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To Our President-elect: “Congratulations Sir, But Today, Your Victory is Not About You” By Olu Onemola

April 1, 2015
Authors

As the dust settles from the single-most competitive election in our nation’s democratic history, I take this opportunity to congratulate the Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari, on his emergence as the President-elect and next Commander in Chief of Nigeria’s Armed Forces.

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Sir, your victory in these polls signifies that the fundamental democratic principle of “one man, one vote” can finally take the lead in issues that concern Nigeria’s governance. Your unprecedented triumph must be seen as a precedent that should guide all future political office holders: all non-performing actors will be voted out.

Nigerians: today, we have witnessed ‘Change’ at the center of our democracy. The juggernaut-sized power of incumbency has been neutralized by the dogged-determination and zeal of our countrymen. We finally have a credible hope for a Nigeria that works for the people.

In this regard, without resorting to diminish the Berlin Wall-like fall of the Goodluck Jonathan-led government by the opposition APC, and without trying to make light of General Buhari and the APC’s victory, with all due respect, General Buhari, today’s victory is not about you.

Yes, the victory of our next President will send a message to every young Nigerian that it matters not how many times you knock on a door, what matters is that you do not stop knocking. Because finally, as we have seen today – after three prior attempts at the Presidency – General Buhari has attained the highest seat in the land on his fourth try.

Yes, also, General Buhari’s victory will remind the “live-only-for-today” politicians, that after 16 years of one-party rule, the people finally have a say in the affairs that concern their governance.

However, with all the aforementioned being significant, today is about the Nigerian people. Today is about the perseverance of the Nigerian spirit –
 that tireless quest to survive at all costs. That wholehearted eagerness to remain united, despite the myriad forces at work that continuously insist that we should not thrive beyond the mediocrity that we have witnessed over the past few years.

Permit me to reiterate, today is also about ‘Change.’ Not ‘Change,’ as the political symbol of the APC in these elections, but change in business as usual. In 2015, Nigerians have finally come of age – this can be seen in the fact that despite the competitiveness of these national elections, we are still forging ahead peacefully and almost-unanimously as a single and indivisible entity. What this signifies is that moving forward, we will be able to address our collective bones of national contention as Nigerians first, and people of our ethnic backgrounds last. The issues of the South West must no longer be seen as a Yoruba problem, just as the problems in the South East must no longer be seen as “The Igbo man’s wahala.” If we do not take this ripe opportunity to conceive a “together we stand” mindset, divided, we shall ultimately fall.

Now that the votes have been cast and counted, and the pendulum has swung to select General Buhari to serve our nation, today is for the Nigerian people. Reconciliation is now needed to mend our fences in order to push us into the league of democratic giants. Especially on the African continent, and the West-African sub-region, where we have steadily lost our stool as a powerhouse to be reckoned with.

All in all, our eye must remain on the ultimate prize – the success of Nigeria for all of us. The beginning of any story is always slow, but we must turn the pages together to witness the great story that awaits us on the other side of this our collective history.

The ball is in our court. How will we respond?