The triumph of Reason over Despair
The triumph of Reason over Despair In 1861, the American people faced a stark choice between the Southern Confederates who were bent on keeping slavery and the federal government led by President Abraham Lincoln who favoured abolition of slavery. It was a battle for the soul of the American nation that led to a civil war. In the end, the federalists were victorious, and this led to the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, which ended slavery in America. The rest they say is history…
Nigeria has just gone through our own battle which will be decisive in shaping the way our country goes forward and our emergence as an African economic giant. The Progressives fought and won a battle for the soul of Nigeria, with the people stating emphatically that they want more of the Buhari/Osinbajo government. In the just concluded Presidential elections, President Muhammadu Buhari of All Progressives Party (APC) got 15,191,847 votes defeating Abubakar Atiku of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who polled 11,262,978 – a margin of nearly four million votes, more nearly doubling the margin of four years ago. Nigerians voted for Progress, Continuity and taking the country to the Next Level. Now we can truly say that the Progressives have come of age demonstrating that the victory of four years ago was not a fluke. The people vote for more of the winning team of President Muhmmadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
This is a triumph of reason over despair. The opposition tried to whip up all sorts of sentiments, lies and wild allegations, with religion and tribalism bubbling just below the surface. Some clergy men even tried to dictate which way people should vote, but Nigerians saw through it all. All manner of dubious interest groups preached divisive and frightful messages. The government explained that yes times were tough, but this was a necessary phase in the quest to fix the country after all the decay, negligence and looting that reigned in the preceding 16 years. The opposition preached fear, uncertainty and doubt. However, Nigerians agreed with Robin Sharma that “Change is hard in the beginning, messy in the middle but beautiful in the end”. Our country is changing for good…
This is a victory for the “common man” Nigerian – the market women, the students, the artisans, the domestic help, the poor, etc. People who just wanted to earn and enjoy the fruit of their sweat. They agreed that the government is on the right path with numerous positive policies like massive investment in infrastructure, tackling corruption, ground-breaking social investment programs, diversification of the economy, driving the ease in doing business, agriculture, encouraging consumption of local goods and materials, increasing exports, reducing our dependence on oil revenue, plugging leakages in the government, etc.
The elections revealed a changing pattern albeit a positive one, with the ruling party losing Oyo and Ondo States (core progressive states), but gaining surprising amounts of votes in Imo, Anambra, Ebonyi, Abia States (core South Eastern States) where few expected us gain such number of votes. It validates the report of the both the local and international communities’ report that the election was largely free and fair.
We saw gladiators like Bukola Saraki and Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom State) lose their Senate seats and Governors like Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo State) and Ibrahim Dankwambo (Gombe State) failing to secure a Senate seat which has always been the norm and traditionally taken for granted. The “O to ge” movement in Kwara State that displaced a feudal dynasty that had been lording over them for decades has shown what can be achieved when the people apply themselves steadfastly to a cause. This kind of fervour must go into rebirthing our country.
During our Campaign, we engaged the people extensively with the Vice President introducing novelties like House visits changing the nature of Campaign in Nigeria for good. The people also told us about the issues they felt strongly about and wanted more attention to be paid to. The government must listen to this and address them without delay. The social contract with people that has just been renewed through this mandate must be fulfilled to the people’s satisfaction. We must continue to demonstrate that this is a government that listens and will continue to engage the people and pursue people-oriented policies.
A source of concern is the low voter turnout with only 26.4m voters turning out to vote out of the 72.7m voters who collected their permanent voters’ card (PVC). We need to understand the reasons for this voter apathy and address them accordingly. Nigerians must be encouraged to exercise their civic rights and understand that it is very important we all have a say in who runs our country. We must now extend our hands to the opposition to join us in building the Nigeria of our dreams. It is time to rally round the government by supporting progressive policies that will uplift our people, invest in human capital, lay the grounds for strong productive economy, provide an enabling environment for all Nigerians to actualise their visions, provide good health facilities and make the country a secure place for all.
I congratulate all Nigerians for this victory, particularly my colleagues in the different organisations and groups that campaign for our party – All Progressives Party (APC). More importantly, the unseen ones – cooks, drivers, cleaners, clerks, logistics organisers, office admins, security people, domestic assistants, etc. who ensured that the campaign ran well despite all the challenges that comes with this kind of huge task. Nigeria – great people, great country. Nigeria shall be great.