The presidential elections have come and gone, but the dust raised by that high octane event is still whirling in the air.
INEC may have declared Buhari the winner, but Atiku has headed to the tribunal to challenge the outcome. It is also curious, that most international bodies – the UN, EU, USA, Britain – found the processes, before, during and after the elections, nearly faulty. They were fraught with irregularities, bordering on intimidation, arson, ballot stuffing and snatching, and the familiar vote buying. The logistic challenges leading up to the election and over which the elections were postponed, cast a pall on the outcome. So, here we are. Whatever the outcome of the legal back and forth is, the next president – whether the NEXT LEVEL or the ATIKULATED – will be all of the following: a Northerner, a Fulani, a Muslim, and a herdsman.
It is worrisome that we have not made any significant progress in our our electoral processes since 1999. We seem to make a large store of the hoopla, glitz, glitter, glamour, and razzmatazz of the elections and results, yet pay little attention to the fine and more rewarding processes. Ours is an election-crazy democracy. Other climes de-emphasize paper work. Voters cards are more like ATM cards – after voting, you get an alert confirming same! Here we’re still burdened by tons and tons of ballot paper, that must be warehoused by the CBN, protected by a retinue of security personnel, as they’re moved from location to location in their boxes. They all add up to the costs of elections. This sure creates logistic challenges and room for manipulation.
Nigerians have a fairly long shopping list for Mr President. Leaders should be held accountable and the time is overdue when performance should be kept side by side, campaign promises.
Here’s our shopping list for Mr President:
Item 1 – Security.
Presido, Nigerians want to move freely from one part of the country to the other, without looking over their shoulders for fear of being butchered, eviscerated, mugged, or mobbed, for reasons of their tribe or religion. Boko haram and the Fulani Herdsmen are a big distraction to national development. The monies meant for infrastructures are diverted for the purchase of guns and mortars. We want this COMPLETELY eliminated within the shortest possible time.
Item 2 – Equality and fairness.
We sincerely hope also, that your appointments will reflect the plurality of regions, tribes, and ethnic groups. That you will not concentrate all juicy positions to people from one region as we have seen quite often. Security is a very sensitive national issue, we don’t want the National Security Council to look like a vigilante group of one ethnic group. It is our prayer that you treat all the regions the same and not victimize those you perceive as political enemies.
Item 3 – Road traffic.
We are appealing to you, to Accord Lagos it’s pride of place as the nation’s industrial and economic capital, and by extension, you remove the gridlocks in the ports and the roads that lead to them. The containers that block the express ways impede movement and constitute a huge loss to the economy. While you treat all the regions as your constituency we, hope you will not abandon those that fought so hard to put you in office.
Item 4 – Power. We are looking forward to the promised 10,000 MW of power generation and distribution to consumers; complete with prepaid meter.
Item 5 – Transportation.
We are waiting to see all the federal roads under going repairs, completed in the shortest possible time. The rail lines are beginning to receive attention and we’re excited about it and want the momentum sustained. We want our water ways to be functional, because they have a multiplier effect on the economy. This is why we want you to dredge the river Niger, improve the capacity of the ports of calabar, Warri, burutu, portharcourt. We would also like to see the second Niger Bridge completed. Please appoint technocrats as ministers, and they should also be persons of moral rectitude.
Item 6 – End to strike actions.
Very simply put, we want your government to honour it’s agreement with ASUU and guarantee us that prolonged strikes will be a thing of the past.
Item 7 – Agriculture.
We want you to pay special attention to agriculture so we can feed ourselves before we talk of exporting food. We don’t like the tag of being the poverty headquarters of the world. We’re usually happy and vibrant people. You too know very well that stomach infrastructure has crept into our political lexicon on account of poverty and hunger. If people are well fed, you can’t possibly buy their votes.
Item 8 – Miscellaneous.
We suggest that you hit the ground running and not spend up to six months before appointing your ministers, and another two years to constitute FG BOARD.
We are tired of the blame game – of blaming the 16 locust years of PDP for all our economic and social woes. We want our naira to be respected. The naira could do with a good exchange rate.
Sir now that you have been elected, let’s hope you will sign the electoral law that will make it impossible for both incumbent and opposition to rig future elections. We Nigerians would like a president that can connect with us and not the one that is dictatorial. We like it when we know the challenges of our president if he addresses us from time to time.
We look forward to seeing our hospitals, schools, and public utilities working again and that you can enable our physically challenged. It’s our wish that retirement does not become a death sentence. Retired persons should be accorded the respect they richly deserve. To retire and stay upwards of three years without gratuity and pension is the true definition of hell. We wish you a successful tenure, and hope that come 2023, we can look back down the road and toast to our collective growth and development. May you live to reap what you sow.