February 14: An Open Letter To Nigerians


By Joe Igbokwe

A dying British soldier at the battle of Trafalgar Square cried out with a loud voice: “England expects everyone to do his or her duty. I have done my own duty for England.” Real Men do not sit on the fence when there is trouble in the land. In the Land of Persia where Nehemiah was serving King Artaxerxes, one of his brothers called Hanani arrived from Judah to tell a sad story of situations at home.  Nehemiah asked about Jerusalem and about fellow Jews who had returned from exile in Babylon. Nehemiah was told that those who had survived and were back in the homeland were in great difficulty and that foreigners who lived nearby were looking down on them. Nehemiah wept and wept and could not eat. He sought the face of God and he prayed for sanity to return to Judah. It is a long story but Nehemiah had to abandon the elegance, beauty, prestige and the glory of the King’s Palace to go and rebuild his fatherland. Nehemiah was working and praying and was praying and working also. The rest is now History.

Evil triumphs in every society when good men do nothing. A school of thought has said that the greatest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain the neutrality in times of great moral crisis. I am told also that history will forgive us for taking wrong decisions but the same history will not forgive us if we fail to take decisions at all. Albert Einstein warns that “the world is a dangerous place not because of those who do evil but because of those who look on and do nothing.” Mahatma Gandhi says “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of the people.”

A critical section of the Nigerian Media are still my Heroes today when I look back to remember the days of the locusts from the days of IBB to the last days of Abacha. I witnessed the roles TELL Magazine, Guardian, TheNEWS Magazine, Tempo, Concord, and few others played to chase the dictators away in a struggle that lasted for nearly fifteen years. I witnessed guerilla journalism. I saw real men who stood up, putting their lives on the line for what they believe in. They were in and out of detention but would not care. The late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, Dr Beko Ransome-Kuti, Femi Falana, Dr Arthur Nwankwo,  Ndubuisi Kanu and many others stood up boldly to be counted. You know their story very well.

It is now sixteen years after and the country where nearly 5000 people died to salvage in those days of the locusts is going down again in a civilian dispensation. As the country is gradually nose diving some of those people we expected to rise up to expectation are not doing so. Some have been heavily compromised, some have joined them, and some see nothing and hear nothing, while some prefer to sit on the fence. Men of God who should be above board and speak the truth to power have become businessmen. They have become traders, contractors, arms merchants, bribe takers, kidnappers, armed robbers and accomplices in heinous crimes. Few of them who spoke are being maligned and ridiculed.

A section of Nigerian Media pretends that all is well. They no longer depend on adverts and sales of newspapers to survive but fall for contracts and largesse from governments. They see the rot in the system but pretend it does not exist. They see unpardonable weaknesses in the corridors of power and do nothing. They see the huge problem of National security, they see the rot in the power sector, they see unemployment problems, they see our poor educational system, they see corruption and impunity, they see decayed infrastructure, they see hopelessness and helplessness everywhere in our national life, etc. and yet it is business as usual.

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After sixteen years of democracy I think time has come for us to take stock. This is the time for us to do some honest deep thinking about where we started, where we are and where we are going. I will not be telling myself the truth if I say that we have not recorded little success but I will be deceiving myself if I claim that we are where we should be after 16 years of democracy given the resources that we have earned within the same period. This is the reason why every responsive and responsible Nigerian must not sit on the fence now. February 14, 2015 is another decision day for Nigerians to decide who will pilot their affairs in the next four years.  If we lazily vote in a mediocre to continue then we must be prepared to lose another four years or eight years. But we have the opportunity to rise above primordial considerations to lay the foundation for the new Nigeria. We have an opportunity to right the wrongs of yesterday by insisting that the right man sits in the saddle. We have an opportunity to choose a strong, disciplined and an upright retired general in the army than to settle for a meretricious mediocrity that do not have the capacity and the capability to lead. We have an opportunity to rise above religious sentiments being sold to the oppressed, and repressed Nigerians who have become poor to even reason properly again. We have an opportunity to create a new Nigeria where only the best is good enough for the good of the commonwealth.

I want to appreciate the real drivers of the social media in Nigeria and in the diaspora. They have done well themselves except some ants and rodents in their midst who cannot differentiate between real politics of development and politics of the stomach. I do not know where Nigeria would have been without these committed and courageous Nigerians. Hours on end these patriots have proved that man shall not live by bread alone but can make sacrifices.

Saturday, February 14, 2015 is a decision time for Nigeria and I implore those who believe in this country to take a stand. General Buhari contested presidential elections in 2003, 2007, and 2011. After the 2011, the man cried for Nigeria, because he felt that some horrible people do not want this country to grow. In 2015, forces of history pushed him up again and this time the man has become a phenomenon, a wildfire, a movement, hurricane and a bulldozer. Those who are privileged to have third eyes know that there is a finger of God in this fourth coming of Candidate GMB. Let us complete history by voting for him on the Lovers’ day of February 14, 2015. I am persuaded that Nigerians will not regret this decision in the years ahead.

I want General Buhari to win the February 14 Presidential Elections  for two compelling reasons: 1. It will make the heavily compromised Nigerian Pastors and Christians to return to the Scriptures and God. 2. It will madke Ndigbo to be wise in matters of Nigerian Politics as they have been left behind a long time ago as a result of greed and avaricious tendencies.

•Igbokwe is Lagos APC publicity secretary

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