JUST BEFORE YOU CELEBRATE…

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Written by Buchi Njere

The Nigerian electoral body, INEC, has announced the result of the just concluded Presidential election.  Mr. Muhammadu Buhari, the incumbent, has won.  Congratulations.  (This is without prejudice to the rights of your closest opponent who has indicated that he will challenge the results in court).

Your victory should not give you any comfort to celebrate or your supporters the opportunity to gloat and mock those whose candidates did not win.

No one wins in an election where blood of the innocent flowed freely.

No one wins in an election where thugs, empowered by high-ranking political leaders, determined who could vote and the candidate and party to vote for.

No one wins in an election where the victory of one is perceived by many to be a threat to their lives and livelihood.

Mr. President, the votes of those who returned you may be huge, but the voice of the many who did not trust you enough to continue is loud.  You cannot ignore them. But you must work to earn their confidence.

This victory should, indeed, be the beginning of a deep national conversation. Nigeria must agree to talk about many burning issues that will never go away even with cycles of elections. Elections do not solve problems created by many years of distrust. In fact they acerbate them.

Nigerians must ask if this election has taken us any farther from 2015? Is that the standard we are comfortable with?

We must also agree on the kind of country we want.  Are we truly a federation or very much at ease with the pretence that we are one?

We must face the inevitability of a restructured country.  There is nothing in nature that compels this geographic entity, Nigeria, to develop evenly.  It is not practicable. 

Every part of this country has its own human and natural resources.  These parts, expressed in geo-political zones, must be allowed to develop according to their resources, capacity, culture and values. All within one country where every citizen should be safe and proud to call any part, home.

The Nigerian political elite, especially of the Northern extraction, must be ashamed of their antics.  How long will you continue to mine the growing mass of poor and illiterate Northerners for votes and violence?

Every child that is inducted into the Almajiri life is a potential danger to society.  Give these children equal opportunity, like your own children, to aspire to a greater future of hard work and success, away from imposed ignorance and poverty. There is no nobility in poverty.

President Buhari, you have your job cut out for you; the same brief you struggled with in your first term:

-Take over your government from those you trust but who do not mean well for a united Nigeria.

– Be the President of all Nigerians, without fixating on tribe or faith

– Go outside your party and clan to get competent technocrats whose mandate will be to set our economy on the path of growth.

– Reassure Nigerians of your willingness to fight corruption, starting from your party and close associates.

– Ensure the impartiality of security agencies in fighting crimes, including the menace of marauding herdsmen.

–  Trigger the process to restructure Nigeria.

This country must move forward.  We cannot remain a people continuously moving in reverse.

I wish the President good health and a successful tenure.

Posted by Juliet Ekwebelam

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