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Everyone is now writing open letters to Mr. President on how he should run this country. I find it hard to believe that the president will take constructive advice from the general public, when he has advisers, aides, ministers representing every facet of the country’s affairs to give him much needed advice.

If the president doesn’t know what to do with the number of people advising him, then we are in trouble. Like someone said, “the oga fit nor know anything but naim be still oga”, implying that the boss is still the boss and the one with power, whether we believe it or not. 

That said, the issue of the forthcoming election is one that is troublesome. Top contenders are President Muhammadu Buhari of APC and Alhajis Atiku Abubakar of PDP. Then we have their supporters in the form of political bigwigs in the country who are throwing their weight behind their chosen candidate. Now, we are expected to choose who is the better man to rule over us between these two men, because it seems the other political aspirants do not matter in the race. Or do they? 

The race itself has seen accusations and counter accusations being thrown across the board at each candidate directly or through their spokesperson, undermining and ridiculing one another. Sadly, it becomes apparent that most of the accusations being tossed about are true and neither party can successfully defend themselves against these accusations, except counter with their own jabs. Worse still are the rumours of buying and selling of political slots, as evidenced within the party structure of the APC, where Comrade Adams Oshiomole is being accused of receiving money in favour of certain candidates. While damage control is in effect to contain these claims by the candidates who lost out in the process, it is worrisome that such rumours are flying on wings borrowed from some truths.

These are current leaders in Nigeria involved in the buying and selling of positions, men and women who will still aspire to be president someday, people who are under the ruling party. And the stories still go further to say that some are advised to swallow their defeat and live to fight another day, or take it up in the court. Some still are threatening to decamp to other parties and pitch their tents with the main opposition party, from where they will fight against the ruling party. These are all brothers in politics turning enemies over their selfish agenda to maintain power by any means necessary. It is indeed worrisome that these people can switch parties at will and then say their former party members are criminals and hoods in disguise, when they were working together and all chummy before falling out. I don’t think these people mean well for this country, because not one of them can come clean to us and say they will do the right thing for the people. 

No true politician should wait to contest any position before making promises to the people. Actions speak louder than words. The last 16 years of PDP rule was nothing to write home about, so they say, and the current APC rule is no better. These politicians all saying “PDP is bad, APC is bad” were all benefiting one way or the other from the various leaders who were in power, from the state level to the presidential level. And if you didn’t do anything small scale for the people while you were holding some political office before, there is no guarantee that you will do so if we let you or your choice of leader to take over power. All the unaccounted funds looted and withdrawn from the treasury, nothing has been done about them; witch hunting political enemies just to derail their ambitions gets us nowhere. Certificate forgery of leaders without any persecution by the law is quite a shame. Blatant disregard for court rulings by politicians is nothing but corruption. 

Every politician that truly means well for Nigeria should not be selfish to want to take the helm of power for themselves, thinking they can save Nigeria. You cannot do it alone and the other parties with their well meaning presidential aspirants who want to rule Nigeria should have a rethink. I suggest you all band together, unite into a single group of men with the same vision, nominate an individual who is better suited to take on the burden of representing the sincere needs of the people as your candidate, pool your resources together and come back into the presidential race with a single mission: to kick out these corrupt elements that have led this country astray under the guise of PDP or APC. We don’t need promises, because the heartbreak is far worse when you fail to deliver.

You only need to tell us exactly what you will do to these corrupt people in power, what you would do to all those guilty of looting (not talking about merely being accused of looting) and more importantly, state your shortcomings and your weaknesses so no one can use them against you. I’d rather have a leader who will declare his net worth and how he made his money to all in transparency, than one who lies about his finances. At least, we Nigerians trust sincere leaders and we cannot help but love them more, even if they still end up enriching themselves using proxy companies to award themselves contracts, because when they are in power, they will certainly award contracts to their cronies, which we understand is normal with being in a position where you can “help” friends and family. We understand and accept this, but we cannot understand and accept lies from our leaders. 

Remember that true power is not brokered in public and those with the real power in this country are merely pulling the strings so that the leaders dance to their tune. I’d rather cast my lot with an unknown entity who offers a ray of hope than one with a record of failure, looting, tyranny and injustice. Nigerians, open your eyes because you are mortgaging your future over flimsy promises that you only get to hear when elections are abound. If your leaders cannot listen to open letters and cannot give you what you want, then you should understand that you have the mandate to vote into power a new leader who has proven his worth behind the scenes and actually helped Nigerians in small measures, not one who has been tested by power and failed to leave any positive mark in society. Don’t vote for a leader who remembers you every four years because he now needs you; vote for one who has a legacy already in place that is helping Nigerians, one that you need.

There are very few men and women like that in the society who would truly threaten these current leaders if they ever decided to join the race. I have one in mind but this is not an open letter to him or her. This is a message to Nigerians who are tired of the current economy and are willing to listen. Do not be hoodwinked into voting for anyone not representing your interests. If none of the current leaders can meet up to expectations, then find the one you truly need and get him to answer the cries of the people.

Israel demanded a king for themselves when they had judges, because they wanted to be like the other nations around them. We want to be like the other nations with leaders who can carry the people forward into a new era, one who can handle any crisis like civilized and developed countries do, not the ones where national crises like Boko Haram and militant bombings are handed over along with near empty treasury to the next leader.

Be very sure that the issues of buying positions within party structures is an insight to what the final elections will be, where votes will be bought, hacked, rigged and outright stolen just to decide a winner. PDP went asleep under GEJ when they took the elections for granted, while APC was working hard and did their homework with their candidate Buhari to win the presidential election.

Now I wonder which party needs to do their homework in order to win the next presidential election, as I hope the newly formed parties with their candidates have learnt from the past why one party failed and another won after many losses. I am not under any delusions as to the kind of leaders that are backing APC and PDP, as they are all birds of the same feathers. You can’t keep making promises to Nigerians who have survived years of monotonous leadership without improvement. We have survived bad leaders and we have survived a bad economy many times over. Nigeria, you will survive. 

Written by Ciaran Collins

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