It has been an interesting undertaking observing the debates preceding the just concluded presidential election. Different outlooks and perspectives on the perceived wind of change blowing across the country in the form of General Muhammadu Buhari on the platform of his party All Progressive Congress(APC).
For some, APC does not represent any real change, as far as they are concerned the party is an offshoot of the PDP, a rallying home of disgruntled and unsatisfied individuals coming back to try their hands in the political battles again. For this school of thought both major parties are similar in their goals and politics, and they are both not worth the bother. It is composed of the same types of politicians and the same type of politics will be played out eventually.
Another perspective is that APC is a party composed of people with Islamic/Northern agenda. People of northern interests whose aim is to further the notion that power belongs to the north. Everything done so far is towards putting the northerners back in power in form of Buhari. As before, it is believed that these people do not represent any real positive change. Instead all the desire is a shift in the ethnic seats of power. To these ones the current government should be allowed to continue in power and supported in trying to bring about the much desired transformation agenda. Therefore the status quo is good for the country, any break away from this path spells doom for the rest of us not from the north bring in an era of infringed freedom.
Of course there are also the optimistic minded ones that are of the opinion that the wind of change is positive and represents a move away from the corruption and mediocrity that appeared to have been the order of the day in this landscape. With a lot of hopes and aspirations they happily campaigned/voted for the All Progressives Congress and witnessed the paradigm shift. As far as these are concerned, continuation of our current path of supposed transformation with the current ruling party spells doom for the nation. This is a quick summary of the major perspectives in view on the political landscape concerning Buhari/APC.
My own take on this observation is simple. The current President performed below par and he was voted out for another alternative. If the alternative does not do well during his time too he shall be removed. I think we should stop being laid back in political matters. Whether the incoming powers are going to be better or worse it remains that Nigerians have exercised their power to decide who governs them rather than leave the matters to the political gladiators alone. At this point it not only matters that a better leader is voted in but also that we actually decided who the leader is together peacefully as one nation.
Some other things I noticed is that the voting patterns adhered to ethnic tendencies. The northern states unilaterally voted the northern candidate in, the Southeast and South-south voted the incumbent from the sides of the divide while the Yoruba southwest generally went with the northern candidate with the running mate from their side of the divide. Despite my best wishes it would appear that the country has not really shed the garment of ethnic bias while deciding on their next president. We fear that putting someone else not of their place of origin would be bad for their interests. In fact, this write up was influenced by a piece I saw on Vanguard news. The article proposed that the Buhari victory is a gang up of the North and South West against the Niger Delta, South East and Middle Belt. Quoted:
“The voting pattern has clearly shown that the Gambari North and the Yorubas are united in the conquest of the Niger Deltans and the Igbos of defunct Biafra with the Middle Belt now used as pawns. We remain a people separated by our ideologies and interests, we are not integrated nor reconciled….The conditions that advanced the need to embrace the creeks have been sadly re -energised, it is clear that a vicious government who may maim and murder the voice of the so called minorities may have just been birthed. Indeed integration is nonexistent as regional gang ups and supremacy is symbolic with this victory. The victory of Muhammadu Buhari is a historical reminder that we are a conquered people who are mere appendages existing at the pleasure of the supremacist and the regional overlords.”
It is certainly a curious piece of writing, I am unable to wrap my humble head around the thinking that brings forth such. Asides the absurd endorsement of the disorderly outburst by one of the PDP men during the INEC result collation event. In simple English the point of the article goes thus: Since dear Jonathan did not get re-elected, anyone else that gets into the presidential seat that is not of the South and middle belt will marginalise and oppress us. We shall now go back to our old ways of kidnapping and militancy (or what else would “embrace the creeks” mean?).
To think that we are past such thinking! Should it now mean we should have all voted in the Southern origin incumbent just so we can help his kinsmen to stop feeling oppressed? Is it not better to vote for someone whom would care about the country as a whole rather than specific selfish ethnic considerations? Why is it better to pick someone who will advance the cause of your ethnicity over someone who thinks of the country as a whole without priority to any particular ethnicity? When do we stop thinking beyond our noses and look at the bigger picture? Isn’t a better whole Nigeria more admirable than a bettered part to the detriment of the other parts?
The essence of the Senate and House of Representatives, among others, is to further the courses of their members’ origin. The ones who have the affairs of their region/tribe in mind should have looked towards that direction.The essence of having a Northern or Southern President is not to benefit merely the North or the South but to benefit and run the entire country. It should matter less where he comes from but more about his abilities, professional and intellectual antecedents.
Some have said that a man’s ethnic group is his identity and he cannot be separated from it. Despite this I still believe we as Nigerians can look beyond this and consider more veritable factors like merit rather than his region of origin. We should not expect positive change to happen to us if we do not change our own thinking. Let us strive for a better Nigeria. This parochial attitude will not lead us anywhere.