Nigeria is fast becoming a circular system where the same sets of names are waived around as the best candidates to fill the top positions in the country come 2007. This is a very dangerous precedent recognizing that we have a nation of over 120 million people, made up of qualified candidates that are not being considered because they haven’t stolen from our coffers, enslaved the populace and then turn around and try to buy their ways into political positions using ill-gotten wealth. We are drifting into an environment where control, power and potentially leadership, will only rest on the palms of the rich. It is even scarier in that the idiosyncratic definition of what is best for Nigerians by this questionable list of candidates, shows that they have no idea of what effective leadership entails but rather, they are aggressively and illegally cementing their intentions into some of the populace using their stolen riches.
The problem in Nigeria is not the unavailability of resources but the misuse of it thereof. Most Nigerians are suffering while our greedy leaders don’t seem to care. The oil wealth is in the hands of the few that claimed they wanted to make a difference when they either ruled us through coup de tat or political thievery. None of our leaders (past and present) showed a sense of social responsibility as indicated by their non-efforts to contribute to the well being of the masses. None of them showed a sense of social justice of respecting the law of the land, the rights of the people nor did they contribute to ensure that evenhanded policies or practices existed within the country. These same individuals now want us to believe they are the best qualified to rule the nation. Till this day, what improvement have we seen in Nigeria in comparison to the sixties, seventies and early eighties? Are countries supposed to retrogressive? Our past leaders have made Nigeria what it is today. Ghana is a much more safer country than Nigeria as I write. It is a better country to reside or invest in. Why? The answer is obvious and most Nigerians can respond to this question easily. Water taps that flowed in the seventies are completely non-functional today while roads and traffic lights that worked excellently well 20-30 years ago are considered services of the past. Decency was of importance years ago but today, both parents and children compromise themselves for gains of all sorts. While the devious rich have gotten richer, building empires and traveling the world, the poor are suffering and dying.
Impoverished Nigerians could care less if a national conference is held regardless of its importance. They could care less as to who rules the country recognizing the disingenuousness of our past leaders. Some may even care less if a Japanese ends up as the president of Nigeria. The subject of zoning or non-zoning is absolute nonsense to those who can’t feed themselves. All that matters to them is to be able to feed, send their children to school, get jobs, live in a safe country, and have clean water to drink and fresh air to breathe among others. A lot of Nigerians in Diaspora left their hearts in Nigeria. Every single gathering speaks to the nostalgia of Nigerians living in foreign lands about their homeland. Is the homeland safe for us to return to? By all indications, it is not. Today, parents are approving the use of their children as house or sex slaves within and outside Nigeria. Values don’t mean the same anymore. There are no boundaries to what people would do for money or to survive. A pharmacist in Nigeria told me a few years ago when we discussed the issue of sex slaves in Italy saying “To some of these girls and their parents, it is better to die early having lived a moderate live than to live a long life of unfathomed suffering.”
Today, we see articles/headlines by the greedy rich and their purchased errand boys calling for us to embrace them again. They have started using their mouthpiece (political messengers) to call on Nigerians to let them rule again. Where are their consciences? The ill that befalls Nigeria today is the results of our past and present ineffective leaders. They should shoulder the blame of our suffering. In recognition of the past and prevailing happenings in Nigeria, I present to you, an analysis of the key candidates that have shown their expressed or implied intents to run for the presidency of the United Nation of Nigeria. This subjective analysis was conducted with the interest of Nigerians in mind. Other concerns that were considered are the recognitions that Nigeria needs (a) an eminently practical leader with a conscience, (b) a leader with the ability to empathize with the needs of the masses, (c) a leader that will have an understanding of the experiences of the down trodden, the weak and weary, the jobless and (d) a heart of compassion for the needs of the masses when the lust of his/her newly attained position, power and wealth, overrides constructive and objective reasoning. The only humanistic sentiment that may work is the empathic conscience for the poor, and the knowledge and leadership ability that encompass the best ideas for strengthening the country in general.
Ranking of 2007 Candidates
Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida leads the pack of all candidates as the least desirable but arguably, one of the most qualified candidates for 2007 considering those that have expressed their intents to seek the presidential office. A quick scan of IBB’s tenure and person based on popular opinion shows that he is widely presumed to be a disingenuous selfish intimidator, who led one of the most orchestrated mischievous governments of all time. He has been compared to Abacha in that they were heartless in some of their management approaches, downright devious, intimidators, inflexible, and to an extent, murderously greedy. Abacha is additionally noted for being brutal and completely unskilled for leadership. IBB is often viewed by most as one who led by intimidation and a devilish disguise of using others to commit his well-masterminded actions. He is almost always, associated with some of the evils that have tarnished the image of Nigeria till this date, though no past leader of Nigeria has been able to escape being classified in this category.
IBB was linked with Gloria Okon and the drug trafficking saga, the untimely death of Dele Giwa, the annulment of the 1993 presumed free and fair election in Nigeria, the massive siphoning of money from our coffers into his numerous bank accounts making him one of the top ten most wealthy ex-dictators/rulers in the world. These are the subjects IBB must extensively explain to the masses before getting on the campaign bus. A growing concern among Nigerians with IBB is the fact that he is unapologetic, arrogant-acting, controlling and embodied with a guise of one who is above the law. This perception by a majority of the populace must also be addressed in-depth. In reality, IBB may be a good man with a thoughtful heart but most Nigerians don’t know that because he is yet to open up about himself. He is noted for having ignored with disrepute, the summons by the honorable Oputa panel and is known to be dismissive of those from whom he seeks nothing and receptive to those he needs for his goals. The fact that he remains in the forefront of the news at all, is both mind-boggling and interesting. His propensity for wealth accumulation is viewed as unparalleled though most Nigerians can easily be classified into this same category. His urge for control and power is unquestionable, which, again puts him in a class with millions of Nigerians. He is viewed as desperate, believed to still hold a lot of power and influence because of his wealth and numerous image-makers across the country that enjoys singing his praises for various reasons best known to them. Of interest however, is the fact that he may buy his way to the top of the leadership position in Nigeria despite being noted by most Nigerians as one of the least desirable aspirants. His claim that he now knows what is best for Nigeria may be true but Nigerians don’t care and don’t believe him unless he proves otherwise. IBB, as a citizen, has the right as a Nigerian to contest the presidency but of importance, is why does he want to be back. He must explain his intent and thought process to the Nigerian people and as always; Nigerians will make up their minds. He must outline his improvement plans and strategies on how he will specifically set out to accomplish stated goals. He must be mindful of his persona and how he is viewed and must not downplay the voices of the people. If IBB remains one of the formidable options a year from now, Nigerians, as concerned citizens, must outline a few improvement measures that he must follow to stand a chance of getting back in power and most important, an opportunity for him to possibly amend his legacy.
Mohammadu Buhari #2
Unqualified for any leadership post is the buzzword that rings loud around this presumed poisonous and dreary number two pick on my list. Most Nigerians don’t seem to connect with Buhari and I doubt if it has anything to do with trust. Most Nigerians, for reasons best known to them sort of prefer the late General Idiagbon to Buhari. Buhari may look astute but in reality, most Nigerians do not consider him that way. Everything about him seems questionable based on popular opinion. His far left ideologies are often hidden from the press to protect his image. If we thought the Talabans in Afghanistan were bad, then let’s hope we don’t get to have this man who not only ruled with iron hands but also, was often clueless as to his next line of action during his reign. He is viewed as lacking the leadership ability to lead a nation like Nigeria without the military uniform and control that creates no room for a balanced approach to management.
Buhari has been labeled as an angry warrior who had an unapproved opportunity that was clearly misused despite the short duration of his reign. According to most articles, journals, newspapers, opinion pools and more, he stands no chance of winning even if he runs against himself. Most Nigerians seem to have no interest in him and are leery of his intents despite his well-orchestrated effort to present himself as a changed man. To his credit however, is the fact that he is sometimes skilled at selecting or getting favorable and moderate deputies to work with him. Idiagbon and Okadigbo are both respected men based on some opinions and depending on the fabric of people that are interviewed. Based on extensive reading on Buhari, most Nigerians believe, to dream of Buhari leading the nation is to dream of ethnic cleansing recognizing his extremist tendencies. We have enough problems as it is considering the level of inter-tribal fighting the last few years and don’t need another complex oppressive ruler that would ruin the lives of innocent people based on his personal beliefs. His best effort is to be a non-functional political advisor to the few who listen to him (Sani of Zamfara State, etc). I wrote about Buhari’s check of reality six months ago in one of my articles and nothing has changed about him. His only chance of getting into power again is either to seek a vice-presidential position under a formidable presidential aspirant or to join the PDP that is hell bent on winning the presidency at all cost, and wrestle for the top position with IBB and Atiku.
Atiku Abubakar #3
This perceived ambassador of greed deservedly fills the third slot on my list of most undesirable presidential aspirants. Despite the moderation of his powers lately by OBJ, Atiku’s urge for financial wealth at all cost makes him a very dangerous man to fill the position of the president. Granted that all our past and present leaders have not been forthcoming with how the resources of the nation are managed, Atiku has nothing positively credible to his name. He avoids controversy at all cost and operates with a hidden but yet finite focus on achieving his goals. If IBB looks in the mirror, he may see Atiku (vice versa) as they have very close modalities of operation. He uses a wild variety of human tools to vocalize his intent and actions and pays close attention to his financial empire. A prosperity seeker at the expense of his people, Nigerians should not be surprised if this man ends up as one of the riches billionaires in the world at the end of his second tenure. He is smarter than he makes people believe and surrounds himself with highly knowledgeable professionals. He loves a high-quality lifestyle and has no agenda for the nation beside a continuation of the “action plans” laid-out by OBJ. He has little interest in presidential zoning and cares only for himself and his political teammates. His tenure will yield no better results than what we have achieved under OBJ. He may expand the appointments of qualified Nigerians in Diaspora but that won’t be enough as the primary concern of Nigerians in Nigeria today, is national poverty mitigation and safety improvement.
Buba Marwa #4
Marwa of Adamawa State fills the fourth position. I have misgivings about this aspirant who came to prominence as the former administrator of Lagos State. He has expressed an intent but his true tendency and willingness is probably yet unknown. Technically an ethnic minority, he doesn’t seem to have the financial and connective strength of the top three candidates on my list. He may be the best of the pack if he can complement his candidacy with a highly qualified vice-presidential candidate. Leadership is not all about the president but the entire team of players. First Corinthians 12:12 says, “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body.” In migrating this point to governmental leadership if I may, we must recognize that the leaders of our nation is one unit, though it is made up of many individuals; and though all its members are many (different), they form one body, which, is the government. In this regards, they must be accountable to the people at all times. By and large, if Marwa gets a solid running mate up as with all aspirants on my list, their chances of gaining the support they need might increase.
Contrary to popular opinion, Marwa is a smart man who has nothing going for or against him beside the strong Aso Rock connection he truly lacks. He is on a neutral field and has a better chance of building a collaborative and participatory leadership as he stands. If he runs on the right ticket, he may get the votes he needs as he has steadfastly talked about the need for social responsibility and justice up to and including the inclusion of people of various ethnic groups, varied ideas, perspective and cultures. He is continuously building his portfolio of followers and is quickly gaining cooperation and support from various channels of the political spectrum. His chance may come in 2011 if he maintains the steady stride for recognition and acceptance.
Nigerians need a president they can respect, admire, and lean on for results. They need a leader that can work at eliminating poverty among a growing list of other concerns. None of these candidates appear to have the package required by most Nigerians at this time. Does this mean they have no right to seek the presidency? Absolutely not, as every individual as defined by law, if qualified, has the right to seek the presidency in a free country. They certainly may not get the votes of the majority of the masses but if history has taught us anything, it is the fact that sometimes, “the people who cast the votes decide nothing: the people who count the votes decide everything” as said by Josef Stalin. The past elections in Nigeria and the United States are clear validations of the point above. In our efforts to express our concerns about who is best qualified for the presidency in Nigeria, we must be cordial. We must be unassuming and must respect each other professionally and personally. The system in Nigeria may not present a level playing field for all but that’s the way the cookie sometimes crumble. Some get it easy and some get it hard but regardless of how it comes, we must remain focused on our goal, which is to find the best leaders for the country. Nigerians by nature are very critical and have a right to be recognizing some of the unsatisfactory leaders we have had the past 44 years. Regardless however, of how we feel, we must seek a leader that will be strong enough to address (a) key issues like ethnic and tribal killings of citizens in certain parts of the country, (b) the issue of bringing back the gift of hope and encouragement to the masses and (c) a leader that will truly make Nigerians proud again if possible through the en-séance of its people with safety and basic subsistence. Now, back to my well-earned vacation.