Nigerians constitute an important portion of the peoples of African descent worldwide. Some estimate one out of every seven black faces on the face of this planet comes from that country. These statistics are true and the leaders and the led truly believe in the mathematical, moral and political significance of this narrative, then chances are Nigerian would eventually take her rightful place in the in the world Political maturity and social engineering are inextricably linked to the progress of human society. When human beings demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that their humanity matters and that they possess concrete and indisputable powers to live with one another and to conduct commercial relationship with one another without difficulties, then chances are such a people are on the highway to peace, tranquility and prosperity. One thing that marks contemporary sense of superiority among the Euro-Western nations is the sense of peace and stability in the conduct of their political wrangles and battles.
After having suffered political violence and economic depressions in Europe as well as in America, the West has come to agree in the power of the ball over the bullet. After the fall of Hitler in Germany and the Communists in the former Soviet Union, the power of the electoral process has become supreme. Elections and term limits ate sinking in. Even though the companions of Fidel Castro of Cuba still give lip services to the ideology of communism, it is becoming categorically clear that elections and term limits are almost inevitable. As evidenced in the Middle East, Egypt, Tunisia Libya, and host of others.
At this juncture in our history when modernity, globalization and human rights serve as the trinity of human triumph over members of the animal kingdom through their science and technology on the one hand and through their fidelity to scriptures, literature and myth-making powers on the other. Nigerians too are in the race for acceptance and the elections this year provide an important moment for them to demonstrate political maturity and national solidarity in the maintenance of law and order on the one hand and economic acumen and audacity of hope on the other. It is against this background we examine this ongoing campaign and elections.
Let us begin with the A, B, and C of the elections this year. The candidacy of Jonathan Goodluck serves as the point of departure in this narrative. Having been chosen as Vice President to the late President Yar Adua, sitting President Goodluck came to office in the midst of serious constitutional debates among Nigerians leaders and their people. Previously trapped in a legal fix of their own creation through the construction of an electoral process widely known as zoning, these leaders thought their political impasse of interethnic wrangles and political confusion could be obviated when the two main regions of the country are given guarantees of passing the political ball from region to region.
Under this system of political largesse sharing, many naively thought, the extremism of peoples throughout the land would graduate disappear and Nigeria and her citizens would once again live in peace and the ugly wounds of their long-gone civil war “re becoming things of the past.” Real or imagined, the danger surrounding the zoning debate in which certain elements from the North entertained the idea that the death of Yar Adua should allow another northern to came on this task. This decision was predated by the constitutional question of raising the status of the Vice President to the position of “Acting President.” After much debate and behind-the-scene maneuverings among the leadership, with some foreign prodding from particularly the United States of America, Vice President Goodluck was elevated by the leaders of the national parliament to the status of “Acting President.” It was indeed against this background he made it categorically clear that he was going to rule. Running he did and today, April 20, 2011 the Nigerians and the world are waiting for the electoral commission to tall the votes and declare their results. Atahiru Yacub, the Chief Officer handling the elections, together with fellow Nigerian poll watchers and ball counters will eventually save the Nigerians from political shame and political violence. Will Jonathan win and what will Nigeria gain from his victory?
It is this part of the political alphabets of Nigerian society that begs for attention and commentary. Here the potential victory of sitting President Jonathan Goodluck should be looked at in seven different ways of telling the Nigerian story. First of all, this election is a good beginning for teaching younger generations of Nigerians the art of politics. Who governs, when and how? By electing Jonathan Nigerian ethnic majorities such as the Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo could send a reassuring message to the world. If it comes out this way, Nigerian majorities and the respective minorities in the country could tell each other how the Nigerians have also create their own Obama in Jonathan. Once again, a minority candidate after decades of marginalization and exclusion has picked up the baton running for Nigeria in his own right. Those who are not sufficiently informed about the plight of ethnic minorities in Nigeria should take a look at the reports on the Nigerian minorities before independence. Adding insults to injury one must pay attention to the plight of such peoples as events in the Niger Delta.This is the second reason for voting for Jonathan. His triumph would flush out of the sink of neglect all the anxieties and apprehensions of the minorities from the South and the South-South.
The third reason why a Jonathan election means another important thing for the Nigerians lies in the implications of his elections for the minorities from the North. Be it noted here that his current Vice President addresses the wishes and hopes of the living minorities in the north. He too would be serving the wishes of the North on the one hand and the hopes and aspirations of the minorities in the northern states of Nigeria. Hopefully, the political combination worked out by Jonathan would heal the nation the way Yacubu Gowan, an Anga by ethnicity from the Tiv land in the former Middle Region of Nigeria did after the bloody civil war.
The fourth, fifth, sixth and seven reasons why Jonathan’s election would be a good start for Nigeria, needs to be stated here. In rapid order one could say that a Jonathan presidency could allow the new leaders of Nigeria to embark on the difficult and delicate task of healing the conflicts between the major ethnic groups. Through his cabinet, he can demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that “Nigeria deserves the best of her intellects and experiences to look after her affairs.” Without putting zoning absolutely in cold storage Jonathan could make it categorically clear that knowledgeable Nigerians are going to be put as front runners for Nigeria in the global contest. Any evidence along these lines would keep the elders reassured and the youth console for their toil and sacrifices for a better Nigeria. Related to this fourth point is the fifth point about interfaith dialogue in the country. The willingness of former President Buhari to accept the final results of the elections could definitely augur well for the country. He too will enter the pages of Nigeria history as a Nigerian who came to power through the power of the bullet but willingly and seriously accept the dictates of his people. In these narrative future generations of Nigerians, especially those in the Diaspora who followed the events leading to the elections of Barack Obama against Senator McCain can draw a parallel between the defeat of Buhari and McCain in the sense that Obama defeated a war hero who suffered at the hands of the communist Vietnamese whereas Jonathan who served under a Northern civilian President now defeats a former military President who came to power through the power of the bullet. What makes this comparison striking is the fact that when Obama came to the White House history in an ironical and paradoxical way made what was considered at one point impossible now possible. Here we go again; Nigerians are telling the way that defeated former military leaders in the polls bow to the wishes of their electorate. The ball and not the bullet should now prevail.
The sixth and seventh points about the victory and election of Jonathan are as follows: Jonathan as a President in his own right is good news for the world. Nigerians are catching up with the train of history. All the foolishness of yesterday belongs to the mistakes and arrogance of leaders and the new direction under him promises the audacity of hope and the willingness of Nigerians to make the best out of this inning in the political cricket of Nigeria. This time, Jonathan should reassure us, he is not going to allow emotionalism and poor judgments to woe and win into the pitch of political errors. If he does so, he will bat his own political wickets. This would be political disaster. It leads me to the seventh point to remember in our analysis of a Jonathan election and victory in Nigeria. Within the end of this year and beyond hopefully Jonathan and his team would create new pathways for Nigerians. The much needed changes are begging for attention and hopefully through a new political culture the people of this “Giant of Africa” would wake up and collect their senses to take their rightful place in world history. They should start with what they know and build on what they have.