by Dele Momodu
Fellow Nigerians, there is no doubt that the race for the 2015 general elections has started in earnest in our dear country. Ordinarily, after wasting and squandering a total of 16 years in power by the end of this perilous term, there should be no question about the direction the pendulum of power should swing. The People’s Democratic Party should be packing its bag and excess baggage in preparation for a well-deserved red card. However, ours is not a normal terrain where voters assert their rights to choose leaders of their preference.
As a matter of fact, an average Nigerian suffers from a disease called self-defeatism. The symptoms are easy to detect and isolate. The pugilist raises his hands in total submission long before he enters the ring. He and his handlers get easily petrified at the sight of the king of the jungle. Such is the magnitude of our predicament as a people that we just can’t risk our comfort zones to rescue ourselves from perennial servitude. The good people hardly participate in politics yet they expect a miracle to catapult change into our arena. It is like a man who says his ravishingly beautiful daughter should not enter for a beauty contest, yet he’s busy moaning that the person who competed and won the Miss Nigeria beauty pageant is ugly. But the judges can only select and pick a winner from the pool of contestants available.
Beyond this, the superior candidates who are willing to risk everything and join the fray are readily discouraged by those who can never do any good but specialise in shooting down those who can. They supply a myriad of sheer bunkums as reasons why the high-quality candidate will never win the election. They ask for his credentials in politics, as if those in power had any. They ask for his experience in governance but studiously ignore the fact that the men and women of timber and calibre of today have only acquired nothing but a bag full of experience of incompetence and failure. They ask for his godfather and forget that the ultimate is God the Father. They probe his worth and sources of funding in a country where cash speaketh all languages and translates all tongues with automatic alacrity.
The Association of Sufferers is not ready to contribute towards their liberation and restoration. Neighbours are happy to scorn at the stupidity of a man dreaming of defeating the one who controls the Central Bank as well as the Mint where the cash comes from. The most illogical is when they tell Mr Joseph the Dreamer that they are not ready to waste their votes but voluntarily go ahead to vote for the worst characters who would waste no time in ruining their lives and collective future. Please, tell me, which is worse?
All over the world, the process of selecting leaders is to risk certainty for uncertainty. There is no point in keeping a certainly certified failure in power when you have the chance of trying an uncertain success with pedigree of accomplishments. A man can never offer what he lacks. It is pointless blaming most of our leaders who have never recorded any achievement before attaining power.
A man who has not sought to broaden his horizons does not know he can widen that of others. Someone who has never managed a million would never know the true value of a billion. That is why our own leaders treat money like rain water and just fritter it away.
A man who has never slept in a 5-star hotel will pay any amount when the opportunity presents itself on a platter of gold and the money is not even his. He would never know how to get cheap rates on airlines by booking well in advance and using certain online agents to get special offers. He would never understand that events must seek sponsors and should never be funded by government. So many companies with corporate responsibilities are always on the lookout for opportunities to give back and promote their brands. The Centenary jamboree should never be handled by the office of any Secretary to the Federal Government who is not equipped for such responsibilities. There are competent event-planners in Nigeria and beyond who can package everything from beginning to the end without costing us a kobo.
Our leaders waste resources not just out of propensity for stealing and avarice but because they lack a sense of value. That is why they will gladly spend over N2billion on a small auditorium and not think that it can create over 2,000 millionaire entrepreneurs. They lack a sense of judgment and cannot appreciate the principle of sacrifice. It is because their sense of priority is faulty. Will the Vice President sleep in the rain if we don’t build a new residence for him?
Our present leaders lack a sense of vision and cannot gaze into the future to see the importance of legacy. When your vision is blurred your sense of perception would be bleary. They lack a sense of sound and can never hear the drums of revolution. Only the sound and deep can know and agree that Boko Haram has gone beyond religious fanaticism but has become a thunderous response to the acute injustices and pains in the land. When the Niger Delta guys started their own revolution they were called militants fighting for self-determination and control of their resources. Now that they’ve won the battles, and their man is in charge, has the Niger Delta changed to a Dubai or Hong Kong?
From the forgoing, it should be obvious even to the most rabid supporters of the PDP that Nigeria will never make any substantial progress even if that party rules for 50 years. It is not a curse but simple and unassailable common sense.
PDP has shown a penchant for total and unadulterated ribaldry in a most unabashed manner. In 14 years it has been unable to point at any tangible contribution to the growth of Nigeria minus a few governors making modest efforts. Despite access to the fattest budgets for any capital project in Africa, it is difficult to point at any completed job meeting international standards. Nigerians have been short-changed at every turn with no hope of change in attitude from those who see government in terms of turn by turn and invitation to treat.
This is why it has become pertinent for members of the Nigerian opposition to put their act together for once and hopefully get us out of the unmitigated disaster heaped on us by a narcoleptic leadership. I have had the privilege of discussing with politicians across board and media gurus. The consensus is that the opposition must do things differently this time or otherwise they will play once more into the hands of the PDP.
On its part, the PDP gladiators are praying that the opposition as a group of strange bedfellows will fall completely apart when it comes to sharing candidacy and appointments. They are hoping that egocentric leaders will throw democracy overboard and foist themselves on the union and cause unmanageable disaffection. As far as I’m concerned it is all wishful thinking and beggars can hope to ride camels.
What we need to do as the opposition is to present a new team of strikers and midfielders backed by experienced defenders. We need those with appetite and ability to score goals. We need players who can go full time and not warm the bench most of the time. We need superstars who have the requisite charisma to ignite passion in the game and generate frenzy in uninterested spectators. The statistics will change in our favour when we ignite that spark by working across party lines to poach the best materials that it has pleased God to endow Nigeria with. I am confident that there is hope in the horizon if we can bury our individual ambition for the sake of Nigeria. I’m positive that most of us will thrive more in a better Nigeria.
There is evidence that PDP is jittery and in near disarray. A house divided against itself must collapse eventually. It is such a shame that they are not pumping energy into building a modern Nigeria. They are fighting like babies over who would continue to control our commonwealth and rape our nation mercilessly. The fact that our nation is haemorrhaging to death is none of their business. For them, life begins and ends with power. We can’t allow these guys to gamble away our lives.
The fact the PDP is already jittery came to light during the week when a stupidly weak attempt was made to impeach the Speaker of The Federal House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal. The shots they fired were too ineffective to fly let alone hit their intended target. As I told our mutual friends last week, Mr Tambuwal has become a marked man since it came out that he might be contesting the presidential race. Everything would be done by the PDP apparatchik to shoot him down. He has to hold on steadfastly to his principles and God if he would fulfil his destiny. He’s certainly one of the most promising leaders in a land where heroes are few and far between. We must do everything to promote him and a few others like Babatunde Fashola, Adams Oshiomhole, Rotimi Amaechi, Oby Ezekwesili, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Nuhu Ribadu, Dora Akunyili, Barth Nnaji, Yisa Yuguda, Godswill Akpabio, Olusegun ‘Iroko’ Mimiko, Peter Obi, Donald Duke, Nasir El-Rufai, U S Malami, and many bright Nigerians scattered all over the world with awesome talents to help our country move in the right direction and truly represent the new face of leadership in Africa.
Leadership has never been the exclusive preserve of politicians. It is about managing people and resources. Our politicians have neither the capacity to understand nor the capability to act correctly. We cannot continue to pass on this baton of foolishness from generation to generation. Nigerians are supposed to be among the smartest people on earth. How come we’ve allowed a few people to reduce us to a people without mission, a people without hope, a people without future?
The task before the new opposition is therefore humongous but not insurmountable. To succeed the opposition must strive to be different. People with ideas, values and vision must be empowered. Naked personal ambition must be sacrificed for the aspirations of the generality of the populace. Our improved collective future must be the mantra of anyone seeking to lead us and the capacity and ability to engender and deliver that future must be the basis upon which such a person is chosen to lead.
The opposition need not be a congregation of disgruntled elements but a platform for all those seeking a better and more pulsating Nigeria. I believe we are all tired of this state of inertia. We are the ones who can make a change. We must resolve to do so today. Otherwise we condemn not only ourselves but generations of Nigerians yet unborn to eternal frustration and hopelessness.
God bless Nigeria.
– This Best Outside Opinion was written by Dele Momodu