By: Ibrahim Muye Yahaya
The great American political writer, Theodore Sorensen, who crafted many of President John F. Kennedy’s greatest addresses; once remarked that politics was critically diminutive of leaders and that democracies needed leadership more than any other quality. It was true then. It is even more the case now. This is a troubling veracity. Now, truth is always said to imitate art. However, the truth is much more mesmerizing: reality actually subsumes art.
Good governance is in diminutive supply. It is no accident that we are simultaneously witnessing political kaput: corruption, incompetency, sycophancy, maladministration and nepotism which is producing a widening fissure linking what electorates are asking of their government and what the government can deliver. The mismatch between budding demand for good governance and its shrinking supply is one of the utmost challenges facing us today.
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It’s very unfortunate that many political and public office holders in our country are unable to rise above petty politics, ethnicity, regionalism and religious chauvinism. Our nation has been profoundly damaged by a lack of civility and courage, where leaders of both the ruling and opposition parties have continued to abdicated their responsibility to forge logical compromises to expand the economy, security, to rebuild our infrastructure, improve schools, transform entitlement programs and so much more.
We have become too desensitized to the horrendous metrics that define today’s Nigeria; from unemployment to insecurity, corruption, regionalism, ethnicity and religious bigotry.
While Nigerians have diverse views in what they want from Abuja and state capitals, our leaders must come out of the closet and adopt the contemporary leadership method to the benefit of the masses and our country. Too many of our political leaders today are putting party before country, power before principle and cynicism before civility. The common purpose that created this great nation, which has united us in difficult moments, is gradually fading away.
Our nation is in desperate need of servant leaders; of men and women willing to kneel and embrace those who are not like them. Nigerians don’t deserve duds, mercantile politicians and candidates with baggage to lead us in 2023. We need leaders who are fit to govern and have the interest of the country at heart. We don’t want leaders whose ego is greater than their mandates. We need leaders who will take patriotism before partisanship, leaders who will not destroy institutions and upgrade their business empires, leaders who will not treat us like idiots, leaders who can stand tall and be acknowledged by the masses.
We don’t need leaders who will appoint and surround themselves with tribal, regional and melancholy appointees. We are tired of empty promises, more corruption and self enrichment, more infrastructural decay, more economic decline, joblessness, increase in debt, and more deteriorate roads.
The questions begging for answers are: Is power rotation really working in Nigeria since 1999? Didn’t President Buhari, a Northerner violate the agreement and contested against Obasanjo in 2003? Didn’t the same President Buhari violate the agreement and contested against President Jonathan in 2011? Didn’t President Jonathan violate zoning agreement and contested in 2015? We have 6 geo-political zones in the country which the North-West produced Late Umar Musa Yar’adua as President from 2007 to 2010, President Muhammad Buhari from 2015 to date and Arch. Namadi Sambo as Vice President from 2010-2015; South-West has produced Olusegun Obasanjo as President from 1999 to 2007 and Yemi Osibanjo as Vice President from 2015 to date; while South-South has produced Goodluck Jonathan as Vice President from 2007 to 2010 and President from 2010 to 2015.
Even if the power will have to shift by 2023, it is suppose to be a contest between North-Central, South-East and North-East geo-political zones which have never produced a President or Vice President since 1999 except Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of North-East who served as the Vice President from 1999-2007. Wouldn’t it be an injustice for the next President of Nigeria to emerge from South-West or North West in 2023? Or is the power rotation been preached by those who believe is the short-cut to clinch the office of the President is strictly between Hausa/Fulani (Northwest) and Yoruba’s (South-West) while other geo-political zones continues to play a master-slave relationship?
If we want to turn the nation around, we have to act differently. What we need in 2023 is a real national rejuvenation. We need selfless leaders to nurture our fledgling democracy and shield it from divisive and destabilizing threats of the extreme left and extreme right, which continue to undermine our efforts to re-establish democratic institutions and processes.
By 2023, effect from 1999, the North will have hold power for 10 years and South 14 years; it’s high time the nation’s top job be thrown open for competent and qualify Nigerians irrespective of tribe, region or religion that didn’t have any baggage or questionable records to stand for the Presidency in 2023. The zoning of Presidency between ‘North and South’ hasn’t curtailed the regional, ethnic and religious chauvinism which is rising on daily basis and shaking the foundation of our unity in Nigeria. How will our country progress and unite when we reduce choosing of our leader’s based on tribe, region or religious card? 2023 should be a golden year which Nigerians should choose the president for the country, not an ethnic, religious or regional President.
Yahaya wrote from Jagbele quarters, Muye, Niger State