By Adams Agbo
When the country returned to democracy on May 29, 1999, Nigerians heave a sigh of relief and the country once again has come again to the system of government where the citizenry will have a say in the choice of who governed them. But in the fifteen years now of democracy, it seems that the yearnings and aspirations of the people to actually choose who governed them hangs above their reach. The real needed opposition to alternate power among political parties seem elusive as the system of winner carry all reigns supreme.
When some patriots came together to wrest the collective will and destiny of Nigerians from the fangs of the venomous claws that hold the resources of the people captive in vice grips, leadership tussle in the fold raised its ugly heads. Now that All Progressive Congress (APC) has emerged to the rescue, what the leadership of the party needs to do is to believe in themselves first and make the ordinary Nigerian accept the party and its structure. How is that possible? By letting go ego and sincerely accept the sacrificial role of leadership and accept who God has enthrone on you as the anchor bearer for the battle. There is an African saying that “You can hardly market what its quality is doubtful to you.”
The battle for Aso Rock is months away and as it was said long ago, “This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or exercise their revolutionary right to overthrow it.” It could be by divine arrangement that the APC chairman Chief John Odigie-Oyegun is the man to take Nigeria to the Promised Land. He is sent to make history. He is on the verge of being the first national chairman of an opposition party in Nigeria to defeat an incumbent administration. He has ta record of never having been defeated in elections. He did it Edo State in 1991. Now as a king maker he is close to making it at the national level.
The APC national chairman is today one of our generation’s leading democrats in Nigeria who dares where others cringe and shrink. He has rendered service to humanity without counting the cost. His doggedness on the part of purity has further prepared him for greater responsibilities and service to human kind which gives us the succor in the country that there is still hope to free Nigerians from some Nigerians. Soon after he was elected the national chairman of the mega party, he demonstrated his tenacity when he addressed a world press conference in Lagos on Ekiti election, the APC chairman remarked, “Less than 48 hours after I released an open letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, warning him to halt the impunity in Ekiti and not to plunge Nigeria into a political crisis, the federal government has now overreached itself and turned Ekiti into a war zone, where constitutional guaranteed rights have been suspended.”Also in his obstinate patriotism, the former Edo governor retorted, “If key institutions of state can be abused so brazenly just to stop the opposition from moving freely because of a state governorship election, what will happen during next year’s general elections?” This is where many concerned Nigerians are worried. Will there be free and fair election in 2015?
In his awareness and humanness that women and children are most vulnerable in a situation of rancour and hostility, he appeals to friends of the country and the federal government to tear down the Veil of rigging and let Nigerians’ vote count, according to him, “We call on our international partners to condemn this growing impunity by the ruling party and the government it controls at the centre. Actions have consequences, and whoever fails to condemn the acts of impunity being perpetrated by the central government will not have the moral right to condemn the reactions that such actions may elicit.”His insight was borne out the fact that the veteran politician has wide range of experiences both in business and politics. And he is aware too that it has been said that “those who make peaceful change impossible, make violent change inevitable,” but it is our prayer that God forbids that from our country. He is not a new comer to national assignment, for instance, when he had a short stopover in the business world before veering into politics, he was the National Chairman of the Nigerian Trawler Owners Association. Despite his short sojourn in the business world, the huge successes he recorded are culminated in the pool of successes of today.
The way things are shaping out concerning the presidential flag bearer of the party under him,those that know him well have assured that he will ensure that justice is applied with universal equality. Nigerians will see that despite the assertion of corruption on Nigerians there are still escapees from the house of talon. His ascension to the pinnacle of the opposition party’s job, no matter the smoothness, may not have done down well with some people in the party. If any of the founding fathers of the party found any reason to be dissatisfied, he has assured, “We have started our reconciliation, right from day one; we will extend our hands of fellowship to those aggrieved. In my acceptance speech, I called for forgiveness and healing rift. In one week or two, I will unfold my plans for the party, which will carry everybody along. This mandate is not about me; it is a spirit that goes deep down. This is the time for politics of issues; politics of principle and politics that recognises that the cardinal preoccupation of government is service to the masses, service to the people is the main justification for the legitimacy of any government.”
The former governor has suffered so much to entrench this democracy to stay passive to see the country go down again. He kept vigil in the past for the rest of Nigerians to sleep so he can’t willfully allow few people usurp the collective will of the majority. The only encouragement that the people will give his doggedness in ensuring that freedom walk bare in the streets of Nigeria again is voting his rescuing party in 2015.
Adams Agbo is a Kaduna based journalist.