• Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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BusinessDay

Should the president be so powerful?

APC presidential campaign council denies appointing Buhari campaign chair

I have described the type of our democracy as a rat race for power. The godfathers support a governor. In the first two years, he impressed the electorate with a few people-oriented projects.

The focus shifts to re-election at half-time to the end of the first tenure. He is lucky if he is not fighting the godfathers. Otherwise, there is an epic battle for the state’s political mandate to remain in office.

After the epic fight is another two years to impress people without losing sight of how to make the godfathers powerless. That’s the battle of successors. Governors want to perpetuate themselves in office by appointing their flunkies as successors. This is the politics of carrots allowed by our low level of literacy politically.

People in Nigeria vote on emotions relating to ethnicity, religion, and petty sentiments. Some are political beggars who have no other job than to follow the directives of the power brokers to the detriment of their future, including that of their children.

Governors want to perpetuate themselves in office by appointing their flunkies as successors. This is the politics of carrots allowed by our low level of literacy politically

The race for the APC presidential flagbearer has been colourised by the purported interest of Buhari in the selection of his successor. The president once said he would prefer not to mention his preferred candidate for fear of assassination. What an unfortunate and backward picture of Nigeria in the 21st Century.

The president’s statement confirmed that we have not moved beyond the politics of the first and second republics, where lives were sacrificed for political dominance. We have not advanced beyond the primitive stage of independence after 60 years. We are not independent economically, but more pathetic is that we are still enslaved people in our imaginations if our leaders judge us.

Should anyone have the right to appoint their successors as leaders?

The role of leaders is to create a legacy that endures and lives beyond them. Leaders are to set things in motion and ensure the followers’ benefits irrespective of their beliefs or political affiliation.

A good political leader is called to create a society where the son of nobody can become somebody someday in the future. That’s not the case in Nigeria, where a past governor is contesting to return to the Senate after 12 years.

That’s not the case where a father and his son are both contenting to represent the people at the Senate and House of Representative at the same time. Politics have become the business of some families and is no longer a platform for building a society with equity and equality.

Jerry Rawlings transformed Ghana from nowhere to somewhere. He laid the foundation for a sane society where electorates vote counts and where a country of our former teachers and shoemakers is now above us in economic indexes. There is no doubt JJ Rawlings started a revolution.

So, he earned the right to be interested in who succeeds him to continue his transformation. Jakaya Kikwete began a process in Tanzania. He increased the budgetary allocation for education to 20 percent, resulting in a 96 percent increase in primary school enrolments. He set something in motion and perhaps, earned the right to desire the continuation of his legacy.

The man in Rwanda, Paul Kagame, wouldn’t be faulted if he is interested in having a stooge in office rather than be a president until perpetuity. He had transformed a war-torn country into an investment haven in Africa. The continuation of that agile development trend is noble and not out of place.

What have our leaders done in the past years that earned them the right to desire successors who are their stooges? Nigerians have been killed senselessly by insurgents, kidnappers, and religious extremists in the last 10 years.

All our leaders have only protected themselves and their children. Where a government cannot save the lives and properties of the people, the government has failed. Failure in security is a failure in all other areas.

The desire of our leaders to remain in office, especially that of a failed CBN governor, is ridiculous to the sensibility of Nigerians.

We are in a country of no accountability, and shamelessness is our pride. Otherwise, no one should want to continue the failure of the past years in security, economy, youth development, and the management of our diversity.

Our leaders have damaged the greatness of Nigeria and lost the right to continue in office. They have no right to lead us any longer.

There is no doubt that we need a superior level of thinking and engagement to prevent anarchy in our country. If Nigeria is to be great, we need leaders to be accountable for their actions and years in office.

What guarantee do we have that any member of this administration or the political class, in general, will win the war against corruption, nepotism, or extremism?

In 1960, the leaders of Malaysia refused the request of Singapore to merge with Malaysia. The decision by Malaysia’s leaders was not self-centred. If the leaders focused on themselves, they would have preferred to lead a giant nation (a combination of Malaysia and Singapore).

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But they decided to say no on the platform of reasonability. Today, both Malaysia and Singapore are better for that decision. The exploits of Lee Kuan Yew and the possibility of Singapore’s transformation wouldn’t have been as visible and relevant to nation-building as it is today.

The baseline is that our leaders, from the so-called founding fathers that we blindly eulogise to the present crop of leaders, put themselves above their people. The consequence is the Nigeria we have today.

The nationalists birth a mindset of leading with self as the foundation of our independence. They want to rule an enormous country. They want their region to dominate power and consequently produce corruption, nepotism, intolerance, and an atmosphere for destroying a nation with the potential to be bigger, better and a land of diversity for all.

I will conclude by saying appointing a successor should be based on legacy and influence and not on the position that has contributed more to the position-holder and less on the security and welfare of the followers.

We don’t want the president and the governors’ preferred candidates. We need more than they can offer to change Nigeria for the better.