© 2018 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
2019 elections: The Kingsley Moghalu candidacy and the rest of us
By Timothy Ola Bamgboye
ANOTHER season of general election is upon us as a nation, and the polity is expectedly fast becoming saturated with the frenzy that comes with myriad of political activities. Unfortunately, as is often the case, it is the same crop of predatory politicians that have again taken the centre stage, crisscrossing from one camp to the other. It is the same band of self-serving political class across the major political parties that are creating some dubious excitement for the rest of us to cheer on. The oppressive forces are up again, fighting for the souls of the people, and as though under a spell, it appears the people are happily helpless.
Ironically, the people appear helpless even though for the first time in the nation’s history there is a crop of young political aspirants that have put themselves forward to vie for elective offices, whose knees arguably have not bowed down to the Baal of corruption, nepotism, tribalism, religious fanaticism, narrow-mindedness, mediocrity, and everything that has held us bound with the chain of underdevelopment as a nation. A vast majority of social and political analysts have been dismissive of the chances of any of this new breed of political leaders to win election- especially the presidential election- if they do not dissolve into a third formidable force. This would appear to be the glaring truth- yet, the status quo remains.
Some have accused the new breed of aspirants of allowing their sycophantic followers talk them into continuing on the path that leads to nowhere. Others have accused them of allowing their selfish ambition override their patriotic duty to the country and allegiance to the common good. Apparently, many are waiting for the outcome of the elections to say to them “I told you so!” But this is where we miss the mark.
Everyone who meets the qualification set out by our electoral laws has the legal right to vie for any position of his choosing. Also, the questions of competence, capacity, popularity and goodwill are both subjective and objective. A candidate may honestly believe he is better suited than others on those scores until he is confronted with facts, figures, and superior argument as to a better candidacy. You do not expect a candidate to objectively appraise other candidates and admit they are better suited for an office than he is.
The demand is on opinion and thought leaders. It is their thankless duty to create platforms and engender discussions around appraising the candidates and helping the electorates see reasons to queue behind the best. This appears to me to be the missing link in our political trajectory. Where are the noble leaders across society’s spectrum that can work tirelessly towards birthing a third force and inspire a block vote especially from the young ones in the fast approaching election? Those who should be influencing others to think and act right politically seem to be folding their hands, saying whatever will be will be. We seem to be oblivious of the grim consequences of not getting it right for the umpteenth time, as though the candidates alone will suffer loss. Can we in good conscience compare the loss of personal financial investment that a candidate will suffer with the national tragedies of unabated killings, selective anti-corruption war, increased poverty and unemployment, monolithic and sickly economy, and infrastructural decay and deficit that we might continue to suffer as a nation, to mention a few, if we fail to get it right?
I have said it time and again on different fora that using the objective test of a reasonable man, Kingsley Moghalu towers high over and above any other candidate that has so far declared interest in the presidency with respect to his thorough understanding of the socio- economic and political problems we grapple with, and proffering realistic solutions to those problems. I have not always known this. I stumbled on some highly respected persons speaking highly of him, and thereafter took deliberate steps to read about him, read him, and watch many interviews and speeches of his. Here is what I found out: he has the competence, character, track record, and charisma to lead this country. If there is one thing we have lacked as a nation, it is dearth of strategic thinking, foresight and of course selfless service. Little wonder Obafemi Awolowo was referred to as the best president Nigeria never had. Kingsley Moghalu is also a strategist, thinker and author of internationally acclaimed books on nation building. He has been involved not only intellectually but pragmatically in leadership processes and the cause of good governance.
Evidently, the odds are against him. He is running under a relatively unknown party, the Young Progressive Party. The election timetable only favours renowned parties with wide reach, as INEC by its timetable disallows public campaigns till 18th November, 2018 when parties may commence same. This is why he has resorted to town hall meetings, lectures and social media commentaries with limited impact. To increase his visibility and viability, young Nigerians must of a necessity serve as volunteers to market his candidacy throughout the nooks and crannies of the country.
But how can these things be if all of us within our circle of influence keep giving discordant directions and guidance to those that look up to us? How can we uncover a third force if we are running in different directions, though aiming to apprehend a common goal? I am of the firm view that Kingsley Moghalu could be- and should be- the face of the third visionary, vibrant and progressive force. If you have a superior argument, we should be brain storming, not whining. We all are racing against time, yet the awful truth is certain, namely this: falling short of the mark is akin to failing our generation and the next.
Timothy, a legal practitioner, lives in Warri, Delta State.