2019 ELECTION: What it really takes to lead Nigeria!


-By Ridwan Ojewale, ABH PRESS

With less than weeks to the kick start of the general election, it is not unexpected that people reel out their various life achievements and lay claim to best candidacy for the respective public offices.  Be that as it may, no candidate intellectually worthy of public trust should be taught that he/she needs market him/herself in line with the needs of the constituency he/she aspires to lead.  At the last general election in 2015, the then opposition (All Progressives’ Congress) had painted the country as failed in security and economic viability blaming the both on corruption. They then offered a “Messiah” who is a former military General and popularly considered incorrupt and incorruptible. In essence, everything was built around his personality and he was presented as the exact thing the country needed; a temptation Nigeria couldn’t resist.  Four years on, the opposition candidate and leading challenger of the incumbent turns out a renowned businessman. The opposition hence emphasizes the “bad” state of Nigeria’s economy in its campaigns and arguments against the government. One would also observe that the ruling party attacks the opposition and its candidate at their weakest point (i.e corruption) and not their economic soundness and wherewithal. The opposition also does not make anticorruption a major cardinal of its campaign since its candidate is wallowing in countless cases and accusations of corruption. Should the ruling APC field a candidate as Bola Tinubu who people also find his immaculacy difficult to accept, their campaign cardinals would also be modified and the nation’s problems will be presented as hovering around it. This is merely understanding politics, the people, the nation and one’s self. This exactly is why some parties and candidates are favourites and some are mere political jokers.

On this ground, we would understand how much many of our “English speaking” motivational speakers – turned politicians know about politics and governance. The likes of Sowoore, Moghalu, Durotoye et al who can hardly boast of five-digits followership strength each of the 200 million Nigerians (I mean followers who would vote them and not those on their twitter handles) come to mind; those who couldn’t even let down their personal ambitions and successfully form an alliance but would blame and mock the nation (and Africa)’s largest political parties for their internal rifts. While well established parties present candidates who have marketable achievements for positions commensurate to their previous achievements, the new day guys come from nowhere and lay claim to the highest position of the land with little relevant feats and loads of irrelevances. For example, while a strong political party would not field a former councillor in a gubernatorial election, the new age politicians want to be the President straight up even without ever holding a political or executive office no matter how small. This is like asking people to trust you with the whole of their possessions when they have never entrusted you even with a bit of it.

As if that were not enough, they flaunt irrelevances in their campaigns that do not speak well of mature minds. Imagine a candidate boasting on air that he is the first Nigerian with a Masters degree from an Ivy League school (inferring that he’s of the most educated Nigerians) and so he is a better leader even in his sleep than the current President. What fallacy and insolence! Another goes about boasting of organising thousands of volunteers to paint some houses and how he trains some youths on Pubic speaking for free. So, how exactly do those qualify him to be the president? Politics aside, the current President of Nigeria is a Nigeria/US trained military General, a former Governor of Northeastern Nigeria, former Governor of Borno state, former Federal Commissioner of Petroleum, former Head of State, former Petroleum Minister and Chairman, Petroleum Trust Fund.

The opposition candidate, Atiku Abubakr served in the Nigeria custom service for 20 years rising to the second highest position of deputy Director. Heis a popular Nigerian businessman whose political antecedence dates back to as far back as 1989 when he tried running for the federal assembly all through 1991 when he lost the governorship bid of the then Gongola state. He contested at the SDP primaries of 1993 emerging third after MKO and Kingibe (who was later made the vice presidential candidate). He was elected Governor ofAdamawa in 1998 before being picked to be the vice president by former President Obasanjo; a position he held for 8 years. Who dare wallows in the illusion that such experiences do not count or would jump at anybody the moment he/she assumes an office?

It is obvious that whether these people are good or not, whether they are the best for us or not, they are guys who have paid their dues and have duly found their ways up the ladder. We know their flaws and their limitations for it is near impossible for one in the corridor of power to hide his/her true self for such number of decades. So, when our glorified public speakers lament that Nigerians vote for the old one and not them, it should be said to them that if they’re genuinely interested in service to the people, no service is too small. Let them start from where the bigwigs have started, let them rise to understand Nigeria, Nigerians and the dynamics of the socio-political space, let them fight their ways to the top bravely and not beg or seek shortcuts, then let them do it differently.  

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