FEATURE ARTICLE

Sunday, March 3, 2019
[email protected]
New York, USA
IT'S TIME TO HEAL THE NATION

As the declared winner of the Presidential election, you bear the greatest responsibility to heal the nation. You have been re-elected to be the President not of a geographic region but the whole nation. If you believe in project Nigeria, you have little choice but to govern as the leader of the entire country regardless of the states you won or who voted for you.

he 2019 elections are over. Clearly, there were fierce contests at all levels that ultimately resulted in winners and losers. While the winners celebrate and the losers mourn their loss, it is now time to heal the nation. Those who won their contests should be magnanimous in victory and those who failed should accept their loss, no matter how hard it may be, knowing that in any contest there are winners and losers. As we have learned recently from certain mature democracies, the outcome of elections is not about truth or facts, but often a distorted approximation of the will of the people, which is a disturbing reality that puzzles the mind.

What we have witnessed, though imperfect, is democracy maturing before our eyes, which makes winners of all Nigerians. As the fog of the campaign rhetoric settles, we should closely examine the implications of the results and be informed. Information gleaned from the map of the Presidential election indicates that democracy in Nigeria is evolving and that political realignments are continuing. The map also offers opportunities for strengthening the foundation of our democracy and building a better Nigeria.

President Muhammadu Buhari, I congratulate you on your re-election. But I must add that, as the declared winner of the Presidential election, you bear the greatest responsibility to heal the nation. You have been re-elected to be the President not of a geographic region but the whole nation. If you believe in project Nigeria, you have little choice but to govern as the leader of the entire country regardless of the states you won or who voted for you. After all, you got votes even in the States you lost.

Those who celebrate your victory must avoid incendiary remarks that rub salt into injury. They must avoid singling out specific regions or tribes to blame. During elections people hedge their bets on those they think best represent their interests - this is the essence of participatory democracy. As such, there should be no recriminations. Nigerians should check the impulse to abuse one another in social media, particularly claims regarding the illiteracy of one set of Nigerians versus the intellectual superiority of others. Such claims are unfounded and borne out of the arrogance of ignorance. Those who lost should not resort to mischief to express their dissatisfaction. The tribe that needs healing is Nigeria to which everyone belongs.

Mr. President, in your acceptance speech, you pledged an inclusive administration. I recall a similar pledge when you were first elected. You deserve to be commended for putting the lid on the culture of pervasive corruption, setting the stage for establishing the rule of law, governing by example and demanding accountability from public officials. However, the job is not finished. It can be argued that a single good leader can set a nation on the path to progress with the right policies.

To commence your second term, you should move swiftly to ensure that those who oppose your corruption-fighting agenda do not hijack the legislature as was the case in your first term. The most visible symbol of the cult of entitlement and political subversion has been booted out of the Senate and you have survived the apocalyptical musing of the "political oracle" who has exhausted his statesman's capital to the point of irrelevance. You must continue to fight corruption and curb the addiction and unthinking reverence to free government money, which may have motivated some recidivists to support your main opponent.

Mr. President, it is imperative that you purge your cabinet of the corrupt albatrosses, prosecute corrupt big wigs, imposing prison terms of one - two years and forfeiture of fraudulently acquired assets; prosecute fraudsters conning credulous followers, and parading themselves as prophets. You should also address the perception of lopsided appointments to federal positions and ensure balance and fairness; stop the insecurity, carnage and the psychological trauma caused by herdsmen and exorcize the judiciary of those who subvert the system to enrich themselves.

A majority of Nigerians regardless of a geopolitical region are still mired in poverty. They suffer injustice, inadequate infrastructure, poor education, and massive unemployment. Your administration must ensure that no individual or groups of Nigerians are left behind. Some sections of the country have no federal presence and are more disadvantaged than others. You must accurately identify the poorer areas of the country and implement policies and programs to even out inequalities and regional imbalance. Lastly, you must take steps to strengthen our institutions and alleviate the general atmosphere of discontent.

Again, I congratulate you and all Nigerians and wish you a healthy and far more dynamic and effective second term.

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