For us, they seek our mandate | The Guardian Nigeria News
The arena is packed with presidential hopefuls, all chasing what matters most in life: political power. We expected it. We welcome the crowd. We expected serious people and we expected pranksters. It is the nature of power to attract all kinds of men and women, each of whom is convinced that he has what it takes to lead his country in the right direction.
Power matters all the time but, in our own case, the chance to seize it only comes once in four years. For some of the aspirants, this would be their last chance to succeed. They don’t need anyone to tell them that they have to give their all to receive the keys of Aso Rock Villa from President Buhari on May 29 next year. Perspectives offer an alluring promise of possibilities. The pursuit of political power is a huge gamble won by a few and missed by many.
The throng of aspirants teaming up should be seen as proof that Nigerians are taking their country’s movement from being potentially great to actually being great as a patriotic duty incumbent upon them. Nigeria has team presidential documents. Each of them sees himself as the Messiah whom our country has prayed and waited for.
To keep hope alive we must accept that one of them will emerge with divine anointing and lead our country through the desert of broken promises, failed national aspirations, a plethora of hopes raised and dashed hopes, frustrations, disappointments and monumental embarrassment for a country endowed with human and natural resources to descend to the nadir and pick up the pieces of the paving stones of world development as the world capital of poverty.
National election time is a time for renewed hope for the emergence of a new generation of leaders, motivated not entirely by their ambition for power, but more by aspirations to make a new nation out of these 62 years old – an old nation that became ossified long before its time. If your knees are down in prayer, please keep them there. The devil delights in exerting a negative influence on the process of recruiting leaders. It can prevent us from electing the right person we need to lead us bravely through the winds and tides of national progress and development. And instead impose on us through the ballot box a man with two left hands. Don’t tell the devil the pox; not yet anyway.
Three groups of wannabes emerged among this teaming crowd. The first group are men who have been in the system since General Abdulsalami Abubakar gave the coveted key to Aso Rock Villa to Chief Olusegun Obasanjo on May 29, 1999. These are the men who have been this and that and everything else in our political life. system cynically polluted by them to benefit them and keep them forever relevant in our national politics. They did it all as state governors, legislators and ministers. They changed political parties and abandoned the parties that provided them with the platform to become what they have become. And they returned to the party they destroyed in a sickening case of back and forth in a political system without ideology and therefore parties can never count on all their members not to seek greener pastures when the lush green grass of the new promises beckon across the party divide.
If the system is a failure, then they’re not just part of it, they’ve helped make it work. They were all well placed to help resolve our many issues. As governors, ministers or national legislators, they had the power to collectively transform our country from sunset to sunrise. But they didn’t quite do it because they were staff officers, taking and carrying out orders like Nazi officials, from their principal. You have to be in the lead to do the things you dream of for the country. As a minister, you have a limited horizon and a limited ability to effect the changes you know the country really needs.
Let’s call it the reincarnation of our permanent public officers. Their recycling is the hallmark of our national political progress. They offer us promises that we cannot reject. After all, they intend to bring to their presidency the quantum of experiences as governors, ministers and senators. You cannot find a group as experienced as this group.
The second group of aspirants are those who feed their ambition in the pursuit of tribal or sectional rights within the framework of the doctrine of equity, which posits that the locus of power at electoral intervals is, to sound legally, a a sine qua non for national law. peace and unity. They are the champions of shifting power for the good of their tribes or sections. Certainly, their qualification for leadership at the highest level is indisputable. They too have been part of the system but in the nature of our national politics, the reconfiguration of power has put them in the cold where they cling to the wind of helplessness.
The third group of aspirants are the great dreamers whose dreams of a better, more united and more prosperous nation have been stopped by lack of opportunity, for which money is needed. By throwing their hats into the ring, they’re not looking to provide comic relief; they seek to remind the nation and its leaders that a country that continues to marginalize men and women with good brains, good hearts and the patriotic zeal to make a fundamental difference in how it is governed and how its development ambitions are pursued, condemns itself to trade with jaded ideas.
In each of these groups are men pushed by groups of men who want them to run for the highest political office. “My people want me to run for president,” is a familiar mantra for those who think it makes sense for them to mask their ambition in false modesty. Of course, this is nonsense. This raises a fundamental problem in our leadership recruitment process. A man who is prepared for leadership needs no one to persuade him to seek ways and means to realize his ambition. Anyone who allows himself to be persuaded in this way does not deserve the mandate of the people because he is only obeying the dictates of others. Mental and emotional preparation is key.
In 1979, the late President Shehu Shagari laid his eyes on the Senate until he was persuaded to place them higher for the presidency. He did – and won. But it showed in the first months of his presidency. He didn’t hit the ground running because he had to look for firmer ground first. He grew up in office and became a statesman. Yet his casting in the first months of his administration left a sour taste in his mouth that lingered during his tenure. It might have been unfair, but when preparation fails to meet opportunity, luck becomes inconsistent in bestowing its favors.
If Chief Obafemi Awolowo had won the 1979 presidential election, we would have seen the difference between a man who made no secret of his ambition and convinced himself that he was the right man for the job and a man who was convinced to aim upper. He wanted to be president. He had no reason to be modest about it. He was always ready. If he had won, he would have started running even before he officially took over from General Obasanjo.
When Obasanjo, in a surprise move by the generals, returned to power 20 years after voluntarily renouncing it and bringing the soldiers back to barracks, he got on the march. At Gashua Correctional Center, he had to think a lot about where the nation was and where it should be. He was ready in case his mother’s luck put him on the way to prison in Aso Rock.
In 2015, President Buhari preferred the slow approach in building his cabinet. He wanted to put round pegs in round holes and square pegs in square holes. He slowed the momentum of his much-heralded administration. It still haunts him because a man who has come forward four times has to be prepared four times.
In less than a year, the electorate will be called upon to use its inherent political power in the ballot to decide who will take over from Buhari as the next president. Beware of aspirants who seek to mask their burning ambition with false modesty.
The next president must show that he is ready to lead and not govern the country. For our good, they ask for our mandate; for our own good, let us not accept the available as merely the desirable. Recycling is no stranger to politics, but comes a time when it is deleterious to the health and progress of politics.