The awaited week has finally come. The week that has slaughtered friendship on the altar of social media and sanity thrown to the grave. Be it factual or propaganda this is the week that has created the highest number of documentaries on the political elite. Political consciousness and awareness is at its best all for the sake of this week. On Saturday, 28th March which is the last day of this week, Nigeria will decide who will captain her ship for the next four years. This is not just a special day for Nigerians but for the continent as well. Nigerians can boast of the largest economy and democracy in Africa. Thus whatever happens to the country’s democracy will have a rippling effect on the region. For the lucky ones with PVC go and exercise your franchise, vote your conscience, do what will leave you with satisfaction and not the immediate material gain that will not last long. Though, majority carries the vote, you will live with the happiness that you voted with your conscience. For the rest of us without PVC, my prayer is for a peaceful, free and fair election. As President Goodluck Jonathan will put it, no individual’s life is worth anybody’s ambition.
In my opinion, I see a better option with continuity. I am in support of GEJ and the transformation agenda. The reason for my allegiance includes the practical improvements in most sectors of the economy. The education sector can boast of nine new universities. These will improve access to universities and create jobs for the youths. The government has embarked on massive training of its bright students in top universities abroad through programmes like PRESSID. The transport and road network is seeing the light of day. Benin -Ore road has changed from being a death trap and mourning ground for ministers to what a road should look like. Today, the rail system is no longer a tale in a book but a reality. Many youths have been empowered to become managers of their own businesses through programmes like Youwin. Our economy is diversifying and the agricultural sector is seeing great improvement. Farmers can smile home with the fruit of their labour rather than sweat at the mercy of fertilizer middlemen. I will not excuse the mismanagement of the danger posed by the terror group boko haram. This mistake was costly but to God be the glory we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. However, I will pitch my tent with a man that understands his mistakes and allows room for improvement. GEJ offers me that. Many bold decisions that have eluded us for over 8 years have seen the light with this government. The freedom of information bill has come to stay, the national conference did not just happen but has received the nod for total implementation. I believe the effects of these decisions will be great with continuity.
On the other hand, I do not see why a 73 year old military man will be the messiah that will save my country in the 21st century. I cannot put my support in a man surrounded by so much propaganda and the best response you get is silence. A man that will deny me a presidential debate an essential ingredient of modern day democracy for reasons best known to his managers. All I can see in GMB is a tokunmbo 504 Peugeot that is being packaged as Nissan Murano by Toyota company. It will be foolhardy to expect a tokumbo 504 to work like Murano and compete as modern day cars. I will rather GMB groom young leaders that will imbibe some of those great ideas and principle he believe is good for the nation. It’s high time he realised his time has passed.
Furthermore, it surprises me that we are called the leaders of tomorrow and still a former head of state at the time of my birth is still contesting for election. How and when will I achieve this promise if this is the change I clamour for? I do not think history will forgive me if after three decades I still see the same man who was part of the soldiers that held this country captive for several years as the messiah that will save me. This is rather a change in the reverse direction.
On a positive note, I would like to give credit to the opposition party and especially Jagaban Asiwaju Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu. He gave the opposition a voice and the ruling party a run for their money. PDP now know it is no longer merriment as usual. 2019 will not be a giveaway and whoever will win will definitely work for it.
Finally, I hope we will be able to reconcile the broken friendship and those who threw their dignity to the mud can pick it up. I hope whoever loses the election be it GMB or GEJ will in the spirit of sportsmanship sheath its sword, embrace peace and most especially join hands with the winning team to move the nation forward. Nigeria is our common goal and the project Nigeria is bigger than our individual political ambition or affiliation. Let the countdown begins as Nigerians decide. God bless the federal republic of Nigeria.
Dr Chinedu Ugwu A.
University of Cambridge