by Abdulrahman Leme
The 2015 election in Nigeria is seen by many as a make or mar election, and arguably the most crucial one since Nigeria’s independence. Over the years Nigeria’s unity has been put to test several times, from 1966 coup that led to the civil war and the subsequent coups and counter coups, economic and political instabilities. The ethnic and communal crisis, the invasion of our communities by foreign mercenaries and arguably the greatest of all threats, the Boko Haram crisis, have all threatened and continue to threaten the unity of the Nigerian state. Perhaps one last challenge for the Nigerian state is the 2015 elections described as the most crucial election in Nigeria’s history.
Many Nigerians seems to have had enough of the ruling party’s tricks and poor leadership, from North to South, people are now willing to overlook their differences be it religious, ethnic or sectional to fight for better leadership. The ruling party for the past sixteen years have continued to oppress, exploit and subject the citizens to abject poverty. It’s at the time of election that they come bearing gifts, “Ghana must go bags” stack with money looted from the treasury to buy votes and continue to take citizens on a ride with their empty promises, which they don’t intend to keep.
For the past few weeks we have been fed with all sorts of stories surrounding the postponement of the elections; suddenly we have an active National Security Adviser working with the Service Chiefs to curtail the Boko Haram insurgency and ensure Nigerians are safe to vote – weeks after calling our poorly armed soldiers at the battle front ‘cowards’. These people seem to have been on sabbatical leave while Boko Haram were taking Nigerian territories and forcing our soldiers to run for their lives or tactically manoeuvre into neighbouring countries over the past five years or so.
Many of us have lost friends and family members to this crisis, directly or indirectly – we cannot account for the exact number of innocent lives lost to multiple attacks by Boko Haram. Worse still is the fact that we have a sitting President who lacks empathy, a President who would rather dance ‘Nanaye’ in Kano than mourn scores of bomb blast victims, a President who would rather wait till few days to election before visiting the war torn North East, a President who dines and wines with international criminals, ex-convicts and drug barons, a President who uses the military to rig election and above all a President who saw the nurturing of a rag tag insurgents into a highly sophisticated group of terrorists due to negligence and sheer incompetence.
Boko Haram is one of the many problems facing our country, we have our sacred institutions being ridiculed every day by a desperate President, a man who thinks stealing is not corruption, a man who had no plan whatsoever to become president but found himself leading Africa’s most populous nation, a man whose campaign strategy has only improved from being shoeless to seeking sympathy votes from one church to the other. The list is endless, I can go on and on our economy is in turmoil as I type the naira is on a free fall, as you read this your purchasing power must have reduced by 2%. But we have a choice at our hands to set us free from the hands of ‘king Nebuchadnezzar’.
The APC is not a party of saints and we aren’t looking for saints either. At this moment, what we need is a platform where we can be given the liberty to test our democracy and the power of the people, the PDP has denied us this freedom since 1999 that is why we have been having accidental public servants leading us to doom at different levels. The APC have so far demonstrated that they are ready to at least allow us determine who leads us or not and they seem to believe in the power of the ballots and this is a stepping stone and an opportunity we can’t let it slide.
While the APC is running an issue based campaign, through town hall meetings and media chats both within and outside the country, the PDP thinking it is business as usual are busy sponsoring ridiculous ads on newspapers and national televisions against the person of the opposition candidate. They have failed to realise that Nigerians are wiser now and will not fall for their cheap blackmails, we need change, the change we need will not be provided from the same party that has held us captives in our own country over the past sixteen years. The PDP and their supporters keep threatening us with war, their friends meet in government houses and issue out threats, a serving governor is not only sponsoring provocative ads on national dailies but threatening to withdraw his state from Nigeria.
We must remain resolute and send them packing no matter the provocation; we must resist resorting to violence. The only way Nigeria will reclaim its lost glory in Africa and the world at large is by ensuring a successful common sense revolution has taken place. Our revolution will not be like the Arab Spring, we have suffered enough and have lost enough, now is the time to use the ballots not the bullets to reclaim our country from the hands of these ‘corporate thieves’ who have been running the country like an empire where some kingmakers sit in their villas and palaces and impose their cronies on us. We want change from this oppression; we want to be given the opportunity to taste the beauty of democracy where the principle of one-man one-vote can be respected.
At the moment we have limited choices but between the two major candidates, we know one of them the sitting the president have done his best and his best is the worst type of leadership this country has ever tasted. He has been tested and cannot be trusted not with our territorial integrity, not with our economy; our girls are still missing, our billions are still at large, the likes of Stella Odua, Maina, Faruk Lawal, Femi Otedola, Abba Moro and Diezani Alison-Maduekwe are either somewhere enjoying their loots or still looting. We need change and GMB is that man who would rather keep Abdullahi Bolaji and sack Abba Moro or keep Professor Alkali as education minister than hand it over to a reckless Wike no matter their political differences. General Buhari is a man who is not afraid of competence in his 20 months in power he appointed his cabinet base on competence regardless of their religion or ethnicity. This is why he is the change we need, we may think we deserve better or want a younger president but at this moment we are left with this two candidates one described as incorruptible, discipline and no nonsense and the other currently overseeing a failing government, the choice is ours and we must not fail to get it right this time around. The change we need is GMB. I watched him during the APC convention and here is some of what he said:
“I do not intend to rule Nigeria. I want to democratically govern it with your help. I seek a Nigeria where Christians and Muslims may practise their faiths in peace and security; a Nigeria that is just and where corruption no longer trespasses into our institutions and national behaviour and a Nigeria where our diversity could be used for our national prosperity.”
God bless Nigeria!
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.