We Need A Nigerian President In 2015, By Aminu Gambo
I always have a hard time when going through comments on social media concerning national issues and the performance of the president. If you really care about the future of Nigeria, those comments will keep you up at night, leaving you with very troubling questions.
I will be 22 years old in August, and Nigeria just celebrated 100 years of her existence as a nation. So with that in mind, I know that I have very little experience within the full scope of the country’s history, and I respect and appreciate the fact that a lot has been done to keep the country together. With that being said, the bottom line, however, is that this is our country, and no matter how young a person is, he or she can always tell what is right or wrong.
Yes, Nigeria has gone through a lot as a nation, but apart from the civil war, the last 5 years have been arguably the darkest period in Nigeria’s history. The country has become so divided, and there is so much hatred and bitterness within the people; religious tensions are running high, especially with the activities of Boko Haram. We also have a class of people who dislike anyone who is not from their region, and they vary from the rich to the poor, the educated and uneducated amongst us. Some have been brainwashed to the extent that they prefer to live in abject poverty than support anyone with good ideologies on how to move the country forward just because he’s considered an outsider. This group of Nigerians make it difficult for us to move forward as a nation. Then we have those Nigerians in the middle who are unbiased; they weigh every situation before taking a stance, and they do so in the interest of the nation. In a country as diverse as Nigeria, a president should only come from the latter group.
The situation right now in Nigeria is depressing, and it gives little hope to this great nation, but it all comes down to the failure of leadership. When some people from the southern part of Nigeria make threats that the country will break up if President Jonathan is not reelected and the presidency does nothing against such, I just tell myself that these people are proving the fact that the president is incompetent and can’t win based on his track record. Ask yourself these questions: does an incumbent who is performing well need people making such comments in his favor? Who can rig an election against an incumbent? Who controls the army and police and, in Nigeria’s case, even appoints the INEC chairman? So these threats do not make any sense, and moreover, I think the opposition should be the ones worried when it comes to an election because it could easily be manipulated. Also, the incumbent always has the upper hand; he or she is the center of attention, and every achievement is well-publicized. Incumbents have enough time to prove themselves and can wake up every morning scoring more points. So with all these privileges, making such threats and reducing the whole country to just one person is really unfair, and it shows that we live in a country that only grows old but never grows up, which is very sad.
We also have people who believe that the next president must come from the northern part of the country, and I ask myself, why? Do we really need a northerner at the center before we solve the problems in the north? What makes them believe that the best candidate from the north is the best the country can produce? We have to stop taking chances and depriving Nigeria of the best because of selfish interests. As far as I’m concerned, people have being dying carelessly in places like Maiduguri, Yobe and other parts of the north since 2009, and we never had G7 or G3 governors because of the lives being lost. Nonetheless, for about 4 months, the pages of the newspapers were filled every day with stories about the aggrieved governors because they had problems with the leadership of their party. There are 19 governors in the north, and yes, the president is the most powerful person in the country, but in a democratic society where serving the people is the top priority, those governors have all it takes to assist and pressure any kind of president to do the right thing.
We need someone who would be passionately committed to the country, and we have to get it right in 2015. We must stop talking about zoning the presidency; we want to have a national hero at the end of the day, not a local champion. Also, a religion or a particular region does not define a person; these factors can guide you, but the choices you make in life — either good or bad — determine the person you become. We can afford to play that kind of politics at the state level, but certainly not at the national level. We have 36 state governors, and we can do away with a few wrong choices, but once you have the wrong president, the country drifts for another 4 years. How do you pay for those wasted years? What does it take away from the region that does not produce the president if we have a leader whose loyalty is to Nigeria and who unites the people, fights corruption, tackles poverty, builds infrastructure, improves the standard of living, inspires his people, stops the endless killings and puts Nigeria on the global map where it rightly belongs? These are some of the criteria that should guide us in choosing the leader of our country come 2015.
Shallow-minded politicians have been using our differences to their own advantage because what is the arrogance in being Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba or any other tribe if we can’t see ourselves as Nigerians? Are we all not affected by the failures of leadership in our country? How does a young man who has lived all his life in the north, facing the harsh realities of life, start blaming the people in the south for his situation and vice versa? If Nigerians in the diaspora are living in peace and treated with respect, then why should we as Nigerians be marginalizing ourselves in our own country? It is a shame that after 100 years of existence, Nigeria is mostly discussed along ethnic, tribal or religious lines. Let’s make 2015 a defining year in Nigeria’s history. If we fail to elect the right person who will work to build a Nigeria that works for everybody and where hard work and dedication pay off, then I’m afraid that what we will have in my generation will be far worse.
We don’t expect to have a saint as a leader, but as citizens, it is our civic responsibility to ensure that whoever presides over the affairs of Nigeria is a person of impeccable character and one of the best and brightest amongst us. Nigeria is one of the greatest nations on earth, with abundant human and natural resources, and does not need any kind of luck to succeed.
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