God, give us men!
GOD, give us men! A time like this demands
Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands;
Men whom the lust of office does not kill;
Men whom the spoils of office can not buy;
Josiah Gilbert Holland
It is not unusual for people to seek heroes and pursue happiness knowing or believing that some mentors will take care of business regarding them. If we, as a nation, had gone to sleep since October 1999, shortly after president Obasanjo became the president of Nigeria, we did so knowing, that after years of resisting military rule with the blood of our social and political comrades, the lives Nigerians who were convinced that military (or interim) rule is an aberration to political governance, that from the demise of M.K.O Abiola, politics in Nigeria will take a reinvigorated motivation that never again will the blood of the innocents be shed within our polity over bad governance. We lost properties and lives of many in different political impasses (be it the struggle for autonomy of the commune by Ken Saro-Wiwa and hundreds of other Ogonis activists during the endless Ogoni crises; be it the loss of life of our respected Pa Alfred Rewane, the loss of precious lives of human rights activists, labor leaders and comrades who were believers in rights of self determination but who were fell by the hot bullets of Tafa Balogun; the quarrelsome murder attempts on Pa Abraham Adesanya and Felix Ibru and so on). Majority of Nigerians went to sleep wishfully thinking matters that had come to some conclusive end for a new beginning. And it would have been so, except that what metamorphosed from the struggles are characters in different official positions whose words are not their bond. We have leaders who are wallowing shamelessly in the thirst and hunger of their constituencies and members. We went to bed thinking that we had a man of honor in Obasanjo; honorable enough to lead the country back from the scattered memories of decades of exclusion from public policy formations, who will teach us how to have faith in our opinion of governance, guide us through the reform of our deteriorating collective values and integrity and significantly help us return power from the all consuming central government (of one man- the president) back to the people (even if such means regionalism). But perhaps these are too much to expect from a leader who was forced to leadership as a consequence of the demise of the great M.K.O Abiola because the only determining factor then was not his intellectual prowess or his political mastery, it was because he, Obasanjo, like M.K.O Abiola, is Yoruba man. (Had Obasanjo been an Igbo man or Hausa, he would never have been a choice in the then emerging dispensation). But what do we have, we have a president who wanted to do it all alone; he never consults us for any policy inputs no referendum it is as though the generality of Nigerians do not matter. He alone has the sole wisdom in all matters and he is the supreme sovereign- the Platonic Philosopher King (something philosophers thought was utopian!). On this season of commemorating the Nigerian’s 45th independence anniversary, I pray, oh lord, give us men, men who have honor, men who will not lie. Oh God, give us men, a (perilous) time like this demand: Strong minds, great hearts, true faith and ready hands; men whom the lust of the office does not kill; men whom the spoils of office cannot buy! God please give us men who will not place matters of personal ambition over collective interests, who will not apply to alter the constitution for an obnoxious third term. A perilous time when motivations are low, where spirits are down, when hunger and joblessness pervade the cities, a time when just a simple glow of faith in leadership and reform programs will assure the hungry of a better tomorrow. Oh God, give us men who have honor to know that the constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria stipulates two terms in a presidential election for each leader who gets re-elected after the first term. When Obasanjo was going to end the first term in office, he said he would ask God if he should contest again. God must have spoken to him in Yoruba Language because the Ibos will like to know why his regime is heading towards detribalizing MASSOB and seemingly persecuting people of Igbo origins; why Orji Uzor Kalu is in a verbal war with the presidency because of his support for Vice President Atiku Abubakar. God must have confirmed him a good choice in Yoruba Language because Hausas, Efik, Ibibo, the Ogonis and other ethnic groups in Nigeria are wondering why his government through the all powerful EFCC is embarking on selective justice against people who are also claiming God has spoken in Hausa/Fulani Language to propose Vice President Atiku Abubakar as the next president after Obasanjo. God give us men who will hear your words and not use your words as camouflage to becloud people’s judgments and inspire loyalty. God give us men, men who have honor, men who will not lie…men whom the spoils of the office cannot buy, even when it is N400,000 in “Ghana Must Go” bags for honorable members to impeach speaker Ghali Na’aba.