DR #Goodluck Jonathan and his fellow #Peoples Democratic Party, #PDP, travellers at the helm of affairs have joined the ranks of ‘yesterday’s men’, to quote his Senior Special Adviser, Media, Dr. Reuben Abati, who famously coined the controversial phrase. Today’s men are now in the All Progressives Congress, #APC, Federal Government of #President Muhammadu #Buhari.
The new APC kids on the block must now sheathe their swords and embrace #Rev. Chris Okotie’s new paradigm of peace engagement as they embark on the reconstruction and development of the nation. #Nigerians are indeed tired of media wars and inter-party squabbles. What we need now are concerted action on all fronts to jump start the dormant economic activities.
The APC leadership must make peace with the rival PDP which must adjust to life as the opposition after 16 years as the ruling party. It is not an easy adjustment to make, not with the picture being painted that they were unjustly voted out by an ungrateful electorate, after ‘all they had done for the nation’. It will not also be an easy adjustment for APC as well, which must now learn to behave like the father of all, rather than one which gloats over the predicament of the ousted party.
They must retain patience under pressure and provocation, and be able to weather the storms of leadership with sufficient equanimity, if they must remain non-partisan in their new role as leaders of the pan-Nigerian federation. In short, they must wield peace as a weapon against the projectiles of socio-political turmoil.
As the new Charge d’Affairs of the nation, they must display a large heart and an open mind towards even their most vitriolic critics; a position they also took against the erstwhile ruling party. They must expect that every action would be subject to scrutiny, dissection and critique by friends and foes alike. They must then sift wheat from chaff with a wide dragnet to avail themselves of constructive thoughts in every word, inference and even smear campaign.
To profit from Rev. Okotie’s peace engagement, the ruling APC must balance power by looking into the benefits of forming an all inclusive and representative government, which cuts across the party spectrum, not a government populated by party loyalists, apologists and political hangers-on, who always sing the praise of any and every crop of leaders, but never offer the best counsel to government, especially where the realities are at odds or contrary to the popular line of reasoning.
But when fifth columnists and mercenary politicians, who have a long history of precipitating trouble to gain advantage, go out of their way to make stability and the delivery of governance services a difficult task, then their act of sabotage is not against a sitting government, but against the people of the #state. Government must then know when to step up to check acts which will undermine the reign of peace across the nation, because the wheels of government must be oiled with peace and stability for progress and national development to fructify.
This is an all important ingredient in bringing the primal beast of political insurrection under control. Nigerians already bear too many psychological and emotional scars as a result of polarized leadership and politicking. The new APC government needs to soft pedal on the urge to fight every seeming affront and get on with the demands and challenges of governance. They already have a full plate as it has become obvious, and there is no time to be lost on frivolous battles.
To conceive the world that Nigerians have structured for them, they need to interact with people at the grassroots to get a feel of their needs and effect of their programmes, rather than via rehearsed and guided feedback from politicians and cronies, otherwise they may spend valuable time on white elephant projects which do little in alleviating the plight and meeting the needs of the people. They need to distinguish between what they want to do for the people and what are the wishes and needs of the larger society.
Now, it is a new dawn, after 16 years of an endless journey in retrogression. Maybe we can experience a new lease of life under the present leadership, who must stop being politicians and become nationalists. But this will not happen automatically or overnight. It will take several big and small steps, to first undo decades of economic and political misadventure, and then begin to rebuild the different breaches that have been made. Yet, it must begin somewhat.
It will require that the present government first allay fears that have lingered in the conscious and subconscious of Nigerians who have come to distrust politics and politicians generally. These often neglected and seemingly inconsequentials are what add up to destroying the foundations of trust and peace in the society.
As we enter another chapter of #Nigeria’s democratic story, clandestine negotiations, which fail to factor in the effects for or against the polity, will not endure. The ‘change’ that has begun cannot accommodate it.
Mr Olorunsoga, a public affairs analyst, wrote from #Lagos
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