THE change Nigerians need in their politics has started under out-going President Goodluck Jonathan. In an unprecedented but highly commendable spirit of sportsmanship and patriotism, he called the winner of the presidential election, Maj-Gen Muhammadu Buhari, admitted defeat, and congratulated him, more than eight hours before the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, announced the official result.His gesture brought a huge relief to millions of Nigerians and interests across the globe, who besieged the country as election observers and
monitors. It ensured the 2011 violence, with its attendant losses of lives and property, would not be repeated, and that the predicted end of Nigeria after the polls in 2015 would not take place.
With this outcome, Nigerians can look forward to credible elections as a routine in our political culture that would guarantee the good governance and political stability required for the nation’s march to greatness.
Nigerians expect the President-elect to move with the same patriotic spirit and change the factors that have held the nation hostage. Though the elections divided the nation along North and South, Christian and Muslim as well as party lines, it was not different from past elections on those scores. Buhari’s challenges would include approaching issues with the attitude of the father of the nation and not the conquering hero of religious, regional or sectional interests.
His plans would be evident from the composition of his government. Options available to him should draw from merit and the richness of our diversities. Nigerians look forward to Buhari fulfilling his campaign promises of tackling corruption, restoring security and fixing the economy through diversification and job creation.
The economy affects every Nigerian. The progress of the past 16 years, which got our economy rated as the biggest in Africa, must be harnessed to make ordinary Nigerians feel its impact in their daily lives. Nigerians are waiting for economic programmes that would lead to the promised prosperity.
We expect the President-elect to commit himself to the death of the demonic, ethno-sectional nature of our politics. Now that Nigerians have acquired an appetite for free and fair elections, they must be encouraged to depart from the old reflex of clustering around ethnic and regional sentiments in their political conduct.
We should begin to coalesce round development issues and pitch our political competition around them for the good of our peoples. These should be ingredients of the change Nigerians crave.
Buhari should lead these efforts, but Nigerians owe themselves a duty to support him and his government to take the nation to the high expectations his campaign created. We look forward to witnessing lasting changes that would benefit all Nigerians
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