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by Pedus, Australia Nov 1, 2005
Human Rights   Opinions
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As a Nigerian, it beats my imagination to see how our social, political and economic infrastructures have crumbled with merciless ferocity. Although there are a litany of problems confronting Nigeria, it is imperative more than ever to drum home the need for transparent leadership among the ruling class, and to sensitize prospective politicians on the need to embrace transparency as an impetus for change. It is even more important as the wave of the 2007 elections is beginning to resonate through the nooks and crannies of our political landscape.

The decisions made by our elected officials at all levels, no doubt, affects the social, political and economic dynamics of our beloved country, Nigeria. Why then would a true Nigerian, in the name of politics, hijack the electorates’ votes by unscrupulous means instead of seeking a genuine mandate?

How then would a true Nigerian sell his or her will and vote to give mandate to a politician whose electioneering campaign promises seem too good to be true? Have we not learned from the lessons and rhetoric of the past? Are we as Nigerians not yet tired of seeing Nigeria listed on the top of the list of most corrupt nations by Transparency International?

We might be of the view that being listed as one of the top corrupt nations of the world is primarily as a result of the so many international 419’s we have produced. But this is an erroneous impression because our too many 419’s are just part of the parameter. Also put in consideration is the number of government functionaries from Nigeria who maintain undisclosed overseas bank accounts while still in power, which contradicts international standards for good governance and as such constitute corrupt practice. Leaders, political or non-political, are agents of change, and it requires genuine leadership to help alleviate the effects of corruption on our society and to help better the lives of Nigerians. But unfortunately, we are seeing more rhetoric than action in the present political dispensation.

Driven by selfishness and insensitivity to the plight of an average Nigerian, many political power-players have choreographed a system of electioneering strategy where threats on oppositions’ lives and gangster-like group loyalty have displaced a collective agenda of fairness and freeness in elections. This has been evident at all levels of the government and in virtually every past election conducted in recent memory, and it is poised to continue come 2007.

There is no doubt that there is an air of competing ideologies in Nigerian politics, which in itself is not unhealthy in a true democracy; but whether one is inclined to the progressive left wing or the conservative right wing is not what an average Nigerian cares about. An average Nigerian cares about where his or her next meal will come from; where the house rent will come from, and how he or she can survive on a daily basis in a society that does not have any form of social security to lean on.

An average Nigerian cares about true leadership that would help him or her escape the hunt of poverty and despair. An average Nigerian cares about genuine leadership – a leadership that truly represents the aspirations of the masses. This type of leadership cannot be achieved by violently hijacking the votes of the electorate or by buying the minds of the people with money or threats.

A good example of allowing the mandate of the people to prevail was evident in the November 2, 2004 election between incumbent U.S president George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry. In spite of the pressure on both sides of the political isle to vote either way, American people, in the most publicized and costliest election in U.S history, sent George W. Bush back to the White House amid claims that he is a unilateralist president – evidently because he went to Iraq even after the majority of U.S citizens, allies and United Nations supported diplomacy and not war in dealing with the deposed Saddam Hussein.

This mandate is what Nigeria needs in the 2007 presidential election and all other local, state and national elections. Let the will of the people prevail over bigotry, tribal and linguistic differences. No one is oblivious of the fact that the 2007 elections might make or break Nigeria, but we have to realize that nationalistically speaking, there is no Ibo, Yoruba, Hausa, etc, but there is a “One Nigeria,” where every qualified Nigerian citizen interested in any political office should be accorded the opportunity irrespective of political or tribal affiliations, or worst still economic clout.

This does not, however, mean that this article espouses the recycling of tested but ineffective leaders with “old school” ideologies and insulation to change. In the January/February 2005 edition of Foreign Policy, a world-respected, award-winning international magazine published by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace based in Washington DC, it is predicted that “International Strategic Analysis envisions unrest in Nigeria that will pit Muslims against Christians and regional groups against the central government. The war will destabilize much of West Africa and cause civil unrest from Liberia to the Ivory Coast.” As the saying goes, “forewarned is forearmed,” and we as Nigerians cannot afford to gamble with the future of our national unity.

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Writer Profile

I was born in Nigeria and was educated in Nigeria, USA and Australia. I am the founder and president of Christina-Mae Recruitment Consortium Australia and the author of the book "When Things Go Wrong: Concepts of Change". I am also the co-founder of Child Aid Survival and Development International (CASDI). As a freelance journalist, I have contributed to a number of professional journals and newspapers, as well as worked in a number of e-journalism projects. I have traveled extensively and currently call Australia and the USA home with extensive involvement in African Human Rights issues.

Good Read...
Akinbo, Adebunmi Adeola | Dec 21st, 2005
We need more from various other writers and Activist. Keep up the flag.

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