Lessons From #Ekitidecides and the Challenges Ahead of 2015 By Abdulkadir S. Abdulkadir
I must admit that the outcome of #EkitiDecides is not what was expected by many who followed the campaigns and election processes. As for me, I had to reluctantly go off twitter for more than 24hrs just so I could get over the misadventure. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. But only the Ekiti people got the ‘rice’ (I mean right) to vote, mine was more or less a goodwill in prayers for the Ekiti people to vote in a good leader like any other state that I hold no ‘rice’ to vote.
I have never visited Ekiti, I only read about the state from online media like many other states of the federation. When I have interest on a subject I know not, I try to read about it objectively like Chimamanda will say a; ‘balanced story’, that is reading both sides of the story. For the purpose of this piece, I am taking Ekiti’s scenario as a case study to analyze our national politics.
The fairest description of the Gov. Elect, Mr Fayose is the fact that he is a grass root politician with massive grass root support and infamously having murder and corruption charges against him. His first term in office was said to be below average. Gov. Kayodeon the other hand showed many Nigerians what good governance practically mean. Unlike Kano, Rivers and Lagos states withgood internally generated revenue, this erudite politician and governor of Ekiti did fairly well for his state with the little he got from the national coffers. With one of the least grants from the federal government, his leadership score card was impressive. It takes men of honor and integrity to do what he does upon the return of the election.
As J.J. Omojuwa opined, “We should forget about changing Nigeria. We will never change Nigeria until we change Nigerians”. Two major factors that played important role in the last polls were poverty and illiteracy (directly or indirectly) which is the weakling used by the politicians against us during each and every electioneering campaign to get our mandate and add with some election malpractices to get their ways into/back to power.
The United Nations released a report that Nigeria has more than 100 million of her population living in destitution. This is about 60% of the total population. Most of them are so depleted that all they want is what they can eat for the day. The micro bag of rice in both Ekiti and Osun states that circulates the social media before #EkitiDecides was a clear manifestation of how poverty has eaten deep into us. The worst of them all was the case of Jigawa state in 2011 when a pack of noodles was given in exchange for a vote.
I am sure how much in need they are, they can give out their vote to the devil if he can put bread on their table for a meal (not even a whole day). This makes one ponder and ask if this state of destitution is artificial so that they use it against us when they come to seek for votes?.
For the second factor, Ekiti is said to be one of the states with highest literacy level in Nigeria and thus does not fully fall to this category but it is important to note that we are now in a country whereas celebrated graduate of economics could pull down a whole school structure only to change the architecture,a place where a PhD holder can tell you that stealing is not corruption, where political scientist cannot tell you what dividends of democracy are, where a doctor cannot diagnose simple malaria,or a teacher that cannot read!The example goes on and on.
Illiteracy is now not only into about 50% of our population (most of which are in the north) but also within the schooled group. Although we may read, write and speak grammar in public but we do not know what is expected of our leaders as a mark of responsibility. We don’t know what to demand of from them and thus they choose what they want to do with our resources be it useful or not. Clear and practical example of misplaced priority is building airport in states that cannot have daily domestic flights in likely the next 5 years.
Literates and illiterates alike celebrate corrupt politicians of questionable characters who accumulated inexplicable wealth and sometimes share with them. Governors are called wicked or stingy if they choose to use money only for developmental projects instead of giving it to political thugs and political God fathers. And not channeling the money into health, job creation, security, education, agriculture and other sensitive sectors of the economy.
Challenges ahead of 2015 are enormous. Orientation or re-orientation of the voters, rich and poor, educated and uneducated alike on responsibilities of the leaders, and the power of which our votes can control. Let them know that the states and the country is for all of us and the leaders are only in our service for the time we choose. Let us all learn to demand questions on accountability, justice, equality, transparency etc.
This is a role that should be played by all that are craving for credible leadership. Those of us who despite the challenges bedeviling us as a nation, still believe in the Nigerian dream. Be it a civil servant, journalist, social media person or a blogger, religious and traditional leaders, social activists or you and I, it is a duty I believe we must do to have the Nigeria of our dream! Nigeria is the only country we can proudly say ours.
God bless Nigeria and Nigerians.
Abdulkadir S. Abdulkadir writes from Lagos, Nigeria.
Can be reached on twitter @abdul003
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