The saying that “the devil you know could be better than the angel you have not met”, is illustrated in Nigeria by the administration of President Muhammed Buhari of the All Progressive Congress (APC) and former President Goodluck Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
It has been a year now since Muhammed Buhari defeated Goodluck Jonathan in March 2015, in what could be said to be a “free and fair combat”, thanks to Professor Attahiru Jega, the former chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) who, to the best of his ability, granted Nigerians a close to perfection 2015 presidential election. This March 2016 will make it exactly ten months since Buhari was sworn in as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in a historic event that took place at Eagles Square, Abuja, on May 29, 2015.
Nigeria had longed for changes in her political structure for a long time. Corruption had been at a peak in almost all sectors. The Boko Haram insurgency had turned the people of northern Nigeria into refugees in their own country. Fuel scarcity was the order of the day. Electricity was a luxury Nigerians could not afford or even wish for. Hospitals were slaughter houses. The people were dying, thanks to the last administration, and the administrations before, all in the PDP.
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With all these issues at hand, change was the only thing Nigerians could possible wish for, but what they failed to do was to define the kind of change they wanted and the areas where they wanted to see changes.
When the APC came with their song of CHANGE, it seemed to be exactly what the citizens wanted. They all danced to it like the Shekiti BOBO song of Olamide that kept people dancing for a long time.
Before the emergence of the APC, I happened to be the reporter on duty in my former organisation at the 2013 Action Congress of Nigeria (APC) Convention which ushered in the merger that brought the APC into the picture. The event took place at the Onikan Stadium Surulere. It was a Thursday afternoon of promises, speeches upon speeches. Pointing out very bad obvious faults in our political structure, and giving Nigerians the idea that change had come. Like a blind man who had just found a promising light that was going to give him sight, Nigerians welcomed the advent of change.
The convention felt like a motivational conference. All the speeches and remarks made you thankful to God for sending a second savior to earth after Jesus Christ, his son. One unforgettable speech worthy to make reference to is that of the now national leader of the APC, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and I quote:
“History is upon us, asking something bold of us. Those who hear must respond to its call because history is impatient. If we tarry, history shall not. If we fail to act as the situation requires, history will still move forward and its pen will write an unanswerable verdict against us. All the achievement and facts we have recorded in the past will matter little unless we now answer the challenge now facing us.
We have come to the place where things must change or we shall sin. For the nation to continue as is constitutes nothing less than an invitation to doom. Such a fate we shall not abide. The hour is late and our chance for national progress reduces with each idle moment. The way Nigeria is governed must change and change dramatically. This means the shape of politics must change…”
It was indeed a great and historic convention, one which, like a motivational speaker, gives you a great motivation for the moment, without any instruction to keep you in that state for a long time. Nigerians fell to the song of change from the APC led administration.
At the convention, all I saw was an absence of principle and aridity of ideology, as well as the zeal to just gain political power and capitalise on the issue Nigerians had long suffered from under the PDP-led administration.
It is evident even to the blind that the only plan and objective of the APC is to change the PDP and gain political power. That would not really be an issue, if they had plans and rules practicable enough to drive in the change they sang to the Nigerians in a positive and progressive way.
For 16 years Nigerians had suffered from the PDP administration, APC looked like it was going to be the saviour Nigerians had waited for a long time. Then we saw massive defection from the PDP camp to APC. What that means is that the APC is a new bottle with an old wine. And the fact still remains that the people in a political party create the party’s ideology, so what is then the change the APC has promised?
Critically looking at the last presidential election, it is clear that Nigerians were forced into a dilemma, having to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea. So they went for the lesser evil. Also carefully looking at the primary election in APC which was conducted to pick a candidate to represent the party, let me recall that apart from Buhari, three other candidates intended to run for president: Gov. Rabi’u kwankwaso from Kano state, Gov. Rochas Okorocha from Imo, former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, and the founder of leadership newspaper, Sam Nda Isaiah. Nigerians proved wise to pick Buhari, who is also a lesser evil compared to the above candidates, and a man to whose name many have attached integrity, the people’s man.
I am fully aware that the job of PRESIDENT is not a playground for the untutored, or a rehearsal ground for amateur players. It is not a laboratory for the confused and the incompetent. It requires more than what APC is giving to Nigerians. It requires a man or a woman with a vision and determination.
Maybe we are too impatient in expecting change; maybe the past administration destroyed a lot, that it will require plenty of time to rebuild. Maybe Mr. President, through his numerous visits, will find the lasting solutions to the problems we are facing. Many excuses I wish to give Mr. President, but one thing is very certain and clear: the people are losing the trust in his ability to lead them as he promised, and he must not neglect the complaints of the citizens of Nigeria and the energy they put in there. There is a limit to what they can take. Mr. President, let the change be progressive.
Victor Ejechi wrote in from Benin in Edo State