Opinion

Nigeria 2015: Revolution by the poll

By Adeoluwa C. Adekunle

For too long the myth, perhaps a pure misconception that Nigeria and Nigerians are the way they are because they got independence on the platter of gold, compared to their neighbouring African countries that fought bloody wars before independence. One of the many conclusions accrued to this point is the passive or “un-revolutionized” disposition adopted by Nigerians in the face of gross abnormality by the government and its officials. One may want to agree with this school of thought to some extent; reason being that greatness largely comes with high prizes. Nigeria has often shied away from paying stiff prizes for greatness, yet she wants to be great.

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The world was taken by surprise in 2012 as Nigerians trooped out in droves to protest the oil subsidy removal, a protest that is today known in history as “Occupy Nigeria”. This was the first time in recent history that Nigerians from all walks of life would rally behind a course against the government. It was a grand departure from the old order. The youth had a perfect opportunity to pass along critical message to the elected leaders. Interestingly, the genuine passion and political renaissance awoken by the President’s New Year “Greek gift” continued to sprout daily.

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Nigerians especially the youth have never been more expressive or more informed about the activities of the government as it is currently. In fact, they have been most articulate about their demands. Gone are the days where the government or its officials could be floppy in the discharge of their duties and no one blinks an eye. The former Minister of Aviation Stella Oduah’s 244million naira armored car stirred so much uproar and passionate condemnation among Nigerians. People immediately demanded for her resignation and removal from office as the honourable minister of the Federal Republic, which was reluctantly done through the cabinet shake-off. One would have expected further action against the former minister, but everything ridiculously quieted. Unfortunately, she stands elected into the Nigerian Senate. I wonder what good could come from this indicted soul.

Nigeria's Minister of Petroleum Diezani Allison-Madueke speaks at a media briefing on a new gas price regime in the capital of Abuja

Diezani Allison-Madueke, Nigeria’s Minister of Petroleum

Sanusi Lamido

Sanusi Lamido

The $20million missing from the NNPC account was an outlandish revelation by the then CBN Governor and now the Emir of Kano Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. The whole country was dazzled; it soon generated heated debates among political pundits. Mr. President annoyingly remained mum while his cronies refuted and frantically denied the claim of Sanusi. Dr. Okonjo Iweala, in a late bid to cover the obvious, said it was only $10million that could not be accounted for as it is justifiable enough for one naira to be unaccounted for in the national treasury. The event that followed showed how clueless the government is in managing the affairs of the country. Rather than tackle the issue head-on, Alhaji Sanusi was treated in such unimaginable circumstance and rubbished out of office. This monumental puzzle remained unresolved till date.

Women react during a protest demanding security forces to search harder for 200 abducted schoolgirls, outside Nigeria's parliament in Abuja

About a year ago, exactly 15th April 2014 barely 24hours after Yanyan was visited by vicious explosion, which sent the whole country into unsolicited mourning spree, a far greater calamity was unleashed in far away Chibok, Borno State North-East Nigeria. About two hundred secondary school girls were adopted by the Boko Haram. The drama that ensued caught the keen eyes of the world. Again Nigerians home and in diaspora converged to demand the safe release of the girls. The #bringbackourgirls campaign is still very much alive today. The government of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan in its uncharismatic manner has failed Nigerians as these innocent girls still languish in captivity.

United States first lady, Michelle Obama, amongst other world leaders, also campaigned for the release of these girls

United States first lady, Michelle Obama, amongst other world leaders and celebrities also campaigned for the release of these girls

The past four years like never before in democratic Nigeria, have seen unimaginable and highly repulsive corruption. Never in this country has the security of lives and properties been so threatened and destroyed as it is under Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. To this Nigerians have never failed to register their unreserved displeasure.

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Nigeria's President Jonathan dancing at a political rally, just a day after his country got bombed by terrorists and over 230 girls were abducted at a separate incident same day

Nigeria’s President Jonathan dancing at a political rally, just a day after his country got bombed by terrorists and over 230 girls were abducted at a separate incident same day

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Despite obvious reasons for Nigerians to take to the street in violent revolution as it was the case in sister African countries during the Arab spring, Nigerians chose the poll to revolt. The wait was incredulously long but the good people of Nigeria demonstrated commendable calm. Hope ’93 was the only time in the political history of the country that witnessed this sort of indescribable turn out at the poll. Apparently, this isn’t 1993 and this time is far more of an improvement. The people like never before have spoken with a unified voice.

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This poll will go down in the history of modern Nigeria for many reasons. The first among them is the demystification of the power of incumbency. It is near impossible before now in Nigeria for a seating president to be defeated. With the 2015 presidential election, the Nigeria people have passed on a fundamental message to the political class that it is no longer business as usual. Any elected representative no matter how highly placed will be voted out if they failed to justify the mandate avail them. The people are ready to endure and persevere to see through the rigorous electoral process without taking to violence.

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The President-elect Gen. Buhari Rtd and his political party must reciprocate the unequivocal and unflinching support the Nigeria people have shown their platform through sound developmental policy.

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This article first appeared here.

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