Category: Opinion | Posted date: 2019-01-31 00:51:27 | Updated date: 2019-08-04 13:31:59 | Posted by: Olayinka Olalekan
Beyond the boundaries of political parties, the masses wish for a new crop of leaders that are this age inclined and compliant. But the valley and influence of popular political parties put the people at a tight corner...
Nigeria will go to polls next month to pick a new president. Currently, President Muhammad Buhari and former vice president Atiku Abubakar are the front runners in the 2019 race for the presidency. To the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC), Atiku is a familiar face having been a member until December, 2017 when he decamped and returned to his old political platform, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). it is Atiku’s fifth presidential run after four failed attempts in 1992, 2007, 2011 and 2015.
But as campaigns are being held across the country, yet the demands and expectations of the working class and other classes of people in the country are yet to be addressed. Though, the venues of these political rallies are being filled to capacity by the people in whose heads many rhetorical questions congested such as: when will the country be free from incessant killing, hunger, ravaging corruption, kidnapping, ritual killing and victimisation occasioned by political differences?
The citizens, as individuals and groups, are relatively watching and examining from different angles of view premising their decisions on to whom the power in their hands would be submitted in the polls. The enduring citizens want a country devoid of insecurity; insurgencies, inter-communal violence between herdsmen and innocent farmers and other forms of unrest ravaging the country. The working class want their demands met and the people generally want to see the economy grow in a way that goes beyond mere growth figures.
On the anti-corruption front which is one of the most pressing issues in Nigeria, the APC led administration has so far failed to sustain the belief and defend the confidence Nigerian people reposed on it in 2015 through their votes. Even though president Buhari, in part, won the 2015 election on the strength of his anti-corruption promises, corruption is still the order of the day in the country. In addition, the obvious victimisation borne out of politicisation of the anti-corruption fight is fast crippling the vision and institutions and agencies established for the purpose.
In the Nigeria of today, it is not only the big men at the top that are corrupt, it is a systemic crisis fostered consciously to frustrate equality and justice. From police roadblocks to borders crossing, bribery is the order of the day. The victims often are the poor masses that are trying to make ends meet, especially women traders. They are frequently harassed, rough handled and traumatised.
On the biting economy, Nigeria is still battling hard to recover fully from recession and post-recessional trauma. Nigerian workers want to see an end to poverty managing wages; they reasonably believe that serving their fatherland should be a blessing not a woe. They demand that National Minimum Wage (NMW) should go some way to improving their living standard.
Unimplemented half cake
Though the “basic need basket” for a family of four in the country is estimated to be at a minimum of ₦60,000 ($196) a month, but the federal government recently agreed to ₦30,000 as the new national minimum wage for the least paid worker. While this looks like a significant increase from the current minimum wage of ₦18,000, it still 50% falls short of the estimated minimum wage that can effectively stem the overwhelming hunger and poverty in the country. However, the feasible implementation of the half-cake amount still remains a subject of controversy among the concerned authorities.
How far Nigerian workers will get in their quest to have their demands met before the February 2019 elections may depend on how organised they are and hard they push for it.
The state of the youths
Nigeria with at least half of its estimated 180million population under the age of 30; this could be a massive asset to the country. But the current socio-economy conditions (massive underemployment and unemployment both, according to the National Bureau of statistics, stand at 40% of the labour population etc. ) are frustrating many of the young people from being a profitable asset to the country. Rather, harsh living conditions have pushed them to making regrettable choices in criminality, terrorism, dangerous and desperate migration through the Sahara desert and across the Mediterranean sea to Europe.
The current government promised to create jobs for three million people per year, but it has created jobs for barely two million people in three and a half years. Meanwhile, many people lost their jobs to the unfriendly economic situation during this period.
Part of expectations of the people
- Peace and Security: they want peace and security as against the present experience of daily insurgencies, kidnapping, ritual killing and threats to lives.
- Job creation: Nigerian citizens, most especially the youths, want job creation, employment and profit-making engagement devoid of nepotism and beyond mere soapbox promises.
- The nation’s enduring workforce want to experience genuine initiatives devoid of political patronage and lasting papers’ negotiations.
- New jobs and a minimum of seven million people needs to be employed a year in order to keep up with the current rate of population growth.
In the People’s mind…
The hopeless youths, helpless workers and other groups of people in the country rich in natural and human resources are eagerly watching with dismay. The two front runners in the coming election are not unknown to the entire citizens. They are leaders that have been around for decades with their different track records. Beyond the boundaries of political parties, the masses wish for a new crop of leaders that are this age inclined and compliant. But the valley and influence of popular political parties put the people at a tight corner in submitting the power in their hands to either of the front runners for the presidential seat.
As we always find ourselves in the “valley of available” in the country, I think someone will agree with me that we need new approaches to political undertakings that will further bring about a new crop of vibrant leaders (youths). It needs prayers.
Meanwhile, as touching the two front runners in the February 2019 general elections, my advice is in the following joke and its footnote as intercepted recently on my WhatsApp:
A sign board outside a restaurant reads…
“Eat as much as you can, your grand children will pay the bill.”
A man entered the restaurant and ate so much to a very large amount of money. He asked for a very expensive wine to wash the food down, and thereafter took a tooth pick and was relaxing…
The waiter walk to him and gave him a bill of N48,670. He laughed, pointed to the sign board and said; “’Don’t you see?, ‘my grandchildren will pay’
The waiter replied, “Sir, this is not your bill, it’s your grandfathers’ bill”. “What!!!”, the man shouted.
As you step into the election day come 2019, think of the good of your grandchildren, and how you will affect the unborn generation positively. Vote for the best person.
Be wise with your vote, and save Nigeria.
Olayinka Olalekan Popoola