speaks louder than reason, tribe more than character, connection(god fatherism) more than integrity, and bigotry more than nationalism.
In the 2023 election which is around the corner and whose campaign is top-notch, some of these ills are on our national discourse, and those who want the status quo are already having a hell of a time with the new renaissance that’s moving all over our territory.
It is hoped that with this paper, Nigeria at the valley of decision, we shall be able to consider 9 indices that should determine our decision to vote for any candidate. It is hoped that the traditional method of voting for a party because the candidate is from your tribe, your religion, or gave you money/gift would give way to a more intelligent and robust decision. Remember, this is a make-or-mar election for Nigeria. Be part of the redemption plan to salvage our dear country..
NIGERIA AT THE VALLEY OF MORAL DECISION:
I have said that 2023 is a hallmark year. We are faced as a nation, with a moral dilemma.
Is it true that there’s an unwritten agreement unknown to many of us that the South East of Nigeria cannot produce a president of the Federal government of Nigeria?
If this is true, why do we talk about “one Nigeria”? Is it true that some people are against a Christian being their president? Why is Alhaji Atiku Abubakar running for the presidency when he was the arrowhead that led others against President Jonathan on the premise that it was the turn of the North to produce a President? Does Atiku now want to take the turn of the South? What’s the morality in a Northern Fulani man seeking to take over power from another Fulani Northerner?
Before you cast your vote do PDP, think about this moral burden. Is it fair? Is it right? Will his presidency be accepted by a wide section of Nigerians?
Next on the moral dilemma is the issue of corruption and the source of wealth. A president of Nigeria has in the past called Alhaji Atiku, a thief. We have all been told that this man has a problem with US security that forbids him from entering the US alone. Some years ago, he visited the US as diplomatic luggage of the then Senate President, Dr. Saraki. This year, he did the same as diplomatic baggage to senators of the Federal Republic Of Nigeria and a sitting governor with diplomatic immunity.
Juxtapose this with Mr. Peter Obis’ visit to the same United States, holding town hall meetings in more than 20 cities. While Atiku showed us pictures taken from hotels, Mr. Obi gave us live videos, pictures, clips, and interviews taken during his visit to the States.
How did a custom officer make such stupendous wealth? I once shared a neighborhood with a man, who, as a customs officer was a senior to Atiku. This man from Abia state can never boast of more than 2 houses( one in Lagos and the other in his village). No matter how and what Atiku says, he’s part of the moral burden facing Nigeria today.
Why are our youths out there in drug cartels and shady deals? Why do civil servants now become the most corrupt set of Nigerians? They saw men like Atiku become stupendously rich through government service. Why do politicians kill and maim each other for political posts? Is it not because men like Atiku showed us that the national cake could become a personal or family cake if you hustle for it? Do we have the moral courage to arrest young yahoo boys if we can vote in “a yahoo man/men” into the highest post in the land?
If you decide to cast your vote for PDP after reading this paper, always remember that by so doing, you have lost the morality to condemn moral decadence in our society.
Still, on morality and our moral dilemma, do we want a man who has so many question marks to be our president? The last time we had a president of Yoruba extraction, it was the turn of the South to produce a President. President Obasanjos’ emergence was well accepted by the majority of Nigerians because of the integrity and nationalism of the man, Obj. This cannot be said of another presidential candidate of Yoruba extraction, Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Unlike Obj, the agdado master is full of question marks.
Imagine the face of a would-be President dotted all over with question marks. Tinubu has not helped his matters because of his arrogance. He has boasted severally that he has no business with the fourth estate, the press. He has so far avoided interviews, debates, town hall meetings, and gatherings where questions could be raised on some of his numerous question marks.
So far, his handlers have been speaking to the citizens as if their principal is either dumb, deaf, or dead! Perhaps on election day, my late father would vote for him since we’re dealing with a “ghost” candidate.
We must give it to Mr. Tinubu that on a few occasions, he has come out to speak at campaign grounds. Each of those outings ended abysmally and catastrophically. Tinubu has demonstrated that he is a master not only in the unknown background as alleged by the US government paper, but he is also a master in “slips”. His brain slips, his tongue slips, and his legs wobble.
Each time he gives us those characteristic goofs, his handlers would go to work to convince Nigerians of what he meant to say.
Nigerians, see a second affliction coming to us in the form of a BAT Presidency. Remember how the then-candidate Buhari slipped many times and we thought it was a joke? He called Mrs. Markel the president of West Germany and we all laughed. Are we still laughing? Are we still saying “sai baba”? Has our laughter not turned to frown which gave way to outright anger? Is it not said that a hungry man is an angry man? Are we not so angry today that our anger is at a boiling point? Allowing Mr emilo oken to have his way would compound our already bad situation.
Tinubu has shown that he is not morally and mentally fit to be the president of Nigeria. Let him that has an ear hear this
NIGERIA AT THE VALLEY OF ECONOMIC DECISION:
A United Nations (UN) agency recently said that in a few years’ time, over 250 million Nigerians would be thrown into poverty. It is well known today that the trophy for the “poverty capital of the world” is domiciled in Nigeria. Recently, the World Bank warned that a catastrophic future awaits Nigerians if the government of Nigeria disregards the warning to cut spending.
Recently, Senator Shehu Sani tweeted that APC promised to pull out 1 million Nigerians annually from poverty but ended up sending 150 Million yearly into poverty.
Our economy is in shambles made possible by reckless spending, poor policy implementation, and lack of financial planning and policy. At the helm of affairs is a man whose staunch supporter told us does not read.
Cast your mind back and you’ll recall how President Obasanjo with the then Finance Minister, now the president of the world trade center, paid off our national debt. Today, we have rejoined the league of the most indebted nations of the world. How did we come this far? We gave leadership in a modern economy to an analog man! We forgot that 1985 is far away from 2015. That costly mistake has taken the lives of generations and untold hardship to unnumbered generations yet unborn!
Atiku claims to be 78 while Tinubu claims to be 76 or so. These men are too tired to be part of a competitive and ever-evolving modern economy.
A follower in this year’s campaign would observe that Apc and PDP spokespersons(because they address us through proxies) always fight over Mr. Peter Obis’ love for statistics. For these men, statistics is like voodoo. They’re scared of a man that knows his numbers and rolls them out with ease. Can you go through modern education without statistics? How do you write and present your thesis without statistical data? Any wonder the immediate past accountant general of the federation was able to steal over 96 billion Naira unnoticed.
Give the Presidency to a man that can read, a man that knows statistics, a man who can’t cheat, inflate contracts, or pad the national budget.
If there was a time Nigeria needed a frugal man, that time is now. If there was a time Nigeria needed a businessman or an educated trader, it’s now. We have given 2 opportunities to military men to placate our military establishment. We have also given 2 opportunities to 2 teachers, in 2023, we need to consider the traders/labor force. They have given us a credible candidate to vote for.
It is obvious that the world has played us out economically. Part of our failure is in our choice of leadership. A man that cannot sit down in the office for over 15 hours cannot steer our economy out of the woods. Do you see Atiku or Tinubu sitting down, working late in the night to steer this shattered economy out of the mud?
Our economy is beyond “management economy”, what we need is a development economist to steer us out of this desert. Senator Datti Yusuf the vice presidential candidate of LP is a well-known economist, unlike the Boko Haram man who is already boasting about how to run the security architecture of Nigeria. This boast comes from a man who knows that vice presidents chair the Nigerian economic council. Alhaji Shetima is aware that he lacks the capacity to chair an economic discussion so he has abdicated his natural habitat before the game began. Is that not an economic warning to all of us? Vote Tinubu and be ready for economic crises and role conflicts.
NIGERIA AT THE VALLEY OF ACADEMIC DECISION :
Recently, the Academic staff of Nigeria Universities (ASSU) went on strike for 8 months, the highest in the history of our dear country. That’s what happens when you elect a man with no known formal education, whose WAEC was awarded and whose certificates (which he claimed to have submitted to the Defence headquarters) are all questionable.
We are at the valley of academic decisions not just for us but for our children. What’s the morality of asking your children to go to school if all that matters in his/her country are to make money? If you can become a president with no education, you become a role model to our children. In years to come, we would produce a legion of uneducated idiots leading all sensitive areas of our country.
Under the present regime of General Buhari, Nigeria has the highest number of out-of-school children in the world. Are you surprised that a nation that, under President Obasanjo recorded a high mark in Universal Basic Education (UBE) has fallen so low to be named as one with the highest number of out-of-school children? That’s our “from grace to grass story” but do we want to remain there?
Let me tell you how we can remain there as the country with the highest number of out-of-school children. This can only happen when we vote for a man with no certificate. A man who turned our children into agbero to the extent that the tradition he left in Lagos has become a national tradition. Give him an opportunity to be the president and this Nation would become an “agbero republic”.
Why would I go to school if I can be given a came (wire, iron, koboko) and given a portion of the street where I’ll become an “area”? There I can erect my group’s toll gate and extort money from motorists. That’s Tinubu’s legacy to Nigerian youths. If we make the mistake of having him in Ato rock, Olomu, the head of Agberos who is already campaigning for him would become the minister for youths and sports. For any youth to excel, he must be in the motor park or be on the street with a cane.
We need an academic renaissance in Nigeria. We need academic role models. We need men whose education is in tandem with their life achievements. A vote for Obi-Datti would definitely revolutionize our moribund educational system. We cannot afford to miss this once-in-a-lifetime experience.
NIGERIA AT THE vVALLEY OF SECURITY DECISION :
A party or individual that is complicit in our security woes cannot be a deliverer in times like this. Alhaji Shetima, Apc vice presidential candidate is complicit in our security wahala. Under his watch, Boko Haram became a deadly security threat. A feared terrorist was arrested in his house having spent the previous night with him. Under his watch as the chief security officer of Borno state, the Chibok girls were brutally abducted. He refused bluntly to obey a security command from the Commander in Chief of the Armed forces to vacate or relocate the girls to a safe place. In a sane society, Alhaji Shetima would be in jail. He has no business with us in the free world.
Under Apc and Buhari, terrorists have been treated with kid’s gloves. Agbado said he’ll continue with Buharis’ “good” works. That’s the legacy we shall inherit if we make the mistake of having a Tinubu Presidency.
Another Fulani in power, giving the Fulanis 16 years of rulership? This would be a wicked wish. This has a lot of security implications eg, more blood would flow in the North-central, SE, and SW zones. That means the herdsmen/ farmers clash would continue unabated. Can we afford this reckless decision?
NIGERIA AT THE VALLEY OF CULTURAL VALLEY.:
It is so difficult in recent times to define our culture as a people. Those of us who handle children know the cultural conflict we face daily. Globalization has had an impact on us as an indigenous African ethnic nation. Our situation has been complicated by dangerous lifestyles and unimpressive role models as exemplified by our political class.
Nigeria is today defined by the hypocrites who lead us. They ask us to be nationalistic but they hate Nigeria. They live in Dubai like the PDP candidate who is only here for election holidays. Once the election is over, Mr. Atiku would jet out to his abode in Dubai. Is Buhari living here? Recently King Charles, the new king of England asked him if he has a house in the UK. That’s a question you ask someone who is always in your neighborhood. Our president spends more time outside than he stays here.
Our culture today is defined by medical tourism, academic tourism, economic tourism, food tourism, and sports tourism (are you not surprised that while Eto O is the chairman of his country’s FA, the likes of JJ Okocha, Kanu, Finidi, Amokacni, are watching from the sideline while novices run our sports. Are you not ashamed that the giant of Africa is not playing at the ongoing world Cup?).
When we elect none Nigerians into power, we confuse our culture. They would pay allegiance to the country of their birth first. No wonder we’re building a rail line in Niger Republic when there’s none in over two third of our country.
NIGERIA AT THE VALLEY OF AGE FRAUD DECISION.:
In recent times, Nigerians have been known in international meets as age cheats. While the likes of Messi are still playing, Nigerians who played with him at the youth group level have all retired. We cheat in exams, we cheat in our certificates( Oluwole), age declaration, marriage, religion, just name it. There’s hardly an area where we have not been infected with our cheating culture. It is normal to see Nigerians on social media celebrating “plus one” as a birthday. What’s a “plus one”? Each time you see it on social media, you know the celebrant is a Nigerian cheat. How did we come to this stage?
Our leaders tell us stories about their age, they lie! How old is Alhaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu? Google says his age has been changed a record 8 times! How old was Tinubu’s first wife when she died a few years ago? How old is Tinubu’s first child? Who are his age mates? This takes us back to his chequered academic life.
I went to school first at Igbere Secondary school Igbere. My first classmate is Ndukwe N. EME now Most Rev Ndukwe N. Eme (an alumnus of UNN and Princeton University). I later attended Akanu Ohafia secondary school Ohafia. My classmates are Engr Ibe Odo Uma( an accomplished engineer) Prof Ijeoma Emele of the University of PH, Dr. Ibe Ogboso Uka, and a host of others I can name if space allows me. I had my 1st degree at Jos. Rev Matthew Yunana was my schoolmate. I read at UNN, Prof A. U. Agha was my supervisor. I had the privilege of studying under the highly cerebral Prof O. U. Kalu. supervised by Prof Tasie of PH and Prof E. M Uka. At the University of Abuja, Prof Kacha was my teacher and Dr. Mrs. Ojai supervised me.
What’s the rocket science in one naming your former class mates/ teachers correctly?
These men of absurdities we have allowed over the years have not just brought shame on themselves but on all of us. If Tinubu cannot tell us his mates in Government College Ibadan, his classmates/ Teachers during his days in Chicago, etc, he doesn’t deserve a place in the presidency. Enough of this shameful cheating up and down. How many of us can take it if our children tell us these fiery tales our politicians throw at us?
Recently, our national goalkeeper was said to be 23 years old. His coach said that he looks older than him at 23. Now can a man that was in the Super Eagles 10 years ago still be 23 years old? That’s how we have defined ourselves!
Do we want this national disgrace to stop? All we need to do is vote out all forms of cheaters. Starting from Economic cheaters, to academic cheaters, to financial crime cheaters and we shall in time go down to exam and sports cheaters.
If Nigerians fail to deal decisively with these ” yahoo men”, we have no business harassing the small boys whose only crime is that they cheated foreigners. It is hypocritical to persecute the boys who are practicing the trade they learned from their fathers. Stop the fathers and the boys would stop!
NIGERIA AT THE VALLEY OF POST-WAR DECISION:
According to the renowned novelist, Chinua Achebe, Nigeria won the civil war but lost the peace. It is a fact of history that those that seek to win a war usually lose the peace. This has a serious implication for Nigeria’s situation.
52 years after the civil war, the victor is still Victor with the pride and arrogance of victory, and the vanquished, on the other hand, remains vanquished. Attempts by previous governments to usher healing to the wounds of Nigeria has been made rubbish by no other than Major General Muhamadu Buhari, a man who fought in the evil war and a man who participated in the pogrom that sent many to their early grave. General Buhari is known to have derisively called the vanquished “a dot” nation. Buhari has not hidden the fact in his 8 years of misrule that the war is not yet over. If the war is not yet over, the healing process is yet to start.
Buhari’s party APC has not left anyone in doubt that they would continue his legacy of polarizing Nigeria along ethnic/ religious lines.
We need a unifier, a man who is not a bigot, a man of healing, a new Nigerian with a new vision. A versatile and multi-talented man, a well-exposed man. That man is Mr. Peter Obi.
NIGERIA AT THE VALLEY OF ETHNIC CUM TRIBAL DECISION:
If Nigeria is for all ethnic and tribal groups, care must be taken to give everyone a chance to become the president of the country. In this democratic dispensation, a Yoruba man has been a President followed by a Fulani man who died on the seat. His Vice, an Ijaw man served the years that were left. He also served another term of 4 years bringing his total tenure to 6 years.
Next was another Fulani man who has been on the seat for 8 years. Justice, fairness, national unity, federal character, all these virtues as agreeable in and by our constitution support the fact that the next president should come from South East Nigeria. This would ensure that we build an egalitarian society.
Is the Presidency only for the Fulani and Yoruba? 2023 would prove it. Already, the socio-cultural Yoruba group Afinafere has done the needful by standing by HE Peter Obi. All lovers of equity and fair play must do the same. They must queue up behind Mr. Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP), as a demonstration of their belief in fairness and justice.
This is the time to sing : “though tribe and tongue may differ in brotherhood we stand.”
Like the legendary American civil right activist, Dr. Martin Luther King, I have a dream! I want to see a Nigeria where tribe, religion, tongue, and state won’t decide what each citizen would get. I have a dream. I want to live in a Nigeria where merit is placed above mediocrity, where my children are given their due. I have a dream to see a Hausa man, a Fulani man, an Igbo, a Yoruba man, an Efik, Ijaw, Urhobo, Edo, Ishan, Ibibio, junkun, Igala, Tiv, Idoma, Ohafia, Qua, Ebira can hold hands in unity accepting themselves as equal and a people united by destiny for a purpose.
I have a dream to see this new Nigeria emerge on 29th May 2023 at the inauguration of his Excellency, Peter Obi as the President and Commander of the armed forces of Nigeria.
That day would mark the beginning of healing for a country that has been so balkanized, bastardized, humiliated, and destroyed by its leaders.
ONE NATION BOUND IN FREEDOM, PEACE, AND UNITY:
The first stanza of our national Anthem ends with these great words which I’m going to repeat for emphasis.”..one nation bound in freedom, peace, and unity”.
2023 is the year that would test our sincerity, and our resolve to build a nation bound in freedom. Are Nigerians free in their country? Do we have peace.? I refuse to be jolted by the propaganda of APC wherein they lie about the security situation in our country. They tell us that they are peaceful when kidnapping, violence, and all sorts of social malaise are the order of the day.
If you’re a lover of peace, don’t cast your vote for Apc or PDP. These two are complicit in creating this monster that has engulfed the entire nation.
Are we united? At no time in our national history have we seen this type of division as witnessed today. Let’s recover our the soul of our nation from the hawks.
Arise Oh compatriots, let’s take back our nation. I will drop my pen after saying this:
Mr. Peter Obi is the first Nigerian politician in recent times to ask us to hold him responsible for every action or inaction of his government. He has demonstrated it by speaking to us by himself while other contenders are talking to us through proxies. They can easily deny all the noise their proxies are making.
Do you remember how General Buhari and Tinubu denied all the false promises they made to Nigerians while campaigning in 2015? They’re at it again, thinking we all have amnesia like them. You and I must tell them we’re no fools.
A leader is known for his actions. HE Peter Obi has asked us to verify all his credentials. In our clime, we have a saying that clear conscience fears no accusation. As we pray to reinvent Nigeria, we need a role model for our youths. A new Nigeria is possible with Mr. Peter Obi as our President. Vote for him for a new and vibrant nation. Place your finger where you have the picture of Papa, Mama, pikin. That’s the LP logo.
Please share this paper with your friends. Let’s reach out to the voters as they decide to vote rightly.
Richyard Awa Kalu Ume JP, Ph.D.
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