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FOUR YEARS IN THE VALLEY
Abamara Nnaemeka and Chinedu Onyeizugbe contend that Atiku and Obi presidency will make a difference
The emergence as President of General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.) was heralded with optimism as a catalyst of the much-trumpeted change in 2015. Many Nigerians wanted a change of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s administration that was tagged as corrupt, and the opposition All Peoples Congress (APC) was seen as the last resort to bring about the change. Unfortunately, since the inception of the APC-controlled government of President Buhari, Nigerians have not experienced any iota of change to justify their mandate entrusted to him as Commander-in-Chief of our dear country.
The Buhari government had made the fight against corruption its topmost priority. But despite the orchestrated propaganda, the fight has been vague. Today, Nigeria is adjudged to be among the most corrupt countries of the world. From our assessment of the current dispensation, we believe that corruption has eaten deeper into the fabric of our society and our national conscience; and to tame this monster we shall be in dire need of true democrats in the persons of Abubakar Atiku and Peter Obi at the helm of affairs. We should not deny that there were attempts by the present government to recover some of our national monetary loot from our past leaders and other political gladiators. However, the APC-controlled government cannot give satisfactory account of what they have done with the recovered funds – in terms of ameliorating the sufferings of the Nigerian masses.
The grave situation of the Nigerian economy is highly unprecedented. The economy is in a state of hopelessness, coupled with its attendant inflation. There is complete embezzlement and strangulation of our commonwealth. The pathetic state of our economy had made most Nigerians very vulnerable to poverty. Suffice it to say that about 70% of the Nigerian population is living at poverty level, in a pitiable situation of abject penury. Many Nigerians in urban and rural areas are dying of hunger and starvation. An overview of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) shows that the Nigerian economy has been vacillating and chronically unstable – a mono economy in which the country’s budget depends on the bargaining power price of crude oil in the international market. It is also disheartening to note that the Nigerian budget has been stagnated on the national income of 20 USD per barrel, despite that the sale of crude oil appreciated two years back to the tune of 56 USD per barrel. Meanwhile, there have been allegations and counter-allegations of ‘Budget-Padding’ between the executive and legislature. The ripple effect of this magma has since snowballed into high level of unemployment, economic hardship and the inability of the federal and state governments to increase the worker’s minimum wage from a pittance of N18,000 per month to a modest NLC demand for N30,000 per month.
The insecurity in the country has been a source of great concern to most Nigerians and the international community. Thousands of people have been killed and billions of naira worth of property destroyed in the North East region by the terrorist religious sect known as Boko Haram. This sect claims to be against western education and civilization. Also alarming is that many dedicated members of the Nigerian Armed Forces are also losing their lives to deliberate acts of omission and commission in logistics and intelligence management. The most gruesome demonstration of religious bigotry and killings in the history of Nigeria has been going on in the middle belt states of Benue and Plateau as well as Taraba. These murderous activities are perpetrated by the Fulani herdsmen against defenseless farmers. In the meantime, the Myetti Allah — an umbrella organization of Fulani herdsmen, has been declared as one of the deadliest terrorist groups in the world. While their activities go virtually unchallenged, the APC government of Buhari has remained insensitive to the ethnic cleansing against indigenes of those states. In the South East, the situation is one of peaceful protesters being routinely murdered and maimed by government security forces. It is callous and irresponsible for any government anywhere in the world to watch the citizenry being murdered in cold blood, without adopting serious measures to curb the ugly trend.
The ensuing acrimony across the country has brought up the imperative for total national reconciliation and atmosphere of peace and tranquility. And these can only come about if Nigerians massively support the divine mission of Atiku and Obi by voting for them in the 2019 Presidential and general elections. It is also expected that perpetrators of the mayhem of murder and destruction would be brought to book, and lasting solutions established for the recurring ethnic and religious conflicts.
Against the background of inept governance of the APC, the time has come for us to take our destinies into our hands and decide who will run our collective affairs. We should no longer watch and criticize corrupt practices and other anomalies of governance by majority of politicians and public officers. We, the Academic Frontier Initiatives (AFI), cannot stay aloof and watch pseudo-political leaders and mediocres to decide our fate and continue to rape our monumental heritage. For instance, the current ASUU strike is a case in point. ASUU is about the only force standing between the political class and the bastardization of tertiary education in Nigeria. Today, the leading universities in Nigeria cannot compete favourably with the best in the world because of inadequate funding, brain-drain and political interference and lack of financial commitment. ASUU has our unalloyed, total support for its on-going efforts to save public universities from total collapse.
If we must live and succeed as a nation, we need to be mobilized and motivate the masses to sack the APC government in the 2019 general election through the powers of the ballot. Dear compatriots, we need to retrieve and revive the pride of our nationhood from the entanglement of the APC dictatorial clutches. Providence has given us an alternative PDP mandate in the persons of Abubakar Atiku and Peter Obi to liberate us from these doldrums of economic, political and social coma. Atiku Abubakar, with his wealth of experience as the former Vice President and entrepreneur per excellence, will turn around the economy and political life of this great nation if elected the next President of Nigeria. He is really equipped to lead the most populous African country to become a major world player.
On his part, Peter Obi has been acknowledged within and outside Nigeria as one of the best governors of his time. His achievements as governor are outstanding. Among others, he turned around economic deficit into surplus in Anambra State; he did not borrow any money throughout his eight years in office; he started and completed several capital projects, including roads, schools, hospitals and health centres and equipped them to become functional and serviceable; he paid workers and pensioners as at when due; he did not owe contractors on work done; and left a whopping sum of about N75 billion in Anambra treasury for his successor. This remains a rare political legacy in governance in Nigeria.
From the foregoing, the anticipated synergy of these hard working democrats at the helm of affairs will bring about a new Nigeria. They both possess the expertise, experience, commitment and political will to move Nigeria forward.
Let us support Atiku and Obi Presidential and Vice-Presidential tickets and nip the impending doom in the bud. Let us emancipate our citizenry from mental slavery, servitude, savagery, ineptitude, impunity and nepotism. Once beaten, twice shy; and let us not be deceived a second time by the APC gadflies. Let us arise from the shackles of our psycho-political limbo and delusions and do the needful by electing men of honesty and integrity in personalities of Abubakar Atiku and Peter Obi.
Dear colleagues in academics, let us go now and mobilise our aggrieved Nigerian youths, sensitize our students and the Nigerian masses at the grassroots on the need to campaign for Atiku and Obi in the forthcoming presidential election. Let us re-orientate and sensitize our people on the importance of picking and being in custody of our PVCs and be ready to cast our votes for the PDP Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates.
Our votes must sincerely count for a better Nigeria, and our posterity to come.
Drs. Onyeizugbe and Nnaemeka are Members of Academic Frontiers Initiative, Anambra State Branch