2019 Election and the risk Nigerians must take

November 2, 2018 Nigeria , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , POLITICS

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Jerome-Mario Utomi



A risk viewed conventionally is an observable reality that people sprint away from as it is both covertly and overtly considered an unpleasant situation. But contrary to this belief, Peter Drucker, a U.S. born management consultant in his book; Managing For Result, underscored the inescapable posture of risk-taking in human existence and essentially classified it into four categories; the risk one must accept, the risk one can afford to take, the risk one cannot afford to take, and the risk one cannot afford not to take.


Indeed a virulent reality, however, from the recent unpleasant political and socioeconomic occurrences in the country, it has become a barefaced truth that for Nigeria to accelerate economic growth and make social progress, the people must use the 2019 general elections as a vehicle to confront/correct the ‘inbuilt’ anomalies debilitating our nationhood.


No doubt, across the country the geographical oneness of this nation is daily threatened by poor leadership and corruption induced failures of implementation of people-purposed projects. A challenge that is rooted in the political player’s erroneous view of traditional morality not having a place in political affairs as politics has its own rules, thereby prompting many to view attainment of public office to a personal effort and their positions not as a trust for the public good but an opportunity for private gain. This is the greatest challenge confronting the nation; politics devoid of morality.


And it needs not be said that formulating rules/strategies by Nigerians that would help understand both the changes in the larger political sphere and checkmate the activities of these ‘great powers’ that scramble daily for the nation’s commonwealth has become a risk that the masses must take as extraordinary conditions call for extraordinary solutions. Nigerians need a renewed emphasis to honestly admit certain things and get rid of certain myths. And I think we face one of those moments- the recent call by Nnamdi Kanu to the members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to stay aloof/boycott the forthcoming 2019 general elections in the country unless the Federal Government grants a referendum to Biafra.


Without minding what others may say, the tendency to ignore the contributions of Ndi Igbo to the economic development of this nation and strip it of its enviable achievements is as old as ‘the earliest history book and as contemporary as the morning’s newspapers’. But that notwithstanding, the wisdom behind Kanu’s suggestion to his members and the Ndi-Igbo by extension is not only distasteful but vague, variable and ungraspable for so many reasons.


For instance, as argued by Nigerians with critical minds, Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, the founding leader of the secessionist Biafra, before his demise contested the presidential election of 2003 of which he could and have been president of Nigeria had it been he won, building on that democratic effort, and harnessing the gains to address the injustices confronting the region should be the civil step expected of Kanu.


Again, having the nation restructured has no doubt become a campaign so vital, but if Kanu has ethnic/tribal resemblance with Jews as he claims, he should have learned from history that human progress has never been ‘automatic or without persistent effort and sacrifice’ as wisdom borne from experience pointed out that the Jews progressed because they possessed a tradition of education combined with social and political action. And in uniting social actions with educational competence, Jews became enormously effective in political life.


Thankfully, it is factually documented that ‘millions of Jews for half a century remained relatively poor but they were far from passive in the social and political arena. They lived in homes in which politics was a household word. They were deeply involved in radical parties, liberal parties and conservative parties- they formed many of them. Very few Jews sank into despair and escapism even when discrimination assailed the spirit and corroded initiatives. Their life raft in the sea of discouragement was social and political action.’


Very instructive, one point Nigerians must not fail to remember is that the nation currently calls for a departure from the old order. And a decision not to participate actively in the forthcoming 2019 general elections will translate to supporting the excruciating pains Nigerian workers currently face as government across the nation continue to deprive them of legitimately earned salaries and pensions.


Not voting the right Nigerians will continually present our hospitals (whether the state or Federal government owned) as an absolute death center where people go to die rather than be healed while leaving governance in the country as a programme that is neither system nor strategy based.


Further amplifying why Nigerians should take the responsibility of voting for the right people in the forthcoming election as a risk they must take is the recent remark credited to Ambassador Tibor Nagy, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Africa Affairs, United States of America. Tibor, recently while commenting on the state of affairs in Africa, stated thus:


The corruption is so endemic in so many countries that it really will require a generational shift to literally wrench it out of the systems. That is one of my biggest hopes with the young people coming up because I have met so many young people in Africa, everywhere—every single country—who are just sick and tired of what the older generation, people my age and even older, have been tolerating. No amount of program is going to address and eliminate corruption. It has to be a total cultural change from the leadership to the bureaucrats to the policemen on the street.”


From the above, it has become important that Nigerians take into cognizance that the formula for the nation coming out of the present political/socioeconomic wood will not be based on electoral boycott, passivity or argument/debate but by the quality of Nigerians to be elected that are gifted with integrity, intellect, energy, drive and new ideas crucial to transform/create a civil society where the irresponsible will be sorted from the responsible.


To achieve this, Nigerians must resist every attempt to further the division in our country, uphold the basic universal values of rights from which the right to peace is fundamental. They must not allow themselves to be used by the disgruntled elements to foment trouble and wreak havoc because of the election nor have their votes sold for whatever reason.





Jerome-Mario Utomi

Jerome-Mario is a Social Entrepreneur and an alumnus, School of media and communication, Pan Atlantic University, Lagos, Nigeria.

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