By Precious Chukwuemeka
As I watched what might just be the most irrelevant Presidential Debate recently, a quote I had seen on the internet about what the Nigerian Dream is, ran through my head. First off, the debate was not irrelevant because of what it ought to mean for the candidates and the future of the country; rather its irrelevance stems from the fact that no one cared. The candidates, at least those that showed up were, in my opinion, some of the most qualified and worthy individuals and as much hope and dreams they sold to us at the debate, the truth is that most of us became uninterested the moment three out of five candidates were introduced.
To be honest, we were very interested in seeing the two that would have brought the most drama and would have inspired a new crop of internet memes as well as provided materials for international comedy. Instead, we saw individuals who actually knew what they were talking and were able to spark in Nigerians, hope that they could not hold on to. We all know that the parties that could potentially produce a winner, are the two parties whose candidates were missing in action at the debate. And it might just stay that way for a long time to come, if we keep letting things slide and not demand more than we presently receive from our leaders. Why a potential leader should be given the option to not participate in a debate, essentially an interview for the highest office in the nation, without consequences, is beyond me.
What should we be asking of these leaders? What should be the fundamentals we ought to expect from our leaders? The American Dream, a phrase that rolls off the tongue with so much ease, stands for the American national ideology that “freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, achieved through hard work in a society with few barriers”. The British Dream, though not as catchy as the former, has come to represent becoming a home owner, having a secure job and a higher standard of living than your parents. When taking into consideration the credentials of a leader and his plans for the nation, these are the standard things the citizens should expect to be given – an environment for hard work to be rewarded duly and can be done with little or no barrier.
So, what is the Nigerian Dream?
According to the quote, the Nigerian Dream is to migrate abroad in search of greener pastures, then watch and pray for Nigeria from there. It is not what we would like to think and believe about our country, but it is our reality. The truth is that Nigerians have been playing a game of “Who will cause the least damage to our country?” these past few elections and this year’s will not be different. The national dream is inspired by the basic things which an average person ought to enjoy in the nation and those things that aid him in the extra efforts he has to put in for a better life, such as electricity, employment opportunities, food, good roads and the list goes on.
Maybe it is already too late to demand more of the individuals who want to lead us, but maybe next time we can know better and do more than choose lesser evils.