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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Demola Rewaju: You Voted For Change, Don’t Lose Faith Please

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by Demola Rewaju

It was a sight yesterday to see many of those who supported APC actively on social media during the election period almost backtracking, some going as far as asking whether they did not make a mistake in voting President Muhammadu Buhari. I trolled (of course) and mocked but from my quiet moments I say: your mistake was not in voting President Buhari but in being politically naive. And I will explain but first, a personal epiphany story…

I was once firmly in the opposition to Government movement. I campaigned actively against President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in 2003 and the COJA Games. I was the PRO of University of Ado-Ekiti Students Union at the time and also a NANS senator so we mobilised to Abuja and got shot at by policemen during our protests. It was during the tenure of President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua that I started to think to myself: if Babangida, Abacha and even Obasanjo were all wicked, is Yar’Adua wicked too or why is he unable to solve the problems of Nigeria? Anyone who observed the man closely will know that Goodluck Jonathan too cannot be described as a wicked man by any standard. The problems of Nigeria are beyond the goodness or evil of one man.

The problem of most of the anti-GEJ crowd was in being sold the lie that one man would make a difference in a society where the problems are systemic and structural. The problem is the naiveté of many of our otherwise enlightened youths on social media that a messiah is all that Nigeria needs to become great.

Yesterday was the baby dedication of my friend @emma_dele who actively supported Buhari’s presidential aspiration on social media and expectedly, the crowd at his place were mostly APC folks. Unlike before though, I was not as usual on the hotseat defending government…in fact, we did not discuss politics until we were all about going our separate ways and I told them simply that none of Mr. President’s problems are unexpected: the system is beyond him or any single individual. Democracy thrives on certain key elements which when in place do not guarantee quick results but sustainable advancements.

Some of these elements of democracy include: the Power of the Ballot, Freedom of Speech and the Rule of Law – where these are existent, a better life must follow. Another important element of democracy is Democratic Culture…the mother-set of the subset that forms the crux of my piece today: Choosing-A-Side.

One thing that upset me deeply is that the same fellows who shouted ‘Hosanna’ to Goodluck Jonathan in 2010 and 2011 were the same ones who shouted ‘Crucify him’ in 2015 and I remember a few names…: Tolu Ogunlesi came up with the tagline “Breath of Fresh Air” for Jonathan in an article at that time, Chude Jideonwo organised programmes for him, Ogundamisi was heavy in condemning the so-called ‘Turai Cabal’ (which by the way included a certain Dambazzau who struts majestically in Buhari’s Aso Rock these days) and so many others. No sooner had Goodluck come into power than they abandoned him especially during the fuel subsidy removal crisis where Jonathan’s foresight now seems the right way to have gone.

You do not vote a man out of sentiments or oppose him out of sentiments: you do so out of deeprooted values otherwise called ‘Political Principles’ – you choose a side and stick to it. But just like our politicians in the present Ruling Class, some of our friends in this generation are ever-willing to switch allegiance at any point in time: this will not help us because you see, even the best of presidents in a democratic setting require the support of every single person who voted for them to be able to carry out their vision for the country they lead. Goodluck Jonathan needed the voices of every of the 22 million voters who thumbprinted the ballot for him in 2011 during the fuel subsidy removal crisis but we allowed ourselves to be intimidated by sentimental voices and failed the man. Buhari will need the voice of every single one of the 15 million who cast their votes for him in 2015 to see him through this government.

Those who voted Buhari must not lose faith just yet: they must redefine their allegiance and decide whether they supported the man himself or supported him because a certain Bola Tinubu asked them to do so. If you voted APC and Buhari, stick with your choices and defend them; do not lose hope yet!

And this is where it gets interesting: after that epiphany, I developed a pet theory called “One Thing” and it roughly states that “Every Nigerian President will in the long run be able to do Only One Thing and that One Thing will bring us closer to a Better Place”. Obasanjo gave us GSM phones, Yar’Adua resolved the Niger-Delta crisis, Jonathan gave us free and fair elections (can’t resist mentioning Agriculture too) and Buhari will contribute his own quota too.

There will be stuff to cheer Buhari for and there will be stuff to jeer him for. Some of us will constantly jeer, some of us must constantly cheer or we will be making a mockery of the choice we made on March 28th.

Work To Do

I hope our leaders in PDP took note of the appointment of three APC youths (the intriguing Rinsola Abiola, enigmatic Ismaeel Ahmed and Jasper Azuatulam – the third of whom I am not yet acquainted with) into the APC Board of Trustees. A party that ignores its youth base is one that is on the road to extinction.

Did you by any chance catch the reaction of former President Goodluck Jonathan calling on Nigerians to support President Muhammadu Buhari? What does that tell you about the character of the man Jonathan? God bless #OurGEJ.

Have a great week…no matter what.

Demola Rewaju is a super blogger and a writer who manages Demola Rewaju Daily. He can be reached on twitter @demolarewaju. This article was first published on YNaija.com.

The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the writer.

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