The idea to write this article didn’t come to me until the discussion had gotten heated. On the 2017-2018 AIESEC in Ife group page, my friends were arguing about the forthcoming election. The conversation was sparked when a fellow AIESECer posted a list of President Buhari’s achievement till date. The message was heavily biased because it painted former President Olusegun Obasanjo bad as well as opposition candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
I knew I was going to write it immediately I read Jesudunsin Bankole’s comment. He said, “None of the other candidates can realistically win even though they are better than the top guns.” He continued by saying, “They – being Moghalu, Sowore and possibly Fela Durotoye – have my vote though, but I’m sure they won’t win in any polling center.” It was at this moment I realized I have discovered a possible solution to one of Nigeria’s problems; bad leadership and recycling of power.
Bear in mind that AIESECers are non-political but we honestly cannot shy away from discussing the political future of our country. Which means a conversation of this sort happens once in every blue moon but when it does happen, you learn a lot from it.
Nigeria is a very youthful country with roughly 52.9% between the ages of 15 and 35; more than enough to effect a much needed change. Nigerians have been contemplating revolutions for years but the society has effectively shackled our minds and no one is willing to make the necessary sacrifice required to turn the fortunes of our dear country around. I honestly cannot say the same for myself but I know it will be a welcomed revelation.
The forthcoming election has produced almost a hundred presidential candidates and only a few of them can seriously mount a challenge against the incumbent, Muhammadu Buhari and opposition candidate, Atiku Abubakar. Among these candiadtes are three very strong and vocal oppositions, Kingsley Moghalu, former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Omoyele Sowore, owner of Sahara Reporters and Fela Durotoye.
There was also Oby Ezekwesili, but she dropped out of the race a few weeks ago for reasons best known to her. She was the strongest female opposition in the race for the presidency and she broke a lot of hearts when she quit.
Jesudunsin’s comment I must say is echoed all over Nigeria by youths tired of the status quo and inkling for an inch of realistic progress. It is in this reiterated words that the way out of our current state lies. Millions of Nigerians including adults have echoed these words and I believe this is what the trio of Moghalu, Sowore and Fela Durotoye should capitalize on; getting to everyone that has echoed Jesudunsin’s words and getting them to the polling booth on election day. If they are to concentrate a large chunk of their campaign funds on anything, it should be in getting more and more people to echoed this words.
Although there are no statistics to ascertain the exact percentage of people that have voiced their displeasure at Nigeria’s failed leadership for the past decade. These people are planning to go to the polling booth this February and voting any other candidate apart from Buhari and Atiku. They intend to go to polling booths thinking that their votes are insignificant. This is an opportunity I think the trio of Moghalu, Sowore and Durotoye should take advantage of.
A significant chunk of the 52.9% youths are registered voters and are more than enough to effect the revolution that Nigerians so desperately need. Add these figures to the number of people above 35 that also abhors voting for Moghalu, Sowore or Durotoye, and you will realize that as Nigerians, we just might have something life-changing on our hands.
As the country director of Young Africans for Opportunities (YAFO) in Nigeria, I have continually advocated for youths to actively get involved in Nigeria’s politics and as a panelist at One.org’s recent Vote Your Future Campaign that was held at Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Osun State, I also implored more than a thousand youths in attendance to vote right and vote wisely. I asked that they critically dissect each of the presidential candidate’s policies before making up their minds.
Imagine if everyone intending to vote for any of the trio knowing fully well that they are most likely not to win and hoping God changes the heart of whoever emerges between Buhari and Atiku, actually does vote? That’s enough votes to give the incumbent and the strongest opposition a run for their money.
Now imagine if the trio forms a strong collision and gets behind a single candidate? Then imagine if all of these vote is given to this particular candidate?
You are welcome.
Author Taiye Salami
He is the Country Director of YAFO Nigeria, freelance writer, youth advocate and a finance & tech enthusiast.