By Jerry Obanyero
My doubts are little and insignificant, that is, if at all they exist, that Fela Durotoye, Kinsley Moghalu and Sowore Omoyele, the 2019 presidential aspirants, represent genuine leadership change which our troubled country needs at this crucial time.
They may even provide the best leadership that our country has not had since independence if given the chance. Perhaps my conclusion is hasty and assertion no more than expressing faith in the candidature of politically naïve persons that until now their national political records with us read but nothing comparable to their career success. But going by the leadership failure under the All Progressive Congress led by President Mohammadu Buhari, you cannot blame me for my hasty conclusion and expression of faith. Talking about faith, even our President has enjoined us to pray for security of the country and exercise our faith by accepting in our communities those that go around at night to slaughter hapless women and children in their sleep. What I have been trying to say in a nutshell is that the candidature of any person outside the fold of a failed party that rose to the pinnacle of leadership by promises now turned lies, will most likely get endorsement from right thinking Nigerians. In this present circumstance, there seems to be more hope in the angel you do not know than the devil you know, a reverse of the popular aphorism.
Having laid the above premise, I will dare venture that the dream of these three Nigerians to lead the country come 2019 is not novel but is tall as far as politics in Nigeria is concerned. It is imperative we understand that no country in the world has exactly the same style and system of politics. True as it may that similarities exist as well as areas of convergence here and there; politics exhibits variation from country to country in actual practice even though these countries draw from the same ocean of democracy. A case in point is Nigeria. Nigeria’s political turf is lone with its idiosyncrasies. Politics in Nigeria has its traditions and what is customary to it. It is not mathematics, there is no definite answer. Politics in the country has its own self-created formula. It has its rules and most times the rules are non-rules and it is mastered only by those who have played or have been outplayed by them. This defines Nigerian politics. I would like to change gear at this juncture and leave further analysis for the Political Scientists and Historians.
Now back to the juice I have been trying to squeeze, Fela, Kinsley and Sowore may have a grand master plan or manifesto of distinction by all standards. They are very educated and have proven and tested credentials to show for it. They are successes in their chosen profession. Nature has endowed them with a gift of oratory to present their plans for the country and its several million citizenry without ambiguity, nay, rather convincingly. Without undermining their impressive pedigree and achievements, I would say to these three new political entrants, borrowing the words of Jesus Christ in the Holy Bible, that “one thing thou lackest” and this despite their grandstanding records in other fields is not much of a difference to “wisdom and knowledge” which, “believers lack”, according to the Hadith of Prophet Mohammed SAW.
Wait a minute! Before they say I commit a sacrilege or a kind of blaspheme, or I am accused of being an unbeliever of the “New Nigerian Project” by the converts and disciples of these three aspirants, I would like to plead that I be given a chance to expound my point. Maybe, just maybe, reason will be seen in my reasoning. Okay! Now Nigeria is a complex country and its complexity is not just a function of its size but also people spread across its six geo-political zones. This complexity is also in the mirage of socio-economic and ethno-religious and political problems that have forced this giant of Africa shamefully to its knees. There is also a complexity in the event of availability of solution of how and where to apply it judiciously and dispassionately. These and many more make leadership in this country unsuitable business for mere rhetoric, gambling, the political tenderfoot and grandstander. Because the country is complex, the business of politics in the country is serious extraordinaire. Nigeria at this point can only but to get it right and cannot, in whatever guise and however the person, afford another wasted year.
The business of ruling a country like Nigeria does not end in the sublimity of words or plan, youthfulness advertisement or ostentatious debonairness or circusy display of occupation eminence. It is result-delivery, converting words into action, alleviating fears and inspiring confidence in the governed and providing total and quality leadership to all the over one-eighty million Nigerians. This is a serious business. It is a national task. In a country that has been bed-ridden for several decades with all known and unknown sickness and pregnant with potentials, only a qualify physician and surgeon can and should attend to her.
Fela, Kinsley and Sowore have dreams for a better Nigeria and should by every means be celebrated but in the race to govern the country, they have not exhibited proper understanding of the complexity of Nigeria and this one error is fatal to their ambition. No matter how hard we attempt to run away from it, the country’s complexity and politics are inseparable. In fact, the complexity defines the politics and the politics is the complexity. Respectfully, the three have been going about preaching the gospel of a better Nigeria and themselves as the messiah but their message is largely received by university students, few educated youths, some religious folks and social activists concentrated mostly in cities and towns. How this support base can translate into winning for any of them in a complex nation as ours is an issue for the Political Analysts to determine.
There are two fundamental tests for those who aspire taking a shot at the most powerful seat in the world’s most populous black nation. First, “how do I get there?” and second, “if I am there, who will I walk with or team up with to execute my grand plan?” Some have passed the first and occupied the seat but failed to deliver because of the second. Many have totally neglected the two tests or turned blind eye or are ignorant of them. They are rather embarking on a race in anticipation of miracles in the process or overstretching their faith, which probably is not a bad idea, but certainly does not and cannot win an election or produce a President that can deliver result.
To conclude, above having an ambition and a grand plan, Fela, Moghalu and Sowore will do well to weigh the size and possibility of their ambition against the current realities in the complex Nigeria, and may even be great wisdom to seek for another political position other than the current one to test run their plans.
This is by no way timidity, disbelief or mediocrity, it is building a foundation or a political structure upon which the “Nigerian Project” they so much believe in will stand, specifically it is for them, gathering momentum for the top job and shooting the top from the ground. It is demystifying the complexity through practicality and separating rhetoric from action and solution from vituperation.
Jerry “Obans” Obanyero is a law graduate and writer. You can reach him firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on twitter, @jerobans