Stop corrupt politicians but do nothing about corrupt political parties.-Dr. Wumi Akintide.
I just listened to a very powerful interview by a Sahara Reporter with Pastor Tunde Bakare who has very forcefully and persuasively argued in the very educative interview that all Nigeria needed was just one right leader who will set a new template in purposeful vision and leadership that can move our country forward.
I learnt from that interview that Dr. Bakare’s operational base is in Georgia, but I was more than visibly impressed by his eloquence and oratorical flourish in that interview. The cleric revealed that he graduated in 1980 and was on his way to being turbaned the Chief Imam of his town before his conversion to Christianity somewhere along the line. He has therefore seen it all. He was therefore able to compare and contrast the two religions namely Islam and Christianity in particular but he also demonstrated a good knowledge of what Judaism is all about. He spoke with some authority on that as well. He made a huge impression on me as a student of comparative religion and a Karl Ichan Fellow for 2 years, 1991 to 1993, at the Yeshiva Jewish University of New York where I once studied for a Master’s in Social Work and Clinical Psychology in addition to my other advanced diplomas in Political Science and Public Affairs as far back as 1983 with a first degree in History and International Relations in 1966 from the great Obafemi Awolowo University.
I came away from listening to the answers offered by the erudite cleric that he can stand his own anywhere in the world as a brilliant and clearheaded televangelist and political genius. I couldn’t help but take off my hat for him as he went to town. It reminds me of the multiple talents of Nigerians in whatever field we choose to distinguish ourselves. In terms of public oratory, I will not hesitate to put that man in the rank of Rev. Robert Schuler of Garden Grove Cathedral, or the great Rev. T.D. Jakes, Rev. Joel Osten or the unflappable Rev. Creflo Dollar. I was very much impressed with his intellectual power t and his uncanny ability to articulate his views in a way that every one of his listeners can understand and learn something from.
But on his main hypothesis on Nigeria and the way forward, I have some serious reservations that have informed my decision to write this little rejoinder. My main question is how is Nigeria ever going to get the kind of leader that Dr. Bakare has so eloquently spoken about in that interview when we all know it will be something close to a miracle for Professor Attahiru Jega, the new Chairman of INEC to guarantee that 2011 elections are going to be anything different from all our previous flawed elections in Nigeria with the possible exception of the 1993 elections that saw M.K.O. Abiola not only winning nation-wide but winning in most unlikely places like Kano and Abuja to mention just a few. Of course that election was regrettably annulled because we did not have the kind of visionary leader Dr. Bakare had every right to envisage but which has so far eluded us in close to 50 years of our independence. Obafemi Awolowo who offered us the best hope to break that jinx was also denied his ambition to lead the country because the country was just not ready for him and the political infrastructure in place were just too weak to sustain that hope.
The absurdity of that situation is precisely what this article is all about.
Currently the only Government agency outside INEC that could conceivably nullify such absurdity with immediate effect is our so-called EFCC currently headed by Mrs. Farida Waziri who has made a very clear pronouncement, while our do-good President Jonathan is clearly looking the other way, by categorically stating her mission as Chairwoman of EFCC is to stop corrupt politicians or Governors while doing nothing at all about the ruling party herself, the most corrupt political party in Nigeria the last time I checked. That statement tells me loud and clear that Nigeria is being actively programmed to fail again and will fail big time, even every store front becomes a house of worship in Nigeria and if Nigerians pray from now till we turn blue in the face and regardless of what President Goodluck Jonathan may be telling us as he prepares for an election he hopes to win. The EECC as reminded us by Reuben Abati in his latest article in the Guardian, is currently going after 8 out of 10 Governors of the same ruling Party while totally ignoring the very goose that lays the golden eggs. Which one comes first I am tempted to ask? Is it the egg or the chicken. Of course the fish always rot from the head. As long as the PDP is so self- righteous and unrepentant and still believes it is the Party to beat in this election, I can see no light at the end of the tunnel for Nigeria, and no silver bullet anywhere is going to deliver us.
I said it before and I would say it again. The only leader who had any chance to play the kind of role Dr. Bakare was speaking about would have been Goodluck Jonathan who has always been a second fiddle all his life but is somehow and quite often used by God to be at the right place at the right time to attain his highest potential to be in a position to clean up the Augean stable by sheer miracle or luck if you can accept that. But the moment the man came out to say he is nursing the ambition or he is being persuaded to run for President after Yar Adua, I knew the game was over. The man could be a Moses who will not see the promised land as Dr. Bakare would probably agree based on his “too Jewish and too Egyptian analogy or comparison of Moses and Paul of Tarsus in the interview. It was an amazing and powerful analogy that got a standing ovation from his captive audience and myself as I watched that virtuoso performance on Youtube from the comfort of my bedroom in New York.
I would make a confession here and now. I used to think of Dr. Tunde Bakare as a rabble rouser of sorts who indulge in making some bizarre prophesies or predictions in the mold of a Bishop Olabayo of the Taborah fame. Not any more from just listening to him in that amazing interview that the Sahara Reporters were kind enough to beam to the world thru the Youtube this week. The preacher said one other thing that got me thinking when he said he would gladly allow donors to buy into his vision but would never allow them to buy over his vision. I also like his statements as to whether or not he is engaged in an imaginary wars with some of his peers in the Christian Association of Nigeria namely Pastors Oyedepo and Enoch Adejare Adeboye. His response was raizor-blade sharp. Little minds discuss persons, great minds discuss issues and ideas. That was a great interview and I take off my hat for the Sahara Reporters for such an excellent reporting.
For several years now I have moonlighted as a volunteer political consultant in the Democratic Party of the United States as a life-long democrat and political commentator. I quite often feel frustrated why many political pundits of note in America are already projecting, thru opinion polls, that the Democrats are poised to lose both Houses of Congress in the Midterm elections despite the best efforts of the first black President in America who with some justification, has also been described as the first Jewish President if you factor in the central and pivotal role being played by some distinguished Jews in his Administration like Rahm Emanuel and Axelrod to just mention one or two. I still think it is still too early to write the political obituary of Obama and his Party. The Party may lose some of their seats as parties in Government in America always do in most midterm elections but not nearly as many as are being feared now because American voters are not quite as stupid as many have concluded. The only imponderable I am still not able to measure for this election is how far racial bigotry and discrimination are going to count in this election circle. It still remains to be seen as far as I am concerned. I am just not ready yet to throw in the towel and go with the prophets of doom and to conclude that it is all over of Barack Obama and the Democrats. Not so quick!. But it is right for Americans to hold the feet of the Democrats to fire just like Nigerian voters ought to also hold the feet of the PDP to fire for their failings in the last 12 years. I am not seeing that, and it worries the hell out of me as I do this write-up. It is as if Nigerians are so brain-dead that they would not hold the PDP to ransom for messing up the country in the last 12 years!
I still continue to believe that Barack Obama, if he could be elected in Nigeria could possibly fit the typology of leaders that Dr. Bakare was hoping could emerge. But you know as much as I do that a candidate like Obama, however qualified and coming from the opposition party could never have emerged as a Presidential candidate talk less of becoming the President of Nigeria based on the Farida Waziri factor in Nigerian Politics I have just alluded to. There was also no way that a Senator McCain’s and the Republican Party could have lost to Obama if the election were held in Nigeria. The War hero, John McCain lost big time to Obama because America as a nation knew they had a far bigger fish to fry in the world and they surprised the world by letting the dreams of Martin Luther King come of age. They massively voted for the best candidate and he won making American the Bastion of Democracy all over the world as two young black girls and their parents, all black, now sleep in the Lincoln bedroom. Only in America? Why couldn’t Nigeria just throw out the bumps and just flush out the PDP for a change is my question?
The 2011 elections in Nigeria if they were being held in America, opinion polls should have been revealing by now that the ruling Party, the PDP would be losing now to the major opposition party in Nigeria by more than 40 points.
Why? Just because of the PDP’s track record of failures and total incompetence in the last 8 to 12 years in office. The result would have been a foregone conclusion already. But not so in Nigeria. The PDP is still flaunting her powers and thumbing its nose at voters telling them the PDP is too big to fail. They say they are going to rollover the opposition parties even in Lagos with the very impressive and unique record of Governor Fashola. Multimillionaire and arguably the richest man in Nigeria today, Alhaji Ibrahim from Ilaje Ese Odo area and his PDP are saying that Governor Mimiko is a goner in Ondo State despite his impressive record in office. Like Brad Praisely sang in one of his best tracks in Country Music in America titled, “I don’t know what to call it” Yes indeed, I really don’t know what to call this observation on the part of the PDP in Nigeria.
I am an Akure man from Ondo State. I may not know the situation of other Governors in Nigeria but I do know of Governor Fashola in Lagos State and of Governor Mimiko in Ondo State. I am a big critic of Governor Mimiko even though I worked very hard to get him elected. I am also not a pander bear. I call it like it is. So far so good for Governor Mimiko. I think he has done a good job on balance, and must smile his way back to Oke Eda Government House in Akure in the next election because the Ondo State Government House is not out for sale to a “Bill Gates” of Nigeria or the highest bidder in the PDP. We are not going to let that happen at all. I for one, I am particularly impressed with the way and manner Mimiko’s Government has handled the selection of the new Deji of Akure, all things considered. True, I do not appreciate Mimiko’s Government decision to rubberstamp what Agagu did for the deposed Deji when he chose to issue the new Deji his letter of appointment and the presentation of his staff of office before he has had a chance to start performing any of the traditional rituals. My question is why the rush?.
Doing the installation in reverse to foreclose the aggrieved opponents from filing a stay of execution in a Law Court may be good for a pure Civil Service or political appointment per se but never for a high visibility title like the Deji of Akure. Our forefathers never designed it that way for very obvious reasons like I once wrote in the Lion King. It makes the whole exercise look like the Government had something to hide and that is never good for someone who is not only viewed as a political leader but as a spiritual leader for life. I cannot imagine anybody rushing to approve the Oba of Benin the way that has now become an embarrassing precedent for the future in Akure and other towns.
I don’t appreciate that at all, and I hope Government should stop doing that in the future, but I am willing to let it go this time around. Mimiko is doing his best as Governor minus some of the excesses of his aides and supporters who may want to take undue advantage of him. If he keeps doing what is doing, he is a shoo-in in my book for re-election.
I seize this opportunity to congratulate the Kabiyesi, his wife, Olori, Dr. Mrs. Mojisola Adesida and the Governor for their symbiotic relationship in the interest of the capital city. The Deji has struck the right note by focusing all his attention on redeeming the tarnished image of Akure, and going all out for reconciliation and unity in Akure as we move forward, following the imperishable legacies of Afunbiowo the First, the best Deji Akure has ever had.
I am hoping his life journey can now be made into a movie to immortalize his contributions in Akure for generations yet unborn. We take the first steps at doing that when the Akintide Educational Scholarship Foundation of Nigeria sponsor the second Launching of the “Lion King” as one of the activities marking the final Iwuye Ceremonies of Afunbiowo the Second come November, 2010.
The first Launching f the book at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, was low key because neither the then Deji Osupa nor Governor Agagu and his Deputy, Omolade Oluwateru fully understood the import of History to give honor to whom honor was due. But the New York Launching of the book on September 13, 2008 at the Queen’s College Branch of the City University of New York with the Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ambassador Prince Ibrahim Agboola Gambari as keynote speaker, was a great success making Afunbiowo the First, clearly one of the towering leaders of the 20th century whose biography is now in the US Library of Congress. Unto God be the glory!
I rest my case.
Omoba Wumi Akintide