With the Presidency having the temerity to announce in 2016 that the masses would not abandon President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019, which is a euphemism for his readiness to seek re-election, the electorate must seize the opportunity to retort that this President is not one of our top considerations three years to come. Hopefully, this can adequately startle him to wake up and jumpstart his administration; because, since politicians have succeeded in forcing him to declare for 2019 in 2016, we need all the noise we can muster to win back his attention. Now that we have found out at least one thing this President wants, we need to remind him we are still the same people who underwent lumpectomy on March 28, 2015. We are ready to do it again!
We know that no one can prevent the manifestation of an idea when its season breaks. However, there must always be a concomitant activationary action. That is, propounders of such ideas must, in and out of season, remain consistent, focused, unswerving. This is key, so that there’ll be someone to push it in when the water stirs. Meaning the time for an idea could pass if no one stands up for it!
For instance, Muhammadu Buhari didn’t just wake up in 2015 to make history (defeating an incumbent whose party had begun, in 16 small years, to feel like the Rock of Gibraltar). He toiled long and hard, from 2003. In the process, he met scorn, betrayal and injustice. Yet, the ex-soldier soldiered on.
No, that’s not exactly true because, just as Christ occasionally wanted His earthly cup to pass over Him, aspirant Buhari had to go back to his puke once or twice en route Aso Rock. In case you have forgotten, in 2011 he promised not to go to court as is the wont of nearly all election losers in Nigeria as well as not to contest a fourth time. Then, the man wept. Openly. I guess seeing a man as hardened as Buhari crumble in his heart and eyes coaxed us into falling in love with him. And because love always forgets bitter memories, we elected to ignore the fact that the man can break promises. The rest is history.
Like Buhari, like Brexit, like Trump, a set of distant triplets linked by a thread called focus. Who gave the threesome even a dog’s chance in the 2015/2016 political season? Yet, they won, big. Forget what they have done with the victory so far. One step at a time; first things first.
Also, as I alluded to above, this change won’t have happened, if the opposition in Nigeria had continued with their ‘every man for himself’ approach. Ditto Brexiters: Britain would still be in the Union otherwise. And, of course, Donald Trump would still be billionaire businessman, not billionaire President-elect of the USA!
It is necessary to stress this truer truth a little more. No idea would happen if it misses its season. Barack Obama might not have been US President if he had waited to contest in 2015, just as the trumpy one would be history if he had tried his luck in 2008 or 2012. Perhaps, David Cameron’s residential address would still be No. 10, Downing Street if he had held his shot-in-the-foot referendum in 2014. Back home, there might not have been a President Buhari if he had waited until 2019!
To the point I have laboured to make, the next presidential election might just be the set time for our first female President. Who’s scoffing, please? Well, who didn’t scoff last year when a hurriedly assembled All Progressives Congress first flew the kite of a Buhari presidency? Scoff some more, if you can, 2019 is a golden opportunity for our mothers and sisters to achieve their fantasy of a century.
Remember, APC won because Nigerians were disenchanted with PDP; Britons voted to leave the EU because they were tired of Europe; Trump shocked Clinton because Americans wanted their country back from Washington. As I write, similar emotions are walking on all fours everywhere in Nigeria. More than at any other point of our history, 2019 would be the easiest election to win Aso Rock. The odds favour our women, those who have not been part of the problem, as it were.
So, who can bell this cat? Fear not, Nigerian women, you have both the quantity and the quality to achieve this feat. I know a few of your trump cards: Aisha Buhari, Toyin Saraki, Titi Abubakar, Virginia Etiaba, Oluremi Tinubu, Patricia Etteh, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Pauline Tallen, Oby Ezekwesili, Mabel Evwierhoma, Farida Waziri, Funke Egbemode, Ireti Kingibe, Imoh Isemin, Aisha Babangida et al. I confess that I haven’t met so many of you but these ones and many others that this country is blessed with have what we are looking for.
To be sure, 2019 will require more than integrity, pedigree, track record and promissory manifesto. In addition, Nigerians shall insist on a road map and what I call directional strategies. Don’t our women have these and even more? Leadership, or Nigeria’s presidency, as we’ve come to see, is not rocket science!
Women should launch out now. A rich blend of political veterans (Mariam Abacha, Sarah Jubrin, Imoh Isemin, Florence Ita-Giwa, Rita Akpan, etc) with compelling faces and voices (Helen Ukpabio, Patience Ozokwor, Kate Henshaw, Genevieve Nnaji, Rita Dominic, Chimamanda Adichie, Perpetua Nkwocha, Emem Isong, Linda Ikeji, etc) and mobilisers known to be used by men every election year and dumped thereafter (women leaders of all political parties) holding a dress rehearsal today would see that they can trump any man. And, if gold escapes to 2023, silver won’t be a bad consolation.
Nigerian women, your time has come; wake up, take power and use it for the greater good of the citizenry. Emulate your brothers and husbands: don’t criticise or call yourselves names, especially those willing to support the cause. Use all you have, good and bad. You never know who or which would break the ice. God bless Nigeria!
Our leadership recruitment process
Our political leaders emerge or are thrown up by godfathers or parties or money, and we accept them cheerfully only to mourn a few months into their term(s). Changing this scurrilous laissez faire entails taking the bull by the horns and bullying it into permanent submission. Nigerians need more than a passive interest in the making and emergence of leaders!
Politics of change
A political tsunami is sweeping through our world. Its name varies across the three continents it has so far shown up. Yes, Change in Nigeria (Africa); Brexit by Great Britain (Europe) and USA’s Trumpism (in the Americas) all share the agendum of toppling the status quo. Has the globe chosen to go with an unknown, untried, untested order? The answer is in the womb of time, and in the hands of Asia, Australia, the Middle East, etc. Would they?