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‘Operation double PVC’

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The Nigerian military and the other security-related services have been undertaking numerous physical exercises around the country with a view to protecting the citizenry. Those exercises come with thought-provoking names, of which notable ones include, “Operation Python Dance;” “Operation Crocodile Smile;” etc. Hmm, curious coinages; I’m sure many would impulsively reflect. (The python mercilessly strangulates, it does not dance; while the crocodile brutally crushes with its giant jaws, it never smiles). I’m also sure a majority of Nigerians would agree that all the institutions and officials charged with the responsibility to protect lives and property within Nigeria have, in the previous couple of years, given, and have continued to give their best endeavours to that task. But in spite of those years of endeavours and lavish expenditures in billions of United States dollars towards national security, verifiable studies by both local and international bodies suggest that Nigeria has never been more challenged on security since her independence than in recent times.

And, going by reported statistics, Nigeria conservatively loses about 30 of her nationals, and hundreds of others rendered homeless weekly!!! These compare well with war time statistics. Therefore, whether or not the Federal Government so declares, the Nigerian state is already in a state of emergency. Indeed, the fact that the present collective leadership has failed to declare a state of emergency on security in the face of these alarming statistics, is all the evidence Nigerians need to be persuaded that they should no longer look up to that leadership. This is inevitable since those military operations have only succeeded in strangulating economic activities and in crushing thousands of lives respectively at the grassroots.

Therefore, Nigerians must now look to another kind of operation to restore life to normalcy in their country. That type of operation must wholly be driven by the civil society, and should be shorn of guns, armoured personnel carriers and bombs, yet its essential arsenal is deemed to be more lethal than the dreaded nuclear bomb. The name of this arsenal is simply called “Conscience”; and the field of its effective deployment is known as “Election 2019.” No patriotic Nigerian would deny that the effective solutions to the myriad of problems threatening the Nigerian state are located in massive conscientious voting in 2019.

Not only is it necessary for Nigerians to troop out in their numbers to obtain their Permanent Voters Card (PVC), but this should be stressed, they should also “Please Vote Conscientiously – PVC,” setting aside parochial, tribal and religious interests. Dub it “Operation Double PVC,” if you please. Operation Double PVC is a short-hand for electing square pegs into square holes; it is the one physical exercise the Nigerian state must undertake if she must come into her own in the comity of nations.

It is fitting to now hear traditional rulers, religious leaders, youth leaders, women leaders, academics, civil liberties and sundry bodies vigorously urging the Nigerian electorate to diligently pursue its civic duty by obtaining the PVC in readiness for the 2019 election. This is all to the good of Nigeria. But it is the end to which the PVC is put that is crucial. This needs to be examined closely for reasons that are fairly known. Most of the commissioned investigations on elections challenges in Nigeria have come back with the verdict that the potential voters look to their vote as a meal ticket or a tradable commodity. In this scenario, only the candidates who offer the highest bid get elected. Thus, more often than not, the Nigerian voters vote against their conscience for a mess of pottage. This has been the great tragedy of Nigeria’s democracy. Contrary to general perception, the problem of Nigeria is not leadership, per se, rather the problem resides in the electorate because it is the electorate that chooses the leadership. Hence the maxim, “a people get the leadership it deserves”. If the Nigerian electorate decides for once to break with its counter-productive tradition of voting against its conscience, I’m prepared to wager a bet that the fortunes of Nigeria would change for good, sooner than later.

Needless restating here that entrenched traditions die hard, but it’s fair to assume that both the compelling reasons to save itself of avoidable economic hardships and resume the economic prosperity of the continental power would convince the Nigerian voting public to make the necessary sacrifices for the collective good of country. This we must do, if only for the perceived responsibility Nigeria owes the black race. Nature didn’t make Nigeria the most populous black nation on the planet by chance. It is also not a happenstance that Nigeria ranks amongst the most endowed countries in the world. The late great South African leader, Nelson Mandela, had only stated the obvious when he said decades ago that the rest of the black race was waiting for Nigeria to redeem the pride of the black man. Also, the maverick Libyan leader, late Muammar Gaddafi, had echoed this fact, albeit not in so many words, when he said to Nigeria’s Second republic president, Alhaji Shehu Shagari in a private conference that, “there are many big for nothing countries in Africa…” It was a masterstroke in diplomatic-speak.

Much in a manner reminiscent of China in the 20th century, Nigeria is a slumbering economic giant. If she dares to rouse herself, she probably would be neck-and-neck with the world’s leading economies. But decades of visionless and incompetent leaderships have thus far been her bane. Something in the Nigerian present body language appears to yearn for an urgent shift of paradigm. 2019 presents a unique opportunity for that all-important shift. But it is also crucial to bear in mind that the responsibility to bring about that paradigm change rests squarely on the youth. Why? History provides the answer – no change in all of human evolution has been heralded by a prevailing establishment. Isaac Newton, author of the universal laws of motion, had demonstrated that every body would eternally continue in its state unless actuated by an impactful force from without. In other words, Nigeria’s state of rottenness would persist ad infinitum if her most vibrant segment (the youth) fails to rail against that rottenness. Regrettably, the present Nigerian youth has failed so far in that historical calling by allowing itself to be compromised through filthy lucre, tribe and religion.

Such compromise is implicit in the recent presidential allegation that the Nigerian youths are a lazy lot who demands to be given everything on a platter, because their country is petroleum producing. Of course this is a gratuitous insult on the hard-working and international awards winning Nigerian youths. It is, therefore, impossible to think of a greater stimulus for the Nigerian youths to make an enduring impact on their country’s destiny, and ipso facto, their own destiny. The fast approaching 2019 election provides a veritable platform for them to make that impact, provided the youths allow themselves to be guided by the dictates of “Operation Double PVC.” (In science, PVC is an abbreviation for Polyvinyl Chloride, a plastic polymer extensively used for protection against decays, electric current leaks, etc) See? Even science corroborates the argument that the PVC holds the ace to Nigeria’s liberation from the ongoing rottenness, provided it is conscientiously deployed.
• Nkemdiche is an engineering consultant.


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