The month of February is ordinarily celebrated as the month of love but in Nigeria, it has become a mix of both love and hatred, as politicians deploy various gimmicks to whip up sentiments among the electorate, in order to outsmart their political opponents. The month has become a phenomenon of some sort, as far as our political experience is concerned.
For political actors, the month comes with its uncertainty, as the fear of February has become the beginning of political wisdom. When all the political dust raised as a result of the electioneering at various levels settles down, I do hope our country will return to the path of peace and chart a new course, that will usher in economic growth and development the country earnestly yearns for. It is my belief as well that the best man to lead this sleeping giant of Africa at this critical moment of our national life should emerge through a transparently, free, fair and credible election come February 16, 2019.
Whoever emerges victorious, whether Atiku Abubakar of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, or, President Muhammadu Buhari of the ruling All Progressives Congress, should not forget that the challenges ahead are quite daunting and enormous. The winner must move swiftly into action and save us the lamentation of how terrible the economy was before his ascension, or how it would be near impossible to address the ever-rising insecurity that has taken over the land. This is to remind all that leaders are elected to proffer solutions and not to complain about the enormity of the challenges on the ground. I hope we would experience a paradigm shift from the old order of doing things, to a new order of innovative and proactive leadership in piloting the affairs of state, in the emerging dispensation.
The political pendulum would definitely swing either to the ruling party or the opposition, but, to whichever direction it swings to, all we want is leadership by example. A leadership that will be responsive enough to take responsibility for its action and inaction, a leadership that ensures equity, fairness and justice, a leadership that would be accountable to the people at all times. And more importantly, a leadership that upholds our constitution by ensuring that it is protected at all times and seeks for better collaboration with other arms of government towards improving on it.
However, to the victorious candidate, it is time to move into action and settle down for the business of governance proper, which in the long run, we hope will bring about dividends to the people. It will be time to strengthen our institutions to function properly. The new dispensation, must as a matter of urgency, address our moribund education sector with the incessant crises therein, not forgetting our embarrassing health sector with enough brainpower but no adequate modern health facilities to address the challenges it is confronted with on a daily basis. The same is applicable to the insecurity pervading the land and most importantly, the dwindling face of our economy. It will be time to reposition the country for greatness again.
After the elections, the country must move as fast as possible to the “Next Level” or “Get Working Again” as the case may be, for rapid economic growth and development, peace and security of lives and property in the land, create employment for our teeming unemployed youth, ensure equitable distribution of our common resources and work out modalities to systematically address the issue of restructuring the current defective political and economical structures, for the betterment of all.
Nigerians are in dire need of a leader who will see all sections of the country as his own, promoting brotherliness among the people. The country needs a leader who is not beholden to any particular ethnic group in nature and who will foster unity among the various ethnic nationalities in the country. We need a leader who will help us change the negative narratives that have been with us for so long a time to a more appealing narrative that would be soothing to every Nigerian, home and abroad. A selfless leader that will put all he has on the line for the nation to make progress.
These and many more are what we are expecting to see after the election. After the February 16 election, the winner must be humble and magnanimous in victory, while the loser must accept defeat in good faith in the spirit of true sportsmanship, which is the only way we can make progress as a country. But ultimately, after the election, the winner must ensure that all the campaign promises are fulfilled without giving us flimsy excuses, on why they cannot be fulfilled. If excuses are what the eventual winner intends to be making after winning, I strongly appeal that it is not too late to quit the race now!