Election bells are ringing! And the politicians are answering indeed. There has been so much chatter floating around regarding the 2011 presidential elections in Naija and I feel that it is my duty as a Nigerian to say something (and to vote!). I believe the first thing everyone thinks of when the issue of the 2011 elections is raised is the return of General Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida a.k.a IBB. Now first of all I have to say this; Hate this guy or love him, you just have to give him some credit for having such a cool name. It just rolls off the tongue… Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida.
Today I read an article titled “How IBB plans to rescue Nigeria” on the Vanguard website. It is an interview with Kazeem Afegbua, spokesperson for General Babangida and that interview is the closest thing to a good word on IBB’s bid to run for presidency. Every other news I have come across regarding the return of IBB is about how no one should vote for him, how he ruined Nigeria from 1985 to 1993, how he killed Dele Giwa etc etc… And the General went ahead to complicate matters when he said this about the Nigeria youth (the group who, if they all vote, might be able to determine the outcome), “Because we have seen signs that they are not capable of leading this country and so we feel we should help them. May be they are not given the proper education that is why. I have spent 17 years since I left office. Haba! The younger generation is supposed to be in charge by now.” Some people even went on to say that if IBB won the elections they would just start looking for nationality in another country. I don’t know if that’s a joke or not but I do know that I simply cannot wait for the election race to get into full swing!
Now I’m going to dive into a few WHAT-IF’s here. I am not stating my stance whatsoever on this issue but let us just create a controlled scenario here and experiment a bit because I believe that it is always a good idea to see any issue from all angles before coming to a conclusion, even if that conclusion is already obvious from the beginning. WHAT IF IBB is not the same person he was 17 years ago? WHAT IF he has ‘changed’ for the better, will his experience over the years help our dear country? and the greatest WHAT IF of them all… WHAT IF he is right about the Nigerian youth? Are we ready to lead Nigeria? If given the chance, will we, the youth, be able to salvage what is left of the ‘Giant of Africa’?…
Now I know a lot of you will be quick to say a resounding NO to all those queries, but like I said, its a different angle.
Now on to the main issue why I’m writing this. We all know that IBB is running for president in 2011. But is he the only one running? Who else is out there? I know that the official race has not begun but at least we should have heard of a few. Looking around I was able to sniff out a few names like Donald Duke, Atiku, Goodluck Jonathan and the guy that owns Ovation magazine (Dele Momodu). So there are other potential candidates in this race. My question is, since everyone is saying we should not vote for so-and-so because of all the bad things they have done in the past, who then should we vote for that has a good reputation and a bright future? And please this is no rhetoric question, I really do want to know who among the people I listed (and those running that I do not know of) is capable of leading Nigeria?
I posted this question a few days ago as my facebook status and as a tweet and a few people hinted towards Donald Duke. As I said, I am not stating my take on this (yet) but just presenting my findings. One of the comments I got was, and I quote “your votes dont matter.. its naija!!“… Is that true?.. do our votes as a collective people determine who takes the seat of power? or is the whole state of Nigeria determined by a select few that only have their interests in mind? So many questions that I do not have the answers to…
I am not a highly political person and that is one of the reasons I have withheld my position on this topic (for now) but I sure as hell want to see positive change in my country so this is one of the ways I shall speak up! I guess my plea here is that shouting around about who not to vote for is one side of the process. We should not forget that we will still vote in the end so why not find a worthy person and shout about him or her!
My 2-kobo’s on the issue.