And Nigeria Lives Again? By Gbolahan Yusuf
The entire country is in a celebratory mood today. The air is filled with joy and military show-off, the people, as joyous as the country’s situation allows. Some will eat, many will drink, but for the new tenants of Aso Rock, they will start working. They must, from now, for the next four years. The people’s choice have prevailed, they have changed a seating government and a never-before unseated party, and today emerges a new President and Commander-in-chief for the country, widely popular among the populace, and who has now become the new hope, and last maybe, for this country. There is indeed a cause for excitement. But to those who were alive on the 1st day of October in 1960, the atmosphere today, is not new. And in that case, things didn’t go exactly as they had expected.
The greatness this country has been associated with since gaining independence, has remained virtually, in potential even 55 years after that landmark. While the state of the country may have hit rock bottom in the last two decades, owing to the different by-products of effective mismanagement in public offices, there is a credible standpoint from which to argue that as bad as our early years seemed, the problems faced then by Nigeria were more, challenges of peaceful co-harmony in a very diverse country. A country with so much diversity and separations had been brought together, and then left alone to rule themselves. Trust was to be nurtured, and where it failed (as it did), wars were to be waged. Some have argued for long that the country was not ripe for independence then, but no one was so concerned, on that day. In retrospect however, maybe we weren’t.
The joy of this day among Nigerians is not in anyway, over-reaction. There are a thousand and one reasons to be excited. In a country patrolled by politicians with corrupt minds, the incoming president cuts the figure of a loner bear, the one spotless animal in a forest where spots are the thing of pride. When the All Progressives Congress in its presidential primaries, unanimously chose the tough-looking retired Army General from Daura, it was for that much reason. Unseating PDP looked so impossible you needed another David to bring down this Goliath. Go no further, APC must have thought, we have just the right man. In truth and in credit to the progressive party, he was. His supporters in the North call him “mai gaskiya”, it means the truthful one, it is only one of his many popular virtues, which include, but is not limited to, his integrity and complete disregard for corruption (or stealing).
It would have been a near disaster if the most popular politician there was, still lost to the most unpopular President our democracy has had. At his age, knowing that a loss would practically retire the People’s General, meant it was a choice of now or never, in giving our country a chance. The people voted. The people defended their votes. The people today, see the fruits of their labour but if they will reap those fruits, remains to be seen. What is certain is, every journey begins with a step. And that was quite gigantic for a first step from Nigerians.
The people believe they have chosen, and their voices have resonated even within the deepest hollows of Africa’s most populous nation, and if the age-long perception of the new Commander-in-chief is anything to go by, then better times may lay ahead. Then this ship, saddled with 16 years of misgovernance, corruption, political mediocrity, and ruler-ship rather than leadership, can still sail. Then Nigerians, mostly given up on this dream of a country, can still believe in a better tomorrow. A secure tomorrow, secure for the children, the adults, the aged, the economy, the infrastructure, the environment, et cetera. A tomorrow secure for Nigeria that starts today. I wish you well, President Muhammadu Buhari.
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