By Kayode Ketefe
“A day will come when Nigerian masses from the North and South, Christians, Muslims and animists will merge as a force for progress and unity, and kick against rigging, corruption and tyranny. Chief Obafemi Awolowo (1909-1987)”.
These were the prophetic words of one of the greatest Nigerian politicians of all times and the putative best President Nigerian never had, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.
If the happenings of March 28, 2015 when Nigerians went to the polls to elect a new president are anything to go by Nigeria might be said to be in the early hours of the day prognosticated by the late sage.
The result of this year presidential election was a valid testimony that democracy is taking its roots and deepening in Nigeria.
Never before in our political history has anything like that happened when a sitting government at the federal level is unseated through electoral process. Going by the facts that the election on that day, (baring few isolated cases of breach of peace) was largely peaceful; that cutting-edge technology was employed to aid the credibility of the process; that local and international observers adjudged the election to be free and fair and the encouraging fact that the incumbent, President Goodluck Jonathan graciously conceded defeat and congratulated his opponents, we can surely get things right in this country.
President Jonathan has by his magnanimity and stately conducts earned himself a great place in history; he would forever have a respected voice in national and global affairs as elder statesman. He has become a hero in the political drama in which had turned fellow African leaders like Laurent Gbagbo of Cote d’Ivoireinto an international villain.
If the last Presidential election were to be a football match, Buhari would take the victor’s Cup while President Jonathan would bag a Fair Play Award!
The election which had been preceded by such a high degree of tension and uncertainty that some citizens even ran outside the country has now culminated into a benign anti-climax. This certainly is a pointer to an overarching truism that Nigerians can do things in a great way if we muster the will.
It is remarkable to note that this positive episode on election and democracy is the latest among three successive developments which unequivocally point to the potentials of Nigeria as a great nation and a true giant of Africa.
All the three happened within the time frame of one year. The first in the series manifested last year when the Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala famously announced that “Nigeria has moved to be the largest economy by GDP size in Africa and has moved to be the 26th largest economy in the world,” The announcement was later validated by independent empirical researched with the growth being chiefly attributed to developments in other sectors of the economy like the Nollywood industry.
When one considers the fact that the nation emerges largest economy on the continent while millions of qualified youths are still unemployed, hundreds of firms either closed down or operating at suboptimal level, and most infrastructure at under-developed level, only God know where we would be if we have had good leadership that harnesses the resources of the nation most effectively.
Wedge in-between the first (largest economy status) and the last (triumph of democracy) is an equally significant achievement.
This is the victory Nigeria registered over the dreaded Ebola Virus Disease (EVD). Ebola virus was imported into Nigeria on July 20, 2014 by a Liberian- American, Patrick Sawyer, whose death of July 25, became the first Ebola death in Nigeria. In the twinkling of any eye, the virus started to spread in Lagos (of all places) and then Port Harcourt.
Many nations of the world were vicariously afraid for Nigeria with some experts predicting tragedy of “horrendous proportion”. Depressing news about the havoc and waste the disease was causing in neighboring Liberia and Sierra Leone kept filtering in and there was panic about imminent human disaster of massive scale.
But in an uncommon act of courage, dedication and total commitment, Nigeria unleashes her genius by attacking the virus on all fronts. In this fight, the nation lost couples of citizens, (including the heroine doctor Stella Ameyo Adadevoh who sacrificed her live to save her compatriots from fatal epidemic) but the nation succeeded in routing the virus and kicking it out of the country.
This is an achievement that earned the nation accolades all over the world.
Thus, within a short period of time, Nigeria emerged the largest economy, overpowered a killer disease which send chills down the spine of even greater nations and then conducted a relatively free and fair election where the defeated incumbent magnanimously concede defeat even before the last ballots were counted.
Nigeria are capable of great things, we would expect the in-coming Muhammadu Buhari’s government to unlock the greatness in Nigeria for further greater attainments.
Ketefe may be followed on twitter @Ketesco
Get more stuff like this
Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.