© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
In Search of selfless leaders for Nigeria
By Yinka Adeosun
THE entrepreneurs of falsehood are back in business. And, this is very understandable as it is that time of the year. Lies, deceits and contrived data are now the order of the day courtesy the merchants of death and the enemies of truth. It is a season when politicians are quick to make promises, which they do not intend to fulfil. These little values that they take for granted have become the standards with which they are accessed when they come into the office.
Clergypreneurs are not left out of this game of deceit. It is typical that in election years, there are bound to be prophecies of who will win and lose. The beginning of this year has witnessed such camaraderie and patronage with the gullible by all manner of clerics (as enumerated by Segun Adeniyi in his column of 3/01/2019). In Nigeria, faith is often an object of manipulation that leaves its victim hapless and more hopeless than it met him. Sadly, the poor are the most naive, not leaving out the rich who are also susceptible to such religious gimmicks.
Every four years we get in the web of this vicious cycle. Sadly, we don’t reflect on the last cycle, we hardly learn lessons and we don’t plan. The patterns of our electioneering remain the same. The issues are left to the media to discuss. The candidates do not have a grasp of the issues at stake upon assuming power; neither do they know how to address them. Altercations and name-calling are commonplace in our polity. A close look at the personalities reveals that they are self-seeking than service-oriented. There is a dearth of commitment to the people and knowledge of the cardinal issues that plague the nation.
The incumbent has been stretched to his wit end. He seems to be bereft of ideas from the outset of his inauguration. His late appointment of ministers, uninspiring performance and his nepotistic approach to offices are rather unfortunate of a leader who contested the same office for many years. Sadly, the idolisation of President Muhammadu Buhari has blinded some of his die-hard followers from seeing the truth of his incompetence and gerontocratic display and connection to deliver the Nigeria of our dreams. What can an analogue mind profit a digital generation?
Plagued by character flaws and unhealthy antecedents, the candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is not offering anything promising. With baggage of sleaze and impropriety at home and abroad, his public life reeks of stench that is unbecoming of a decent presidency. His arrogance, largely derived from his largely ill-gotten wealth is not a model of the kind that Nigeria needs. If charity begins at home, Atiku Abubakar is not the kind of president that can take Nigeria to the promise land.
The performance of these popular candidates while in government was anything but remarkable. As vice president and head of the economic team, Atiku’s privatisation process was smeared by impropriety that has continued to trail him since he left office. The question we should be asking Alhaji Atiku is what he forgot in office after eight years in government that he wants to come back and acquire again? The incumbent president has been taciturn on his plans for another four years. His fragile health and the usurpation of his office by cabals are indications for him to take a deserved rest from Aso Rock. Giving either of them another chance is a mockery of our commonwealth, an elevation of failure and a caricature of our collective destiny as a nation. For those who destroyed our past cannot be trusted with the future.
Is it not a misnomer that those who seem to have a grasp of the issues are not showing any serious capacity to impress let alone win in this coming election? Apart from their statements in the media and their eloquence at the presidential debates, their campaign is not visible. Their parties and memberships are vague and not visible. They are known only by their families and cronies who may end up being the only ones to cast votes for them. They lack the political wherewithal to make any serious impact. An alliance by these persons to dislodge the status quo seems the logical thing to do; but to them, this is foreclosed.
I am particularly piqued at the youths. The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) has become a tool by politicians to achieve their selfish ends. Gone are the days when this arm of a young set of bright minds was a terror to bad policies of the government. What has happened to the fiery activism of Ali-Must-Go days or the heady resistance that stood resolute against the International Monetary Fund/World Bank induced Structural Adjustment Programme in 1990 logjam? Today’s army of young people have either been brainwashed or are just brain-dead. We look at what the politicians say instead of what they do and their implications on our collective future. What future has a septuagenarian other than the grave? It’s so sad how we have thrown rationality to the dogs.
The average Nigerian has become so used to money politics that values have been thrown to the dustbin. Our social values have been eroded. The same set of people who are mobilised for PDP’s campaign are the same who will attend APC’s rally, all at a price. If that was bad, it has now become so terrible that people now cast their vote only when they are paid by the highest bidder. If only the Nigerian electorates can think that they are the eventual losers of the N5000 they get before casting their vote for that candidate! This random ineptitude is fast becoming a national blunder that will continue to haunt generations yet unborn.
Selfishness and greed are the only binding denominator among Nigerian political elite while the youths only think of what they can scoop from this malaise. They seem to lack the capacity to think ahead. Since 1960 our development plans have been a flash in the pan. Their results have turned out as reckless and fruitless as ever – a sad tale on successive administrations. With 2020 just a year away, there’s nothing in the offing about Vision 2020 as none of the presidential hopefuls has anything to offer on any serious plan for our dear country.
In the words of George Carlin, an American author and social critic, “Governments don’t want an intelligent population because people who can think critically can’t be ruled. They want a public just smart enough to pay taxes and dumb enough to keep voting and electing corrupt politicians.” With less than a month to the elections, hope and optimism appear to be far away for Nigeria in the next four years. It is however expected that Nigerians will vote for the candidate of their choice who will emerge in a free, fair and credible ballot system. And the cycle continues …
Adeosun writes from Akure, Ondo state