Samuel Okey Mbonu; NALC CEO
On Saturday March 28, 2015, Nigerians will go to the polls to elect a new President. This election is historic, because from all indications, it will be more competitive than other previous elections in the history of Nigeria.
There are opportunities for political realignments that may change the political landscape of Nigeria forever, while opening up a theater that can accommodate any person from any region or ethnic group, to run for the highest office in the land, on their own merit; as it should be for a maturing democracy.
Therefore, those of us that have been conferred with the serious responsibilities of shaping public policy, in front of the world, must speak, according to the weightiness of this moment.
Nigerians must choose the next president wisely, and with soberness; because the stakes are huge. A wrong choice can hold this large country-Africa’s largest democracy, in limbo for the next four years. Being held down for four years through bad political leadership, will create economic stagnation through poor vision, poor policies, or incompetent implementation of policies.
An Even-handed Leader Must Emerge
Development across Nigeria should be even-handed, even though Governors and local governments should play a substantial roll in their regional development as well; without depending entirely on federal handouts, as it is today.
The next president must not see “his” people (whoever they are), as superior, or as more deserving than other regions of Nigeria. He must see his mandate as a mandate to advance the interest of the “entire” Nigeria, for the next four years.
Observing the Greatness of Nigeria from the Outside
As leaders of an all-inclusive, US-based pan-Nigerian organization, with deep reaches into significant policy-makers in the world outside Nigeria-especially the United States; we have seen Nigeria from a vantage mountaintop. We have seen the great potentials of the Nigerian people, amid their diverse culture. We have seen their energy, and the positive aspects of their character and integrity.
We have seen the cornucopia and the ingredients of a great nation, and a great economic power, in Africa and the world. Let us not decimate these potentials on petty issues of what part of Nigeria people come from; or on spiritual issues of religion-let every man or woman worship according to their faith, but let excellence reign in civil affairs.
On Gluttony and "Settlements"
The potential greatness of Nigeria should not be decimated on the altar of hate, mediocrity, and the foolishness of short-term gluttony. Today’s mansions, private jets, and SUV’s, which Nigerians and their leaders are often mesmerized by, are nothing; compared to the sight of entire cities of tarred and landscaped streets across Nigeria, which should cause Nigerians to vacation in their own country, instead of running to the West with their families, to escape the mess they created in Nigeria.
Nigerians should rather brace for a vibrant economy, clean streets, and safe neighborhoods; where young and old can go out at any hour. Communities should expect dependable energy 24/7; and affordable staple foodstuff. If you have not seen these, you have not seen greatness yet!
To the Elders of Nigeria
We at the Nigerian-American Leadership Council (NALC) expect the elders of Nigeria to act wisely and eschew the urge to sell-out their consciences on the altar of “settlements”. Many influential elders and elites in Nigeria, are already materially well-off. The elites should not think that amassing billions of naira, would make life any easier for them or their offspring; because money is ephemeral, and offspring who did not imbibe the discipline of wealth creation, will surely not be able to manage wealth.
To The Presidential Candidates
To President Goodluck Jonathan and Gen. Mohammed Buhari, we say you both have made your best cases, by your prior performances in public service. One of you will win, and it is ok to lose gallantly; at the end of the day, Nigeria must move on for the better of all.
To All Nigerians
Finally, everyone must gird their loins, and make this “an election of conscience”, not an election of “our turn”, or that my regional candidate must win, even where the candidate cannot perform creditably in the office of president. This is a new era, the era where every Nigerian must pull their weight together.
Additionally, we need to warn that there won’t be any resource handouts after the elections; neither based on ethnicity, nor based on religion; because whoever wins this election, will face dwindling petroleum revenues. Economic growth will come mostly through non-petroleum sector growth. Everyone must prepare to contribute to Nigeria's national growth.
Therefore, every state will have to develop according to their ingenuity, industry, ability to attract investments; and finally, the will of the people to hold their governments accountable in each state, amid a secure investment climate.
There are humongous opportunities in each Nigerian state, for growth in industries, ranging from Agriculture, to Tourism, to Commerce, to Service industries. Nigeria is about to emerge, let us be prepared to play our individual parts.
May God bless all the people of Nigeria.
Samuel Okey Mbonu
Nigerian-American Leadership Council (NALC)
1701 Pennsylvania Ave, Suite 300, NW Washington, DC 20006
Tel: 202 379-2848,