|Wednesday, May 9, 2018|
Pikesville, Maryland, USA
e, the people of Nigeria, must device a means of steering the course of our destiny in the light of the socio-political realities of the present time. Our condition calls for cautious participation as well as calculated interventions in the polity if we are not going to be led into another political chaos by default again. While the digital Youths are clamouring and struggling to take over from the older analogue politicians, the analogue Politicians are not willing to let go because of their fear that the youths are not ready. This is because of the thought that youths may not have been groomed enough by them to take over the mantle of leadership. This writer is neither in concurrence with these older Politicians nor assuming that the Youths are indeed ready. Only time can tell who is too old to lead or who is too young to rule. However, the better of the two is what Nigerians need at this time.
It is essential for us to establish a platform for addressing and providing the needed intervention and guidance to those interested in the race for the 2019 political drama. A platform like this is very necessary if our nation will not be thrown into untold embarrassment by the 2019 political gladiators, who might be selfish and greedy in their desperate pursuit for the juicy positions. This note (writeup) is not only to the Presidential aspirants but also to other aspirants to the various political offices at all levels of government (Federal, States and Local Governments). Are they really interested in the service to the people or in the money and the loots, to line their own pockets and leave Nigeria in the perpetual mess and poverty. May the latter not be true.
It is my fervent hope that people around these politicians (Youths or Old) will call their attention to some vital points in this article. Politicians will need to take whatever is useful and applicable to them and their parties for the goodness of our dear nation as we strive to become one of the greatest nations of the world. They should all realise that the task of ruling Nigeria is a complex one, compared to whatever level of rulership they may have previously been involved in. There is no doubt that Nigeria has got what it takes in terms of our potentials and resources necessary for greatness. What we do not need is continued greed and selfishness of our leaders.
The older Nigerians as well as other mature Nigerians (not politically inclined) should not just sit around as on-lookers watching the drama play out. There is danger in folding your hands watching events unfold. Being quiet or behaving indifferent to the ongoing political drama may boomerang with some serious consequences on all of us. As stakeholders in the Nigerian project, when the nation's image is battered we all suffer. That is why and when we start wasting time and money on image laundering and rebranding. So, in the words of late Chief Bola Ige, former Governor of Oyo State, we should not just "sit down look", to see our nation go down.
At this time, our polity is getting heated up and the struggle has started in earnest for the jostle for the plum political offices. One thing is clear, many of these neophytes (youthful politicians) might be too near the tree to see the forest in many instances. It is the duty of the people around them, especially the older, more matured adults, with some iota of wisdom to guide and advise them to toe the right path to success. Remember they are and will always be our 'children' no matter their digital capabilities and transformations! They can never be too young or too old for our wise counsels, despite being technology savvy. We all have a stake in the political stability of our nation. Both the old and the young have a part to play in the Nigerian project. Omode ni'se, agba ni'se ni afi da'le Ife.
The task of ensuring the sanity of governance belongs to all of us whether we are politicians or not and it starts from the selection of candidates for positions. People nominated into offices must be people who are knowledgeable and capable enough to handle responsibilities as required of them. They must be people of proven character and integrity with lots of passion for leadership and love for the people and not kleptomaniacs. They must have high energy levels adequate for the offices. They must not be burnt out or too old for the offices they aspire to get into. It may not be too much for us to require that our Politicians must be fit, able, capable of getting into the Gym at least thrice a week instead of sleeping in the legislative chambers during the plenary sessions. On a more serious level, they may be subjected to some psychiatric evaluation to see if they are mentally sound.
Politicians in many parts of the world (including Heads of States) engage in regular physical exercises despite their very busy schedules. It is only in Nigeria where 'fitness' is not a part of the daily routines of politicians and other public office holders. Fitness exercise, instead of looting (corruption) should be weaved into the consciousness of the Nigerian Politicians from now on. Fitness and alertness of politicians should be encouraged because a sound mind can be found in a sound body (mens sana incompure sano). I hereby recommend that befitting Gyms should be built for politicians in the various Legislative facilities in Nigeria. Gym participation should be made compulsory for them to guarantee their continued fitness for various offices. Nigerians can then be sure that their Legislators will be able to attend the Legislative Chambers with the requisite level of fitness and alertness. This may be our only assurance that Legislators will remain sharp and productive during plenary sessions instead of going to the legislative chambers to sleep and snore, as some of them shamefully do!
Every eligible voter should endeavour to register and vote in fulfilment of their civic duty to select capable candidates. On the local levels, every citizen should be able to influence politicians in directions that affect the wellbeing of the communities. Politicians from now on must be answerable to the people and not the other way around. Politicians are servants of the people not masters/bosses. Our jobless and idle youths who serve as thugs should be directed and advised to desist. Youths should eschew excessive exuberance and wear the cloak of maturity. They must be counselled not to be made tools in the hands of politicians for thuggery and violence during elections. They need to be constantly reminded that the basic objective of the new political wave is to achieve a better Nigeria for all Nigerians.
The thoughts which should run in the minds of Nigerian politicians today (2018) should be that of the many hurdles ahead (direct and hidden). Some needed youthful ethics of not running one another down and having respect for one another will be of utmost importance. There is a need for meaningful and formidable coalition between mushrooming youth groups and movements for requisite synergy. If care is not taken and sacrifices made in youths' bid to coalesce, for election purposes, their aspiration for leadership may be threatened. There should be humble exchanges with one another as well as with authorities. The need and call for healthy negotiations and lasting mergers of interest groups cannot be over-emphasised.
Governance does not start from ground zero. The inevitability of continuity between administrations give room to the need for smooth transitions. The transition mechanism must be peaceful, carefully orchestrated and smooth otherwise chaos may result. There is no doubt that Nigeria will be witnessing a 2019 transition with many colours. A transition from the older generation to the younger. Analogue to Digital where there will be a predominance of dynamic youths in governance. Nigeria will witness the introduction of innovative ideas in the governance of our dear nation. The change from analogue to digital and the predominance of youths at the top will by itself, constitute a peculiar problem. The existing older corps of workforce at the Executive cadre will resist the incoming change very radically.
One thing we must always remember is that it is difficult to teach an old dog a new trick. The older corps of civil servants will certainly try desperately to resist change. The onus will be on the 'digital Youths' (if they win the general election) to make the change and transition gradual by instituting extensive in-service training and retraining programmes among the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). The need to downsize may be obvious to remove the deadwoods, however it should not exacerbate the current unemployment problem. The older workers will have the tendency to hold on to the status quo rather than embrace the needed change and innovations. The campaign for globalization in workplaces must permeate the entire system to counter the resistance to change by the older workforce in workplaces. All analogue workers cannot be done away with in one fell swoop. The transformation of our future workplace must be a gradual process. Every attempt must be made to avoid any tendency for sabotage (fight back) from the existing analogue workforce.
It is important for the new political aspirants to correctly understand the full extent and complexity of the tasks ahead in the governance of a multi-ethnic nation like Nigeria in a big mess.
The SEVEN MAJOR TASKS upon which the incoming government will be judged are listed as follows:
These are seven gargantuan tasks (Atari Ajanaku) for the incoming new leaders. It is a 'shadow manifesto' which cannot be avoided in any meaningful political party's manifesto. If they intend to hit the ground running, they must retie their girdles and not get bogged down with the trivialities of governance. There will be absolutely no time for undue sentiments if they want to succeed. What Nigeria desperately needs is a cohesive and productive government. She does not need one where there are frictions between and within political parties often caused by illegal or illegitimate alliances of strange bedfellows! An incoming Ruling Party must be seen to be 'homogeneous', not one where the President of Senate is from one party and the Vice President is from an opposing party. That was the absurdity of the past (APC government) which must not be allowed to repeat itself.
The new government of 2019 will have no room for excuses or blame games. Everyone knows that too many things have gone wrong and whoever is interested in governance at this time should be ready from day one, to commence the BIG CLEAN UP. Our 2019 Politicians must be guarded by the popular quote - "Success and Excuses do not talk together. If you want Excuses, forget about Success. If you want Success, do not give excuses". The blame game is no longer playable or tenable in Nigerian politics. Only Politicians with the "magic" to turn around the nation's fortune for the better should venture into it. Politicians are hereby warned that 'Business as Usual' has been killed, dead, and buried in Nigeria. Henceforth, politicians will become answerable to their electorates. There will be marking of Score Cards for Counsellors, State Assembly Men and Women, Representatives, and Senators in their respective Town Hall Meetings. Alas, the Nigerian Electorates have become wise! Politicians will be kept on their toes from now on. Politics is now for Service and no more for money and fame! The time is now to start blacklisting and proscribing dubious politicians who are found lacking in integrity and character.
All Churches and Mosques must commence fervent prayers for Nigeria and Nigerians for peace and tranquility to prevail in the next nine months or so. May our prayers never fail us as we continue to survive as a nation even beyond 2019. We are convinced that what Nigeria needs now are sets of dedicated NO-NON-SENSE LEADERS who will put aside the usual sentiments and act without fear or favour. All behaviours relating to tribal, religious, nepotic, class, political and gender sentiments must be jettisoned in the new Nigeria of our dreams. Nigeria is destined to be great and she will be great. Those who do not have what it takes by way of character, integrity, and dedication to peoples' welfare should not get close to Nigeria's political space any longer. A word is enough for the wise. Professor Adekunle Akinyemi is President/CEO of Ceezek Foundation Inc.; Chairman/CEO of BookHouse Education Trust of Nigeria, and features writer from Pikesville, Maryland, USA. [email protected]