Story: Ajibade Morakinyo Temilorun
“You can’t change your past but you can change your future.”
But in changing the future, it should not be with coercion as recorded in the failed coup of Turkey, led by a top air force officer.
The officers that participated in the coup had thought that to create a decent future for the people and government of Turkey, the best and gorgeous means would surely be a horrible Coup d’état to topple the democratic government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
The coup failed, about 265 lives lost, more than 6,000 people arrested in crackdown, 2,839 soldiers held in prison, 2,745 judges facing arrest in a country that treats conspiracy theories like snack food, and more unfortunately, the coup reduced the nation’s army forces to a huge mess.
The failed coup got the world’s attention as coups are no longer fashionable in today’s democratic government, and the fact Turkish citizens seem to appreciate the efforts of the present administration.
It is said that when one does good to others, the after effects linger, and create a kind of enabling environment for the doer to strive, if not now, in the near future. The tenacity of this expression worked absolutely for Erdogan as he promised and delivered huge investments to his voters such as bridges, airports, subways, underwater tunnels among others. These investments have affected people’s daily lives, and make them proud of their country. One of the most important is probably thousands of kilometers of new freeways which considerably improved mobility.
Also, he played a vital role in giving the Turkish public religious freedom contrary to the actions of previous administrations which restricted religious practices by closing prayer rooms in schools and government organizations. Headscarves, which were banned in schools and other institutions, have now before free among many other religious opportunities. These are seen as huge advancement in the eyes of religious Turkish people. He also increased average income considerably under his administration and inflation rate has decreased.
Furthermore, Erdogan saw the importance in research and development, and went ahead to increase funds for them, leading to the emergence of many national high technology products, especially in defense industries, which in turn created a lot of jobs. Under his administration, getting student loans, and staying in public dormitories became easier for higher education, even many huge cluster housing projects were built for people with low income levels, which turned them into home owners while paying monthly fees almost as much as rent.
In addition, Kurdish is now a free language, and there are publicly and privately owned TV and radio stations in Kurdish. He embraced Kurdish people as equal citizens not only in rhetoric, but also in practice. He is a strong advocate of a new Constitution where the old one is seen as the Constitution of coupes by the people who voted him.
More so, he is one of the first politicians to discuss presidential system in Turkey where people are sick of incapable and weak governments of the past. Although, others see him as a threat to their lifestyle, people who voted for him who were in some way or other oppressed by the state previously see him as the guarantor of their freedom, even when anti-Erdogan people attack him (especially when there are insults), his voters tend to defend him.
The people of Turkey, especially the military, stood behind their leader, because of the very many privileges he has provided, proving that leadership that is not people oriented will not stand the test of time when issues come. This is because no one will back such a leader.
In Nigeria today, it is hard to imagine what the people think of their leaders today going by the massive corruption cases hovering around and the excessive hardship the ordinary people are passing through for no fault of theirs.
Truly speaking, no leader has the capacity to generate love from all and sundry, no matter how good he is. But then, it is obvious that no one who has tasted the sweetness of the orange forgets the source, irrespective of whether he likes him or not.
In retrospect, the Nigerian situation should learn from the experience of Turkey and come down to the level of its people, cause no one knows the rainy day. Erdogan is still in power today because he had planted seeds of goodness. A word is enough for the wise.