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A Nigerian hero on the horizon?

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By Wisdom Mgbebuihe

The campaign to secure the support of delegates to the presidential primary of the All Progressive Congress (APC) showed the world the stuff the aspirants are made of. While some of them displayed elements of loyalty, candour, bravery, forthrightness, gratitude, respect, and selflessness; some others displayed surreptitiousness, untrustworthiness, lack of candour, cowardice, shiftiness, ingratitude, disrespect, crookedness and selfishness.

Heracles, also known as Hercules, was to spend eternity on Mount Olympus, immortal and among the rest of the gods. However, when he came to town, the inhabitants of different cities had their fears put to rest. He carried out tasks that with great endurance, which involved dealing with those things that had the people living in fear. The people of the cities as well as continued generations following considered Heracles a hero.

Heroes are important because they give society good examples of morals, values, honesty, courage, selflessness, and other positive attributes that are lacking in present day society. Each minute of every day, the morality of our country seems to be reducing. Heroes show us all that there are still good people. In the words of Gerard Way, “heroes are ordinary people who make themselves extraordinary”. Many people are considered heroes in our world. These are people who rescue people from life-threatening situations. Heroes are needed in today’s society because not everyone has what it takes.

That Nigeria is in need of heroes is to state the obvious. Every society becomes great by reason of encounters and interventions through genuine heroes. The hopes of the majority of the masses of our people who expected that, as President Muhammadu Buhari promised, the APC would present a presidential candidate who “would give the Nigerian masses a sense of victory and confidence even before the elections” may have been dashed. However, in the eyes of many Nigerians Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has emerged a hero.

For a start, he carried out his campaign with decorum and focussed on the issues, marshalling out practical solutions to the Nigerian conundrum. Any right-thinking person could clearly see that the solutions were workable. He also demonstrated candour and courage in the face of false and illogical accusations of betrayal by persons who do not realise that public service is not a Mafiosi. He did not insult anyone or even bother to return insults or play dirty.

The aspirant carried himself with the dignity and candour expected of someone who intends to be a president with honour. His engagement with party delegates set a new trajectory for the politics of the future in our nation. I do believe that the delegates who allowed undue influences to force them to vote against their conscience and convictions hold him in high regard. This is a man one would be proud to say is your president, as against some others who only railed at personalities and problems without pointing out clear directions in solving the challenges of our society.

Almost everyone agrees that the speech Osinbajo gave at the convention remains one of the most inspiring in recent times. In decent democracy where most vote their convictions, that speech alone was enough to move delegates to vote in line with the national interest – voting a man without baggage that was poised to hit the ground running from day one.

As the results came Osinbajo’s poise and mien stood him out. He endured a loss that was a result of undue influence of money without ruffling a feather. He displayed the attitude of a good sportsman who, though seeing things as they were, decided to respect the decision of the referee in line with good sportsmanship. A good sportsman knows there is always another day.

Osinbajo ran an outstanding and respectable campaign that mobilised Nigerians and won the hearts of many, and his immediate reaction when he was said to have lost speaks volumes. Just after the campaign, a movement is set to begin that yet demonstrates his love of country, patriotism and desire for a better Nigeria that works for all especially the masses. At a meeting with supporters just after the elections, he spoke to a crowd of his supporters in Abuja saying, “We went to the convention, and the results showed us clearly that we lost, but it is only a battle, it is not the war. There are battles ahead, but we will win the war for a new Nigeria. I have no doubt in my mind that we will win that war for a new Nigeria. That is why our movement for a new Nigeria must remain strong and firm. And we will do everything to keep our movement strong and solid”.’

He added: “I am committed and will remain committed to that dream (of a new Nigeria), for as long as you are willing and recognise that we have not yet written the story of this country, we have not yet completed the story of this country. As a matter of fact, the story has just begun, this movement has just started. A new Nigeria has only just started, and everywhere across this land, it will be clear to all that a new Nigeria has been born. Once the genie comes out of the bottle, you cannot put it back. The word has been spoken; it cannot be taken back: it is time for a New Nigeria”.

A new dawn is obviously about to begin. Many Osinbajos – decent, patriotic, committed, outstanding and visionary individuals – will be birthed in the days, months and years ahead, who will form a critical mass that will eventually build the Nigeria of our dreams by participating in our nation’s political processes to change the story of Nigeria from a third world nation to a developed country.  Osinbajo’s heroism will become obvious even across Africa and the rest of the world.

I do believe that Osinbajo’s heroic vision of a New Nigeria will certainly come to pass. God loves Nigeria.

Wisdom Mgbebuihe, a consultant writes from Owerri

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