The other day, I was asked about what the victory of the All Progressives Congress would mean for Nigeria’s economy? Here is what I had to say:
Indeed, change has come. No doubt, the expectations are high but truly the tasks ahead are tough and humongous. But more importantly, the mass-based engagement in the electoral process which culminated in this victory must continue. We must not relapse into a state of social and political complacency or continue to wear the toga of indifference, leaving politicians to govern or misgovern us as they deem fit or in a manner that does not serve our collective aspirations.
I have often heard it said that the quality of one’s questions determines the quality of answers one gets. It is in relation to this line of thought that I think the citizenry, and the media in particular, must continue to engage constructively in challenging the status quo with a view to seeing the change we so desire to come true.
It will be irresponsible to think that all our national woes and challenges will go away over night with the APC at the helm of affairs, but we must start to take practical steps in the right direction — even as they relate to all spheres of our national life. We must do the right things in our private homes, in schools, public places, offices and across all social interactions we make or have. We must resolve to always consider the good of others and not of ourselves alone. We must begin to train our minds to have the patience of hard work that guarantees for us a better tomorrow. We must think and plan for the future and not just about the present.
It is instructive that in most cases, people always produce the kind of leadership they deserve. But in the contrary, it is obvious that the bane of Nigeria’s underdevelopment and inability to progressive harness her potential to the benefit of her citizens are due to lack of exemplar, visionary and courageous leadership.
This is now what President-elect Muhammadu Buhari has promised us. I hope he delivers on this promise, because Nigerians are a highly innovative and entrepreneurial people with a can-do-spirit that perform well when galvanised in the right direction. With the leadership that Buhari will offer, I hope we also will now play our part.
I expect that the Buhari presidency and the APC in particular would upon assumption of office on May 29, 2015 show to Nigerians and the global community a commitment to cut down on the excessive perks of public office associated with public service in Nigeria for years. They must begin to initiate reforms that make political office ONLY attractive for the selfless and those who truly have something to offer among us. Our economic sector and the small and medium scale enterprises must function optimally so that politics truly becomes public service and not economic interest that the professional politicians seasonally invest in to reap gains, perpetuate themselves in the corridors of power and use to take spoils of office.
Now that the electioneering process is over, political jobbers and lobbyists no doubt will be busy speculating and jostling for positions and appointments. I think one soiled area of our democratic practice is the inefficiency that is introduced into governance through senseless and ineffective political appointment that adds no value but drains our collective resources. For this, I do not envy the APC, as it is almost our culture to expect that political appointment is the reward for the investment in money and efforts to the elections. Yes, I know that when elections are funded by certain private interests, it will be naïve to expect that those who invested in a process must not reap from it. This is the reason we must start to evolve a new political culture and process that keep the “mega funds” behind and less dominating of the political space whilst political parties adopt innovative funding strategies if the power must stay with the electorate as clearly demonstrated in these elections. Otherwise he who pays the piper will continue to dictate the tunes.
The new APC government must refrain from the temptation of reversing the good things that the previous administration had done. Let us show that we can have sustained development as we have shocked the world by peacefully transiting power from one party to another.
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