By Tunde Johnso, Abuja
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has described Nigeria as a complex yet incomplete work of art and a project as much on the drawing board.
Tinubu disclosed this in his speech during the Daily Trust Dialogue on Thursday entitled: ‘’Nigeria and the Challenges of 2019, This is Not a Game.’’
He said too many, Nigeria itself is a game, that is not wedded to the idea and ideals of Nigeria as a diverse and democratic but unified nation.
According to him, ‘’Approaching nearly 60 years of independence, Nigeria remains a complex yet incomplete work of art, a project as much on the drawing board as it is our daily reality.
‘’They see the nation not as object of loyalty but as the most available platform to realize their personal aims. In their minds, Nigeria is lesser than their ever expanding ambitions. Because they view Nigeria as a game, their politics is but a game within a game.
‘’Instead of being a joyous nation, we have become a cruel playground where the fears and concerns of the average person get exploited but their interests never get promoted.’’
He proffered that curing the ills that have plagued Nigeria as a nation will require many years of outstanding governance.
‘’As a progressive, I believe we must transform the nation by embarking on deep and impactful reforms, by creating more jobs, providing social policy initiatives and building an infrastructure befitting a leading nation. Social services must become a reality close at hand and not a vague dream lying in the distance.
‘’For example, we must reform the current fuel subsidy regime. At this stage it causes more problems than it cures. Bottlenecks of long fuel queues, erratic supply, resultant economic dislocations for consumers from lack of fuel and the corrupt practices of trade insiders undermine the good intentions upon which the subsidy is based.
‘’Currently, the subsidy does not benefit the average person. It sweetly profits the elites who manipulate the program to their own advantage. We need to allow market forces to more directly determine price. We need to open the now closed market to more suppliers. In this way, we may better harmonize supply and demand, where they do the most sustainable economic good,’’ he said.
He said it is imperative that Nigerians should not allow politics as usual to claim the 2019 election season away.
‘’We must insist on the principle that elections do not return to being games played by a well-heeled elite while the rest of the nation is left to struggle and starve.
‘’The people must resist all appeals to unthinking passions and old prejudices. We must adhere to what our conscience reveals as the best path to good governance for all,’’ he said.
The Jagaban of Borgu said while democratic politics inherently bear aspects of competition and contest, it must never be reduced to a mere game.
Tinubu said the objective of a game is served by the mere playing of it.
He said: ‘’Playing the game is an end in and of itself. However, this cannot be the case with politics and elections.
‘’Winning the political contest can never be an end in itself.
‘’The proper outcome of electoral victory is not for the victor to revel at his good fortune or his skill in electioneering. The inevitable sequel to an election is for the winner to assume the sobering burden of governance.
‘’Elections are not the climax of an epic book. They are merely the close of the book’s opening chapter.
‘’What comes afterwards – governance — is much more vital than politics, for governance determines how we shall live.’’
The APC national leader said people realized the political game had theretofore been played against rather than for them, adding that prejudiced notions of all kinds were cast aside and inducements that had enticed people before did not work that time. The people voted to better Nigeria.
He continued: ‘’Whether we shall inhabit the lush fields of growth and prosperity, or the thorny bog of despair.
‘’Whether we join in unison to overcome common social and economic afflictions or allow those afflictions to set us against each other in a ceaseless barrage of recrimination and animosity,
‘’Whether we stand for justice and fairness for every Nigerian or stand for nothing at all, the quality of governance will determine these important things.’’
He noted that politics determines governance and governance defines the life we lead and thus, politics can never be a game.
The Jagaban of Borgu said politics should be a link in that vital process that spins either toward progress or toward the accumulation of problems and their dire consequences.
‘’In this regard, 2015 was a watershed year. People jettisoned the political game as usual. They rejected worn political affiliations and superficial loyalties for a chance at substantive change.
‘’Yet we must acknowledge that cynical politics as a game had been played, so long that it has become institutionalized.
‘’The bad game permeates every institution of the political economy.
‘’Ridding the nation of this rot is not a game. It is tantamount to moral as well as political warfare. Thus, we must not play at it.
‘’We must fight desperately as if the fate of the nation depends on the outcome. For our fate actually does depend on it.
‘’The battle waged during one election cycle is not enough to win this war,’’ he said.