The Birth of a New Nigeria

2015 Election, Nigeria

2015 Election, Nigeria11082425_10205050468560465_7420701953760957151_o

For the first time in the history of Nigeria, since the end of military rule in 1999, Nigeria’s ruling and incumbent party PDP experienced its first fierce competition and subsequent power shift. General Buhari of the opposition party APC, following the two days collation of votes has today been declared the winner of the 2015 Presidential Election by INEC.

This elections trumps many in the history of the country, as it bears a significant meaning to Nigeria and even Africa in general. It has succeeded in proving that the people’s vote can count and Nigerians have not given up on their civic duties, as might be expected considering the country’s track record for immense corruption, and the nature of previous elections where there have been clear evidence of rigging.

General Buhari, a military man known for his iron fist and severe clamp down on corruption, represented the promise of a new beginning to the people. He stood as the answer to Boko Haram, an Islamic extremist group that had claimed lives and dislodged millions in the north part of Nigeria, as well the hope of justice for those responsibly in the misappropriation of funds under the last regime.

Nigerians in the months leading to election resiliently chanted the word Change and on the d-day, 28 of March, went out to put their votes where their  mouth is. Defying rain, sunshine and even threats from the insurgency, Boko Haram. Nigerians trooped out to decide the fate of their nation under the full glare of the World, overcoming the challenges raised by the new voting system of card readers and  PVCs  to exercise their civic duties.

Though the elites, who conveniently have their family outside the country, tried to sow discord along tribal and religious lines with the threat of a civil war looming, Nigerians stood in unity, respecting difference in opinions.

A clear message has been sent by the outcome of the election;  as Nigerians we will not be scared by threats of violence from a terrorist group or the few elites that are bent on appropriating the wealth of the nation for their personal gain. We will not be lethargic in our fight for transparency and accountability. We as Nigerians reserve the right to vote out leaders who have failed to deliver the mandates of the people. The power belongs to the masses not the leaders and we will not be divided along tribal or religious lines. We stand in Unity!

And as Chief Obafemi Awolowo predicted, “a day will come when Nigerians from the North and South, Christians and Muslims and Animists will merge as a force for progress and unity, and kick against rigging and corruption and tyranny”. that day came and it was today.

Nigeria made history and the people celebrate.

#IAmBaga

Victims of the Baga attack in NigeriaMy heart and condolences goes out to those who lost families, friends, relatives in the recent happenings in France and the Boko Haram bombing in Nigeria that claimed 2,0000 lives in the name of religion.

Over the clamour made by the killings in France, the uproar it sprung on social media networks, the bustle of world leaders congregating in France to devise a solution as well as stand in solidarity with the French nationals, it was so hard to hear the bomb blast in the village of Baga, Nigeria that has been termed one of the the group’s deadliest attacks by Amnesty International.

When the news finally trickled around, a lot of people used the hashtag #AllLivesMatters, asking why the 12 lives in France are more important than the 2,000 in Nigeria. Others blamed the western media and the Nigerian government for its lethargic reaction to the incident, though it can be contested that there has been a response at all.

In fact Jonathan Goodluck, Nigeria’s president though expressed his condolences for the victims of the massacre in France, remained silent on the Boko Haram attacks. Probably so as not to further taint his chances of a second term by reminding voters of the failure of his administration in lieu of the upcoming election. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala also sent her sympathy to France, ignoring Baga. These all the more insinuating that the lives of those in France is of more value than those in Nigeria and further reminding me of how Nigerians jumped on the #icebucketchallenege while it was a cool trend, forgetting the one million and one challenges they are constantly forced to live with. A country where some of its population still struggles to get clean water, a very basic amenity.

While we might validly ask why world leaders are congregating in France and not Nigeria, we should also note that the valour of life cannot be measured and both cases of killings are as important, but lets not get tricked into believing that problems in Africa are only Africans problem.  Only recently, Ebola was deemed a West African problem until it spread to western states.

Lets not also forget that the fact that people of different cultures and religion, who speak different languages are cohabiting as nationals of this country happens to be one of the nation’s greatest problems and a result of colonisation.

Nigeria is plagued by a myriad of problems and its government is only a fraction. The amount of “God will help”, “God is in control” that I have heard since the commencement of these attacks is a pointer to one of the country’s greatest problems: religion.

Nigeria though a developing country has some of the richest religious leaders; pastors with harem of private jets, decked in expensive clothes and living in mansions. Pastors who dine with corrupt leaders and offer them front seats in their churches. Pastors who manages to convince their congregation to donate half of their earnings and then go ahead to build schools half of their congregation cannot afford.

I believe if Nigerians are convinced that there is no God and no one is up there looking out for them, we will see changes and very fast too. Religion has rendered its citizens complacent, we quickly drown our sorrows at altar in churches and dump all our problems in the hands of God and then just as quickly turn around and discriminate against people who practice a different religion from us .