Bode George: We must respect people’s will in 2019

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Just a few days ago, our nation celebrated the 58th anniversary of her independence and self-rule with striking glamour and pageantry.

Yes, It has been a journey full of winding turns, full of tumultuous moments and incredible challenges. We had soared in high hopes and sometimes crashed in the depths of despair.

We had our great successes. We had our moments of worthy celebrations and junctions of deep, reflective sobering portraits.

It is true that our beginning was full of shining vistas and brightening passages. We were filled with great promises of conquest and incredible limitless vision to seize the world with our talents, to grapple with fate with our boisterous energy and with our collective entrepreneurial determination.

We had men and women of great skills that spanned all possibilities of human endeavors. In the fields of science, in the latitude of arts and commerce, we had incredible pool of people that could contest with anyone, anywhere in the world.

We were united regardless of tribe and tongue. We were strengthened by a patriotic bond to challenge the British alien rule, mustered by our native African brotherhood.

We were indifferent to ethnic differences, sworn to work together to build the necessary ingredients of a great, united nation.

Our founding fathers built bridges that traversed the limiting boundaries of cultural heritage. They cultivated the plural advantages of geography and traditional linkages to create diverse economies that spawned the groundnut pyramids of the North, the sprawling cocoa industry of the West and the palm oil entrepreneurial vastness of the East.

Each region was swollen in huge nativity of its wealth; contented, proud of its own attainments, determined and firm in the pursuit of its own excellence.

Then partisan envy, greed and prejudicial leadership surfaced, fracturing the brotherhood of old, destroying the long built trust and amity, triggering violence, rupturing the peace that once held us together, invariably provoking a murderous civil war that claimed millions of our compatriots.

We must never stray along this destructive path again. We must refrain from any recourse that would shatter our collective commitment to enhance the development and the growth of our nation.

We must cultivate a leadership predicated on selflessness, truth and the protection of our collective fortunes. We must disregard and reject the new politics of brigandage, the narrow pursuits of vindictive partisan fury presently sweeping across our nation.

But this can only be done in an atmosphere where fairness, justice, truth and sincerity of purpose prevail. This can only be established when we put the greater good of our nation far beyond the limiting confines of self aggrandizement.

Alas, I am not too positive about our present pursuits. The persisting horizon looks awful, dark and grim.

Our democracy which has been sustained for almost 20 years is now wobbly, unsteady, fraught with all kinds of aberrations. Little tin pot men playing godfatherism are springing up everywhere, planting their agents across the nation.

Thus, the very fundamental core of liberty is being dismantled.

The First Principle of all enlightened democracy is the preservation and the necessary triumph of the will of the people. Yes, the minority must have their voices heard but the will of the majority must always be the guiding balance of liberty.

We are derailing from this binding logic. Leaders are now subverting the will of the people through all kinds of anomalies, forging ballot results, inciting violence, prostituting the sacredness of the polling booths through vote buying and outright sabotaging of the electoral codes.

The whole world is now looking at us with shock and unbelievability, wondering why are we destroying the beauty of the very core of democracy.

The condemnable charade at Ekiti and Osun still rankles the civilized minds. In both cases, PDP was clearly rigged out.

The Osun incident was even more beguiling and unbelievable. It was simply daylight robbery ! There is no other way to put it !

That was an unspeakable demonstration of undisguised and reckless collusion between a supposedly unbiased umpire with the ruling party against the opposition.

This kind of untidy behavior hardly elevates our democracy. It diminishes us all. We cannot afford to continue along this path of ruination.

Democracy is degraded when the sovereignty of the people is disregarded in the selfish interest to entrench personal whims and caprices. At the end of the day, everyone becomes a victim of the tyranny of a vain, greedy minority.

But this nation can do better. Let us rebuild our moral ethos. Let us recommit ourselves to the core integrity of the Athenian Democracy where the popular will reigns supreme over the narrow interest of the few.

This is the path and the vision we must reconnect with as we march ahead towards the very crucial 2019 general elections.

It is how we handle the coming elections that will invariably decide the future of our nation and our collective destiny. I pray that we commit ourselves towards a more redeeming and enlightening national vision.

This is how nations grow and prosper. This is how nations are enhanced in growth and superlative development.

When there is fairness and justice, when the system is built upon an unbiased solid ground, the hope and promise of a greater and more promising society is ensured . May the good Lord guide us right this time around.

*Chief Olabode George
Atona Odua of Yorubaland
Friday October 5, 2018
Lugard, Ikoyi, Lagos

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