Nigeria is going through a very difficult and challenging period with very unhealthy discussions going on about her future. The dark forces pushing to tear down the country are getting more aggressive by the day. The elite are quick to blame the British for the 1914 amalgamation without owning up to the responsibility of their failure to turn the British contraption into an advantage.
When the British founded Nigeria, they saw a promising country which they hoped would become the Beacon of Hope for Black Africa. They envisaged a regional power that would serve as a stabilising force in the continent. Nigeria fitted that dream. The country is rich, blessed with abundance of resources, magnificent rivers and ocean, vast and diverse cultures and a huge population.
The possibility and opportunity that Nigeria held for Africa was what informed the amalgamation of 1914 and inspired the struggle for independence which crystallised into the eventual lowering of the Union Jack on the 1st of October, 1960. That hope was soon betrayed by events that followed five years later. The country fought a bitter and brutal civil war that lasted between 1966 and 1970.
Whatever that was wrong with the British amalgamation was compounded by our leaders. The quality of leadership that was provided threw up a country that became very chaotic and perilous. With the resources available to us and the right kind of leader- ship, we would have turned the corner but we failed.
Today, the country has become one dark and ugly place to live in. The current incompetent and monstrous regime appears to be the best thing to happen to criminal elements controlling several ungoverned spaces within Nigeria: Militia herdsmen kill hundreds of people without being brought to justice. And you dare not address them as mass murderers.
Armed bandits serially abduct hundreds of school children and get raises. Terrorists bomb civilian targets and get media ratings. Unknown gunmen target 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 engage private citizens in street brawls without the fear of consequences. Ethnic warlords dictate terms of engagement and code of conduct to the government.
In spite of the push to tear down the country, most common men who bear the brunt of elite corruption still want the country to remain as one. When you go around the country and speak to the people irrespective of whom they are and where they come from, irrespective of the differences in their culture, language and religion, they are looking for the same thing. They don’t want to be superrich like the legendary MKO Abiola or Arthur Nzeribe; they don’t want to be stupendously 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 to take care of their families if they can provide for them.
They very much understand how politicians created their problems and the limitations of government. 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 families; they expect that when they are sick they should be able to visit a hospital and be attended to; they expect a buoyant economy and to provide for their children the education that will enable them fit into the 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 to be safe from violent crimes, kidnappings, banditry and terrorism; they just want to live a simple, peaceful and happy life.
I have also spoken to young people who asked basic questions on why in 21st Century Nigeria religion has become a curse and liability instead of succour and refuge. They want to know why a Muslim man can marry a Christian woman but a Christian man cannot marry a Muslim woman, yet we pretend to be one nation under one God. They question 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-fifth of a Northerner when it comes to appointments into high offices and why the South Easterner will do all the work in an establishment but is 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. The year 2023 presents the best opportunity for Nigeria to make a new beginning by first electing leaders with the capacity to provide solutions to the myriads of our problems. Otherwise, we are doomed.
Each time I think about the future of our republic, former Governor Peter Obi readily comes to mind as a possible solution. This is one man with his head in the right place. So far, whether he will run for the highest office has been speculative. He has not shown interest or said he will run.
I know running for President is not an easy decision to make. Many friends and associates need to be consulted and diverse advice expected and given. Some will tell you, it’s not yet time or you may be telling yourself that you are not yet ready to run.
Whatever is the consideration, I want Mr. Peter Obi to know that he has all it takes to run and to be elected. He has what it takes to fix Nigeria and I say this with all sincerity. Each time I see or listen to him, I see a workhorse, I see a politician with his head in the right place, I see a President that will put the country and the people first.
Obi is an inspiring leader and the power to inspire is rare, just like moments and times like these are rare. You don’t choose the time, the time chooses 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 want Obi to know that the moment is now and there is no time to waste.
I want him to make up his mind because a viable president 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, hence there is not much time to waste.
Obi has a message and lifestyle which makes him easily saleable. His agenda will resonate well with the masses who want real changes in our government. The quality of our politics and leadership will change for good if he decides to run for the Office of the President. I am officially endorsing him.
For this dream to come through, he needs a boat far much bigger and larger than he had when he was governor. He needs a podium far much larger to speak from and a more diverse audience to reach out to. He needs to venture out from his base in the South and begin to engage the far North and Middle Belt and the West so as to build a Pan-Nigeria movement. 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 future of our republic. The time and moment is now. I believe I speak for millions of people as I urge him to run for President in 2023.