By Bemdoo Hulugh
Now that General Mohammadu Buhari has won the election and is going to be the next President of Nigeria, like most Nigerians I am happy beyond expression. There are so many lessons to learn,many extra ordinary stories that will be told for a very long time ,so many people to appreciate and my greatest joy is that we executed this revolution without the much predicted bloodshed. This is much more because President jonathan did the honourable thing.
President Jonathan saved us the much predicted bloodshed by putting a call across to General Buhari to congratulate him. This wasn’t anticipated with the desperate way he ran his campaign and tried to compromise INEC. At last he did what was expected of him and took a place on the right side of history. Let me ignore the opinion of Reno Omokri who said the gesture of conceding was worth a Nobel Peace Prize. I don’t also buy the ideas of those calling the President a hero for allowing our votes to count. This shows disrespect to the individual and collective resolve of Nigerians. I will come back to this later.
Like every great moment in history,so many things came in place to make this victory possible. From those who played a part in the forefront to the ordinary Nigerians who came out massively to vote. Prof Attahiru Jega is the man of the moment. He made everything possible. He resisted the postponement of election,ignored those who didn’t want the card-reader to be used and the hallmark of his performance was the way he schooled Elder Godsday Orubebe after his shameful public conduct. It wouldn’t have ended this way if Prof. Jega had compromised. In all this, the moment belong to we the people of Nigeria.
The people stood up to the occasion and changed Nigeria forever. We demanded that this time our voices must prevail over the whispers of selfish interest,that our votes must count and they did. There is this pride now in all Nigerians that we have the power to elect and remove a President. We transferred the anger on social media to real life and shamed those who claimed elections are not won on social media. The people now have a sense of belonging. For some of us we feel fulfilled as many people told us this day will never come. I now believe that even in the face of impossible odds,those who truly love their country can change it. Let us celebrate but not for too long,as the journey for a better Nigeria has only began.
The incoming Buhari’s government was not imposed on us by any cabal,we elected them and so we must remain vigilant. Stopping here or relaxing at this point will be fatal. We must own the government by creating a platform to make our grievances known any time they make mistakes. We can’t afford to fold our hands and watch. Democracy is not all about elections,it is a participatory form of governance. We must fully participate in the daily decisions of this government. Freedom belong to those who remain vigilant. This is a democratic revolution and the circle will only be complete when the popular hopes of greater fairness and a more productive social order is established. This is not a struggle of one day,one week,one month,one year or one tenure. We must remain vigilant. The people must not be afraid of government, government should be afraid of the people instead.
All these can only be achieved through mass education. Citizens will have to know that for these politicians to continue to take us serious we must shun political begging of any kind and ask them what they are doing for us. We must know it is our business to make sure every kobo they spend is in our interest. It was Franklin.D.Rossevelt who said the real safeguard of democracy is education. The people must be informed about their role in governance.
I always dream of a Nigeria that our President, Governors and Chairmen will be the true voice of the people; our National Assembly and State Assembly will be the true representatives of the people and the Judiciary, the last hope of the common man. I dream of a country where even in the rural areas no child is sitting on the floor or under the tree to receive formal education, no child is hawking banana, groundnut or sachet water in traffic. The Nigeria in my mind is the one with first class infrastructure and where no man is above the law. If you ever doubted this dream,recent event has proved beyond doubt it could be done. The will of the people prevailed in this election but the struggle is not yet over. In the immortal words of Federick Douglas “where there is no struggle,there is no progress”.
Bemdoo Hulugh is an active citizen and he writes from Makurdi
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