by Oluwatosin Fatoyinbo
Nigeria is said to be one the happiest nations on earth. Nigerians are perhaps one of the most hardworking people on the planet. The dark men and chocolate women of Africa’s most populous nation are creative and innovative. I considered these and reasoned thus: shouldn’t Nigerians have a President who would put smiles on their faces and erase their poverty-induced wrinkles? Don’t we deserve a Messiah: a David who would confront our national Goliath or a Moses who would look Pharaoh straight in the eye and without timidity say, “LET MY PEOPLE GO? A leader who would not give up with little or no resistance!
Nigeria is a paradigm of entrenched corruption, wasted opportunities and easily the most mocked nation on earth. We have leaders who vandalize our common patrimony sedating us with their unique political lexicon that mocks virtues and integrity and celebrates theft and felonies. The plague that has befallen our nation is not just a dearth of good leadership or a paucity of good leaders but the eroding of our value system as a people. The foundation of godliness, morality and selflessness has over the years been destroyed not only by those who do not care whether our nation lives or dies but by those who have failed to do something about it.
It is absurd that in a nation where the husband is accepted to be the head of the family, a woman will have the audacity to insult and to command another woman’s husband and the Governor of an autonomous State, call him her ‘boy’ and become a ‘Jesus’ to one honourable member of the state house of Assembly, all because she is the ‘First Woman’. Her husband, the President rather than keep her on leash would keep quiet as she helps continue the erosion of our national values system.
That Nigeria is the largest oil producer in Africa and the 6th largest in the World is stale news. That the nation is blessed with an abundance of solid mineral resources is not in doubt yet we doubt our very existence as Nigerians. We cannot continue to wobble along like a wounded and starved lion walking to its death. The lion of Africa must roar again loud and clear so that the Leopard and Tiger claiming superiority over the forest will learn to shut up and pay due obeisance. That Ghanaians can today open their lips and release all forms of venom upon us is no fault of theirs. After all, they have stable electricity while we still grope in the dark. That Britain will even think of imposing a visa bond on the ‘Giant of Africa’ is no fault of theirs, when even the man who was simply ‘maced’ in Rivers was flown to Britain because no Nigerian Hospital had the cure for ‘macelaria.’ We thus need a man to bring out the ferocious Lion in us again.
United Nations projections show that we are on course to be the fourth largest economy in the world by the turn of the next century and I ask when my motherland will harness her greatest resources: you and I, the energetic people of Nigeria. To this end, we need a man who will by his actions and not just his words inspire us to dream more, learn more, do more and become more for in the words of John Buchan ‘the task of leadership is not to put greatness into people but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already’.
This President would not be one who went to school without shoes yet watch as many school kids are out of school. The man we need is one with an anti-corruption spirit, a hardworking soul, a malice-free heart, a fair-deal brain and most importantly an accurate sense of judgement. He would not send the EFCC after his political enemies but after the economic enemies of the nation. We need a man who will place higher value on the robustness of his people than the fatness of his Swiss Bank account, if he has any at all. We deserve a man who has seen the sufferings in the Makoko slums as well as the lushness of Victoria Island; understanding perfectly what they both need. Such a man will not sleep while the nation weeps. He would be bothered that while there is so much wealth in Asokoro and Maitama, there is abundance of poverty in Daki Biu, Gwagwa-karimo and Mabushi all within Abuja the seat of power. He will give himself no rest until John Hopkins University Hospital refers their African patients to our very own University College Hospital, Ibadan. It’s not impossible, is it?
The Yorubas will say ‘when a young child falls, he gets up and walks away carefree; an elder would however look back and check what went wrong before moving forward’. He therefore moves forward with a better focus and the ability to avoid a recurrence of the mistake which caused him to stumble. We need such an elder; elder not by his age but by the maturity of his mind.
This President will only surround himself with visionary and pragmatic ministers and aides even though he has to do so bearing in mind our so called ‘federal character’, he will still look for men of character. He will promptly call to order any erring minister and not sit down while the Ministers sleep as their ministries rots. An education minister who goes on a meaningless visit while ASUU is on strike and the educational sector is in shambles will not be given a second chance.
In 1981, Malaysia was a poor, hungry and direction-less nation, an exact similitude of Nigeria. But one man, just one man Dr. Muhammad Bin Muhammad knew where the country should head for, what impeded advancement and how to remove the shackles. He charted the course and merely asked Malaysians to cut a pathway through the bushes and forests. Today, Malaysia proudly boasts as being the 29th largest economy in the World. Nigeria desperately cries for a visionary leader of Dr. Mohammad Bin Mohammad’s calibre.
Can we find a man who will command the respect of his people not by the length of his entourage or the loud blaring of siren but by the meekness of his heart? He will resist dumb followership and insist that his people hold him accountable for his act.
I must state that this man need not be perfect because in actual fact, there is no perfect man, we all must bear with some level of imperfection. He may do wrong but it must indeed be a wrong done unintentionally. And when he realises his mistake, rather than let his media aides defend him sheepishly, promptly apologises and attempt to remedy it if attainable.
I doubt if any of the present ruling generation is that man and having our dream man in 2015 may not yet be attainable but we can help whoever it is in 2015 to at least be 40% percent of the People’s President by voting right and defending it, by asking questions and holding him responsible and by giving him all our support where he is on track. Is the present occupier of that seat the man? I wouldn’t say so but you can decide that in 2015.
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