by Seun Onigbinde
I try to always introspect before I put pieces here on Facebook recently. Why? Because I am a humbled man. Humbled because the Buhari I sold to you is not the one in charge. I can understand how I was so zealous about Buhari. When I saw him in 2011, I nearly broke down when it was obvious he won’t win. Because my understanding of history is that if his short-lived government survived, we won’t have ended up in IBB where everything finally went downhill.
In 2015, I gave it my all despite a fierce need to be impartial due to the work I do. Every technique was adopted to prove that this is our golden ticket. Now look at me, humbled. Humbled not because I would have made a different choice, humbled because the expectation perceived and sold was too high.
It was found out by National Assembly (another assembly of profiteers) that N2.5bn was mismanaged for IDP funds. Almost 450m was used in clearing grass and waterways, an NGO got N50m for a conference and other stuff that Yobe govt said never happened right in their faces. In that list, there were lots of companies, same old stuff. Contracts stacked in secret to benefit a few. This is in the legendary Buhari government. The name we thought when thieves hear it, they will take off like lightning. Once again, I am humbled.
I get it. There is an intellectual gap in addressing the issues. Let us not pretend about it. What were we thinking? This is a 73-year old man who retires to his house/farm when he loses elections. We believed we would fight corruption but EFCC is just collecting undisclosed “change” and we call this a fight?
If we adopt open contracting (all government contracts online), layered with beneficial ownership register woven with a BVN api, tell me where will corruption hide? Who will dare use IDP funds to cut grasses for a whooping N203m? Look at the Ministers, the ones we waited six months for? I have agreed that I will never express political preferences publicly nor persuade or demonize people’s choices.
I have told people around me that Nigeria needs to take out the entire political establishment and allow them a permanent vacation. We have raised an entitled establishment who can’t face our issues with rigorous thoughts. The same way Gambia found Barrow, a real estate agent, we need to find our regular folks who want to lead our nation and our states. People are honest, visionary, Pan-Nigerian and ready for rigorous accountability. As long as our solutions lie in our current establishment, we are steeped in gradualism.
How do you do it? Our political parties are funded from the treasury or mostly an investment concern. If we are ready, young professionals will have to fund our candidate, bring together our tiny drops and take the higher road on many issues the current system won’t fearlessly tackle. Donald Trump raised $100m (N40bn) from donors who gave less than $200 (N80,000). We can continue to wail but believe me, we will see changes but will it be enough that we will be proud of in our lifetime?
Our generation only has five electoral cycles, 20 years – two Presidents who spend 8 years. We will be within the 50-60 belt already. Remember, our parents were once the future.
My wife warned me seriously to be cautious with my optimism. Now, I rant to her daily. She understands.
Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija
Seun Onigbinde is the founder of Budgit