UPDATE: 2/28/2023 8:43pm CST | Asiwju Tinibu declared President Elect by INEC. For continued updates and live coverage from Nigerian News: Arise News | Channels TV
The emerald jewel of West Africa, The African Giant, Nigeria. A statement I heard years ago echoes in the forefront of my mind since Nigeria’s 2023 presidential elections commenced February 25th; “as goes Africa, goes all Africans,” meaning Black people globally. What’s troubling is the lack of understanding regarding this simple yet complex truth as a consensus in the collective Black consciousness. The forewarning should be clear to the highest ranking government officials of African nations and across the diaspora where many Africans find themselves surviving, or seemingly prospering in the upper echelons of western hegemony; the health of Africa has implications for us all. Of course it goes without saying all African nations need to be healthy, vibrant and powerful. Nevertheless, Nigeria distinctly plays a considerable role in the well-being and future of the African continent and beyond, whether one’s political ideology is Pan-African or not. If Nigeria fails, the effects could be ghastly for not only bordering nations, but the continent as a whole. We need Nigeria to succeed, periodT! Irrespective of ones personal thoughts negative, indifferent or positive about Nigerians, Nigeria has the largest population and economy on the continent. And for those in the diaspora, “like it or not you probably Nigerian!” (remix of a Boyz in the Hood quote)
Right now Nigeria is embroiled in a contentious election which has lost complete if not most of its legitimacy. The undisputed people’s champ and choice, presidential candidate Peter Obi of the Labour Party represents a new hope for revitalizing Nigeria’s future for youths and elders, across all ethnic groups, economic and social classes, respects traditional rulers and seeks to hold accountable all government officials to fashion one true Nigeria. His candidacy has generated a resurgence in political engagement from youths and many who were once subdued by apolitical attitudes credited to the leaderless leadership of the past. He has demonstrated his future potential presidency by his former leadership record as Governor of Anambra State. He uplifts women to rightful positions of power and expects nothing less than integrity from leadership. He reminds me of the hope and change Barack Obama impressed upon the United States during his candidacy.
Most disconcerting is how intentionally inept INEC, the Independent National Electoral Commission appears, and their inability to carryout a free and fair election for the deserving citizens of The Federal Republic of Nigeria as repeatedly promised and assured. Instead of upholding the promise of a safe and secure election, the people faced beatings, barrels of guns and violent acts of voter intimidation and suppression, ballots were stolen and burnt publicly by political thugs, and still Nigerians persisted to vote in record numbers. Many stood for hours on end, even after voting to secure the count, only to have their voices muzzled by those who refuse to find any redeeming ability in themselves to simply, bow out of corruptly held power and ill gotten gains. Sometimes I wish the super heroes of Wakanda were in-fact real and ready to act on behalf of the people in matters such as this.
In the United States, which is where I am, we Nigerians and pan-African politically minded supporters, agitate in whatever manner we know best. We pace and pray, remain glued to our handheld black mirrors for news and social media updates for the much desired outcome, the TRUTH and at this point JUSTICE. We hope for peace but patience is winding down as the theft continues before our eyes. We’re hedging our hopes that good will prevail and truth rises to the top in some unimaginable way in the form of Peter Obi president elect. It is our desperate plea for the stability and salvation of a nation formed by the hands of enemies and blessed by the desires of a people to overthrow the shackles of colonialism and actualize Nigeria into its highest future and akaraka (destiny).
We need a tremendous shift in our collective consciousness from geopolitical apathy to African centered political education and awareness. We need political agitation in the best measure to reach our desired ends, truth and justice in this election.
May we clearly understand when Africans/ Black people are apathetic to the marginalization, oppression or just grievances of “other” African/ Black people we deem outside of our group,, we all suffer. The effects may take longer to feel, however we are all impacted.
When the ground shakes, where are you going to go?Dr. Uwa Onyioha Osimiri