20th February, 2019
By Oluwagbenga Oyebanji
The political situation in Nigeria has compelled the electorate to choose between Atiku and Buhari, PDP and APC. According to Greek mythology, Odysseus and his men had to navigate the straits between Scylla and Charybdis; Scylla is a six headed monster who, when ship passes, swallows one sailor for each head and Charybdis is an enormous whirlpool that threatens to swallow the whole ship.
Nigerian voters are trapped between PDP and APC. The history of our country justifies the beauty of our diversity, election outcomes have always been religious and tribal driven which suggest why lack of ideology prevails in Nigeria politics. Our founding fathers envisioned the country where integration and co-existence will be upheld by the citizens. They envisioned the nation where regardless of your tribe, culture, and religion you can co-exist with anybody called Nigerian, and relating with anybody base on patriotism.
Nigeria, the nation with swagger and confidence, the nation with great potentials and pains. Our past dictates our fallibility, with 30 years of democracy and 29 years of military rule our common destiny is affected by tribe and religion. The 2019 election is the defining moment in the history of this great nation; two candidates are at the fore of the election representing two political parties with the largest membership.
Atiku Abubakar born in November 25 1946, to a Fulani trader and farmer, Garba Abubakar He has a diploma from the School of Hygiene Kano in 1966, and later got admitted into the Ahmadu Bello University Zaria on a scholarship for diploma in law and graduated 1969. He got employed by Nigeria Custom Service 1969, and he worked with the customs for 20 years before retiring in 1989. He started business and politics the same year; he has 30 years of business and political experience.
Muhammadu Buhari was born to a Fulani family on December 17, 1942 in DauraKatsina state. He got enrolled at 19 to Nigeria Military Training College NMTC in 1962 which later became Nigeria Defense Academy NDA. He was forced to retire by the coup-d’état that overthrew his government in 1985 by Ibrahim Babangida.
The two candidates are political warriors in their own right; the socio-economic problem of Nigeria is bigger than what the candidates envisaged. If the truth be told the two candidates lack the real understanding of Nigeria youths problem. The battle is between the former dictator turned politician and the former bureaucrat turned politician/businessman. It’s a pity both of them don’t really understand the language of the youthful population.
Nigeria got independence through the struggles of the youths during pre-independence days. Awolowo was 41 years old when he formed Action Group AG in 1951; Nnamdi Azikwe was 44 years old when he formed NCNC National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons, Ahmadu Bello was 39 years old when he formed Northern People’s Congress. The youthful struggles had been our political heritage, giving listening ears to yearning of the youths is wise for any visionary leader. The youths are affected mostly during recession; unemployment rate is like a wild fire consuming all the policies introduced by the present government.
In 2014, Nigeria’s per capital income was $3,221 with 7% economic growth and the largest GDP in Africa. The 2015’s crude-oil price plunge got the politicians clueless about how to fix the economy. In 2019, Nigeria’s per capital income stands at $2,100 with projection of 2.2% economic growth by World Bank. The unemployment rate is 23%, crime rate the highest in the history of Nigeria’s economy, an insurgency by Boko haram that has a guerilla warfare style attack against the sovereignty of our nation. Our institutions are very weak, food crisis looms if nothing is done very fast.
The 2019’s election will not be driven by issues, but the same trap the fourth republic got us into, tribe and religion, zoning and nepotism. Nigeria needs solutions to the impending problems confronting us, taking 90 million people out poverty in 4 years, building infrastructures and increasing our human capital index. Restoring our lost patriotism which our founding fathers fought for, we have fallen into institutional nepotism where a particular tribe enjoys more favor from the incumbent due to tribal positioning.
Governance should be open to all, no matter what tribe or creed. Merit should be the basis for appointment to any position, the present politicians have not learnt from our history. Nepotism led us to Biafra war; we need to quickly restructure this country, making the youths the center of governance and policies. We need restructuring that prevent the major tribes from overshadowing the representation of the minorities.
What we need now is restructuring. The next president must quickly put the country on the path of restructuring. We have a common purpose to make Nigeria a success. Nigeria, the envy of all nations, our diversity is our strength, our wilderness experience might look too long but surely we will get to the promise land. We have the resources which are the youths, they are the information generation, and everything they want could be gotten by the click of the button. We need a government that focuses mainly on the youthful population because that is where to quickly stop the economic bleeding. Our youths are our greatest assets not crude-oil. Their visions and dreams are what will see us through the wilderness experience; their confidence and consistency will take us to the promised land. “The labor our heroes past shall never be in vain.” God bless Nigeria.
Oluwagbenga Oyebanji is a motivational speaker/entrepreneur
[email protected], Twitter @siemmag1