Nigerians should be proud that a candidate so qualified like Oby Ezekwesili is seeking to serve the country in the capacity of an elected president.
Those who do not have a choice or alternatives in the issues of life are confronted with a seething problem. However, Estragon and Vladimir in Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot, do not have the luxury of choice, therefore they wait endlessly for a mysterious Godot that never comes. Written in the absurdist literary tradition, the play aptly dramatized humanity’s crippling indolence to always wait in vain for a messiah that turns out to be a mirage. In the play, the two vagabonds, Estragon and Vladimir wait for a certain Godot who they believe, will save them and change their apparent hopeless situation. This they do without a critical, unbiased analysis of the personality of Godot, whether he possesses the wherewithal to provide the expected salvation which they desperately seek. At the end of the play, it turns out that Godot is an abstract embodiment of their conflicting imagination and warring impulses, he is an illusion.
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In many ways, as certified victims of consistent misrule, Nigerians are trapped on an isolated island of despair, waiting for a utopian messiah. It happened prior to 2015 elections when we eagerly waited for a messiah. Events in the country today will attest if we have waited in vain like Estragon and Vladimir or if our wait has been worth the effort. Presently, the incumbent president, Muhammadu Buhari of the APC and Atiku Abubakar of the PDP, advertise themselves as the messiah we have been waiting for. They appear to be the only option left for Nigerians towards 2019. Regrettably, Nigerians go at one another’s throat in their bid to justify either of the candidates as the best towards 2019. This is indeed very sad. Beyond Buhari and Atiku, do Nigerians not have another choice for the presidency? I have critically examined the two candidates and found them inadequate to occupy the position which they fervently seek. This is my personal opinion. If in all our grandeur as a nation, our two best candidates for the office of the presidency are Buhari and Atiku, then we deserve collective acts of exorcism to correct a national disorder. If we have settled for these two, then our collective sense of value deserve immediate re-examination.
Many people do not like APC and their candidate Muhammadu Buhari for so many reasons. That Nigeria has become the poverty capital of the world under his watch with a bleak economy is not a good testimony for the retired soldier and his party. That the APC has reneged on many of the promises prior to 2015 elections does not cast them in positive light before Nigerians. That the naira, our dear currency, has crashed irredeemably does not portend well for APC towards 2019. That the government, at every opportunity tries to befuddle the people by making bogus claims and compulsively lying about the present situation is a way of taking Nigerians for granted. It therefore negates common sense that in spite of all these, some Nigerians still want the government to return to power next year.
It is not all doom and gloom for Buhari and the APC because they have recorded some positives too. However, the negatives far outweigh the positives and no country makes a meaningful progress in that way. Many of those who support APC and Buhari do so because they claim they would rather have an incompetent APC and Buhari in government than to have PDP and Atiku return to power next year. PDP held sway in what has been termed Nigeria’s years of the locust, years of economic submersion when individuals were committed to liquidate the exchequer by all means. For Atiku and PDP, many believe that sixteen years of mindless plundering of the economy is like an albatross that will continue to hang on their necks. We must have a choice away from them. We must break free from the paralyzing hypnosis of the APC and PDP cauldron. There is very little to choose between APC and PDP, they are basically the same, but differentiated by nomenclature. The two political parties represent a phenomenon that naturally contains its own internal contradictions. They have jointly constituted strains of political and economic adhesions which constantly threaten to bring our country to its presumable tragic conditions of backwardness.
Without any bias, whether ethnic or political, I am convinced that Dr Oby Ezekwesili is a viable and credible choice in Nigeria’s march for a new beginning in 2019. Nigerians should rejoice and be proud that a candidate so erudite and qualified like Oby Ezekwesili is seeking to serve the country in the capacity of an elected president. If she is placed side by side with the two contending forces in APC and PDP, they will pale into insignificance.
If the present government is accused of economic illiteracy, Oby Ezekwesili is the direct opposite. If Atiku and PDP are accused of a past that stinks of corruption, Oby Ezekwesili is the direct opposite. Watching her answer questions from CNN’s Amanpour, a journalist famed for exposing intellectual hollowness in world leaders with technical, economic and political questions, I was proud to be a Nigerian. Young, dynamic and stable, Dr. Ezekwesili represents a new age in Nigeria’s political journey with an idea of how things can be turned around in this country. With her as Nigeria’s president, we will instantly have the respect of the international community as a country of serious minded people devoid of clannishness and primitive political patronage which has clearly destroyed our country.
I have not met Oby Ezekwesili before. I was only a youth during her days as a minister. The argument is to query her achievements in those years as a minister. To be totally in charge is different from working under a boss with hegemonic tendencies. Those who have been in government at various levels understand the point I am making. But more serious argument against her borders on the strength of her party, Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) to command a solid political structure that will give her the necessary votes to win. Does her party have enough financial muscle to match APC and PDP in the race towards Aso Rock? Around the country, her billboards and that of her party are not seen. Even her posters and that of her party are not seen too. Many Nigerians hardly know her or are in tune with what she and her party represent. The presence of her party in mainstream media is poor. These are issues she and her party must address, otherwise they are set for a downward journey beyond redemption.
If there is a choice to be made beside APC and PDP, that choice is Oby Ezekwesili. It is only Nigerians that will determine, through the ballot box who their next president will be. To live with incompetence while the economy continually nosedives, or to embrace a vicious whirlwind of corruption, or to start afresh is a choice that Nigerians must make. With Oby Ezekwesili, it is an opportunity for us to welcome a new day.
Adiele writes from Department of English, University of Lagos, via [email protected]