By John Odeyemi
When push comes to shove, when it comes down to the last possible outcome of the present Nigerian political impasse; if I had no other choice but to choose between Buhari and Atiku, there is no doubt in my mind that Buhari is a better choice out of two bad choices. But then, this is what we have become as a nation; always having to make the best out of two bad choices, one slightly better than the other. I am continually mesmerized and befuddled by the lack of precociousness on the part of many middle-aged, middle class Nigerians that are supposedly educated and capable of rational and logic based dissection of issues. On the contrary, what you find are a people deeply colonized by the hegemony of ethnic and religious divide, far beyond the possibility of perceiving common good or the welfare of the Nigerian nation-state. The issues confronting our country at this time is no longer about persons. It is more about a broken political system in dire need of rebirth and renewal. I do not think anyone can successfully argue that of the two hydra-headed monsters of the PDP and APC foisted on the Nigerian people, that one is better than the other. The recent past elections and party primaries show that both parties are outdoing each other in a shameless show of corruption by the buying of votes and massive electoral rigging. The candidates presented are the same ones recycling themselves in power. Men who by their offices are supposed to be “Honorable” but are the most dishonorable of humanity. I dare to say that everyone in the system is corrupt either by collusion, complicity or simply by association. As long as you receive the unjust self-remunerations and emoluments our ruling class award to themselves, you are a thief and you have no business in public service.
Nigeria as a nation has assimilated and adopted the impermissible and made it the norm. There are many intelligent and well-meaning people, including in the academia, who have become ‘pastoralized’ into sheepishly accepting immorality as ‘the way things are.’ The future of the nation is in jeopardy if its citizens fail to see that the old ways are not working. Moreover, that we need to forge a new path. These old politicians and their politics of self-interest or agenda mongering cannot take this country anywhere. No matter their intentions, even as a ‘born-again’ politician, it is clear that they lack the knowledge and in some instance, even the physical ability to do what our nation will bid them do. It is time for the nation to ‘retire’ these people and start to build with fresh, intelligent, patriotic and altruistic new vision. I recently saw an interview with Alhaji Atiku Abubakar where he was asked why he thinks Nigerians should vote for him as a presidential candidate. The man had the audacity to say that Nigerians can benefit from his tutelage and experience. I almost puked. However, that sort of insult to the collective intelligence of a nation is what you get when you allow people of no character to take over governance. We have capable fresh hands and people with new ideas. These younger and upcoming politicians should be given a chance. If the old ways no longer works, perhaps trying a new way makes sense.
According to Einstein, “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” If there are any true Fathers and Mothers of the nation left, it is time for you to play your role. Gather all the young and upcoming politicians, give them your time, your experience and if need be, your money. Help them to organize to become a formidable force to face the onslaught of geriatrics who want to die on our nation’s neck – as we say in Nigeria. If our democratic system ends back in the hands of the present politicians, they will continue in their profligacy and the plundering of our nation. It is roughly estimated that within the last two decades, our politicians have pilfered, stolen, embezzled, converted – call it whatever you may, over 200 billion dollars. There is no nation on earth that can continue like this; something is got to give. To avoid a possible catastrophe that can be a fall out of this current situation, it is time to become realists and face the truth that we have come to an impasse: it is a case of swim or sink. Enough is enough of these years of economic, physical and mental slavery. We have the capacity to think, so THINK and ACT!
-John Segun Odeyemi writes from Pittsburgh, PA, USA.