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By Ussiju Medaner

Wednesday Column, 4th, October, 2023.

This week features some events worthy of my time and of critical importance to Nigeria with regard to its moving forward from where it has been over time.

Firstly, the extraordinary and effusive efforts to uncover the content of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s academic records from the Chicago State University (CSU) by the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, and the final release of the same to Atiku’s lawyer.

Secondly, October 1st has come, and the 63rd independence anniversary of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I have therefore decided to dwell on both critical issues as I pen down my work for today.

It is yet another October 1st; the independence celebration of the Nigerian Republic. I have been around to witness this day for a while and in the past few years I have had to pen down my frustrations at the continuous underdevelopment of the country amid abundant resources and capacity for competitive growth and development. I have always been pessimistic about the prospect of Nigeria moving forward, because, to be frank, what I saw, all the way from the era before 1999 and after PDP took over the administration of the Fourth Republic since the year 1999 were leaderships and politicians prioritising personal ambitions and riches while undermining the nation’s capacity to achieve sustainable growth and development with their decades-long inferior policies and maladministration. The undeniable result has been a nation and people in a mire of abject dilapidations on many fronts.

I have seen huge collapses of industries, infrastructural and social development agendas beyond description; and I have witnessed my countrymen and women groaning under the heavy yoke of maladministration and the accompanying hardships and poverty.

But this year, I have reasons to change my view and perspective on the prospect of growth in Nigeria.

Not because all is uhuru yet for the country;of course not, as we still struggle with mammoth insecurity and its consequences despite huge investments including the renewed political will of the current Administration; and we are having more than a fair share of the global economic meltdown and inflation continues to bite harder on our people.

Yet these would not diminish the optimism I have begun to have that Nigeria is now on the path to becoming what it is capable of becoming. I have begun to see genuine commitments to resurrect the nation’s economic capacity.

I wrote some weeks ago at the onset of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu Administration, that “All great beginnings start in the dark, when the moon greets you to a new day at midnight,” a quote from Shannon L. Alder; and that “Today is the first day of the next phase of our national life.” Also, “Never underestimate the power you have to take your life in a new direction.” “It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, and it’s a new beginning for me, for you and us.

Indeed a new dawn for Nigeria and Nigerians.”

I asked, would Tinubu bring to our table the unity, healing, and hope we desperately desire?

The hope was that the painful history of our recent experiences would be rewritten to bring light and smiles to our faces and give life to the power that would recreate the Nigerian dream and ideas.

Our nation and our people have gone through so much.

Our blood has been spilled on our streets like that of fowls;our bones broken daily for no crime we committed.

Our clinics and hospitals are barely adequate and barely save us from the hands of sicknesses and imminent deaths.

Our school-age children roam the streets when they are supposed to be saying “present ma/sir” to their tutors in schools. Because the schools are under locks and keys for months without anyone blinking eyes.

We live and sleep more in darkness than with light, because all we get are promises that are never fulfilled; our God-given petroleum has become a commodity we cannot afford any longer.

We are essentially in peril of the few among us, who are bent on taking advantage of us and our commonwealth for their personal use.

It is a new dawn.

We made it this far.

We weathered the storms as we witnessed a nation that isn’t broken but simply unfinished.

Now,let’s take it up from here; the task of nation rebuilding.

Tinubu in the front, you and I at the back, one and all of us;and our nation is rebuilt.

In the words of the President, “We must work harder at bringing these noble documents to life by strengthening the bonds of economic collaboration, social cohesion, and cultural understanding.
Let us develop a shared sense of fairness and equity.”

Nigerians, this is our part in this new beginning, we must altogether do our parts to end the internal wars tearing us apart and robbing us of real growth and development.

We must from all regions and at all corners,lay down our arms so we can reach out to one another.

The hope we see, the hope we dream of, may be challenging,but together, we can make it live, and together, we can find light in this never-ending darkness.

These lines that I put down sometime in May this year remind me of the situation of events and the realities of the Nigeria state as at the time the current Administration came on board;and has become the premises upon which I judge the president and his cabinet for addressing the lingering woes of the country.

Except for some magic or miracle, I do not expect to see the radical changes soon enough, but I want to see radical policies that point to all desired changes and the manifestations of the promises made in the President’s manifesto; that much I am seeing and I believe every sensible Nigerian is also seeing.

It may appear now that they are struggling for survival premised on the present government’s policies, but the truth be told, these are unavoidable phases of the change we so desire as a people and a nation.

Gradually and without relenting we will get there,God helps us.

This is a period of deep thinking and retrospection for us as citizens of Nigeria.

For the very first time, we observed an independence anniversary without the usual stately dignitaries-filled celebration.

That is a message for us all that our nation is down and in need of all our efforts to regain its standing among the committee of nations.

While I cannot but wish Nigeria and all Nigerians a happy independent celebration, I will subtly wish to pass the message that Nigeria needs us all.

And then to the Atiku fixation and worthless biting around the authenticity of the President’s university records from Chicago State University.

It is both disturbing and humiliating that a man of Atiku’s standing, with all his claims to intelligence and exposure would take the game of sentimental politicking this far.

How possible can it be that the President did not graduate from the university as he claimed, yet he successfully got employed in all the high-standing American organisations where he had worked and then Mobil Petroleum, of all places?

Yes,they said there could be typographical errors respecting his sex/gender information on his academic record, agreed, and a possibility in all climes;but without conceding, that is never enough grounds to disclaim a document.

But the documents so far released have rendered propaganda lies because it was conspicuously written “Male” on the right side of the document.

Long before now, and consistently,a close friend of Atiku, Reno Omokri, has repeatedly told him and all that care to listen that Tinubu graduated from the Chicago State University because he went there footing the bills to ask pertinent questions to verify the true position of Tinubu’s studentship.

Atiku Abubakar could have done this, all the fraudulent print and broadcast journalists that prefer jumping on the unhinged emotion of the public and the propagation of falsehoods to both satisfy their politically biased affiliations and trend with the controversy,could as well have done it; but they chose the disgraceful path.

There are lessons in this episode for Nigerians.

We cannot continue to follow and trust the words of these men who are sentimentally fixated on unhinged selfishness by all means possible.

The ARISE television presenter Rufai Osenis, the Hundeyins, the Atiku Abubakar, and the Peter Obis, who are supposed to be role models have all abused the trust and confidence of many a citizen in the nation Nigeria because of the lies and propaganda they shamelessly propagate.

According to the mischief makers,it was a female Tinubu who applied to CSU,yet the application and admission letters respectively stated a male and the Tinubu who wrote the entrance examination was a male.

Do these people assume the university was daft not to have detected the difference, that is,two personalities if it exists?

Even if there were typographical errors, and just as we have already known,the president attended and graduated from the university except for the fact that the Obidient mob would most definitely refuse to accept the truth no matter how glaring.

This would be the end of the argument about and against the President’s university certificate. Case closed.

I really feel at a loss what exactly I should say to Atiku Abubakar and his cronies in the media who became too fixated on politics and their loss in the 2023 presidential election to the point of making a mockery of the entire nation in pursuing an unproductive gyration.

Now,that they have received the documents, they have confirmed the President applied to, got admitted, and graduated from the Chicago State University; they have also gone ahead to, on behalf of all Nigerians, confirm the authenticity of the age of the President.

What next?

Would Atiku Abubakar and his cronies in the media do the honourable thing which is to tender an apology to the president and Nigerians for their misleading claims against the President and the disgrace they brought upon the nation all along?

Would Peter Obi do the same; would he tell his mob followers they are wrong now as they have always been wrong?

And would Nigeria be allowed to have peace now?

Would they allow a free flow of governance without all the undue distractions they represent and present?

It is an unfortunate reality that we have built a system where pity and sympathy prevail against merit.

A system where we line up behind personalities with mediocre antecedents while mocking and doing everything possible to bring down high achievers because we are sentimentally attached to the failures we follow.

It is unexplainable how we would compare Bola Ahmed Tinubu with Peter Obi or an Atiku to the point of preferring any of them to him as Nigeria’s president.

To stay relevant, Atiku Abubakar started the drama, Peter Obi joined the trial and their supporters cheered as the name of the country was temporarily brought to the mud globally.


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