#EfeNation; #AwaNation: Taking our nation back by Taiwo Fasua

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[Analyses]–You don’t throw your ‘comrade’ under the bus, however heinous his/her charge. Some say it is esprit de corps. That bond is more obvious in the present administration.]

Touch not our ‘anointed’ brother(s) seems to be the creed of all arms of government. Buhari cleared Babachir Lawal of all wrong doings when an impartial panel of inquiry, on Lawal’s invasive grass species which his ICT firm supposedly cleared for N200 million, would have sent a strong message to all and sundry on SaiBaba’s zero tolerance to corruption and sharp practices.

The legislative and judiciary arms took a cue from President Buhari, when their comrades were in the eyes of the storm too they simply waved a white flag – peace be still! our comrade is as clean as a whistle they said despite overwhelming evidence.

Upon a closer look, the ruling class is a formidable unit. They may appear to be divided along party line or the arm of government they belong, but nothing more defines a mirage. Their bond is stronger than what seems to pull them apart.

That explains why Ali Modu Sheriff’s brother is married to Buhari’s daughter. Why Atiku’s daughter got a choice, yet controversial CBN job and Buhari is too helpless to reverse it despite his Mr. Clean reputation. You know why? They are one big, happy family bonded by the desire to perpetuate themselves in power. In the Nigeria of today, there are 2 groups: the ruling class and the ruled.

Vilfredo Pareto, an Italian economist, in 1896 wrote a paper “Cours d’Économie Politique” where he reported his observation about the inequality in distribution of resources. His observation, the popular Pareto Principle, is otherwise called the 80/20 rule. He opined that 80% of the resources in a population is controlled by 20% of that population. That, may be true about Nigerian economic reality but interestingly, does not apply in defining the political relationship between the ruling class vs the ruled in Nigeria. The ruling class is less than 10% of our population. They control and determine the pace of development and wellbeing of the other 90%.

Esprit de corps is strong amongst the ruling class. They deploy their unity to divide the ruled. Just wondering, can the ruled be that united too for a common cause to liberate Nigeria?

Politics is a game of number. The ruled consists roughly 90% of our 180 million population. Out of which we have 65 million or more eligible youth voters. 65 million voters!

Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II, then known as Sanusi Lamido Sanusi in 2014 advised “A few weeks ago, I was in Lagos, at Tinubu’s birthday, at the colloquium and I spoke to young people. I said we have 65 million young people in Nigeria, I’ll give you one idea. You have 65 million youth in Nigeria, what does it take for one of you to get your votes to be the president of this country? What does it take for you to say you’re tired of my generation? I’m going to get one 40-year-old intelligent, committed, patriotic Nigerian and we are going to ask all the youth to vote for him.”

The question is: can we have the esprit de corps, akin to the ruling class, amongst the ruled? Can the marginalised youth speak with one voice come 2019? If Big Brother Nigeria 2017 taught us any lesson at all it is that Naija youth is a hibernating but formidable force waiting to be mobilized. With the right mobilization unity of purpose won’t be an issue.

We all witnessed the social media frenzy on #EfeNation. One would have thought Efe’s windfall would be shared amongst those rooting for him on Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp. They expended their data voting on WeChat and their money doing SMS votes. All those for a chance to be entertained and a bragging right that they belong to the #EfeNation.

Can we talk about #AwaNation please? (Awa: a corrupted version of the pronoun ‘our’). #AwaNation is a ‘youthocracy’ of some sorts; a government of the youth, for the youth and BY the youth. Having a youth president who makes the welfare of the youth his priority can only mean more job creation, a sector by sector reform of the nation, improved social infrastructures, establishment of social welfare package, among others.

I will support a young president come 2019. A young Nigerian who has excelled in either private or public sector. With sufficient leadership experience. I doubt s/he will be worse than this present administration in economy. S/he won’t release an economic policy for his administration two (2) years into his four (4) tenure. S/he would know that if you inherit a bad economy then it is expected of you to hit the ground running not appointing head of agencies at half time of her/his 48 months of rule. S/he won’t preside over a ruling party that plays the opposition to itself to the detriment of the common man. S/he won’t look the other way when people of other tribes are mercilessly murdered but move with spirited sprint when his tribe men got murdered. S/he won’t appoint Mr. A because they were childhood friends but because Mr. A has a track record of excellence in that field he was chosen to serve. S/he doesn’t need to have a Mr. Clean reputation, but a will to see Nigeria work and a penchant for getting results, for the good of all.

Youths of various nations want and have been getting their nations back. That’s the global trend. Youths of this nation should find motivation in Emmanuel Macron, a 39 years old!, favoured by the polls to be the next French President. A 39-year-old poised to lead one of the finest civilization, culture and country known to mankind! Ours is a 74-year-old, officially, who trusts no 39-year-old with heading any ministry. I do not blame Buhari for this, i believe it is the system that sees the youths “as the leaders of tomorrow” who are not fit to lead today. It is a shame of a nation. By the way, Mr. Emmanuel Macron, until his resignation in August 2016, was French Minister of Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs. He became a minister at 36! The best time to change the awkward narrative that tags irresponsibility and lack of capacity to lead on Nigerian youths is now. And #AwaNation will be a step in the right direction.

With #AwaNation the future we anticipate is within reach. And we don’t need a moneybag or godfather. We can crowdfund like the #EfeNation did. Imagine 40 million youths contributing just #2,000, at least, towards #AwaNation, with enough social media mobilization and commitment to take the gospel of #AwaNation to the street, nothing can therefore stand in our ways. Like SLS suggested, we only need to carefully select that young (wo)man and be ready to counter and resist, if need be, the tactics and antics of the ruling class that want to perpetuate themselves in power.

Should we vie for the seat of president alone? No. From the wards to constituencies, to federal constituencies, senatorial districts to presidency, till the ruling class knows we have realised our numerical strength and we are united in rejecting the tag of unfit to rule. The nation is ours, present and future, the earlier we step out and be counted the better.

#AwaNation is possible. People-centred governance is achievable. A better Naija, in our life time, is within reach. A de-monetized politics is doable in Nigeria also.

Let me rest here.

Dr. Taiwo Fasua, is a Dental Surgeon, political analyst. He writes from Yola. He can be reached via email: fasuataiwo@gmail.com.




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