What does this say about Buhari, a president whose posture is supposed to be about anti-corruption? Ekiti elections show that we are certainly not making progress in Nigeria. That is a state reputed for its many professors; professors who have not been successful in drilling down whatever intelligence they have into their own folks; professors who have probably since deserted their villages and towns and never looked back, whose children have nothing to do with Ekiti. Well, people were so desperately poor that nothing could convince them not to sell their own future for N4,000. And indeed so many people in that state are desperately poor, such as to justify the recently released report by the World Poverty Index that says Nigerians are now the poorest people in the world; a report that Buhari’s ministers like to deny and contest. Some of us have been complaining bitterly about the decrepit state in which our people live – from their housing to their environment to the food they eat or their access to schools and hospitals. This is matched by the unpardonably wicked luxury in which our so-called leaders across the spectrum live. Buhari seems to have no perspective on income inequality. He doesn’t just seem to care about doing anything serious about it because he too has been enjoying all these appurtenances of office since he came. Here we are not talking of the Abacha loot he intends to share for political reasons. Our leaders simply need to reorder their priorities in order to lift millions out of poverty. The ideas are out there. I have offered a few myself.
The election in Ekiti is a wakeup call to Yorubas. We cannot be revelling in unacceptable ignorance and poverty in the year 2018. The rest of Nigeria has respect for Yorubas but these kinds of events erode that respect. Imagine! The person who came third in that election had actually withdrawn for the PDP candidate a week before the elections. His name is Dada Ayoyinka; totally unknown, not even google-able. He doesn’t even have a face on the ballot. His party is PDC. Perhaps in the attempt to mass-produce ballots, some ignorant people thumbed PDC instead of PDP. Imagine the level of ignorance and illiteracy that this depicts. It used to be that a few other parties will pull their weights. This time, our people allegedly flocked in one direction. What is happening to Yoruba minds? Is PDP the standard? Is APC the standard? Are we okay with the way Nigeria is today? Do the poor and disenfranchised deserve any pity? Are we destined to this sordid way of life? We need clarifications please.
Is it not a great irony, that in a state reputed for it’s education and intellection, the two arrogant and corrupt political parties which ignored the most-transparent aspect of an election – the debates – were also the ones that 97% of the voters were ready to kill themselves to vote for? Are there so few intellectuals and self-respecting people who are keen on knowing substance in Nigeria’s Fountain of Knowledge? Is there anyone in Ekiti who has a sense of history to the extent that Nigeria cannot keep going around in a yoyo between the characters who have laid this country waste in the last 19 years and beyond?
For as much as maternal and infant mortality, the out-of-school children phenomenon, crass poverty are still part of the fabric of our national life, this elections say that our people have little or no value on and for their own lives; that anyone will find it almost impossible to convince them that their lives can be even a little better; that in a world that has banished some sort of unsightly poverty, filth, stench and what have you, our people are still roiling in such irritations and they really don’t want a marked departure from the present circumstances. The elections say that we live in our own Dark Ages in Nigeria; an age where even though the sun shines every morning, we pointedly, adamantly, and resolutely refuse to see the light. How can Nigeria make progress if our people are not making progress? How can Nigeria develop in any manner – economically, sociologically and otherwise – when our people are not developing? The challenge of leadership in Nigeria today is that a few of us must do all we can, put our own lives on the line, to take our people TO WHERE THEY MUST BE, indeed whether they like it, or know it, or not. Ekiti’s and Nigeria’s poor majority must be liberated, given a new vision, irrespective of their uninformed opinions on the matter. The PDP or APC will not offer that kind of vision. We must let them know however, that there are no laurels for winning elections and grabbing power where the people are this ignorant and poor. There is nothing to be proud of if all you can do is join parties that are not taking the nation and people forward because there are so many big, greedy mouths to feed. The competition is not among us here, but between Nigeria and other nations of the world that are making some real progress. We need a wake up call.
In four years time, Ekiti elections will still be the same, or worse. The people will most certainly be poorer, and mentally in the same state. They will wait for bigger payouts on election day four years from now, even if they crawl out of hovels and whine about hunger once this present largesse is burnt on beer and goat meat. Or the payouts could be even smaller, depending on how much they have been ‘dealt with’. Those collapsing mud houses all over Ekiti State will still be there, only more rickety. Those riding Okada with university degrees under their belts will still be riding. And if Ekiti is representative of the whole of Nigeria, there is no hope for the black race. Or is there? Will the Ekiti results, and the one-track-mindedness it depicts discourage those who believe there could be a profound change in Nigeria? It better not. Will Nigerians be put off the new parties (some of which are honest new attempts at a new beginning for our nation), and generally resign to their fates? They better not. We live in a globalized age. We see what happens elsewhere and how human beings are living much better, quality lives that dignify humanity. We too deserve some of that. I am standing up to say enough already of the shame and opprobrium that is associated with the name Nigeria. The criminality, the illegal migrations, the child and human trafficking, drug dealing, under-achievements and so on. Enough already!
Time will tell where this all ends.