by: Osy Ekwueme
Let’s preface this piece with the basic Aristotelian argument for democracy that says a public can listen to all sides of an argument and then decide who should lead after a consideration of their past behavior in a position of leadership.
With the Nigerian Presidential candidates for the Feb. 2023 election for APC, PDP, NNPP and Labor Party now on the campaign trail, it is obvious that all the candidates are educated, headstrong and quirky. Arguably, some of the Nigerian leaders failed the country. The so called Africa’s giant has been clobbered to a pulp, spit on and paralyzed by fear and yet those that contributed to the problem are angling to get back to power. It is really an absurdity bathed in hypocrisy, because we know them. Voting for any of them as the President of Nigeria would be a joke if it did not put on full-display, the astounding contempt some groveling politicians have for our country. BUT when your character and previous effort in leadership failed in such spectacular fashion, after inflicting glaring damage to your reputation, what sort of Men in Black memory wand do you have to use on yourself to think you can overcome with another attempt. This profound European saying…”Those who so wantonly crave power, should NEVER be granted it…” holds here. Public office should be a duty, not a perpetual career.
The Nigerian youths and the millennial generation appear to be fully awake and doing their best to stave off the end of Nigeria. I am proud, impressed and delighted of the steps they have taken so far, to enlighten every Nigerian…North, South, East, West, and everywhere. They have demonstrated an admirable flexibility in recognizing the social and political discontent. Your time has come, arise and shine. You have the power to start shaping events. You speak the best about Nigeria and what the will of evolving and focused human can achieve. Old folks should help them or just step aside. Methinks, it’s time to buy a “Train load of ink” and write and fight as hard as we can to get us back to the Nigerian we grew up with. The one we were proud to call home and the one admired by the world despite hidden flaws and all. The absolute justice of the system of things is as clear to me as any scientific fact. This is best news in a long time and I anticipate record breaking voter turnout.
Tribalism, corruption, religion and those that espouse them will soon be relegated to obscurity. Seriously, Nigeria does not exist to pander to tribal needs; who take pleasure in the suffering of others and causes that suffering, whenever possible with a sickening and nearly orgasmic delight. No redeeming social value. There is a sizable population of the new generation of Igbo, Yoruba, Hausas, Fulanis, Ijaws and other extraction unborn in 1966 and not interested in rehearsing old tribal grievances. Yet, suffer because of actions of the government. All the ethnics are getting united and will soon decide that it is better to fight their own war, and maybe find an honorable peace, than to remain in this contemptible state in perpetuity. The youths are done with what they see as pussyfooting and are embracing themselves and deciding how to peacefully coexist.
Yes, most politicians of the older generation had had their chance, but failed to move Nigeria in the right direction towards development. We say THANK YOU and now, it is time to help this younger generation or just get out of the way. Old ideas, like old medicine, can be dangerous to have around after they have done their job. The violence and hatred that is seething through is equally irrational and explosive. Some leadership in the North, instead of reining in that hatred and anger, is pouring gasoline on fire. If their hypocrisy weren’t so galling, it would be laughable.
I will not stay silent so that they can stay comfortable. No ethnic group should ride roughshod over other tribes, period. We are all Nigerians until we decide otherwise. The pervasive loyalty to ethic nationalism in Nigeria is waning slowly. Think about this: the words of the rejection of Peter Obi, by the PDP leadership seem whispered with a greasy solitude. If the PDP gave the wink, who gave the nod. Obi’s courage rose with every attempt to intimidate him. His testimony was far more threatening and not the least bit empty…while others have the money but lack the character required for entry to the position of the Presidency of Nigeria. The future is for men who dare to have great expectations and who will also have the courage, the persistence, the wisdom, and the patience to transform those expectations into realities.
Follow the money. Follow the fears, sniff out who’s scared to death that truths will harm their livelihood. Here comes Mr. Peter Obi…who followed protocol thinking that his PDP is ready to pass the torch to the next generation to make a new change of direction but logic and facts left the room immediately they saw him. He was silenced because of money palaver and tribal considerations. Plus, “He did not spread money as needed to get the primary nomination”. Big money is the political evil in every aspect of Nigeria declining democracy and social well being of our nation. Hate numbs the judgment, paralyzes the vitals of democracy. The annoying corollary of democracy is that the public is always right. Obi has just been handed veritable motivational campaign issues to run on. The old guard is simply behind the time and has yet to understand that their Party of yesteryear does not exist anymore. The argument from some Nigerians of my age cohorts, including some Igbos…..against Peter Obi, is so contestable at the very least. Their argument is specious and depressing; needless to honor the arguments by mentioning them here. If you want to help our youth, as I do, then it is time to wise up. Men of my generation have lived more years than we have left in this life’s journey in this world. The future belongs to the millennials. Continuing to practice the same failed policy and expecting a different result is folly. Why discard straight-line reasoning in favor of the cock-screw. What we should not let happen, what we cannot let happen, is to forget that Peter Obi was an incredible successful governor unlike others. Enough said.
We need more courageous group to speak truth to power. An ex-governor of a Northern state, stated openly that the North will never vote for any Southern Christian…my jaw dropped !!! The question then arises, is South not part of Nigeria or a Southerner not a Nigerian? Here is the thing….good people can use their religious faith to do good things and inspire others to follow suit. This type of religion threatening us, hasn’t got anything to do with anything of divine nature at all. It is pure human greed, selfishness and lust for power over others, and the wealth that would come with it.
Recall, Shakespeare’s Macbeth…who put himself above all others and touted his “destiny” to rule. He committed evil stuff to become King but, in the end, his pride and inflated ego left him defeated and alone. Food for thought !! Yes, proving the maxim that for evil to thrive only requires good men to do nothing. I don’t know how it will end up, but I sure hope good wins out over evil…evil dressed in religious garb. It seems we have been living in denial. Social media and everyone carrying a pocket-sized recording device has, however, forced us to face a different and far less pretty reality. Nigeria must be saved from being shivered into fragments by advancing tide of religious hatred and tribalism….an event I should be very sorry to witness.
Dr Osy Ekwueme
Medical Professional & Policy Analyst