#NigeriaDecides: Whose Victory? by Farida Mukhtar

by Farida Mukhtar

The victory of APC in the just concluded elections isn’t for the party alone but for Nigerians. Usually, we define general principles applicable to the average and we have excelled in this regard.  It was postulated that violence would mar the election: it’s the best conducted in history. It will be rigged: the freest and fairest election of all time. Tension and hate speech: light and hilarious jokes on social media. Greatest of all, non-concession to defeat: gracious acceptance of the choice of the people. Nigeria: we have won!!!

I feel these are mostly the precedents: 1st October 2010 when MEND took full responsibility for the Independence Day bombings and it was denied by those in power, we recognized that things needed to be different. At the time, we excused Boko Haram’s attacks for 2009 because we thought it was under control (Nigerians the ever hopefuls we are). We decided to use 2011 elections to make the change but we were still maturing in the electoral process. When we didn’t get what we wanted, we resorted to violence. Honestly, we still had a lot going for us and we were still divided within those sectarian lines. Subsequently, Boko Haram got a strong foothold, impunity was the order of the day; classically buying 2 armoured cars worth a 3rd world country’s annual budget. Poor economic decisions, uncontrolled speech with no regard for public opinion, and total insensitivity to public plight with the ‘Bring back our Girls’ and the ‘Buni Yadi’ boys catastrophe. Consequently, we recognized on a deeply subconscious level that the sectarian lines have not led us anywhere, rather it has plunged us deep into consequences that make success close to impossible on individual survival basis levels.

The March 28th Presidential polls result signifies we can’t be separated because that road has left us unhappy. Following our differences has made survival difficult. Let’s try being ‘One’ and see where that takes us. Significant to point out is how we recognized that violence solves nothing. Our conduct during this election was outstanding in historic context. Orderliness is hardly our strong point but even with curfews we excelled in that. Patience is hardly our forte but we waited till dawn the next day with eager hearts hoping that for once our votes had counted for something. You know how we’ve recited from childhood:

I pledge to Nigeria my country

To be faithful, loyal and honest

To serve Nigeria with all my strength

To defend her unity, and uphold her honour and glory

So, help me God

We fulfilled this promise (I always worried this was one pledge we would never fulfill). We did it seamlessly. Most of all we “served our Fatherland with love and strength and faith and the labour of our heroes past was not in vain”.

Who’s victory: NIGERIA!!! We did it!!!

Generally, history shows most great civilizations go through revolutions with significant violence and bloodshed after an important event. Ours however, was the other way round.

Game Changers:

Nigerians: all this has been about us. We’ve embraced our destiny and are owning up to ourselves; holding ourselves responsible and accountable for this country.

Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GCON): provided the foundation for this victory and graciously conceded defeat. Thus, perfecting how this victory will be captured by history.

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP): the vehicle that drove this destiny to this point: your 16 year record is what has shaped this victory.

All Progressive Congress (APC): introspection, acceptance of lessons learnt, resilience, and agreement to form an alliance has made you the starting point of our new history in the making.

Gen. Muhammed Buhari: discipline, patience, dignity and integrity has seen you through becoming the person that begins writing our new history.

Prof. Yemi Osibanjo: law is your forte…let history align with the constitution of Nigeria.

Prof. Attahiru Jega: the man that made it happen: vision, innovation and leadership.

Channels TV: diverse, world class reporting with utmost dedication and professionalism.

Twitter and Other Social Media: the humour and personal interaction link between the populace and the “not so reachable” class.

Things to Note

We are different! We have different beliefs, traditions, and cultures. We have wounds that run deep, some of which makes us biased and unable to see beyond our wounds. This victory won’t make a difference if we don’t grow beyond our hurt feelings that feed our bias.

The newly elected President will not be effective if we do not support, appreciate and criticize his efforts. The journey has just begun and there’s still so much ahead of us.

I conclude with the last stanza of our national anthem:

“O God of all creation

Direct our noble cause

Guide our leaders’ right

Help our youth the truth to know

In love and honesty to grow

And live in just and true

Great lofty heights attain

To build a nation where peace

And justice shall reign”

This article was written by Farida Mukhtar: An Abuja based strategy analyst in the financial regulation sector with a passion for social development, specifically educational development.