All animals are equal, they say, but in Nigeria, beasts- especially ex-president – are more equal. Even when they commit the worst of criminalities like robbing the Nigerian people of their commonwealth and eating their flesh in cold blood when they fight back, no human being, who is born of a woman can commit them to their cross.
In the presidential race, there are two candidates seemingly appearing as the candidates with youth support buzz on social media: Omoyele Sowore and Peter Obi. This duo becomes relevant to this piece because their fan bases have forced the emerging political debate into an idea and issues-based one, other than the usual popularity or affluence based.
Honestly, the quality of the political debate testifies to the impact of #Endsars protest in awakening the citizens to government malfeasance and the need to fight back. Yes, ideas have played a decisive role in political development. Although it saw many heads hung on pikes, the French Revolution was more a battle of ideas. The American revolution was a battle of ideas more than it was of guns and boats. In the 2023 election, it is hope-rejuvenating that it will be one of the ideas.
On our way out of Egypt, unarguably, we can see the pharaoh of military and civilian ex-leaders standing; far above the law even. As youths, one of the ideas that should drive our adoption of a candidate – the one fit to fight for our freedom – is the need to assess the values that each hold.
The values on which every society thrives are largely connected to the values the leaders at the helm of affairs share; they usually correspond. In Burkina Faso for instance, where Blaise Campaore, an ex-leader of the country notorious for murdering the revered Affica’s upright leader, Thomas Sankara, was recently tried and sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia, the leaders hold the values that everyone is below the law. In South Afria, where Jacob Zuma, for plundering public money, is doing his time, the leaders believe that a quail does not stand taller than another.
In Nigeria, rather, Gen. Buhari, a notorious coup plotter, who sacked a democratically elected government still walks the street freely and unfortunately sits on the most revered chair today. In this same country, characters like Babaginda who annuled the 1993 election and callously denied the Nigerian people of their mandate; Obasanjo who embezzled $16 billion belonging to Nigeria’s power project; Yakubu Gowon, under whose era Nigeria first witnessed an unprecedented level of corruption, have become demi-gods whose prayers are sought by aspiring presidents. However, no nation where this ‘bigmanism’ values drives ever moves in a direction of progress; Uganda, Zimbabwe, Democratic republic of Congo are all befitting examples.
Judging by what the two – Sowore and Peter Obi – hold as very important amongst their intended moves to change Nigeria, the choice of the ideal youths hopes to be resolved. ”You can’t shut down your shop and be chasing criminals; Peter Obi once responded to the question of who will tame the beasts. Sowore on the other hand, while responding to the same question, vowed to not only retrieve all stolen monies but also to hand all of these attrocious ex-leaders their jail beds.