By A.L Utsaha
1. Dear Compatriots, today presents another opportunity for elected leaders all over the country to present their accounts of stewardship to the people. In few places, while doing so, they will be pointing at the things they may have done – which the people can attest to – as well as indicating the direction they intend to follow, towards achieving more by the next accouting period. In others however, it will be a case of fairytales of what COULD, WOULD or SHOULD have been done if ALL THINGS WERE EQUAL. Some will even go blaming those who were before them – in a bid to explain away and disguise their glaring failures.
2. In many of the failed cases, a review of the speeches of hope and aspiration, reeled out exactly 3 years ago on assumption of office, will leave you wondering if they were under duress to make those speeches back then or if they never meant any of the things they said then and by extension, now as well.
3. These persistent failed (failing) promises have made a lot more people to give up on the possibility of our people ever getting it right again. This is usually expressed in, but not restricted to:
(a) Voter Apathy during elections;
(b) Citizen indifference to government policy and actions;
(c) Outright extortion and wilful submission of the masses;
(d) Complacency of the citizens towards inhumane treatment by the government;
(e) Identification and isolation of the few who are bold to stand up against these obvious ills as the enemies of the state and attempting to treat them with disdain and persecution;
(f) Proliferation of desperate young people who in a bid to survive easily, surrender their faculties to calculated abuse by the leaders;
(g) Dwindling fortunes for the State with a divergent upward improvement for those piloting state affairs and their supporting staTeholders.
4. These further compound the already established apathy WHICH UNFORTUNATELY SUSTAINS THESE FAILED LEADERS IN THEIR POSITIONS OF PUBLIC TRUST. A state of hopelessness looms; a perpetual state of anticipation is sustained. We only hear of the good old days and as time passes on, things only get worse – which explains our current situation.
5. Experience however shows that that this is the peak of complacency of the leadership and ultimately the right time to move against the establishment to reverse our negative tide. This was evident in the Arab spring, the chanced change in 2015, the French revolution of the 18th century, the final collapse of Apartheid in South Africa and signing of the Magna Carta in 1215 among others. With the benefit of hindsight, we too can plan and execute a lawful and acceptable people’s revolution, with the ballot AND WE WILL WIN FOR OUR COMMON AND COLLECTIVE GOOD.
This is the time to try one last time, to cast the net ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE BOAT, not to give in because we fished all night but caught nothing. To try something different – even if only to prove to ourselves that we really did all we could and should have done. This is the time to add GOOD WORKS to OUR FAITH and obtain MIRACLES.
6. On that note, I invite you not to give in as our collective enemies so earnestly desire, but to do the following just one more time.
(a) Endeavour to register and obtain your permanent voters card to empower you to be able determine who leads you;
(b) Where practicable – and I believe it is with many of us – we should aspire and become members of political parties and movements. This is very important because the ordinary voter with his PVC can only validate the choices of respective political parties; whereas membership of a political party affords you the opportunity to determine who will eventually become your party’s flag bearer.
(c) Mobilize and encourage more people to register and take active participation in politics and political issues.
The words of Charles de Gaulle, later re-echoed by John F. Kennedy, come in very handy thus; ‘Politics is too important to be left to the politicians.’
7. Finally, experience has shown that many times, the smallest step in the RIGHT direction, ends up being the biggest step of our lives. May this step mark beginning of the reversal of the negative tides we have experienced since the commencement of our CIVILIAN RULE which others would want us to believe has any semblance of a DEMOCRACY.
God bless us all as we look forward to a democracy that would be in character like the definition given by the Greeks of old, which will make our BENUE STATE greater than ever before!
Arc. Aondover Lawrence (AL) Utsaha (mnia; mgain; mpmi; ftpd; cem)
SDP Governorship Candidate, Benue State 2019.