I’m really emotional right now because it all feels so surreal, so I apologize in advance. This will be long!
In 2011, I voted for then General Muhammadu Buhari and was saddened by people voting (mainly for religious and tribal reasons) for a person who to me (even back then) had neither the gumption nor political will or individual character I felt was needed for the persona of the president of Nigeria. I was so disappointed in Nigeria and Nigerians that I registered this blog on WordPress and wrote my first post the same night the results were announced (April 16th, 2011).
Today, 4 years later, things are different. My fellow Nigerians, it is with the strongest sense of pride I have ever felt for our nation that I say well done to everybody who went out on March 28th 2015 and voted for Change; voted to show that incompetence will not be condoned; voted to show that we will not be deceived by excuses for mediocrity; voted to show it is not good enough to blame the opposition or your predecessors for your shortcomings; voted to show that lives matter; voted to show that a leader who can’t deliver on his promises does not deserve to be a leader anymore.
This post isn’t to air my opinion on GEJ or his tenure, or to say why I voted for now President Elect Muhammadu Buhari (I’m still having to pinch myself to believe that it’s real and not an April Fool’s joke) back in 2011 and why I would have voted for him yet again had I been home. But I will say a few things though.
First off, I am immensely amused at the sudden canonization of GEJ for calling GMB to concede the victory as soon as it was mathematically impossible for PDP to win or qualify for a run off. Let me be clear, I applaud him for doing the right thing. I also understand that after the abysmal behavior displayed by the former Minister of the Niger Delta “Elder” Orubebe, such a show of statesmanship most likely saved A LOT of people from violent and untimely deaths. I will however say that suddenly touting him as a man of absolutely impeccable character because of that singular act is not only naive, it’s incredibly ludicrous. The most hilarious to me is the sudden epiphany that several of his supporters are having saying “He’s such a dignified man. He didn’t even want this second term at all.” Please, were all the trips he made on the campaign trail a bid to rack up frequent flyer miles on the presidential jet in his last days as president? Please if you’re going to serve Zobo or Dodo at least let it be sumptuous and the like. Without quibbling, I respect his decision to step down quietly and his concession speech showed a level of maturity and tact that he never showed throughout the years he was the number one man in the nation. But truth be told, he was far from a perfect man, and as a leader he was piss poor. Additionally, I thank him for appointing Professor Attahiru Jega to the office of the chairman of INEC. Which leads me to my next point.
If anybody is the REAL MVP of this entire election process it is the man Professor Attahiru Jega and the entire INEC team. Yeah, yeah, yeah, there were some corrupt and unscrupulous members of INEC in some (if not all) of the states. But still, this election was conducted in as free and fair a manner as we have ever had in this country. Additionally, the level of poise and tact with which Jega handled himself throughout the entire process, especially in the past couple days, I can not but be filled with pride that I am a Nigerian and was alive to witness this. It is my prayer that whatever it is Prof. Jega sets out to do as he leaves this current position that God will bless him IMMENSELY.
Now, on a final note. The president elect is not a saint, he has several failings and shortcomings. Neither is he a magician or a superhero. I do NOT expect him to get into office and wave a magic wand screen “Kwarafshun Exfelliarmus!!!” and transform Nigeria into Nubia. However, I do expect a few things from him: I expect him to rebuild our nation’s security, and reinstate a sense of pride in our armed forces and other security personnel. I also expect him to reintroduce sanity into the civil service of the Federal Government of Nigeria. I expect him to surround himself with a cabinet that is comprised of sound individuals that have Nigeria’s interests at heart and will begin to chart a course for moving Nigeria forward and actually lead us forward in sectors such as power, education, natural resources and the environment. Finally, and most importantly, I expect him to show that corruption will not be tolerated by ANYBODY. If he does well (by my standards), then at the end of his four years we will have TANGIBLE differences in these four areas. With a legislative that is predominantly composed of APC party members, I believe he will have the necessary support he needs (caveat: all things being “equal”).
In conclusion, this is not the end. In truth, this new journey in democracy has just begun (this phrase has probably been repeated so many times today in so many different variations it’s probably cliche by now). It is up to ALL of us to hold ALL our leaders (not just the presidency, but every single elected and selected official in every single tier and arm of government) accountable. We have shown that our votes count and that WE, the ordinary people, matter. We have shown that anybody who does not perform will be shown the way out. Today it isn’t simply GMB or APC that has won, it is Nigeria and Nigerians that have won. So regardless of who you voted for (yes, even y’all who voted for GEJ *side eye*), today is your victory, so take a bow.
God bless us all, and God bless Nigeria.