Check Out Banky W’s Open Letter, Talks About President Elect Buhari, Nigeria’s Future, The Just Concluded Elections & So Much More

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Seems like everyone has an open letter or message to pass across. Well there’s no denying this is a monumental moment for Nigeria. So what exactly did Mr. Banky Wellington have to say…

The morning after..
It has been quite an interesting time in our Nation’s History. Exhilarating for
some, disappointing for others… but interesting nonetheless. The
announcement of the 2015 Election results has dominated every news
medium, traditional and social media platform in the last few days.
Alongside most Nigerians worldwide, I was glued to my television
throughout the process as INEC members slowly read out each result from
each state, and then as the Chairman Mr Jega gave the final results and
declared the winner.
Now that the dust has settled a little, it’s time to share some of my random
thoughts on what has just happened, and celebrate/highlight some of the key
factors.

Here’s to the President-elect, General Muhammudu Buhari. Congratulations Sir on
your victory. Yours is a lesson of perseverance. After contesting and failing in
2003, 2007 and 2011, some would have understandably thrown in the towel on
this particular goal. But it’s never failure until you give up, give in and quit trying.
There’s a lesson for all of us in this. When you get knocked down, you get back
up, dust yourself off, re-strategize, and try again. That’s precisely what he did,
and now he’s the President-Elect. He’s got a tough job ahead of him…the
economy is coming upon harsh times; oil prices have crashed and foreign
reserves have been depleted. The Unemployment rate and poverty index in
Nigeria is at an all time high. General Buhari’s administration have their work cut-
out for them, and here’s hoping they hit the ground running. It’s time to cut the
excesses of times past… time to focus on what’s truly important to the Nigerian
people, and make significant strides in the right direction. Everything needs
improvement. Security, Employment, Power, Education… you name it. Change is
what we voted for, and change they must deliver.

Here’s to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. Many of us have been vocal critics
of the present administration over the past couple of years… but you’ve left a
legacy of conducting/overseeing/allowing two free & fair elections to hold in
Nigeria. That’s more than any other President can say in our Nation’s history.
You’ve also been gracious in defeat, and your move to quickly congratulate the
opposition has probably helped ease the atmosphere in these tense times. That
these elections have been MOSTLY violence-free, is no small feat. Your position,
that neither you nor any politician’s ambition, is worth the blood of any Nigerian,
is noble, applaudable, and appreciated. If you’re going to go out, this is the way
to do it.. with your head held high and your dignity intact.

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Here’s to Chairman of INEC, Professor Attahiru Muhammudu Jega. You’ve
overseen such an intricate, tense, political process and come out mostly spotless.
In recent times your job has probably been the most powerful and the most
stressful in Nigeria, and yet you handled your affairs as cool as the other side of
the pillow. Never once losing your temper, never once succumbing to pressure or
drama, never once letting people see you sweat. Your attitude, manner, and
competence in dealing with highly sensitive tasks and times, is one that is
exemplary to all Nigerians. This is how to become a living legend. Our hope,
however, is that INEC will improve upon this exercise and learn some very
necessary lessons. The process to collate, calculate and announce results took
entirely too long. It’s 2015… we can’t at this point, be that adverse to the use of
excel sheets and calculators. Too much time passed between when votes were
cast and when the results were announced that could be interpreted as an avenue
for rigging to occur. The situation and allegations in States such as Rivers, and
some areas in the North and East, should also be looked into for the purpose of
eliminating any areas of malpractice in the future.

Here’s to the young people that were actively involved in the political process this
time around. It was encouraging to see more of us participate. For instance, one
of the parties used peers of mine like Adebola Williams and Chude Jideonwo (and
their media platforms) to handle their PR and campaign activities with great
success; while other parties used spokespeople who some say may have done
more harm than good. Sites like LindaIkeji’s blog, Bella Naija, and YNaija, were
just as, if not more important to candidates and voters, than traditional
newspapers and media. This shows the innate tremendous power and influence
that young people and our platforms have. Don’t be surprised when you see some
of these young people being appointed in strategic powerful positions in the near
future.

Here’s to the Nigerian People. This 2015 Election marks the first time in our
history, that an incumbent President has been voted out of power. That in and of
itself is a mark of a true democracy, and a sign that power still belongs to the
people. My hope is that this will serve notice to the incoming administration at the
Federal, State and Local levels. Gone are the days when our leaders can do
whatever they like, and expect to remain in power with little to no backlash. Gone
are the days when no matter how bad your actions are, or how bad a state we
find ourselves in, we just say “it’s Naija” and “God dey”. The time has come
where we must now hold our leaders accountable for the offices we have elected
them into, and this election was the first step in that direction. We must pay
attention… we must care. Not just about the office of the President, but the
Governors, Senators, House of Reps, and Local Government positions. This is the
only way we will see Nigeria truly change for the better. If we the people, just…
care, again. Now is the time to keep track of campaign promises that were made,
and see if they’re delivered on. The reason Nigeria keeps recycling the same
problems and issues with no end insight, decade after decade, is because of
failed leadership and citizen apathy. Our leaders were corrupt and we just didn’t
care. Let’s hope that change, indeed, has come.

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To those of us that voted, whether your candidate won or lost, thank you for
playing a very significant and important role in our Nation’s Democracy and
History. Thank you for letting your voice be heard. Thank you for braving the
inconvenient, tense, and sometimes harsh, conditions to make sure you voted and
that those votes were counted. We laughed together and we fought; we stood in
line together under the burning sun, then the rain, then the sun again; we
discussed and we argued… but we voted.

Nigeria has a current population of about 182+ Million people; only 29+ million of
which voted in the recent elections. The winner of the elections had 15+ million
votes. That means, only 8% of our population chose the direction of our country
for the next 4 years. That’s not good enough. I was watching the elections
coverage, and it was sad to see that state by state, the eligible, registered voter
turnout was less than 50%. That’s not good enough. Some people will say that
we voted along tribal lines; I say that most young people, who do not have the
tribal prejudices that older generations have, simply didn’t show up. Time and
again, I’d be among groups of young people and ask who has picked up their
PVC. 9 times out of 10, I’d be the only one. We have to do better. We seem to be
content with tweeting, and instagram-ing, and arguing and pointing fingers… but
when it comes to the most basic of our civic responsibilities… when it comes to
actually playing a part in bringing about a better Nigeria that we all seek, we’re
nowhere to be found. Social Media activism is simply not enough.
Some young people tried, but were frustrated by the inefficiencies in the PVC
collection process. My heart goes out to you if you truly tried, but for some reason
couldn’t get your card. Others were just “too busy” to go through what was
required. To these ones, I say this: We saw pictures of Billionaires such as Aliko
Dangote and Wale Tinubu voting. You are not busier than Dangote. If these ones
could put their affairs on hold to register and vote, then clearly, we all need to get
our priorities straight.

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Some may say that elections here are rigged… well, you make it incredibly easy
for someone to rig elections by not showing up. All the unused ballot papers can
very easily be stamped for whoever they feel like. It becomes increasingly hard to
rig when we show up en-masse. I pray, and work towards the day, when all the
young people who are eligible, actually care enough to get up, go out and register
to vote… and in that day, when we all actually do vote, we will truly be in charge
of our Nation’s destiny. We’ll see a Nigeria that has a chance to cast away the
burdens, problems and prejudices of times past, and finally live up to our
potential.

– Banky Wellington

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