Nigeria: Happenings and Practical Change By Femi Ajakaye
Posted On Jun 6, 2015
Nigeria, our beloved country, is a country of happenings. Ours is a country where things happen, both the usual and the unusual. In Nigeria, there is never a dull moment. In fact, people love to make things happen anyhow, anywhere, any day, anytime. Really, many Nigerians, and even foreigners in our midst, have got used to the happenings in Nigeria that they tend to regard the happenings as part of their daily experiences.
Generally, the happenings before and during the 2015 General Elections in Nigeria were in fast tempo which necessitated the high tension in the country. There was palpable fear in the land. It was even predicted in some quarters that Nigeria was going to disintegrate after the elections. Indeed, it was glaring that certain politicians and their supporters were more at home with songs of hatred and they were happy to beat the drums of character assassination. Hate messages and campaigns were everyday occurrences, without thinking of the peace and unity of our country.
The two major political parties in Nigeria, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) were very aggressive in their campaigns. It was the first time since 1999 that the PDP, which claimed to be ‘the largest party’ in Africa and boasted that it was going to rule Nigeria for a very long time (some said 60 years), would face stiff opposition at the polls. Elections were postponed from February to March, but many Nigerians were prepared to march on, though it was not an easy path.
Today, we give God all the glory, our beloved Nigeria is still intact, despite the Boko Haram insurgency and other series of man-made problems we are experiencing in the country. The elections are over, results have been announced, now, we need to face the realities of life. It is time for us to highlight and discuss issues and formulate policies that will promote justice, peace and development.
As Nigerians prepare for the inauguration of the APC led Government at the Centre, I congratulate Nigerians for weathering the storm and I appeal to all of us, no matter our political interests, ethnicities, religious denominations, to work together as a true family with common interest, face our challenges and fashion out ways of addressing them gradually. These are trying and hard times. We, the Nigerian people, need to be prepared to sacrifice and cooperate with President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB in place of GMB – General Muhammadu Buhari) and his team to make Nigeria greater and better than what it is at present.
PMB is no more the APC Presidential Candidate, but the Chief Executive of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Therefore, he needs to strive to act and execute well. He should not allow himself to be caged by a selfish cabal, by people who play god, by people of mean character and ‘political prostitutes’ (the AGIP people – Any Government In Power).
‘If you want to be a leader who attracts quality people, the key is to become a person of quality yourself’. – Jim Rohn. Thus, I enjoin President Buhari to be a person of quality and he has to surround himself with quality people who will work with him in our joint struggle to have a practical change in the country.
Practical change is a definitive departure from slogan to ACTION. Practical change is people-oriented. It promotes the common good and it produces positive, concrete and meaningful results. To achieve this practical change, President Buhari
The people’s expectations are very high and they would like the President to bring us happiness and remove indiscipline (Buhari). With his inauguration, President Buhari must start to address indiscipline, the root of nearly all the problems and crises, including corruption, in the country. Once there is discipline in every sphere of life, there will be genuine patriotism and national consciousness.
Discipline is ‘training to ensure proper behaviour’. It is the ‘conscious control over lifestyle’. A sincere disciplined person is purposeful. He/She would not like to soil his name and integrity by engaging in destructive ways such as corruption and other vices. A disciplined promotes the common good, rather than selfish interest. The high cost of governance should be reduced to the barest minimum. This also includes the National and State Assemblies. Politics and Governance are for service, not for personal enrichment. Charity begins from home.
President Buhari needs to lead by example by reducing the number of the Presidential planes (the media reports allege they are between 10 and 12) and fleet of luxury vehicles at Aso Rock, the Seat of Power. Let us begin to put an end to the culture of waste. I wish to suggest here too that all the rich and super rich people and companies should be made to pay appropriate taxes. That is, pay-as-you-earn (PAYE).
We need new orientation, attitudinal and behavioural changes in Nigeria. The in-coming government must be seen to be different, both in words and in character. We must put an end to the ‘business as usual’ style of governance and there must not be any sacred cow. I humbly plead with the new President to learn to follow due process and uphold the rule of law, no matter whose ox is gored.
This is the period for real reconciliation to take place in Nigeria. I request PMB and his team to have a thorough study of the Report of 2014 National Conference and act accordingly. Many of the recommendations are far-reaching ones which will be helpful in our struggle for peace and unity.
‘He who is afraid of doing too much always does too little.’- A Nigerian Proverb. PMB needs to have political will and moral strength to act on this Report. Sadly, President Jonathan played politics with the Report. He promised to implement it if he won the last presidential election. He missed the opportunity of doing the right thing at the right time since the Report was submitted to him long before the beginning of political campaigns. ‘Your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.’ – Bill Cosby.
Let me reiterate here for the umpteenth time, without June 12, 1993, there would not have been May 29, 1999. June 12 is part of the history of Nigeria and we cannot just wish it away. As a reminder, on June 12, 1993, Nigeria had Presidential Election, widely accepted to have been won by late Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, who died in the struggle for the mandate given to him by the Nigerian people. May he and other heroes and heroines rest in peace. Amen.
Unfortunately, the self-styled military President, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (1985-1993) and other ‘evil geniuses’ inflicted the everlasting injury on Nigerians by the cancellation of the Presidential Election of June 12, 1993, an election widely acclaimed to have been the fairest and the freest in Nigeria’s chequered history. Indeed, the wound is not yet healed and it is very shameful that the ‘evil geniuses’ are still around calling the shots in our country.
I strongly believe that the symbol of June 12, Chief Abiola, has to be honoured posthumously. During his life, he supported greatly sports and education. I suggest that the National Stadium, Abuja, or the National University, Abuja, be named after him as soon as possible. In practical change, there is no room to dilly-dally.
Lastly, I greet Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for what he has been able to do as President of Nigeria and I urge him to continue to give praise and thanks to God for His blessings. President Jonathan needs a well-deserved rest after 16 years in public office as Deputy Governor and Governor of Bayelsa State, Vice President, Acting President and President of Nigeria. I recommend that his Aide-de-camp (ADC), a Military Colonel, should be retired from the Army as well. This is equally applicable to other security agents who have been deeply political in their duties instead of being professional.
The ADC was deeply involved in partisan politics to the extent of wearing political campaign materials in public places (cf. the front cover page of The Guardian Newspaper, Sunday, March 8, 2015). In that photograph, he wore a T-Shirt with the combined picture of both President Jonathan and Vice President Sambo, with the inscription, Carry Go. Indeed, the ADC should ‘carry go’ with his ‘Oga at the top’. More than ever before, in these trying times, we need more disciplined professional security agents than politician in security uniforms. This is not a time to take chances. Anything can happen, particularly bearing in mind what happened to late Gen. Murtala Muhammed when he was assassinated in Lagos on 13 February, 1976. Not to speak out is to lose out. Let us keep praying for our Nigeria. There is also the need to walk our prayer. Prayer without good works is meaningless.
‘Oh God of creation, direct our noble cause
Guide our leaders right
Help our youth and truth to know
In love and honesty to grow
And living just and true
Great lofty heights attain
To build a nation where peace and justice shall reign.’ (National Anthem)
God bless us all. God bless our beloved Nigeria. Amen.
With confidence in God, Christ is our Strength.
Most Rev. Felix Femi Ajakaye
Bishop of Ekiti.
27 May, 2015.