BY AGUNLOYE ADEWUNMI BASHIRU
In few days and to be precise, Saturday 25th February 2023, Nigerians will be electing a brand-new democratic president to pilot the affairs of the most populous black nation on the continent of Africa.
For nearly eight years now, the majority of the Nigerian populace have been experiencing a myriad of challenges. These include abject poverty, insecurity, unemployment, inadequate power supply, police brutality and killings as well as disruption in academic activities at universities to mention but a few.
The average Nigerian who accounts for over 90 percent of the Nigerian population of over 200 million has been affected by these challenges.
Prices of commodities like food for the common people are out of reach. Many lives have been lost to the activities of terrorist groups such as the notorious Boko Haram and the Islamic State of West Africa Province (ISWAP). Bandits have killed many Nigerians and collected millions of ransoms from their captors’ families. Nigerian students in the universities were forced out of schools for several months as a result of incessant strikes by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
Corruption in government institutions continues with impunity at all levels of government. Respect for the rule of law is zero. The Nigerian Police who are saddled with the responsibility of protecting lives and properties of citizens were seen brutalizing and killing those they are supposed to be protecting. Several police killings of civilians have been reported.
While Nigerians are facing all these challenges, the government has failed to do enough to stop this malady and people’s suffering continues.
Now that the opportunity is here for Nigerians to elect leaders at the federal level of government with the presidential and national assembly elections scheduled to hold on Saturday 25th February, Nigerians must vote massively for effective governance, better lives, security of lives and employment opportunities.
Nigerians should be reasonable enough to elect a Pan-Nigerian personality and voting should not be based on ethno-religious sentiments. Leaders should be elected based on their leadership qualities, experience, maturity, and sound health, among other things.
Nigeria as a country needs a refocused direction on economy, education, security, agriculture, social well-being and infrastructure renewal.
The ruling party under the administration of the outgoing president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari should leave a legacy of allowing the people’s will to emerge through free and credible elections without manipulation.
The Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) should conduct free and fair elections by not supporting any party or candidate in elections.
Security agencies, particularly the Nigerian Police, shouldn’t compromise or collaborate in any rigging activity or allow any party or candidate to engage in any electoral malpractice. The police must apprehend any offender who may want to participate in any electoral malpractice or thuggery before, during and after the elections.
Nigerians should not sell their votes through monetary inducement by politicians. It is clear that if Nigerians get it wrong this time, it will lead to another year of suffering. This is a clarion call.
There is no doubt that the destiny of this country lies in no other person’s than the people of Nigeria. This needs to be exercise through the ballots, failure to do this means that the suffering would still be with us for the next four years.
A word is enough for the wise.