My dear fellow northerners, I greet you in the spirit of love and mutual respect. It is less than 14 months to the 2019 general elections. Looking how time flies, because it was just like a year or month, that 2015 has speedily come and gone, therefore, I hope in 2019 electioneering, it would be a year of revival in our polity. Amin!
I am writing to fellow northerners with much concern regarding our attitude towards engagement with politicians and politics. There is no way we can get positive result and progress, while we continue to do things the same way for many years. In truth, let’s all help ourselves and put our hands together, irrespective of affiliation, to regenerate our mindset, for the betterment of the Northern Nigeria and our beloved Nigeria at large. It’s only we the populace that can make the change, owing to the apparent facts, that the political leaders can only get to the leadership mantle via our mandate and without any other option above it, i.e. the power of change is in our hands!
Henceforth, 10 things we need to do with the aim to transform and elevate Northern Nigeria and Nigeria at large, prior to the 2019 general elections. In this instance, we should emulate our counterparts in the “South-west”, especially in this nature. It’s evident that during electioneering, stakeholders in the South-west engage presidential candidates in a ‘Hall’ and organize public gathering, interact and rub minds with the presidential candidates. The then submit their blueprint in writing aimed at development and progress of their region and devoid of individual interest or need.
As an ardent follower of the Southwest politics right from 2007, 2011, and 2015, I witnessed how they lodged President Muhammadu Buhari in Mapo Hall, Ibadan, in an open discussion and intellectual forum. Likewise, the other candidates, they were also drilled in the same manner.
But alas, the reverse is the case in the North. I pray that this time around, it’s not going to be business as usual. It’s not going to be the same practice whereby the mammoth crowd will be shouting in a stadium or square, when a candidate arrives for campaign, making a vociferous demand, saying “Sai Kayi”, without inviting him/her to a special public discourse or town hall meeting, in order to assess the capability and eligibility of the candidate. Thus, making a bond with the candidate, and forward our terms and values so that if the candidate emerges on the seat, he would abide by it to the extent of the peoples’ guiding rules!
These are the things we need to do:
We shouldn’t ignore voting, we need to consistently continue voting with shrewdness and wisdom. There is no alternative process for choosing our leaders within the system of government which our nation is practising now, beyond election! So, we shouldn’t be dissuaded by some failures of the incumbency. Nothing stands for eternity.
We must ensure that we strive to elect those who can make governance and laws function and workable. Therefore, we should assess the integrity, capability, and sophistication of the candidates, regardless of their wealth, or sectional, religious, and ethnic affiliation. A patriotic leader accommodates everybody and gives them a sense of belonging, through protecting others’ religion, rights and ethnicity.
Learn from our past mistakes, and we should kindly read history, so that we could take proactive measures in the present time. Reading history will also enable us to know the ills of the past, and it will immensely help us, not to taking palliative measures in proffering solutions to our predicament.
We must adopt the culture of persuading good people; who are educated and trustworthy to join politics because if we continue allowing unpatriotic, naive, and myopic minds to dominate politics, they will surely pass futile and foolish laws which will bind all of us. We must make the best use of the good people we have. And there are many that are good in our midst.
We shouldn’t overcrowd or dominate the ruling party. There is need to segment ourselves into other political parties, so that we could form a viable opposition and powerful agitation when the need arises. And, it would be an added advantage for the people to checkmate the activities of governance.
Those who are dreaming or aspiring to become political leaders should start developing their capacity henceforth, because some of us, especially the youth, we are not well established and competent to lead, even if we are given the opportunity. So, the young Northerners or Nigerians should start equipping themselves and heavily engage in politics in order to inculcate good leadership techniques and acquire all the necessary requirements needed, in governance and politics.
We shouldn’t capitalize to contest for a political office. It’s not all of us that have the good leadership qualities to hold a political office. Some of us are not good to lead. “Chude Jideonwo” in his book “Are we the turning point generation? How Africa’s youth can drive its urgent revolution. He said: Some people are fighters and others are builders; some are made to bring people together. So, everyone has his endowed capability.
We should learn to question our religious leaders because some of them are biased and driven by selfishness. It’s not all that they would tell us concerning politics and politicians should be regarded to be the truth. Some of them are politicians’ proxies.
We have to avoid political violence because it has ugly repercussions and domino effect. So, we must enlighten the younger ones about its dangers.
We should give community services priority and make it a major prerequisite to those who are seeking political offices. This would be a benchmark in identifying patriotic leaders.
Those who spent a huge amount of money during campaign, sharing it to the people, shouldn’t be our rightful and preferred candidates in an election.
This is a clarion call. May God help us and bless Northern Nigeria and Nigeria at large.
Jabir T. Usman
Kaduna South, Kaduna