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OPINION

2019: Our Choices Today Will Reflect Our Success Or Failure Tomorrow

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On behalf of Nigerians I speak for unheard as a free man who represents our enthusiasm toward a better Nigeria. For the past few months we’ve all heard nothing but tales about the upcoming elections. We are unto that time in every four years where we experience love and affection from our representatives in the government. Something we only experience when elections are approaching.

Within the past 20 years nothing has been so calculated to make people think that Nigeria is better than what we’ve seen within the past 4 years. Let’s pay attention to detail and not allow ourselves be used.

Sometimes I ask myself questions that every thinking person perhaps has the randomness to doubt; what culture are we handing over to the next generation? are the politicians serving us as much as we are serving them? Do they know that they owe us a solemn obligation to rule us with integrity and therefore fudge upon a better life for the common man?

I wonder if they do actually have a plan of a structure that can transform Nigeria; do they understand the ideals of community, faith and service; do they understand that our first and only priority is Nigeria; do they understand that the fight against corruption is one that must be won. Why do we rant at every bad move they make when we had already sold our votes to elect them into power? “When we choose our leaders out of frustration and sentiments and they turn out to be failures” who do we look up to? Are we actually ready for the change we crave for, or is it just another elaborate scam bent on straying our course toward progress?

What is our fate in this election? Do we participate in a politics of cynicism or do we participate in the politics of hope? I am not talking about blind optimism here; the almost willful ignorance that think corruption can be solved without the willingness of the people, or that thinks unemployment can be fixed by the government alone, or that the health crisis will solve itself if we just ignore it.

I’m talking about something more substantial. A faith in simple dreams, an insistence on small miracles; that we can tuck in our children at night and know that they are fed, clothed and safe from harm, the right to choose who we want.

We should request our rights and privilege to have such thoughts and ask certain questions; that we can say what we think and write what we think without being threatened to be jailed by any administrative agency of society; That we can have an idea and start our own business without paying a bribe; that we can participate in the political process without fear of retribution, and that our votes will be counted.

We should have larger dreams for our country, and through hard work and perseverance we will see those dreams come true in our time. We have the freedom and opportunity far more than many great nations today. We are the result of our decisions, and if we do not develop our human potentials and our resources we can never hope to manage our economic resources.

I am not a politician; I’m just an advocate of good will, and every time I check Nigeria things appear not to be okay. I will not fail to express my disappointment of our democracy, hence; our lawmakers are unwilling to solve basic problems. Many problems in our economy are caused by lack of consistency in our political policies and the associating greed of the leaders. Our representatives who call themselves politicians that bury their heads in the sand and stood for nothing but reelection but are unwilling to do the needful once elected.

Honestly corruption is in every country, but in Nigeria it appears it has eaten up into every part of our existence. It has even been identified as a culture. And the first initiative towards development is eradicating corruption which is a collective responsibility. Take away corruption and Nigeria being an oil giant will be recognised as one of the wealthiest nations.

There is no silver bullet for fighting corruption, and in order to succeed in the fight against corruption; our fear of losing that fight must be greater than our fear of suffering. There are so many countries that have made significant progress in curbing corruption. And it’s always built upon good leadership and visionaries who will create an enabling environment so the Nigerian people can get quality governance and serve justice to corrupt individuals.

For what is worth; we can’t want change and not brace ourselves for whatever turmoil might arise on the road to change. We can’t hope on living off the profits of corruption. The road to success isn’t always easy; it’s a journey that we must go through. Let’s not be consumed by thoughts of our present state and be discouraged because there is a sweeter destination for our course.

We should not hope to succeed in curbing corruption using the concept of amnesty. Where is the justice served? We need to adopt working methods rather than creating new ones that seem less likely to succeed; methods that will reflect justice for crimes against the state and its citizens. We should not yield our rights to well-controlled speculations, for it is certain concern entailed in such speculation which administrators established knowledge and fear.

If we really want to make Nigeria a better place then let’s not allow partisanship, language, or religion stray our course towards progress. Today is the yesterday we will talk about tomorrow and today is the tomorrow we talked about yesterday. I stand here today believing that my story is part of a larger Nigerian story, that I owe a debt to Nigerians, I believe in a Nigeria where all Nigerians can access the same health coverage our politicians have for themselves. I believe in a Nigeria with energy independence, so we aren’t held hostage to the profits of oil companies. I believe in a Nigeria with constitutional freedom, and I believe we should never sacrifice our basic liberties, nor use faith as a wedge to divide us.

In the end let us not hope that help will come from someone out of space or that some country will come through to fix our problems for us because it’s not going to happen. That objective is ours and ours alone.

Nigerians have been through so much, for the happy times and sad moments we shared within the years I still believe in us. if you feel the same energy that I do today; if you feel the same urgency; if you feel the same passion and hopefulness; then let us stand together in one voice and be strong because I have no doubt in my mind that we will succeed.

Today I challenge every Nigerian home and abroad, common or noble, rich or poor, Christian or Muslim, PDP or APC to summon a new spirit of patriotism and sacrifice, a spirit of oneness’ that has been so driven by change and descent in recent years so together we can set our mother land to a course of hope of a brighter future.

I will future state that in this election selling your votes only gives your buyer the right and will to enslave you. We should never let our greed of today overwhelm our desire to build a better tomorrow. You’re a part of that journey. Let’s resist the temptation of accepting to be silenced, let us soak ourselves in the belief that Nigeria will be better, let us be obsessed about the process that keeps us on that path to progress and Let’s uphold the rules that bind us together and promote the course of peace.

– Ikpi, a public commentator,  writes from Abuja


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