Before my father joined his ancestors more than 20 years ago, he always said to me: a�?Son, you must manage your money because if you dona��t, your money will manage you.a�? It was one of his enduring legacies for which I still doff my hat for my father. Stretching that piece of advice a little further, it will not now be so difficult to see through the problem Nigerian politicians in the ruling All Progressivesa�� Congress (APC) government had to contend with, which had also been the problem with the governments that preceded the APC.
Because Nigerian politicians could not manage their personal money, they also could not manage public funds. It was the reason they often found it expedient to recourse to public funds for their personal needs. It was the reason there was so much corruption in the land. The political leaders could not manage their money and so their money managed them. Their money made them unable to see the massive suffering they plunged millions of Nigerian families into. Their money made them careless about how people saw or spoke about them. Their money pushed them towards the brink of impunity. Their money managed them in thought, word and action. But had they managed their money, Nigerians would not have experienced all the anguish they have been enduring all this long while. The country has got potentials. Nigerian leaders would have invested in the welfare of Nigerian masses. They would have invested in peace initiatives and not in militancy. But they did not, because the money at their disposal managed them.
I suppose all that is in the past now, thrown into the dustbin of history. A new era has dawned upon us. It is an era that made me ponder for a long while. Were Nigerian youths now actually determined to form a coalition party of their own which can dislodge the strangle-hold of the seat-tight Nigerian elderly men and women who had insisted on a recycling form of leadership for all these almost six decades the country has had self rule? Are the youths now ready? They should be. There is no time to waste. This is the time to move into action.
All Hausa Youth Organisations and all Igbo Youth Organisations and all Yoruba Youth Organisations and all Ijaw Youth organisations must sink their tribal differences now, come together as deprived young Nigerians and reason together like youths determined to see their tomorrow brighter than their today. They must work together to create that future and to take their destiny and that of their children in their hands. And the time is now.
Nigerian youths must break this curse of recycling leaderships that have taken grip of the country since the 1962 Action Group party fracas that ushered a�?Area Boysa�? into the system of Nigerian politics. Now that three very vibrant young men have offered their wealth of experience to serve Nigerians as their new President, come 2019, let it be known nation-wide that the revolution has begun in earnest. And if Nigerian youths will seize the opportunity now knocking on the door of their future, no other people should come out to challenge the three. Instead, let Nigerian youths rally round these three, support them and vote for them to succeed the APC government.
We have Mr Fela Durotoye, born on 12 May 1971 at Ibadan in south west Nigeria. He holds a bachelor of science degree in computer science with economics; a mastera��s degree in business administration (M.B.A), a master of philosophy degree (M.Phil) in strategic management, all from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife. He is also a graduate of the Kennedy School of Government at the prestigious Harvard University (USA). He is unarguably one of Nigeriaa��s leading motivational speakers with a client-base that ranges from cyber banks to some of the countrya��s leading oil companies. With degrees and fellowships from Obafemi Awolowo, Harvard and Yale Universities, Durotoye has gracefully integrated strategic management processes with oratorical dexterity to motivate business men and women to bring out the best in them. Fela is known mostly for inspiring executives to bring out their best to enhance organizational and personal career goals. And in this struggle, he would be a great asset. We also have Professor Kingsley Moghalu.
Professor Kingsley Ayodele Moghalu was born in Lagos on 7 May 1963. He hails from Anambra state of south east Nigeria. He is the first of five children of late Isaac Chukwudum Moghalu, a Nigerian foreign service officer and one of a small group of promising young Nigerians who were inducted into the ministry of foreign and commonwealth affairs after Nigeria had self rule in October1960. Moghalu served as deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria from 2009 to 2014. He is a political economist, lawyer and a former United Nations official. He was also a professor of practice in international business and public policy at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Massachusetts, U.S.A. Moghalu is a graduate of the London School of Economics. He also read Political Science at the University of Nigeria Nsukka.
And then, we have Omoleye Sowore. Sowore is a human rights and pro-democracy campaigner. He is founder and publisher of the very popular SaharaReporters.com, a website of citizen journalism that publishes videos, photos, news items and commentaries that expose high level official corruption and abuse of office and public trust in Nigerian governments. Mr. Sowore is an indigene of Ondo state in south west Nigeria. He was born on 16 February1971 in the Niger Delta region of the country where he was also brought up. He studied geography and planning at the University of Lagos and holds a mastera��s degree in public administration from Colombia University. He teaches modern African history at the City University of New York and post colonial African history at the School of Art, New York.
It is good news that these three gentlemen have offered their services to the country at a time they were needed most. The erroneous understanding many educated young adult Nigerians had was that they didna��t have enough money in comparison with the older politicians to be able to make a positive impact. But that needs not worry anyone. The politics that is being ushered into Nigeria is not going to be about money. It is going to be about families, Nigerian families. The sheer suffering that the masses of Nigerian people have been subjected to by a mindless set of political opportunists over these years has taught them an unforgettable lesson that there is a need to change batons, and habits.
Nigerian youths do not need much money to do this, so there will be no reason to worry. Already they know that the trappings of power are never relinquished without a fight. They know that this is going to be a fierce battle, perhaps. Or perhaps it could be a seemingly peaceful transition of national responsibilities from cunning old men and women waiting for another Arab Awakening to happen in Nigeria. They will avoid being seen as one of the two foolish goats. My father called the goats foolish. They met in the middle of a narrow bridge. None was willing to go back and allow the other to pass through the bridge first. A long, heated argument led to a fight. The two goats fell into the water below and drowned. Or have Nigerian youths forgotten that during the early part of this decade, the western world helped indigent youths to topple several Arab governments. The youths took over leadership in their various countries. More than 8 years on, one would have thought that their various nations would have started enjoying the dividends of overdue democratic reforms and that the youth who took over governance would have done better than those they chased away from office.
In these 8 years, what have they achieved in comparison with the achievements of those dictators they ousted from office? If there was anything the Arab Awakening achieved as a matter of fact, it was that it intensified violence in already violent countries. Since the youths of some of those Arab countries took over control of governance, violence and bloodletting have continued to trail and characterise their country. Look at Yemen. Look at Libya. Look at Egypt. Look at Iraq. They are enough evidence to show that the old political class can easily step aside without blinking an eye, wait to see how the youths perform and take over from them again if a seeming Arab Awakening was to visit the Nigerian political stage.
In order not to fall into this trap, the weapons Nigerian youths need are determination and trust. They need determination because they are fighting for a just and worthy cause against a formidably greedy and insatiable opponent. The youths are fighting for the future of their children and their country. They will need trust so that their own fellow youths will always turn down bribes to betray their mission and send their countrymen and women back to the dark days of unaccountability from which they were set to emerge. This is the time to begin to plan so that true change can dawn on Nigeria. And the plan of Nigeriaa��s young adults must be from state to state through the length and breadth of the country.
In about 10 montha��s time, Nigerians would be going back to the polls to elect public office seekers who will try their hand for another four years to usher in true democracy into the country. Nigerians feel strongly that the APC government hasna��t lived up to the promises of change it made to them before it won the elections in 2015. The APC had given Nigerians great hopes when they campaigned for a change in government, but only succeeded in dashing those glamorous hopes into thousands of irretrievable pieces at the end of the day.
To say that Nigerians are truly disappointed with the APC government is to put it mildly. They are disillusioned. They are angry. They feel betrayed by the party they massively trooped out in heavy rain and intense sunshine to vote into power. They voted with faith and hope that APC would be a better alternative to the PDP which had ruled (or misruled) the country for 16 years. Their faith and their hope became the bitter pill they had to swallow following persistent national headaches the APC was unable to cure.
Democracy thrives in many countries because the system gives the electorates the power to recall and replace parliamentary representatives who fail their constituents. For Nigerian politicians of the old order today, that is medicine after death. Recalling any of them at this point in time wona��t help. It wona��t help because there is practically no boundary-line between state actors in the APC and the PDP, given the free will with which any politician can cross carpet from one party to another. In fact most of the people who make up the APC today defected from the PDP after the party lost the presidential elections in 2015. So, whether we are looking at the APC or the PDP, they are one and the same people who must be stopped from further destroying Nigeria.
The time has indeed come for Nigerian youths to take their own destiny in their hands. They know that this issue of recycling leadership is what is killing the country. Nigeria needs a brand new set of political leaderships. And in this understanding, I am 100% with Dr. Mohammed Junaid about the failure of the APC government. Nigerian youths should look up in 2019 for these three and other credible men and women who would be dedicated to finding a permanent solution to Nigeriaa��s perennial social and economic problems.
Nigerians need a new leadership that will get Boko Haram insurgents to table their demand with the National Assembly, the legitimate political representatives of the people. What does Boko Haram want from Nigeria? Is it a new nation that is subject to Sharia laws? Is it money or fame? Whatever it is, they should be convinced to table their grievances through the National Assembly which will debate and deal summarily with them. A situation where Boko Haram continues to terrorise parts of the country is definitely not in the interest of unity and progress in the country. The new leaders Nigerians need must be able to penetrate through Boko Haram formations (including their foreign and local sponsors) and get them to make public their grievances so that the Nigerian legislature can look into them appropriately and find a solution to them. The same approach will apply to all the other agitating factions which together have practically turned the lives of most Nigerians into a nightmare.
Nigerians need a new leadership that will see as topmost priority the need to first electrify all the cities, towns and villages in the country and install surveillance cameras in every nook and cranny of the country to fish out and correct the bad eggs in the society. With a regular supply of electricity also, most Nigerians abroad will return to start small and medium size business enterprises which will help create new jobs for the countrya��s millions of school leavers who roam the streets daily in search of jobs that are scarcely available to them.
Nigerians need a new leadership that will build bridges across the ethnic divide by making laws that will make it compulsory for Nigerian children to learn to speak the three major ethnic languages, Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba from primary school level. Hopefully the bridge would have been built in two generations where no Nigerian child will be regarded as an alien in any part of his or her own country.
Nigerians need a new leadership that will drastically cut down on the take-home remuneration of legislators, demolish the institution of tribal leadership, take all the influential rogue politicians and rogue governments head-on and give them the break they so much deserve from damaging our national commonwealth any further.
In every state of the 36 states of Nigeria, young adults should begin to organise themselves now for the big change in 2019. Let them rally round these three young men who have offered themselves to serve and begin for once to talk Nigerian. To save Nigeria from total collapse, and to save the future of the Nigerian child from those political hawks in APC and PDP, let Nigerian young adults rally round these three gentlemen and put our faith in them. It is worth taking the plunge. Leta��s do this, Nigerian young adults.
- Mr Asinugo is a London-based journalist and publisher of Imo State Business Link Magazine (imostateblm.com)
SOURCE :The Nigerian Voice (opinions)