The attention of Arewa Progressives Initiative (API) has been drawn to a news item earlier today announcing the endorsement of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) by a detachment of self-acclaimed elders drawn from the North, East, West, Niger Delta and the Middle Belt.
While we acknowledge that this sort of hurried endorsement, such as the one given by the ‘elders’ hardly have any effect on the electoral outcome, considering that the candidate of the same PDP was endorsed by the same elders in 2015 without any reasonable outcome; we however consider it necessary to give our views on the endorsement, if only to expose the selfishness of our so-called elders.
It is a fact of life that when people attained old age, they think less of the future and think more of what they could get at the moment before they finally take a bow. We understand the desperation of our ‘elders’ to make as much money as they can, especially during election season. So it is not at all surprising that they have endorsed a man who has plenty dollars, a significant portion of which was corruptly amassed, to throw around.
What is patently shocking is that our ‘elders’ claimed that having compared the credentials of the leading candidates; Atiku “possessed integrity to take the nation out of the wood”.
How anyone, least of all people who are regarded as elders, would even think of adorning a character like Alhaji Atiku with the toga of INTEGRITY beats imagination. But we understand that money buys everything in Nigeria, even undeserved names and appellations.
However, the good news, despite the disappointing conduct of our ‘elders’ is that the majority of voters (96.31% of the total 84 million voters) who are expected to vote in the 2019 elections are those who understand that tomorrow is important.
A large percentage of the Nigerian voters would rather that President Muhammadu Buhari carefully plan and prepare a glorious future for them and their children; rather than live to see a government that would fritter Nigeria’s commonwealth in a bid to keep a President and his friends happy like the PDP candidate already promised.
Thankfully, even if the ‘elders’ expect to benefit from the free looting that would no doubt take place under an Atiku presidency, the chance of that happening is slim; considering that they constitute a staggering minority of the voting populace.
Anyone who seeks to understand how selfish and self-centered our ‘elders’ are, especially those of them from the north, need not ask too much questions. He only need to ask these ‘elders’ to state just any two major projects they have facilitated or negotiated on behalf of their different regions from 1999 to date. All they are concerned with is to secure appointment for their families and relatives; or get money and contracts. They are less concerned about the welfare of Nigerians or other issues that relate to the general good of the people.
This is why a President Muhammadu Buhari who is doing everything humanly possible to build infrastructures that would quicken the steps of Nigeria towards growth and development would never enjoy their endorsement, whatever its worth.
This is a president that within three years has completed the Taraba power project; approved the Mambilla power project which is only awaiting the NEXIM funding to kickstart; commissioned the first ever northern oil well in Bauchi and opened up exploration in four other frontier Basins of Lake Chad, Gongola, Anambra, Sokoto and Bida; initiated an ongoing hydro power project in Niger State; built the Baro port in the north; granted approval for three modular refineries; completed the long awaited Kano-Jigawa-Damaturu-Borno expressway; undertakes the laying of Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano gas pipeline; undertakes the reconstruction Abuja-Kaduna-Kano road; among other lofty projects aimed at resetting Nigeria and returning it to the path of progress and shared prosperity envisioned by its founding fathers. But all these meant nothing to the ‘elders’, as long as President Buhari would not share appointments and throw money around.
While we acknowledge the choice made by the ‘elders’ to be greedy, despite all they have benefited from this country in their prime; we also reserve the rights to take our future in our hands. As young people who constitute the largest representation of the voting populace; we would use our votes to retain President Buhari in office beyond 2019 in order to complete the onerous task of redirecting this nation away from mismanagement and avarice that the ‘elders’ obviously prefer.
This election that comes up in a fortnight would be very decisive, and it would be the very end to all those who wish that Nigeria should only function to take care of their needs and desires. And we won’t need any endorsement from ‘elders’, but from God and the Nigerian electorate, to make this happen God willing.
Arewa Progressive Initiative.