While the ink was yet to dry on this piece, I immediately was
forcefully torn between a confusing web of two different worlds; two diverse
emotions: hope and doubt. I hurriedly at the same time asked myself, how do I
feel in this very moment – am I happy or sad? Was this our dreams finally come
true? Vague and intense feelings of uneasiness washed over me. Dangling between
two different emotions, I set down penning this piece. Pictorially, I sought to
paint the true picture of what I was experiencing. The product was to picture
an orb helplessly and hopelessly oscillating, reminisce of my elementary
integrated science textbooks, from the pendulums of failure in leadership.

Arguably the grandest upcoming event in Nigeria’s history, the 2015 general
elections has in no small measure elicited diverse responses. Media report
cards are significantly impacted with the activities of the two major
Presidential candidates. From all indications, the Presidential elections –
though, not the only slated election for the year- is the major and focal cause
of concern. It is such because the occupier of the office of the Presidency,
being the country’s leader, symbolizes the whole country. The Presidential
elections thus have attained a flagship status for all other electable
positions. In the same manner that this piece elicited two conflicting
reactions within me, the fast-coming general elections in Nigeria has also
generated two different responses, meanwhile it is still the same event. The
line of demarcation is very clear. Same event – different responses. What
caused the difference?

On one hand of the divide is an incumbent President seeking re-election into an
office he has occupied for the last six years, while on the other end of the
plank is a former Head of State and retiree Army-General earnestly yearning for
the same office as the incumbent (remarkably the fourth time in a row). One
would have quickly reasoned that both contestants, being patriots, as they
claimed, would join forces to interpret the upcoming event in a similar and
single manner, because, by and large, whoever ends up occupying the office of
the President has the other to thank, not just because he won him, but because
it made him stand on his toes while contesting. But no, they’ve thus far
succeeded in creating more discordant tunes for the country by their own
different interpretations of the same event.

Looking critically at the recent flag-off campaigns of both
blocs, some noteworthy points are worth stressing. President Goodluck Jonathan
while flagging-off his campaign sought once more for the code that got him into
office four years ago: emotion and sympathy of Nigerians. Conscious however,
that his first tenure really had nothing much to speak for his widely-acclaimed
and widely advertised achievements in office, he sought to solicit for the
electorates sympathy once more. Only, this time around, he dropped the ‘I had
no shoes’ concept having come to the campaign venue clad in a very expensive shoe.
His target audience that day was the youths; his message: His (and his
age-mates) gaffes. Yes, President Goodluck while flagging-off his Presidential
campaign at Lagos quite admitted that his generation has failed us the youths.
What then is he seeking to remedy after failing us for the past six years is
beyond my comprehension. While stressing the profligacy of his predecessors
that has brought the country to its knees presently, his opponent being one of
them, he reminded youths that it was time they take charge of their own future.
Perhaps, the President saw himself as youth also, which is not a bad idea at
all. But where his administration, for the last six years, has been constantly
undermined by unsustainable practices, how does the President seek to re-enter
And at the other end, General Muhammadu Buhari is vigorously
bandying about his ‘change’ mantra. Apart from being matter-of-factly out of
tune with modern day governance and administration, the retired Army General
certainly doesn’t have age on his side. One would reasonably have expected that
the foremost crier of ‘change’ in Nigeria should be somebody definitely younger
than incumbent President Jonathan. We are now in the era where the country is
striving hard at reforming, reshaping and transforming herself. Consequently,
new initiatives and projects should be gaining momentum, not old and forgotten
paths. In as much as wine thrives best when put in old wine-skins, the wine of
governance being dynamic certainly thrives best in new and innovative policies.
Beside being old, the General’s prior unholy precedents do not augur well for his
current political intentions.

Basically, what made the difference was the state of the nation at present.
There have been unresolved conflicts here and there. Also, there has been that
unhealthy polity whose open field has made many to politically and economically
bankrupt this country. Let us take the simple, yet critical issue of global
warming as an allusion to the point being made. Some scientists believe that
with sustained global warming, there is a point where the melts of earth’s
major ice sheets could be irreversible. This is because ice cover naturally
reflects the sun’s rays. But as the ice sheet thins and shrinks, the ocean
below, which is less reflective, is eventually exposed. The dark ocean surface
absorbs more heat, which in turn leads to greater melting. A self-feeding,
runaway circle could then be created. The resulting rise in sea levels from the
meltwater could spell disaster for hundreds of millions of people. It could
also lead to sudden and unanticipated climate changes which could bring
disastrous results. Now apply this analogy to ongoing political aberrations in
Nigeria and tell for yourself where we are heading to. Various past political
upheavals have constantly warmed up the Nigerian geographical sphere. The
build-up to the 2015 polls is also one such instance. Can something be done?

The good news from the foregoing, therefore, is that all is not doom and gloom
for the Nigerian polity. Our choices in life, in as much as they are sometimes
being fated by others nevertheless remain largely a product of our own
consciousness. As I reflected upon my thinking about the upcoming elections in
Nigeria, I realized that our response to what and what gives way prior to, and
in the elections proper, tells us something about Nigeria, about ourselves, and
how our future would be greatly affected by the our present decisions. So the
inevitable question arises: What will determine our response to seeing the
wrong man occupying Aso Rock? The answer is surprisingly obvious. So much that
we have probably already experienced the answer in small ways in our families.
The blame/praise for the event that would cause that regrettable response falls
firmly on our shoulders. Isn’t it high time we make the right decisions?