I want to use your medium to congratulate the people of Nigeria on the peaceful manner in which they conducted the recently held presidential elections. Our Nigerian brothers and sisters displayed maturity during and after the elections amid domestic great challenges. This is indeed commendable. The subsequent emergence of opposition APC leader Muhammadou Buhari as the country’s new president was historic because it is the first time that an incumbent president was dislodged from office through the ballot box. And on Tuesday, March 31 after President-elect Muhammadu Buhari had taken an unassailable lead of more than two million votes with just a few more states to go, President Goodluck Jonathan called his opponent to congratulate him.
Buhari was officially declared president-elect the following day, but this is the audio that emerged in Nigerian media comprising the exact words of the outgoing president, and what Buhari said in return:
Caller: Your Excellency, sir. Hope I’m speaking with General Buhari, sir. President Goodluck Jonathan would like to speak with you, sir.
Receiver: Yes. Okay, hold on.
Jonathan: Your Excellency.
Receiver: Hold on, sir.
Buhari: Your Excellency.
Jonathan: Your Excellency, how are you?
Buhari: I’m all right.
Jonathan: (Laughter) Congratulations
Buhari: Thank you very much, Your Excellency.
Jonathan: So, how are things?
Buhari: Well, I’d congratulate you more because you….
Jonathan: In a few days find time (to) come so that we can sort out how to plan the transitional period.
Buhari: Alright, Your Excellency. Thank you very much
Jonathan: Okay, congratulations.
Buhari: My respects, Your Excellency. Thank you.
As an African, I personally took comfort in this concession phone call because it says so much about Africa. Africa is a continent that has been marred by a series of post-elections violence due to politicians’ apparent reluctance to accept their fate in the outcomes of elections. Goodluck Jonathan turned out to be an exception and this is why he has received widespread praise for his attitude. Such is what is expected from our leaders. He has done the people of Nigeria and the whole continent proud by accepting defeat and stepping aside. It is the will of Nigerians that has prevailed.
Social media and our children
Allow me space in your widely read daily to say that the use of social media websites is now among the most common activity of today’s children and adolescents. We all know that any website that allows social interaction is considered a social media site, including social networking sites such as Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter; gaming sites and virtual worlds such as Club Penguin, Second Life, and the Sims; video sites such as YouTube; and blogs. Such sites offer today’s youth a portal for entertainment and communication and have grown exponentially in recent years. For this reason, it is important that parents become aware of the nature of social media sites, given that not all of them are healthy environments for children and adolescents. Pediatricians are in a unique position to help families understand these sites and to encourage healthy use and urge parents to monitor for potential problems with cyberbullying, Facebook depression, sexting, and exposure to inappropriate content. It has been observed that because of their limited capacity for self-regulation and susceptibility to peer pressure, children and adolescents are at some risk. Even recent research has indicated that there are frequent online expressions of offline behaviours, such as bullying, sexual experimentation, sexting and other privacy issues. Other problems that merit awareness include Internet addiction and concurrent sleep deprivation. These are some of the harmful effects of social media and it is important for parents to put their children under intense watch. The need for supervising online activities via active participation and communication by parents cannot be over-emphasised.