By O’Femi Kolawole
For Nigerians who are active on social media especially on Twitter, they would, by now, have come across the Red Card Movement initiated by Oby Ezekwesili, a former minister of solid minerals and also a former education minister.
But in case you are reading this and are not on the platform, allow me to do an update.
Writing on her twitter handle some days back, Ezekwesili says she has a political agenda for the 2019 elections. The agenda, according to her, is simply that neither APC nor the PDP should win the 2019 state and federal legislative and executive elections.
She explains that she is committed to the agenda as she is devoting her year to “building the political consciousness of citizens in order to end the reign of the status quo decadent class.”
For Ezekwesili, this is the #YearOfTheOfficeOfTheCitizen.
As far as the former World Bank Vice President, Africa Division, is concerned, it is important to disrupt and indeed, end the political and governance stagnation and retrogression that Nigeria has so far known.
She says she also intends to actively campaign against the APC and the PDP in the next elections except in rare cases where they field new minds with strong records of public interest.
Admitting that her independent effort to campaign against the APC and PDP may not amount to much, she points out that it is at least a definite expression of her personal conviction which is to end the tyranny of rulership of a wicked minority political elite class.
“Whether many other citizens feel the way one feels about our political status quo doesn’t matter. Standing up for what I believe is what one was raised to epitomize. It is sickening to watch the repetition of similar pattern of bad behavior by our political class. Enough!” Ezekwesili wrote.
Now, while I’ve had instance in the past to disagree with the position of ‘Madam Due Process’ on an issue of public importance particularly during the period when I was writing a column on TheCable, what is not in doubt is that Ezekwesili loves Nigeria with her soul as a true daughter of the soil.
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Meanwhile, were it not for her persistence and that of her colleagues at the Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG) Movement, the government would most likely have done absolutely nothing concrete in rescuing the girls that have so far been rescued among the abducted Chibok girls.
In the same country where many citizens believe no one confronts government and wins as state power would be used to crush such fellow whether by hook or crook, in the same country where a good number of exceptionally-talented and brilliant minds are rather interested in what they can milk from the system through their friends in power rather than commit their brains and time to the advancement of Nigeria, in the same country where notable people have been killed under very shocking circumstances and their killers are not brought to justice even an Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Ezekwesili sure deserves our respect and prayers.
With her guts, her boldness and audacity, I know she’s certainly putting many things on the line.
And for the points she has raised, I absolutely agree with her.
But frankly, which truly patriotic and honest Nigerian would argue with her submissions or query her position that the elite members of Nigeria’s political class have generally pursued their own interest over the years instead of the public interest and the collective good?
It’s sad to state that our country, almost 58 years after attaining independence, hasn’t delivered any substantial value to citizens.
Development challenges other nations have since solved, we keep battling. The basic things of life which citizens of other countries take for granted have remained big deals for us here.
Food, clothing and shelter are still not basic for all. Stable electricity is yet to be attained. The best of our education and educational facilities still do not compare to the best on offer in other parts of the world, and even right here in Africa. And in what way does our healthcare system impress?
I believe it speaks to how low we have sunk as a nation when a Presidential son cannot even find medical succour at a Presidential hospital despite the budgets annually allocated to it except he be taken to a private facility.
And the volume of untarred roads and streets in Nigeria, even in our cities, not mentioning the open sewers on display, and the waste littering major roads and left unattended, show it fast to visitors who enter our country for the first time, that we are a people still lagging far behind in development when saner societies in the world have since gone ahead.
As 2019 approaches, our country shouldn’t continue to be a shame, a mess and an embarrassment that it is to many Nigerian citizens within and outside the country today. We cannot continue to perpetually let down other smaller nations in Africa who look up to us for leadership, direction and inspiration.
It’s part of the disappointments of our country that our political system continuously and consistently throws up people who are clearly not the best Nigeria can offer into positions of authority. The country embraced change but we’ve undoubtedly been shortchanged. However, the situation should no longer continue the way it has been.
Power still resides in the people.
Therefore, the efforts to make our country a better one for ourselves, our children and our children’s children, shouldn’t be left for people like Ezekwesili alone. The Red Card Movement is one all those who are dissatisfied with the state of the country so far ought to embrace.
I believe it’s in the national interest.
2019 may still be a year away but the concerted efforts needed to take back Nigeria from the corrupt and manipulative political class cannot be postponed a day longer by patriots who truly love this land and want to see it become the country we’ve always wanted it to be.
No matter the odds, we can rescue Nigeria. We can rescue our future.
My humble submission this week.
Kolawole is a journalist and author. You can follow him on twitter: @ofemigan 08053533003 (SMS only).
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