You are currently viewing Nigeria’s election – teachable moment for Africa

Nigeria’s election – teachable moment for Africa

By Osmond Ekwueme
It has been a long time since I have heard good things about Nigeria. The presidential election just ended peacefully and I may quote Rtd. Gen Y. Gowon…there is no victor or vanquished. This is also a unique time that both an incumbent and an incoming president deserve a huge farewell and a huge welcome. We extend our Congratulations to the President, J. Goodluck and Congratulations to the President-elect ,M. Buhari. In few months, many African countries, some ruled by long-term dictators, will be holding elections….we hope they made a note on how it is supposed to be when things don’t go your way in a democratic elections.

It is gratifying to read the erudite and rational posts about this past election. I know there are many people out there who think as I do. I never lost hope in Nigeria because it is a power house with millions of highly educated people and a very resilience nation. A nation where college degree is not a big deal. One could hardly miss the fact that in order to be gracious in defeat, you don’t need to contradict much of your campaign. President Goodluck looked relaxed and thankful for the opportunity to serve. He fought a good fight and lost. It is days like this that I am really proud to be a Nigerian. This is leadership and not disgracing, dissing, hating and holding one’s own country hostage. He made sure that no Nigerian life will be lost because he lost the election.

“As I have always affirmed, nobody’s ambition is worth the blood of a Nigerian. The unity, stability and progress of our dear country is more important than anything else,” Jonathan said, after congratulating Buhari on his victory. He knows how to keep his head when all around him are losing theirs. This is what R. Kiplin calls “being a man”. His imagination was populated by powerful, restive, ambitious men and women who were willing to take extreme risks in playing the dangerous games of power politics.

This is a monumental effort on behalf of peace and humanity in Nigeria and a good example for other countries in Africa. Honestly, only the most negative, intransigent, mistrustful, unappreciative and callous individuals could condemn it. “Blessed are the peacemakers (seekers) for they shall be called the children of God”

Now, for those enablers and supporters of Boko Haram, for peace’s sake, stop the nonsense and future killing. They remind me of Aristophanes: “You won’t persuade me even if you convince me.”
They can become part of the solution or continue down this path of self obstinacy and death. The contempt patriotic Nigerians have for Boko Haram is immense. There is something wonderfully redemptive in our belief in national reconciliation, but there is also in it something naive and self-destructive and dangerous. Yes, “the price of freedom is eternal vigilance”

Congratulations to President-elect, M. Buhari for his calm, humble, candid and non-gloating acceptance speech. It is time to put aside our differences and work to help him succeed because if he fails the country fails. It is understood that the country is divided, but unity is power. We should also remember the old saying…” he who seeks vengeance must dig two graves; one for his enemy and one for himself”. An eye for an eye will lead to all of us being blind. It is unsustainable and undemocratic and those supporting it are irresponsible considering the human costs. Bar none, President Goodluck and President-elect Buhari just became the finest presidents and history will reflect that fact. Nigerians of all tribes and religions should be proud of this election. In defeat and in victory one’s true character comes out. They are not driven by greed, sense of power and a twisted sense of exceptionalism as some wrongly assumed.

Now we can get back to the business of Nigeria: restoring respect for one another; returning to decency, integrity and the values we have always shared as a country. And maybe, in our own individual way, in whatever language we speak; thanking God for the blessings of being part of this great African nation. Nigeria has bigger problems that can be solved working together. Yes, time to get together and work towards the improvement of the working conditions of all Nigerians. This old but wise African words ring true today:

“ A lion used to prowl about a field in which Four oxen used to dwell. Many a time he tried to attack them; but whenever he came near they turned their tails to one another, so that whichever way he approached them he was met by the horns of one of them. At last, however, they fell to quarreling among themselves, and each went off to pasture alone in a separate corner of the field. Then the Lion attacked them one by one and soon made an end of all four.” Food for thought !

United we stand, divided we fall.

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria !!!!

Osmond Ekwueme MD, PhD.
Medical professional and policy analysts (USA)

Leave a Reply