by Joe Onwukeme
Wednesday, April 1st 2015 will remain a great day in our democratic history, not only because it was the first time an opposition party defeated an incumbent president in a presidential election but because it was a day Nigeria joined the privileged few African countries where the idea of competitive electoral politics is becoming gradually institutionalized.
Let me use this medium to congratulate the people’s general, Muhammadu “Okechukwu” Buhari on a well deserved victory. You are the change that we seek. May your reign bring the desired change.
My support for the president-elect became appallingly obvious when he emerged as All Progressive Congress (APC) presidential flag bearer. In one of my articles December last year titled, General Muhammadu Buhari: “The Wind Of Change”, I averred that “General Muhammadu Buhari is the Moses of our time who is confidently living out his life of grace, this explains his wild acceptance this time around across the federation which has made him remain resolute in his mission and vision to stamp out corruption once he’s elected president”.
I postulated further that, “General Buhari’s charismatic authority is a phenomenon, he is a man of untainted integrity, a strong distinct personality, with an unlimited amount of passion, he has the ability to inspire people to key into his vision. His cult of personality is on the increase. It cuts across ethnic, religious and party affiliations, it is a demonstration of his extra-ordinary insight and accomplishments”.
Then urged Nigerians where ever they are in the yuletide season, North, West, East or South, they should drum it, sing it, shout it, write it, draw it. However they can, they should spread the good news about General Muhammadu Buhari.
I give kudos to all those that shunned parochial sentiments and supported the people’s General till the last day, it wasn’t an easy decision to make. To the narrow minded, it was strange for someone from my region to be a die hard supporter of an assumed muslim fanatic. Many of us passed through the fire in defense of General Buhari they hardly know other than the hate documentaries and contrived propaganda some paid apologists of the out going government used to get at him.
On social media platforms like facebook and twitter, I wasn’t spared at all, the insults were beyond reproach and in the process of defending the people’s general, tempers ran high and friendships were severed, I lost friends who did not see reasons with me why we should look beyond religion and ethnicity and vote for a change.
Due to ignorance or outright refusal to see the impossibility of such, majority christians were irreversibly paranoid of an “Islamic agenda” in Nigeria if GMB emerged president of Nigeria courtesy of repeated sermons in their various places of worship.
Now GMB has won the presidential election what will majority christians do with such delusions of islamisation of Nigeria?
On Monday 30th March, while many awaited the announcement of the winner of the presidential election, I was in my comfort zone celebrating the victory of the people’s General on my face book page, many that doubted me from the onset started coming to terms with reality as results from states were collated.
You and I were witnesses to the celebration of Nigerians both at home and abroad, Tuesday, 31st March even when they were not yet through with collation of results and before the winner was eventually announced, the victory was a through reflection of the wishes of the people, a change from a system that allows a few to live off the misery of the entire population, to a change that will herald the beginning of a new era in our democratic history.
The emergence of GMB as the president-elect of the Federal Republic Of Nigeria is a strong reminder that “failure is indeed an orphan”. Many that never saw anything good in the opposition APC before now are already identifying with the party and before May 29th hand over date, there will be an exodus of politicians from other political parties to the soon to be governing/ruling party.
After the elections, the biggest shame won’t be who won or lost, but the friendships or relationships that were damaged over politicians while the campaigns lasted. Same politicians we supported that made us severe our friendships may defect to the soon to be governing party and it will be business as usual. I may have had the last laugh but the truth remains that friendships lost may never be regained again. It’s not worth the stress. Let’s drop our hatred for one another and move on, there’s life after politics.
To friends that have been asking me all over the social media, “the gains of supporting General Buhari now he has won?”. The answer is very simple and brief, “It is not what I will gain, it is what Nigeria will gain, a great and better Nigeria for us all.
Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.
Joe Onwukeme: Writes from Enugu
I tweet @unjoeratedjoe