Dear Nigerians, over the past few years, it’s been a roller coaster of emotions, thoughts, prayers and so much more than words can describe. Yet it was a lesson in patience, determination and the growth of our indomitable spirit. Was it easy? Of course not! Did it have its challenges? Definitely! But did we survive? YES!
Now as we step into the new era of another dispensation, all I can say is CONGRATULATIONS! YOU MADE IT. We as proud citizens have watched the leadership marathon unfold via all the media channels both home and abroad. We have had our drinks and suyas (popular delicious grilled meat sold on the streets mostly at night because suya tastes better at night…) discussing who our next leaders will be, what it would be like, or what to expect and who to expect.
I must say that it has been just as thrilling as watching a sporting match with high stake bets, because everyone had someone they wanted to win or had someone they were willing to place their faith in whether they were known or not. Nigerians have an uncanny way of believing in one’s ability to rise above the ranks despite the obstacles. We went through the highs and lows of waiting for the inauguration day to come and it finally came.
Congratulations to all Nigerians and to all the incoming leaders. Your hard work, diligence and grit have paid off. Nights of not sleeping, endless meetings, coordination and planning towards the well being of your people and nation as a whole has finally yielded fruit. You and your team must be proud of all you have achieved so far and all you hope to achieve in the future because NOW YOUR WORK BEGINS. All you did in the past to secure your positions today were warm ups, like athletes getting ready for major meets against formidable rivals.
Over the years, Nigerians have faced the enduring task of fighting over leadership, dealing with the fallouts of unfortunate negative press concerning who are for the people, by the people…all with the mentality of regardless we will survive (I already wrote a whole article explaining this meaning…reading it would be definitely good for you) and nothing more.
Now that the clamour for the next set of leaders is finally over, now that the arguments, debates and contest for power has come to a blissful close and wondrous beginning, I would like to humbly tell the leaders that our people are not asking for much. It is renowned that Nigerians are one of those people in the world who smile through the pain, soldier on through the rain and possibly throw parties in the middle of hurricanes and twisters dancing gweta (traditional Ghanaian dance) with thunder and brimstones.
One thing, dear leaders, you must understand is that your people do this not because they are negligent or nonchalant over the dire and mire situations they may find themselves in, but because all they supposedly have is their undeterred faith that someday, somehow this too shall pass. What this means is that your duties towards your people must never be questioned because of their outstanding faith and determination to embrace a better nation for today, tomorrow and the future!
You as our newly elected hopefuls must be so diligent and consistently efficient in your duties towards your people…because, its not just about us and what we must project to the world, but about the legacy, your positive legacy we want talked about for years to come as positive lessons, change and structure for others to emulate as a show of good governance, because true leadership makes the people its priority above all else.
For years you, our dear leaders, have shown us the essence of embracing our youth while learning from our elders. I remember when you were all much younger and bustling, you told us (and still tell us) each day how you wanted/want more for the people, your people. You stood valiantly in protests alongside the people (now you will continue to stand even more valiantly in corridors of power), you echoed your voices of discomfort, persuading then leaders to do more, be more and say more. You walked under the sun with the people in support of good governance, national sustainability and so much more that you were not only applauded by the people, but then given leadership roles by the people.
Now this mantle has been given because you are one of us, you are representatives of us, of our children (born and unborn), you are representatives of a land rich in people and resources, our brothers, uncles, aunties, mothers, fathers, sisters…YOU ARE US, and in this we believe that you can take Nigeria further than it has been in years.
Now back to all the happiness of embracing you as our leaders and what we hope to expect from your time in power. These are my thoughts, the thoughts of your people, yet not limited to how much more we know you can ensure Nigeria benefits in the coming years:
- A listening ear; your people would like to be listened to more. By holding open conversations rather that than closed door meetings, more transparency than opaque situations, more accountability, more credibility and most importantly, more respect for all Nigeria’s divergent resources! Respect open conversations with the people, letting them know the basics, even if it’s just the where, when, why, how and whose.
- Basic amenities as a standard right and not that of luxury, I mean light, water, affordable food, affordable government housing plans, basic welfare for the unemployed, social security and so much more basic basics of any nation. It would be nice not to panic every time we see a bill.
- More inclusion and acceptance of women as leaders (I believe this speaks for itself)
- Youth inclusion within the corridors of power and without being worried about their ages or type of generation, for we all know with time and tests very well proven that the youth are not lazy, they just lack opportunities. This is a winning combination we as Nigerians need; The wisdom of the elders and the flexibility of the youth.
- Share the wealth. The people definitely need the government’s assistance in providing national and social welfare packages that not only help with issues of unemployment, but provide certain amenities that can help not just individuals but families as well, sometimes the little things go beyond cash in hand.
- Supporting divergent avenues of the sporting world and promoting it. I know football is our national sport but what about the hundreds of sport avenues that we are clearly missing out on? Nigerians can be at the heart of the limelight, supported by the government. This will definitely be a plus not just for the national history books but the international as well, where athletes stand proudly and in awe of their home grown and national support. We need this!
- Supporting the efforts of SMEs. This is about to be the heart of the revolution of the Nigerian economy moving forward. Respect the hustle of SMEs because let’s be honest, without SMEs constantly putting their best foot forward, the amount of crime and pillaging would be madness. Affordable and open channels of purchase, registration, welfare should be considered as a way of government assistance and support for its bustling economic potentials.
- Effective use of natural resources for the growth of the people as well as communities by partnering with resourceful allies who are willing to not just to take from the land but give back as well by ensuring the people are provided for in host communities. This is not stealing off the land but a beneficial symbiotic relationship that will ensure you become leaders again and your legacy is felt positively long after you are gone.
- Restructuring of security operators/personnel and offices. We understand that no nation is perfect, yet safe and assured security is a must. By looking into issues of concern deeply and transparently, this will definitely renew the people’s faith in our government and the choices made for our protection. There needs to be a renewed sense of being and trust between the people and our security forces, provide basic amenities for them, pay their salaries, provide proper safety gear and uniforms, provide conducive training, as well as proper screening.
Dear Leaders, we are not asking for much because as much as the people may not say it or truly understand it, some do understand that heavy is the head that wears the crown but fair is, he/her that knows they are wearing the crown for the people. I hope you read this heartfelt letter with an open mind and sense of pride, looking at how far you have come and how much faith is being placed in/on you. We are trusting our children’s lives with your ability to rule and change things for the better. I know the journey is not expected to be easy but we believe that YOU can make it worthwhile…your people are with you. You’ve got this. Well done, congratulations and talk to you soon.