5.15pm WAT, March 31, 2015 will go down in history as one of the most historic moments of Nigeria’s democracy. At this moment, the incumbent president Goodluck Jonathan is reputed to have placed a call to the president-elect Muhammad Buhari congratulating him on his success at the poll. That call, concedes victory to the All Peoples Party (APC), thereby marking a watershed in Nigeria’s political history. APC has not only won the presidential elections, but majority seats in the Nigerian Senate. The incumbent Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has become the opposition party in Nigeria. This is a first for the Nigerian populace, no other generation of Nigerians have witnessed history as it is being made today.
There is jubilation across the land. For many of youths between the age of 18-35 years of age, there is little memory of Buhari’s military presidency, which ended in 1985, 30 years ago. The memory that provoked such widespread joy at the defeat of the incumbent president is the pictures of mass graves in the Nigerian Northeast, killed and maimed by Boko-Haram, a video of the Nigerian president at a party convention dancing 24 hours after a heinous attack in which over 2000 people were reportedly killed in Baga. This memory is fraught with rising unemployment rates, flagrant corruption and absence of social infrastructure across the country. Nigerians remembered a president that said ‘stealing is not corruption’ on national television. This is the memory that serves the present generation, it is the imagery on which today’s jubilation pivots.
Buhari is not expected to be the Nigerian messiah, I doubt if any Nigerian expect many miracles. The joy of today lies in the dizzying sweet taste of voting out an incumbent president, whose administration has been fraught with record-level fragilities across all sectors of national life. It is the realization that as Nigerians we do have a voice. Buhari, the APC and every political officeholder has been put on notice- that the Nigerian democracy is growing. If Buhari fails to deliver on campaign promises the permanent voters card ‘PVC” will indeed prove its’ permanence ‘by its use in voting out the incoming administration come 2019.
Indeed, Nigeria pivots. It is a new day for democracy in Nigeria, a new era of political participation and civic engagement.
Nigerians have found their democratic voice, and if you know anything about Nigerians, we won’t keep quiet! We won’t calm down! We are on the move!
We have made the Change, and Change must deliver the Nigeria of our hopes.