BY OLUWASEYI ABIDOYE
I feel Nigeria has come to light with the true meaning of choice. The just-concluded presidential election clearly validates this. People were tired; tired of failed promises and promises renewed only to fail again. This no doubt had become a depressing trend.
Sixteen years under the PDP were marked with many oversights and many more decisions that plagued the masses with untold hardship and losses. Though these were dotted with snail-speed development, it is generally believed that much more could have been done.
With the PDP, we experienced, saw and heard of many contracts awarded over and over again, many of which when eventually executed were substandard. For example, the East-West Road rehabilitation and reconstruction defied OBJ, Yar’adua and GEJ’s intervention. Eventually, a major part of it saw some improvement; this was however after billions of naira had been washed down the drain. Mind you, that road is still under construction! Same evil has bedevilled the power sector, health care, education and general infrastructure development. These things became permanent money bags for whoever was opportune to bite from them. Still under PDP, naira swinged like the pendulum, from mid to high, to manageable-mid and then to all-time high.
I am not dissing the PDP. I am just stating clear facts that even the blind can see. And these factors, asides many others, contributed to their recent loss in the just-concluded presidential election. The average Nigerian I think was just tired of failed promises and high level of insensitivity and non-accountability under the Jonathan-led administration.
They wanted change.
Change. This happens to be the mantra of the APC. But how deeply is change entrenched in the formation and composition of the party? One quick glance at the party and one cannot miss the presence of some old chip off the block in the new ‘hood’. So are we set for same old dish? I hope not.
The APC change, I think, happened to birth at a time when the average Nigerian was tired of failed promises, and had become very enlightened on how democracy is supposed to work. APC realised that and wove its manifesto around that opportunity and it birthed a marriage of the average Nigerian and the party that has offered a way forward from menaces that hitherto had eaten out the nation daily: corruption, poor basic infrastructure, poor health care, education and many more.
But again I ask: how deeply is the APC change entrenched in the formation and composition of the party? APC is a coalition of many interests, and there are some old familiar presence in the party too. The merger, I must say, is powerful, but I dare say it is a marriage of desperation and experience – more like a setup for PDP. But then, what is democracy without these things?
So change is finally here, what next? Promises must be delivered, but on what platform and by whose hands? APC can only be the desired messiah if the team by which these promises would be delivered are committed to their core value – change; and if only GMB would not pander to the demands of his vision financiers and their selfish interests. Interest, they say, is the only permanent thing in politics.
Change – it has aroused in many high hopes and expectations; it has dug in many an insatiable thirst that GMB and his team might almost need a magic wand to quench, and induce a sudden turnaround, given the economy and culture of impunity he is going to inherit. Even if things go as expected, it would take a lot of time. Will people be patient with him?
And to everyone who wants change and has voted GMB to power, I think most of them feel they are an integral part and big-time participant in the new Nigeria they expect. Not bad. If change is really what we expect, it should be a no-brainer. But we are in Nigeria, we must remember.
For GMB to function well, he has toes to cut off, not just to step on. He needs to be upright and true to his promises. His first true test of this would be the composition of his cabinet. Let’s hope he passes. He really needs the ability to listen and carry the people along as against the demands from loyalists that backed him on his way to power.
I wish the General and his team the best, but they should also know that their greatest oppositions are the people who voted him to power. They almost can’t wait to see change – positive change – spiralling across the nation and its cardinal sectors.
God bless Nigeria.