by Ismaeel Ahmed
It goes without saying that Nigeria’s current democracy differs greatly from many of our Western counterparts. Any student or observer of politics can easily identify the fact that we have adopted a democratic system that is styled after the United States, but is influenced holistically by our diverse cultures and our history of military rule.
What this means is that our democracy is still evolving, and the true evolution of democracy is the birth of political ideologies across party lines. Such ideologies give the people a choice – the choice to stay the course, or to change it. The choice to continue with business as usual, or the choice to alter the status quo. Make no mistake, we are at the conception stage of such a choice – the 2015 elections will either signify the birth of Nigeria’s democratic ideology, or will render it stillborn.
Why do I believe this? I believe this because it has become increasingly clear that my party, the ALL PROGRESSIVES CONGRESS (APC), offers Nigeria and Nigerians a chance to redefine ourselves; a chance to strive beyond mediocrity in the attainment of true greatness; a chance to meet the basic needs of the common man that has eluded us since our return to democratic rule. The APC offers Nigeria a chance to graduate our nascent democracy to political adulthood needed for the stability and longevity of the system. Make our children believe and grow in a country with an eventual certainty, where they can achieve their dreams by the simple reason that they are born ‘Nigerian.’ And I believe that the PDP has had its chance and has done nothing to improve our confidence either in the system or in the country.
Patriotism is at its lowest ebb because it is largely misconstrued as being loyal to a leader not to an idea. The morale of the military has been eroded by the continuous cowardice of its political commanders and the corruption of its military superiors. In simple terms, the PDP has become a wrecked ship on a poisoned sea. More of the same empty promises. More of the same power outages, lacklustre security, corrupt governance, and ineffective leadership. The choice is clear. Stay the course or change the captains.
An APC victory in 2015 offers us an opportunity to actualize our potential, and it is for this reason that I and many other progressives have chosen to take the rough but achievable road of wrestling the mantle of Nigeria’s leadership from the ineffective People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Not only because the PDP has failed but because the country cannot survive this failure.
Anyone who began this journey with us during the merger will understand that yes there have been thorny issues and seismic shifts that have threatened to destabilize our party. We all have had reasons at one time or another to feel let down by a party we help nurture. But it is clear that where we are today as a party, is a thousand leagues far and away from where we started. We have surpassed our critics and our naysayers. We have attracted some of the finest Governors and legislators to our camp, because they too believe that Nigeria must be salvaged from the brink. We have successfully ignited a fire that I have seen burn from the streets of Osun, where hundreds and thousands of youths stood guard to renew a mandate of a governor they have come to love. I have seen it spread all the way across to Kano, where our youths are ready to stand with change. I have seen it in Nasarawa where a people stood so that a Governor can keep sitting. I have seen it in Imo where a state was lit with APC when a Governor turned on the switch. I have seen it in the maturity of a Governor in Ekiti when he conceded to protect his people rather than promote himself. The examples are boundless.
As we prepare for 2015, I write this in honour of those that have held the line; the leaders that have set aside their personal ambitions and come together in order to further the dreams of our people. Anyone that jumps ship during what I like to call a ‘sample storm’ will not be there when the real tornadoes come.
The Tom Ikimi’s and the Ribadu’s might be considered powerhouses, but for the simple reason that they have opted to join forces with those that embody the problems that Nigerians fight against everyday, shows that they have made their choices. And now, we will make ours as young people. We will stand even if it hurts for the meantime so that it can help in the long run. I would rather see one man fail, in order for a village to thrive, than watch one man thrive and a village fall.
What this means is that Nigeria’s future is greater than the defection of any one man or men. I, along with the hundreds of thousands of youth with progressive dreams for Nigeria believe that we can salvage our country on the platform of the APC. Therefore, as we work to take part in order to take charge – holding the line and rallying our members onward towards 2015, I say:
“The road will be difficult. The road will be rough. Many may fall along the way; many may give up and go astray. But when we finally cross the finish line on that day, where will you be? What will you have to say?”
May the Almighty continue to bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the progressive movement.
Barr. Ismaeel Ahmed holds a Law Degree (LL.B) from University of Abuja, a Master of Arts Degree in International Relations and Diplomacy from Webster University, St. Louis, Missouri, United States of America.
Ahmed also holds a Masters of Law (LLM) from the University of Chicago, USA. He is a lawyer and a politician. He is currently the chairman of the All Progressives Youth Forum (APYF), a Youth body under the newly registered APC
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