Never, in the history of any nation has a choice been clearer. On the one hand is a lord of the manor, and on the other, a Spartan and a crusader bonded by an altruistic cord of patriotism, in their resolve to lead us to the promised land, with nothing in their political armory but their integrity and the hopes and aspirations of more than 160 million people.
2015, may turn out to be the most important year in the nation’s history, it is a crossroad of sorts, and what happens that year may make or mar the fortunes of this potentially great nation. That is why we must begin to think beyond the narrow confines of parochialism and immediate pecuniary gains and base our decisions and choice on concrete facts and a sense of patriotism.
It is an irony of fate, epic in its proportion, that Jonathan who, ordinarily should symbolize the future by his youthfulness is firmly tied to the apron strings of a group – Obasanjo, Clark, Anenih, Bode George, Tuku, PDP top-notchers, et al – who, more than any other group symbolize the ugly past of senseless killings, wanton corruption, indiscipline and disdain for the poor, especially in the last twelve years.
On the other side of the divide is an extraordinary man who long ago committed class suicide and aligned himself with the hopes and aspirations of the majority of the people who stoically bear the brunt of the contempt of the ruling class. Although, older than Jonathan, his ideas, way of life, discipline, and contempt for laziness, wastefulness, and corruption, exempts him from the fuddy-duddies of the past and places him on a pedestal above the rot and into the warm embrace of the young who yearn for a shoulder to lean on. He, therefore, more than anyone else, symbolizes the new generation because he carries the weight of a new Nigeria on his shoulders.
This man is Mohammadu Buhari. He will change Nigeria from a bearded adult still wetting his bed at 50 to an irresistible Adonis whose loins shape the dreams of any self-respecting nation.
Between these two contenders, one clings desperately to discarded rags of religious and ethnic sentiments, capped with the misguided notion that he is God’s chosen, one with luck as birthright. The other affirms solemnly that the country’s challenges can be summarized in two words – CORRUPTION AND INDISCIPLINE. He affirms that his personal life is a testimony to the kind of leadership he will bring to bear on governance. He affirms that he will ensure that the immunity clause behind which political leaders hide to pillage and plunder the country’s resources in their perfidiousness would be removed. What could be more revolutionary than this?
A perfect checkmate to the pestilence and debauchery of yore. If Buhari does happen, as he will, if we have any sense at all, it would be an evolutionary revolution – a revolution without its inherent cataclysm. A revolution because there would be a marked departure of governance from the debauchery of the past; a governance of a mother’s self- denial for the good of her baby; a governance of honesty, trust, and transparency; a governance of social and fiscal discipline; a governance of zero tolerance for corruption; and above all, a governance of equal opportunity for all, and equality of all before the law and other government institutions.
All of these were never allowed to happen because it was not in the interest of those who govern us. Therein lies the revolution. It is an evolutionary revolution because it will come through the ballot, and not some spontaneous bloody reaction to impose change. However, any attempt to willfully stop this change may elicit a reaction that may culminate in a revolution or the balkanization of the country. The irony here is that by contesting, Buhari has provided government an open door to walk out respectfully and give way for the regeneration of the country.
No doubt, this will be akin to climbing Kilimanjaro backwards because those who benefit from the gang-rape of Nigeria would not sit idly by and watch their pot of honey smashed into smithereens. And, these include the obscenely rich, smuggling kingpins, drug (including fake drugs) cartel bosses, and all those who eat not by the sweat on their brow but by the misery inflicted on others – and they are in the civil service, the military, the police, customs, etc. But we must rise in unison and shout out loud that no force on earth can stop an idea whose time has come.
Make no mistake - this election is not about tongue or tribe; it is not about our mode of worship; it is not about gender; it is not about a particular generation nor class. This election is about a choice. Naked in its simplicity. A choice between the past and the future. Between corruption and incorruptibility. Between deception and integrity. Between darkness and light. Between competence and incompetence. Between luck and the godsend. Between Jonathan and Buhari.
We must not allow the big fart to saddle us with another lame duck, because this lame duck has no chance whatsoever of turning into an ugly duckling. Who needs an ugly duckling anyway when a white stallion frets impatiently, ready to gallop to safety across the treacherous path of a forlorn nation, with 160 million tired horsemen on its back. ?For the avoidance of doubt, let me put on record that any country that places its fate on nothing else but luck is a disaster in the making. Men shape history. Men create wealth. Men build nations. Not luck. Only impostors, bereft of ideas, count on luck.
Let us assume, for the sake of fairness, that the president means well for the nation, now can someone please tell me what kind of economics releases billions of naira for revamping the nation’s textile industries only to turn round and un-ban the importation of textile materials? Can someone tell me what drives the president to un-ban the importation of 15- year- old cars only to turn round and say he was going to build car factories all over the place? How does one rationalize a recurrent expenditure that dwarfs the capital expenditure in the 2011, 2012, & 2013 budget? I could go on and on. Never, in the history of this country, has so much money been made with so little to show for it. No amount of jingles can convince me that a miracle is in the offing if Jonathan’s luck holds. Buhari is no god, this I know too well. But neither was Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King nor Mandela. Nearer home, neither was the Sardauna, Ahmadu Bello, nor Nnamdi Azikiwe. And yet these were men whose very orbit shone so brightly to give hope to all those touched by their resilience, selflessness and sacrifice. Buhari remains the best president Nigeria can have and not the best president we never had. We must refuse to allow this opportunity slip by because, like someone said, if Buhari is elected, that would be good luck for Nigeria. Surely, surely, there must be something good in someone consistently eulogized by men with little or no blemish, like Tam David-West, Balarabe Musa, Tony Momoh, the late Gani Fawehinmi, Bakare, a host of patriotic editors, and the “talakawas”.
Further proof of Buhari’s intellectual capacity and grasp of the economy can be gathered from the paper presented by Sanusi Lamido Sanusi at the 10th annual memorial lecture in honour of Sir Ahmadu Bello on Thursday 24 March, at Arewa House, Kaduna. He said, and I quote, “institutions and processes are only as good as the human beings managing them.” Also, he spoke on the importance of education with emphasis on its technical and vocational variant, and added that there is a need to “increase and sustain investment in infrastructure at national and regional levels”.
Like I said earlier, we are at a crossroads. We are about to start a journey. Where it will lead remains a bit unclear. I shall stick by the man who has nothing to give me but hope. I shall stick by him for better or for worse; I shall stand by him through thick and thin; I shall stand with him shoulder to shoulder and take the rough with the smooth. I shall do this because that is what he has promised me, and I know he keeps his promises. His promises are cast in gold. I know as a matter of fact that there are no better alternatives. I know he is the godsend – a surety instead of luck. I implore Nigerians to join me in this journey of Nigeria’s regeneration. An evolutionary revolution.