“I have a dream”, these historic words have rang through the halls of history clear in our minds and in countless political manifestos the world over. They along with “I love few” are probably the most abused words in history. Almost every politician has attempted to hijack those words for campaign slogans and speeches all in a bid to evoke the “right emotions”. One thing that’s been overlooked in the midst of all this is that one man’s dream is pretty much another man’s nightmare!Take for instance the average Ku Klux Klan member, do you honestly think he’d be thrilled or share the same enthusiasm most of us have for Dr Martin Luther King’s vision? Another thing that’s been overlooked is the obvious fact that those famous words were not meant to serve as inspiration for folks with quixotic aspirations. Yes, they may have sufficed as an explanation for the “Change” campaign of a certain Obama but in Nigeria some have somehow interpreted those words to mean that selling periodicals should be equated to running a nation of roughly 150 million people!

Well, it seems change has come, the Nigerian electorate has smartened up and we showed that in the conduct of both the presidential and the legislative elections. As we look forward to the gubernatorial polls I’m very happy at the amount of times people have compared this election to that of 1993. We’ve stepped up from voting along party lines, ethnic and religious orientation to voting individuals based on the appeal of their personalities. Young folks were tremendously involved in the electoral process as we saw from the entire buzz and chatter on the various social networks and even the commonplace one-on-one conversations. There’s finally a lot of optimism as far as our walk as a nation is concerned.

A lot of theatrical performances were thrown in our faces while the electoral dance occurred. Some used God’s name to make “proclamations”, others attempted (as usual) to use money and assert themselves as worthy candidates and some even shed tears in a bid to get their points across. In addition to all this some resorted to violence to make themselves heard of course… all in all every story needs its drama and Nigeria is no different. These events have undoubtedly provided us with tales to tell our young ones in times to come. I definitely do not think we have arrived at the proverbial “Promised Land” but we sure have finally started trekking in the right direction. Some of us are very bad losers as the violence in some places has illustrated and some of us are very graceful in defeat too. For instance, the former Speaker of The House of Reps who speaks “oyibo English” showed his class and enviable pedigree when he conceded defeat to the opponent who vanquished him and sent hearty congratulations.

In stark contrast, some have taken a completely different route, one that just constitutes sucking on their thumbs and crying foul without exactly pointing out their grievances with adequate proof.
In my opinion, a lot of the existent Nigerian parties should be scrapped as it’s pretty obvious most of them consist of nothing more than a couple of extended families alongside their friends and well-wishers. We don’t necessarily have to adopt the two party system that’s obtainable in the U.S. but we should definitely regulate the criteria that distinguish a political party from a birthday party. Let’s help all the folks that took Dr King’s words out of context by putting them out of their misery.

Now that the hurly-burly’s done-if I may borrow words from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the burning question is simply, “What next?” are we set for another four years of hocus pocus from the “Umbrella Corporation”? Are we going to be witnesses to an opposition that’s weaker than an aged cow whining away with nothing to bring to the table? I’m no Nostradamus but I can say that the youth of the nation need to get their act together and very fast too! We need to be more involved in decision making and generally being the voice of the masses as it seems like the weight of leadership is swinging in our direction. Let me echo the classic song here, “Nigeria go survive”

words by Peter Akinnusi

P.S. “Getting involved” doesn’t mean fabricating and branding countless souvenirs in a bid to suck up to politicians. It doesn’t mean composing all those corny songs of “patriotism”, “a better Nigeria”, or of a “great future” (remember when Dagrin died and the way almost everyone tried to cash in on his demise?) Getting involved simply means standing up, taking initiative and acting responsibly.

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