The Collective Responsibility and Obligation Of Making Democracy Succeed In Nigeria
By: Paul I. Adujie
New York, USA
March 31, 2003
Nigeria has a date with destiny on April 19, 2003, this is a day pregnant with so much meaning, the meaning of unity, the meaning of peace prosperity and the meaning of Nigeria�s national purpose and the meaning of Nigerians� cohesion in efforts to attain our national mission as one great nation united and prosperous.
Well meaning Nigerians must prove all prophets of doom and the nay sayers wrong, Nigerians must prove to the world that the coming general election is not the harbinger to disintegration, war and anarchy or the eventual failure of the Nigerian nation as a geographic entity.
April 19, 2003 must pass in Nigeria like any other day, except that it will usher in the instruments of entrenched democracy and all the ideals that are associated with the concepts of participation, equality, justice, peace and progress; April 19 must pass without the negative attachments and foreboding, without the shock and awe that some have predicted, without the apocalypse and Armageddon that has been forecasted by detractors of Nigeria�s steady march to the promised land.
The long awaited general elections should take place without acrimonies. Nigerians appreciate the importance of crossing this threshold. Nigerians must therefore approach that day with words and actions, approach with caution, with circumspection, not trepidation or intimidation.
Nigerians must demonstrate our ability to carry out this important national assignment without rancor and without violence and without playing into the hands of those with insidious and invidious agenda for our country, Nigerians must be on high alert and be singularly focused on the success, complete success of this exercise of electing our fellow citizens to positions of leadership.
We must shame those who under estimate our sense of order and our penchant for respecting the laws, rules and regulations of the land, we must demonstrate, to those who under rate our sense of responsibility, composure and decorum; We must shame those who say or believe erroneously, that we will falter and fail on April the nineteenth.
Our national purpose, our mission and survival as a nation will be given additional impetus as the general elections are conducted peacefully, therefore giving all Nigerians a cause to celebrate on May 29, 2003 marking the re-dedication of the leadership in our journey to national revival, rebirth and Nigeria�s renaissance.
It is now up to us, we must not allow ourselves to be distracted by anything or by anyone, Nigeria�s monumental march toward long lasting democratic ideals must culminate in celebration and cheers and nothing less.
As we all wait to congratulate our preferred candidates, we should be mindful of our words and actions from now on, this is because our utterances and our actions are the catalyst for peace and progress and a new dawn upon our nation; As we all wait to exhale in joy and jubilation with our preferred candidates, we should be mindful of the positive impact, that our sense of responsibility has on our enduring democracy and new freedoms, we need democracy, we need freedom to enable us all pursue individual fulfillment and complete national development that heralds greatness.
No one should engage in utterances or actions that will portray Nigeria in bad light, or actions that will mar or derail our hard fought democracy and freedom; Nigerians are all are aware of what the alternative is; No Nigerian should wish for the way we were, five years ago! This is the time to jealously guide the system of government as we now have, let the system take firm root and we the people will turn the rigorous practice of democracy in Nigeria into a self-regulating and a self-cleansing process, with a self-sustaining built-in essential elements bereft of external and extraneous undemocratic interventions.
Nigerians must look forward to April 19 with all positive and magnanimous dispositions, we must not engage in acts or activities that would bring us and our nation to disrepute and ridicule; In the famous words of the late Mr. Waziri Ibrahim, the political henchman from Borno state, Nigerians must on April 19, pursue political matters with the attitude of �politics without bitterness�! Nigerians must show the entire nation, nay the world, that voting and elections in Nigeria are not do-or-die phenomena.
Nigerians must prove to all the world that we are a mature nation, a nation capable of looking after national elections and other national events and that we are poised and ready to participate in the global scheme of things, Nigeria is ready to be on the world stage, we must demonstrate that we can handle national and international assignments.
A peaceful elections this season, and a successful and celebratory swearing-in will be a reassurance for all Nigerians, at home and abroad, that all will be well, that all is, in fact well! A peaceful election and inauguration will boost domestic and foreign confidence in Nigeria, it will be proof that we are on a steady march to greatness, it will be proof investments and contributions to Nigeria�s renaissance is wise.
Conducting free and fair elections is the single strongest indication that the pillars and foundation of our democracy is in place, this will be the solid and concrete proof that our current system has come to stay and that, it is in fact formidable.
My great expectations are that, the process will run smoothly and that all persons, who hitherto played the ignominious roles of predicting disintegration and anarchy, will endure private embarrassments of sorts, on their own, for even doubting Nigerians� comportment when it matters most! We should all look forward to flawless electioneering, and at the end of it all, we should then get up to speed with the important business of turning Nigeria into the republic that we all can be proud to call ours.
Nigerians should do everything to make the forthcoming elections a success; Nigerians should see the elections as an appetizer that is included in a fourteen-course-meal, therefore, we must do all we can to be finished with the appetizer, so that we can settle down to enjoy the main course.
Based on this perspective, we must all be sensitive and be aware of the momentous implication of what is ahead. We must appreciate with every keen sense, the far-reaching ramifications of every innocuous utterance and every seemingly benign action that we may become engaged in, from now on, we should be cognizant of the profound effects of our conduct, particularly, our public conduct.
Nigerians must show each other, must show, one another, humanity, respect and humility, we must demonstrate discipline and a focus determined by our national interests, we must eschew self-interest as an over-riding principle. We must put Nigeria first.
When we abide by all these seemingly very simple practices and attitude, the elections will take place on April 19, almost effortlessly, Nigerians everywhere will be impressed, and even the world will be impressed! Nigerians will have cause to smile and be proud.
We will usher in a new era, a new dawn and the Nigerian century will begin in earnest, the revival, the rebirth and the renaissance that is already in progress will speed up, everyone would see and be convinced that, Nigeria is moving full steam ahead and that we are not going back to the days of pariah nation status.
Nigeria�s promised land is here!
God Bless all those who wish Nigeria well, Bless Nigerians and Nigeria.
Paul I. Adujie is a Nigerian Lawyer and an Information Technology Professional