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Sunday, September 24, 2023

A President Nigeria Desperately Need – By Sanusi Muhammad



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The politicking is on hold after gathering momentum and steam while the electorates were there expecting patronage and largesse from the politicians. The players were busy planning and deploying expertise, tricks and gimmicks to confuse, contradict and garner support to net victory at the end. Those for re-election were busy showcasing real and imaginary scorecards of the past to support their candidature to victory for continuity.

Presently, there is the temptation to make the tragic sense of things the touchstone of Nigerian politics. This desire to daub life dire, has for a long while, defined the tide of political partisanship and the transience of hope as a national ideal.

In the fracas of faith and filth, the negligible attains significance while the essential gets consigned to the fringes of awareness.

The moral and ethical issues of misgovernance, predatory corporatism, treasury looting and emptiness, the toxic assets amassed by politicians of questionable character and thieves garbed in civil service attire such as one retired federal permanent secretary from one of the north-eastern states who stole over N5billion from the ministry he superintended that deceived him to aspire to govern his state of origin for better stealing exercise, to vulturine lending, to self-serving legislation, to anti-growth economic policies, insecurity and sky-rocketing inflation, appear to be irrelevant in the arena of public discourse en –routed to the 2023 elections.

Instead, the partisan section of the media, in fulfillment of its role as courtier, unfurled to the ungloved palm of doubtful patriots and dubious ethicists, hurling rant about which candidate may contest the presidency or not. Amid the noise, barely any news medium examines the aspirants for other political offices.

Consequently, the latter enjoy a free ride to power, heedless of the electorate’s wishes, and markedly detached from the sense of purpose and responsibility attached to the public offices they occupy.

As rival parties campaigned across the country, politics got intense as the major actors flouted the rules and skirted around ethical tropes. Although, I share nothing in common with Bola Ahmed Tinubu or the party he flaunted its presidential ticket, but Arise TV’s frantic broadcast of his rumored disqualification from the 2023 presidential contest by INEC and its subsequent retraction few minutes afterward, on same day, was in-cantatory of its partisan mind and nature.

Its subsequent apology to Tinubu and the N2million fine handed out to it by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), however, resounded like a pat on the wrist to many a supporter of Tinubu. One had to condemn the unprofessional conduct of Arise TV in the interest of oneself and the democracy.

But this piece is hardly about Arise TV’s curious practice but more about the tenor of engagement in Nigeria’s heated political space. The scalding rhetoric and venomous attacks on political personae exemplified the tragic sense of things in our already heated spaces.

This tragic sense of things was a response to the Nigerian experience and it manifested in the electorate’s detachment from patriotic endeavor. As we approached the 2023 polls, the electorate hardly unlearned the herd reengage progressively in the ongoing transition. They must now ask the crucial questions.

Owe our reverence of them? By their citizenship, do they furnish pathways to empower disillusioned, jobless youths of Zak, Ashale, Gyambar, Konkiyel, Hamalle, Karkashi, Zamko, Rugan Saluwe, Sharam, Maikatako, Bwarat, Ijanikin, Ibadan, Ikorodu, Lokoja, Demsa, Fufore, Oturkpo, Abirba, Daura, Kalabalge to mention but a few? Do they teach the youth to abhor greed, selfishness, unruly behavior and political rascality and barbarism? Do they impress that, in the end, only, Nigerians get to choose what becomes of Nigeria, not a coalition of shady friends from all corners of the world and black ops-activated humanitarian agencies?

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Answers to these questions resonated in each of the candidate’s public utterance and deeds. Transcendent moments and deeds are manifestations of an exalted intelligence. Who among the candidates possess the loftiest acumen? Whose, antecedents in private and public office—or both—elicits the passionate tribute of a cheer? Whose past and present exploits incite the passing tribute of a sight?

Despite the youths’ dissatisfaction with the status quo, do they project the moral character, strength, political literacy, awareness and intelligence required to make the right choice?

The ongoing jostle for political spoils is overtly ritualistic. Duplicitous analysts and the political class relentlessly pursue their selfish interests amid widespread suffering and bloodshed.

Even the self-appointed so called progressives have shunned the lilies and languors of virtue for the raptures and roses of vice, as Dolores would say. Amid our suffering, they reconstruct Nigeria into a narrow commune, beholden to their selfish interpretations of power and political office.

Their virtues are short, and their vices extensive and implacable. Their lips, full of lust and laughter, attach to the country’s bosom like curled serpents that are fed from the breast. Every dispensation, they press with fanged lips where their reptilian predecessors have suckled.

Nigeria thus becomes the doomed Cleopatra giving suck to their asps. When kicked out of office, they grudgingly recoil—but never quitting the corridors of power—to accord Nigeria the affliction of deadlier asps in the successive administration. Nigeria would never be rid of them until we set our grief’s needlepoint astride the prick of pain.

Of the candidates, I saw a true progressive patriot, nationalist, and misunderstood titan. I see men enslaved to power and god complex. I saw voyagers hampered by baggage from a past and present that would forever haunt them. Even the ‘new kids on the block’ came forged as minnows and bathetic ogres.

I saw a colossus whose handlers painted a ravishing portrait of him even as critics dismissed him as yet another genome of leadership, dastardly and base like the Casanova lost in the folds of the bearded meat.

I saw an electorate wrought of two extremes: cynical and apathetic. Very few candidates had excited passion and hope, save the dangerous fitted thrown by their pawns and puppets on the unregulated social media.

It’s about time we identified the contender jostling to handle our heartfelt yearnings of over years as his tuberous burden. Who among the candidates was best equipped to resolve Nigeria’s economic woes and most pressing conflicts?

Many Nigerians are probably living through one of the worst decade of their lives. They read of bloody genocides at dawn, poverty and strife ravaging the next city—many more live through such. And as usual, an economy patched with foreign loans, fleeting growth and duplicity.

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It took a perfect gathering of bad leadership to get to this our tormenting moment in our history. It would take an imperfect cannonball of a man to lead us through, to survival. Who, among the candidates is wrought of such fibre?

What we should be interested in is a president capable of fostering the type of education and skilled force Nigeria needs to power her industry. We have no need of a big and egocentric President in hard times; what we need is a humble man of great depth.

We need a president who would be forever indebted to Nigerians, for giving him the opportunity to serve. We need one now as today is spitting out monsters and tomorrow portends the birth of a thousand trolls.

We are done believing in the dignified duplicity of treacherous men. We need a president who acknowledges that today, everything is broken, and that the very system that produced him was mal-functional but managed and now needs to be properly fixed in a way that wouldn’t make deity of him and sacrificial lambs of the Nigerian people.

We need a president capable of speaking gently and intelligently too who can listen to the plight of the people no matter how minute and accordingly act to address the situation.

Nigeria deserves a man who internalizes the citizenry’s grief in order to proffer immediate solution. We may identify such a leader by his antecedents and present conduct. Let us start seeking for the candidate who would become the blank screen, on which Nigerians of vastly different stripes may rally and present their agonies and wants. And he wouldn’t lose his head.

The president we seek believes in justice, equality and the rule of law. He is pious without being self-righteous. He is responsible, tolerant, and in many ways, more evolved. We may be fortunate to have that in 2027.

We need such a character to drive a practicable and all-inclusive plan of national rebirth; a proposal of shared targets and intentions with broad based support and the moral and political will to implement its mechanisms and ends with profound understanding of law, governance methods, economics, commerce and social organization of humane statehood. Nigerians are left with the final decision. They either vote wisely next time for a better future, or continue to follow the wrong path for self destruction and doom of the country. But for 2023, with due apology to the APC, they gave us a ‘rotten’ one with the financial clout to secure victory through the back window and suffers from the scourge of dementia.

We do not a need president whose source of wealth is questionable. Whose credentials are in doubt and origin is equally in doubt. A man said to be battling a crisis-ridden reputation from top to bottom but still running away from reality.

We should either be saved by Sen. AbdulAzeez Yari as Senate President, Ahmed Idris Wase as Speaker House of Representatives to give robust legislation to provide safety nets for the country or the Supreme Court should rescue the situation or we be ready to accommodate the already prepared unpalatable dish waiting to served for four years. Nigeria has once again missed the road!

Muhammad is a commentator on national issues

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