Nigeria is going through one of its most difficult periods in history with very unhealthy discussions going on about her future.
The elites that robbed the country of her glory, now want it divided. They are quick to blame the British for the 1914 amalgamation without owning up to the responsibility of their failure to forge a viable nation out of the British experiment.
When the British founded Nigeria, they saw a promising country which they hoped will become the beacon of hope for Africa.
They envisaged a regional power that will stabilize the continent. Nigeria no doubt fitted that dream. The country is rich and blessed with abundance of resources, magnificent rivers and ocean, vast and diverse cultures and a huge population that can be deployed for good cause.
The possibility and hope that Nigeria held for Africa was what informed the amalgamation of 1914, inspired the struggle for independence which crystalized in the eventual lowering of the Union Jack on the 1st of October, 1960.
The lowering of the Union Jack and the foisting of Nigeria’s colors brought joy and hope to millions of Africans across the globe, but that hope was soon betrayed by events that followed five years after.
The country fought a bitter and brutal civil war that lasted between 1966- 1970 resulting in millions of deaths. The British weren’t wrong with the amalgamation, our leaders were rather wrong.
The quality of leadership they provided threw up a country that became very chaotic and perilous. With the resources available to us and the right kind of leadership, we would have turned the corner and advanced into the first or second world, but we failed.
Sadly, sixty-one years after the lowering of the Union Jack, Nigeria has remained in quandary. The country has become one of the most unsafe places to live.
The current incompetent and deaf regime in power is the best thing to happen to criminals: Militia herdsmen kill hundreds of people without being apprehended or brought to justice, that’s privilege.
Armed bandits serially abduct hundreds of school children and get raises. Terrorists bomb civilian targets and get media ratings. Unknown gun men targets and kill security agents, break jails and release hardened criminals back into the society with little or no resistance from the security forces.
Powerful public officers, a serving senator and a sitting judge took turns to engage private citizens in street brawls and still remain in office because there is no fear of consequences.
When you go around the country and speak to ordinary people irrespective of whom they are, where they come from, irrespective of the difference in their culture, language and religion are looking for the same thing.
They don’t want to be superrich like the legendary MKO Abiola and Arthur Nzeribe; they don’t want to be filthy rich like Otedola or Dangote; they don’t want anyone to attend to their personal needs when they can do it themselves; they don’t want anyone take care of their families if they can provide for them. They very much understand the limitations of government and how most of their problems were created by politicians.
The most they expect from government is to assist in ensuring that they get employed if they are willing to work; that they earn decent wages that will sustain their family; they expect that when they are sick they should be able to visit a hospital and be attended to by competent medical workers; they expect a buoyant economy and to provide for their children the education that will enable them fit into the new economy; they want to make progress as the economy progresses; they want when they retire from active service to retire with respect and dignity; they don’t want their pension contributions stolen; they want shelter and they want to be safe from violent crimes, kidnappings, banditry and terrorism; they just want to live a simple, peaceful and happy life.
And these are not too much things to ask. I have also spoken to young people who asked basic questions of why in 21st Century Nigeria, a Muslim man can marry Christian lady but a Christian man cannot marry a Muslim lady and yet we are one country and one nation under one God.
They have questioned the true meaning of our creed – Unity, Faith and Justice when our leaders cannot uphold those basic principles; they have asked why the average Southerner is counted as three fifths of a Northerner when it comes to appointment into high offices and why the South Easterner will do all the work in a federal establishment but not good enough to head it?
They want to know why there is inequality in our equal citizenship? These are serious issues that need to be resolved, perhaps by the youths working hard to take control and determine the future they want. 2023 presents the best opportunity for Nigeria to make a new beginning.
A fresh beginning is possible if we can elect good leaders with the capacity to provide solutions, not mediocre and senile leaders that end up creating more problems.
Each time I think about the future of our republic, former Governor Peter Obi readily comes to mind as a possible solution. Running for President is not an easy decision to make.
Many friends and associates need to be consulted with some telling him, it’s not yet time or he may be telling himself that he is not yet ready to run. Whatever is the con sideration, I want him to know that he has all it takes to be elected and fix our broken politics.
Each time I see Mr. Obi or listen to him, I see a workhorse, I see a President that will put the country first. Obi is an inspiring leader and I want him to know that the power to inspire is rare just like moments and times like this are rare. You don’t choose the time, the time choses you.
Either you choose what may be the only chance you have or you live with the knowledge that the chance has passed you. I don’t want this chance and opportunity to pass by without being grabbed.
Even though Mr. Obi will make a good to be president, I want him to appreciate that a viable presidential candidate is not about who is the best or something you just fall into. A viable presidency is not something that just happens.
It’s something that requires constructive planning, adequate preparation, organisation and strategic implementation.
It’s something requiring not just confidence but conviction and loads of goodwill. Obi has a message and lifestyle which makes him easily saleable. His politics and message will resonate well with ordinary citizens who want real change in our politics.
The quality of our politics and leadership can be changed if he decides to run for the office of president, hence I am urging him to run and officially endorsing him for 2023.
To realise this dream, he needs a boat far much bigger and larger than he has; he needs a podium far much larger to speak from and a larger and more diverse audience to reach out to.
He needs to venture out from the South East and speak to the far North and Middle Belt and the South West so as to build a pan-Nigeria movement. He need to build bridges that will cut across all nationalities.
He needs the youths who want real change.
There are millions of people out there who have lost hope in Nigeria waiting to hear from him to rekindle their hope in the Federation.
The time and moment is now.