By Fr Livinus Onogwu –
The clock is ticking loudly and counting down towards a new dawn for Nigeria as we head into the 2023 General election.
As political drama continues to unfold ahead of the election, some concerned Nigerians are focusing on Nigerian voters for a purposeful use of the power of the ballot to change the looming leadership trajectory from a distressed Nigeria to a blessed Nigeria for all.
As we all reflect on the ongoing political process and discourse ahead of the general election come 2023, I recall the saying “One can fool some of the people all the time and one can fool all the people some of the time but one cannot fool all the people all the time.”
Let us all agree, as our starting point, that some, if not most of us, have been foolish victims of commercial politics, political godfatherism, apolitical attitude, and lack of active interest and participation in the electoral process of our country.
Many thanks to the bitter lessons we have learnt from decades of misrule by clueless power mongers, poor economic management, collapsed security architecture, separatist agitations, high level blatant looting, run away inflation, mass unemployment and other endless litany of our national woes. If we have not had enough of these woes, then we are seriously sick!
I want to believe no right thinking Nigerian is happy with our situation. I believe that millions of Nigerians of good will are yearning earnestly for a new lease of life and for a Nigeria that works. Even Nigerians in diaspora are as concerned as Nigerians at home and for once we are united in seeking the common good.
Security is good for any and every Nigerian irrespective of their tribe, state or religion. Constant electricity and good road network are good for the Ibo man as it is for the Hausa man. Affordable cost of living serves the Fulani as it serves the interest of the Idoma people. A smooth university calendar is as sweet to the Kanuri man from Borno as it is to the Birom man from Plateau. Affordable and available petroleum product enables the Tiv woman in Benue State as it is to the Yoruba woman in Oyo State. We could go on and on to demonstrate how our common goods serve our collective interests.
Majority of us are suffering and smiling as Fela Kuti of blessed memory rawly puts it because we had inadvertently allowed our few delegates and elected leaders to both have their say and have their way in all things. Our cup is now full and there is an internal will stirring from the guts of many young Nigerians to rise to the occasion to rescue the falling giant Nigeria from the shaky hands of our grand fathers who have planted themselves in government and restricted their children to the periphery of helplessly salivating in street corners.
The time is ripe and has come and it is now or never, for all Nigerians to team up to dethrone old cargo and sick leaders, analogue leaders with no ideas of how to fix Nigeria; people who are out to rape and milk mother Nigeria to death to their advantage and to the detriment of hundreds of millions of Nigerians; people who feel the country is their private property and hence belongs to them and their cronies.
Unless and until we are vexed to the point of revolt, we will continue to dance to the old songs of our grandfathers in government as we cry our hearts out for unbearable sufferings. We have had enough. Enough is enough!
We can effect the desired change for a better Nigeria come 2023. The power to change Nigeria for the better is right there in the hands of voting Nigerians. I saw in Lagos a billboard that says “INEC does not count your prayer points; INEC counts your vote. Go and get your PVC”. Very true! Being the religious people that we are, many of us are having vigils of prayer for God to raise up good leaders for us in 2023. We prayed the same prayers before the last general election. The answer to our prayers is in our hands. God does not owe Nigerians any answer to our endless prayers of lamentation. God is waiting for us to activate and effect the change we desire of our beloved nation with the collective power of our voting will. With our PVC in our hands and our actual voting on the D day, we will reset and chart anew the path of Nigeria towards peace, security, prosperity and development.
This however has a cost. The cost is the mandatory sacrifice we all must make for a better Nigeria. The cost involves not selling our votes to satisfy an immediate need but to sacrifice our momentary gratification for a lasting gratification. We watched with keen interest the recent party primaries and we saw how the so called delegates were bought and sold by the high and mighty. We are living with the outcome of the “dollar rains” as it was called.
Delegates have played their politics but Nigerians have a grand chance ahead to right the wrongs by acting right, by rejecting any material, tribal, religious and political influence on who we vote in especially to the number one office of president.
The life, values, discipline, law and order, strength, growth, development, economy, peace, security, national cohesion, and reputation of a nation depends largely on the quality of leadership at all levels but especially at the federal level.
Nigeria has suffered terrible setbacks over the past years as a result of the poor quality of leaders. It is self deceiving to expect an old man who is struggling with terminal sickness to vibrantly lead a nation as colossal and diverse as Nigeria. It is a vain hope to imagine that the country will optimize its great potentials under the administration of tribal lords and corrupt cohorts.
To vote for the likes of Buhari and Ya’ardua or any semblance of the old generations still parading our political terrain is to further facilitate Nigeria’s transition from frying pan to the burning fire. Who we vote in come 2023 must therefore be someone who can inject fresh impetus, confidence and vigour into the Nigeria project and who can engenger a complete cut and departure from the past.
Who would this person be? I don’t have a definite answer on the identity of this person but I have the identity and details of those who do not fit into this agenda of rescuing Nigeria from the grip of wolves in lambs clothing. By eliminating the names of those who do not fit in, we will get to the one who it is that will turn our oceans of lamentation into oceans of prosperity.
This is why we cannot afford to waste the next 8 years and further sink ourselves into the abbys of failed states by voting political maggots who are out ready with their shameless loots to buy the votes of suffering Nigerians and so pepertuate their maladministration to the endangered detriment of Nigeria and Nigerians.
The time has come, and it is now for us to save Nigeria. Operation Save Nigeria (OSN) is the philosophy and theology of this clarion call by an Economist turned Catholic Priest. Now you know something of the identity of this writer. If a priest could be so vexed as to pour out these well founded venoms, then you too must be angered enough to get your PVC to SAVE NIGERIA by voting, not for the man who pays you to vote for him or gives you food stuff or clothes, but for the man who has what it takes to stir this country in the right direction. Such person may not have stolen money to throw around but that person is the man to vote in all the same.
Let us for once sacrifice momentary material gains to vote in leaders who will build a Nigeria that works for us and our unborn generations. I passionately appeal to all sane Nigerians (and I use the word sane intentionally because there are millions of insane Nigerians who are satisfied with cheap mediocrity) to vote wisely and conscientiously to rescue and save Nigeria from the grips of political and economic capitalists.
The person we vote in come 2023 will have implications beyond their first and second term in office. How? If we play the same old game, the person will plant his anointed in Aso Rock and therefore will succeed himself: handing over to himself in the form of another person! Plus or minus, the political implication of playing the old game in 2023 will enslave Nigeria for at least the next 16 years: 8 years for the old cargo and another 8 years for his anointed.
If by the special grace of the God of wisdom and enlightenment, we all shine our eyes, blacklist the many popular bad eggs of the old generation and embrace the only popular good egg on the ballot, we will be firmly locking the old gate against the old system that has brought us to where we painfully are today and opening a new gate to a new system that will take us to where we desire and indeed deserve to be.
Sometimes it takes doing something differently to get the change we desire. We cannot continue to do the same thing over and over again and expect to have a different result. It is time for us to vote differently for the change we desire in every sector of our national life.
Let the 2023 election be our decisive moment to end decades of poor leadership in Nigeria. May God’s good and wise Spirit guide and direct our hearts and minds aright. Amen.