For once, there is hope!
I have seen a lot of folks that I rate their opinions in the tech space present a fatalistic outlook of the promise of the possibility of a Peter Obi presidency. Why? From their veiled derision on matters related to the possibility of the candidate winning, I can deduce that they present posturing of: “…from experience, this has not worked in Nigeria!”
Hello, please; I refuse to be apologetic about the anger in me as I type this. A young man was shot not far from where I live some four days ago, and he died, and the shooters got away. There is no official public statement from the Police. This will be one of many murders in which there is no accountability given to the tax-paying citizens of Lagos. Yes, I live in Lagos at this time. What has a murder got to do with the opening of this essay? Accountability.
Accountable: required or expected to justify actions or decisions.
I recall a short essay I wrote before the 2015 elections. Based on the popular refrain of party slogans at the time, the 2015 elections lacked substance. It was all a nuisance of who shouted the loudest was heard above the noise. “Fee Dee Fee” and “A Fee C” chants were what Political candidates were selling to the voters. The Sai Baba frenzy fuelled a political campaign devoid of thought into the candidate's person! A candidate who at any time did not have any Live interviews. Over 15 million Nigerians chose as their Leader a man they had never heard “directly” from how he will “fight corruption”. I’m still angry.
I can count how many times President Buhari has granted Live Interviews since he was sworn into office on May 29, 2015. Nigerians who have been directly affected by insecurity, worsening economic conditions, the insult of the green passport, the mental stress, and all the ways that “Nigeria can happen to you” know that the last 7 years have been the worst Nigeria has experienced since the return to Democracy 1999. Things are bad! Not to make this a contest of who has it worse, my demography 30+, is living in times where though we did not become adults under an oppressive military dictatorship, there is a different kind of oppression that we are facing where nobody in Government is ACCOUNTABLE to Nigerians!
Public institutions are still run by people who still have the mindset of shouting a people who ask them questions. Want to test this? Accompany a Patient to a Government hospital. There is a cultural slant to this: "children do not have to know what elders are doing.” Fuelled by adages such as: “What an old man sees sitting, a child cannot see even when he climbs a tree.” It begs the question: Is the old man using binoculars? The world is different from what it was just a decade ago. Is the proverb relevant? Yes, it is not a one-size fits. You cannot use an adage and sprinkle it with a bit of sigh and nodding of the head here and there over the 2023 elections. I’m angry.
The 2023 elections are the first time since 1999 that one candidate has changed the dynamics of conversations. This is the first time ever that a candidate has made known his stance on foreign policy for Nigeria! This election is of many firsts. It is the first after #EndSars. I remember the days and weeks after #EndSars and all the people that were murdered. Some in their own homes. Vivid as I type is the image of the young man who was shot in the head in Mushin allegedly by the Security Chief of the local station.
This election is the first time a candidate embarked on a media parley, a diaspora parley, and answered questions from Nigerians. The candidate is not speaking through proxies! This is the first time that a candidate is without any criminal baggage. No court cases or financial crimes cases in the US. The candidate has not expatriated monies using family and friends. In a former position as Governor, this candidate did not leave the state's affairs to his cronies and did not step into the role of a Mafia-styled Godfather. Then, based on the notion that previous elections have been rife with varying levels of criminality to get people into elective office, intellectual Nigerians think that it is a waste of time to support a Peter Obi candidacy because “This is Nigeria, nothing will happen.” I’m angry.
That is like telling Rinu not to stage the overnight protest in front of Government Secretariat Ikeja regarding #EndSars. That is like telling Macaroni not to show up at the Lekki toll gate. That is like telling Falana not to come to the defense of all the people he represents pro bono. That is like telling me not to leave my house because… That is not a way to live! One cannot give up just because there’s a possibility of failure. This is not a situation where one is unfamiliar with the concept of failing; it is one where there’s the possibility to win! There is HOPE! There is HOPE! Nigerians, for once, have found faith in the candidacy of a man who has made himself available to be questioned.
I can try to figure out why the people who do not believe that H.E Peter Obi can win or even govern Nigeria and it is not enough of an excuse given the terrible options. I cannot help but think about it like it is some kind of Stockholms’ syndrome, given that we have been oppressed too much by those who have been in Power since 1999. People who ask questions and disagree are silenced, harassed, and “disappeared.” It is 2022, and a people who do not believe they could have been victims during the slave era allow themselves to be victims today. Then, I also sometimes think that: Could it be that because the Obident movement is organic and people are volunteering, their resources for the movement without the permission of “gate-keepers”, is why envy is cloaked in “This is Nigeria?”
Yes, THIS IS NIGERIA! It is the Nigeria of 2022, a Nigeria where I cannot be silent and let history happen to me as against me playing my part in making history happen! History is about to happen with H.E Peter Obi being sworn in as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria come May 29, 2023.
I’m angry. That is my motivation. My angst is against those seeking to be elected because they suppose it is their turn. Aso Rock is not a sick bay nor a retirement home. My angst is against those who will go against their own party’s internal constitution and will not even subject themselves to live interviews. This is not 2015. This election is about issues, issues, issues. Party slogans will not win elections. Nigeria is on an economic precipice; of all 18 candidates who are seeking the highest office in the land, only His Excellency Peter Obi is of sound mind, healthy, his age is known, certificates verifiable, source of wealth known, and has presented himself to Nigerians, and has agreed to be held accountable! Go and Verify!