In the years before or immediately following political independence, African leaders were in the habit of making promises concerning how they would lead and govern their countries. Most of these leaders couched their promises and visions in one form of ideology or another. Kenneth Kaunda of
Rare was the African leader without a philosophy or a worldview (Weltanschauung). Their positions were generally well enunciated and well received; but due to endogenous and exogenous reasons, most of these leaders failed — to some degree or another — in the pursuit of their economic, social, and political agenda. Most of their promises came to naught. In the learned judgment of Ukandi Damachi, “promise is not performance; and philosophies are easier to enunciate than to put to into practice. Moreover, a proclamation of good principles is not a pledge of good intentions.” Even so, it is better to have a leader whose principles, ideologies, intentions and core values are known to the people — than have a leader without such, or whose ideas and ideals are shrouded in secrecy.
If there is no ideology or worldview, there ought to be a plan: a development plan that encompasses economic, political, social and cultural yearnings of the people and the state. A President must have plans on how he or she intends to govern domestically and globally. What’s he or she going to do to strengthen institutions or the democratization process? There must be a plan of action, a rudder for governance. In this instance — as it relates to Yar’Adua — we do not know. How could we hold him accountable if we do not know where he stands and what he stands for, what he intends to do and where he is taking the country.
It is difficult to know what President Umar Yar’Adua’s motives and core values are. If he has any, he is not telling; and those who know are not telling either. And so, the populace is left to speculate about the manner of man he is. Not even his intentions for the nation are known. Essentially therefore, his worldviews are shrouded in secrecy; the aspects that are not are not veiled are usually voiced or written about with a high dose of hyperbole. And so as I ask: what are Yar’Adua’s missions, values and intentions? What keeps him awake? What keeps him going? What brings smiles to his soul? What does he believe in?
Where is he taking the country? And no one has asked the President what his philosophy about governance and the rule of law are. No one has asked about his promises and his determinations. No one has asked about his thinking on various aspects of leadership, development and nation building. No one knows his thinking about the man who installed him in power. In a different time, different place and different system, these are the types of questions the electorate and the press would be asking. And in fact most of the answers would have been in the public domain long before his ascension.
But here we are, “stuck” with a President we know nothing about. Who can truly claim to know this President? Who knows the man? Other than being a devout Muslim, other than being the brother of a famous military General, and other than being a former governor — who in the world is Umar Musa Yar’Adua? Other than playing according to the PDP game book, what else does he bring to the table? Is he his “own man,” or just a pawn in Obasanjo and Babangida’s competing master plan? No one knows, and he is not telling. How does a nation end up with a President no one knows anything about?
Is it possible that the President does not have concrete plans for the nation? Is it possible that the President is learning as he goes along? Is it possible that he is wondering and wandering and shooting in the dark? Is it possible that his is the face we see in the public (but with hands and gavel in the background directing and dictating the affairs of the nation)? At this stage, it is not enough to be a good Muslim, it is not enough to be a quiet and gentle soul, and it certainly is not enough to be a malleable man.
The President must be a man of character, of distinct vision and valor. He must be a man with soul and reason and core values and good intentions for the people. That said, what are Yar’Adua’s ideologies, core values and intentions for the people and for