Project Nigeria: Beyond Sentiments and a Muslim-Muslim ticket By Muhammed Yakubu
As the 2015 election draws closer and the politicking nuisance beckons on us, more drama and spectacle has continued to unravel almost on a daily basis. The incumbent President has been handed an automatic ticket to rerun as his party’s presidential flagbearer, as the Chairman of the party affirmed lately that they had only printed one nomination which implies it was meant for Mr President after agreements were reached with PDP governors and other principal officers of the party. On the other hand, the largest opposition’s party (APC) presidential aspirants continue to declare their interest to stand as their party’s presidential flagbearer.
This trajectory seeks to factor out the backstage murmurings and politicking surrounding the candidature of the opposition party and whom would be picked as his running mate in the end, its no sudden news that all arrows and commentary by pundits and analyst points towards it been handed to General Muhammadu Buhari Rtd, and how selecting a running mate has become another conundrum to the party in a bid to satisfy many underlying issues bothering around ethnic and religious issues. Taking a closer look at a few outstanding personalities that may emerge viz; Governor Rotimi Ameachi, Governor Rochas Okorocha, Governor Kayode Fayemi, Governor Babatunde Fashola just to mention a few.
From the foregoing running mates mentioned above, the odds seems to favor the emergence of the Governor of Lagos Babatunde Fashola due to his personality, sellable track record and political clout he enjoys from a preponderance of Nigerians as a performer and game changer whom also enjoys some level of legitimacy and garnering more votes for the party should he be opted for. That been said, Political stakeholders have come to town to air their reservations about such move, since the person in question is a muslim by religion, it wont augur well if Buhari would be finally settled for. This seemingly emanates from the fear of proselytisation and islamisation of Nigeria by the Christian faithfuls for fielding two Muslims as its presidential and vice-presidential candidates which may affect the fortunes of the APC in the forthcoming elections. While some have said such move would affirm their parochial inhibitions about the party, others say it would only be detrimental to the party as it would have the outlook of an inconsiderate and insensitive platform which took no cognizance and worthy step towards allaying the fears of the average Nigerian.
My concern here is why Nigerians seems to attach themselves to such bigoted sentiments at this time where our nation finds itself denigrating into perpetual pestilence and its dwindling fortunes continue to remind us of the blurry future. Its befuddling that at that dire time of need, the citizenry only deem it necessary that their flag bearers be picked along their religious and ethnic lines to satisfy their lowly sense of self identification that should be represented at the central government.
Permit me to do a little eye-service at this point for Governor Fashola as I was accused of doing in my last article though that write up wasn’t about his person, because his antecedents was the prior reason that spurred me into writing this article. This is a man known for a track record and has a blueprint for upgrading educational standards of public schools, abating gentrification, rehabilitating and building infrastructure, cleansing the Lagos transport system known to have been carelessly managed and high-jacked by hoodlums and lately known as been the front-runner in tackling the untimely presence of the dreaded Ebola disease.
Fashola is undoubtedly a pragmatist, certified technocrat and rare breed in the history of governance in Lagos state. Aptly known for transforming a large chunk of Lagos from the semi-slum status controlled by crime-driven gangs into a safe haven status compared to when he came into office, where an apt example can be pictured in the new face of Oshodi which used to harbor pick-pockets, highjackers and bullies that ravaged that area, Not forgetting he manages the affairs of over 17 million people efficiently and declaring billions of naira monthly as the states IGR (Internally generated revenue), Business ventures are also thriving without much rancor or litigation even with amount of vested interests that abound Lagos. Such strides could only have been undertaken competent, dedicated and tenacious man living up to his slogan of “Eko oni baje”!
Back to our pretext, Will a Fashola of proven competence and a capacity builder be berated and jettisoned for a group of lowly thinkers, seemingly educated but uncivilized. These set of people simply prefer to maintain the standards daunted by mediocrity, for Gods-sake where does our giant of Africa rhetoric come in here, Obviously just a paradox! Let’s be realistic in a sane and functional country, should a Fashola be waiting to be handpicked to play second fiddle?
Less we forget, do we still need theologians to remind us of the endless similarities and submissions by both religions and how resolves were made that we worship the same almighty God, not forgetting various folklores and prophecies. Do we allow prejudice to stagnate and keep us aback or take that giant stride and decision so we can at least risk moving to that promise land that we all beseech. In my opinion, the tragedy that has befallen us as a nation isn’t so far from the impending catastrophe that scares us all.
Its high time we shed these inhibitions and devour our minds of these contentious ideologies that would only do best at portraying Nigeria as a third world country, Sadly but truly a preponderance of us only make out strong opinions from hearsays without probing further for the needed adequate information to have a balanced narrative. Like Awolowo said “Nigeria would develop when groups treat each other with Respect and allow unflinching interaction across board, of course without downplaying our peculiarities. I implore us all to think of the Nigeria we seek.
Muhammed Yakubu wrote in from Minna, He tweets at @Mista_Yax.
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