“All agitations to disrupt governance and undermine the presidency are not just an assault on the incumbent. It is an assault and affront to the 220 million citizens of Nigeria, home and abroad, who do not have any other country for historical and cultural origination.”
PEGASUS REPORTERS, LAGOS | NOVEMBER 5, 2023
The recent electoral cycles of February 25 and March 18 of 2023 exposed some deep and overlooked crevices in our march towards positioning our country in its rightful place in the comity of nations and for the betterment of the people.
It is inevitable that a country as culturally and ethnically diverse as Nigeria, with the potpourri of different religious affiliations and identities, will experience some critical dissonance in agreement with public representation and leadership.
It is normal and expected that different interest groups will align along different ideological, political, religious, ethnic, cultural, and even technical divides. What is hoped for at the end of the day is that all the differences are aligned together, irrespective of differences and results, for collective national progress and prosperity.
The last election cycle proved a contest that reawakened some deep issues. The level of politicking was superficial with regard to policy visions and action steps and rather robust in the elevation and promotion of divisive issues. However, this is markedly one of the characteristics of the kind of democracy we are practicing, which is more often than not a battle of social popularity and political leverage.
Following the judgment of the Supreme Court on October 24, 2023, regarding the presidential election results, it is expected that all combatants should shield their swords and work together towards public good and national progress.
This does not mean cross-carpeting. Opposition can contribute by keeping the proclaimed winner in check and on notice for the next election cycle.
What is, however, most important is that we all need to move forward from the elections to face the rather serious matters of governance. Our economy needs a lot of help and support, and the challenges will not discriminate along any of the ethnic, political, or religious divides. The time for the campaign is over. The time for action is NOW!
To this end, this writer wishes to call on all well-meaning Nigerians to join hands and focus on the task at hand.
The first task is National Reintegration and Reorientation.
This writer is of the firm opinion that if we as a people are not pulling in the same direction, whatever policy initiatives of the incumbent administration will be a waste of time. The media and social media antics of the losers being expressed recently via world press conferences and snide tweets will only serve to undermine any progressive intent.
Whoever is unable to accept his/her loss and who wishes to continue to foment disharmony and crisis for political mileage is an enemy of the state. Personal ambitions do not supersede national aspirations and collective good. Should the country be razed and thrown into chaos, will these individuals be at the forefront of the hardships? Will they not escape to safer climes? Will they push their children and families to the forefront?
All agitations to disrupt governance and undermine the presidency is not just an assault on the incumbent. It is an assault and affront on the 220 million citizens of Nigeria, home and abroad, who do not have any other country for historical and cultural origination.
Or should we disband the judiciary, suspend the constitution, and abolish the legal profession? Should we leave jurisprudence to the whims and caprice of biased, compromised, and fickle-minded people?!
The truth is, any true lover of justice and fairness will not seek to destroy or abolish the law because of some perceived personal grievance or limitations.
Such persons will seek to IMPROVE the law/constitution by ensuring those things that they feel so strongly about do not happen again! That’s what we have the legislature for! True democrats pursue the improvement of the system, not the realization of personal ambitions.
The story of Solomon’s wisdom on the matter between the 2 mothers over the living child should be instructive for anyone who truly sees the country as the priority. The incumbent administration also needs to work hard towards reuniting the nation as one family. This is the concept of reintegration and reorientation towards nation-building.
There is a need to placate and embrace. There is also a need to apply punitive measures for the greater public good as applicable. Above all, there is a need to communicate clearly and to carry the people along without prevarication or deflections.
The incumbent administration must realize that it will not be assessed based on just winning an election. It will be judged based on the results of its governance efforts. Nigeria is the most populous black nation in the world. Many have said the progress, brand, and prosperity of the entire African continent is tied to the progress and prosperity of Nigeria.
It is time for all to let go of the silliness of electoral losses and focus on the work at hand. Nigeria is not political parties, ethnic groups, or religious bodies. Nigeria is the sum of its people irrespective of individual affiliations.
It is time for the people to stand as a nation
Femi Onakanren is a Business Consultant and Socioeconomic Policy Analyst. He writes from Lagos.
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