The first part of the series on My Next President of Nigeria was published more than a week ago. I received numerous feed back from my readers via email and comments on the social media. This is the second part of a three-part series.
In the previous article, I outlined criteria for my next president. My conclusion: so far, the two aspirants who are running in 2015 for the presidency, in my opinion, do not meet these qualifications of my next president of Nigeria.”
Overwhelming majority of my readers said it was impossible to find candidates that would meet the qualifications set forth in the article for the highest office of the land. My readers asked that I should name my presidential ticket for 2015. I promised them that I would reveal my pick in this article.
However, on a second thought, I feel it would be premature to disclose my choice midway through the series. I believe it will make more sense to save my presidential pick for the third and the last article in the series – the best for the last.
Last week, President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja collected his “expression of interest and nomination forms” for the presidential race at a highly prohibitive fee of N20 million for nomination form and N2million for the expression of interest form. What is the difference between nomination form and expression of interest? Why the eye-popping fee for the two forms? Lest I forget, inflation affects corruption too!
According to the Nigerian Pilot, “President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday pledged not to disappoint Nigerians in the years ahead, as he picked the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), presidential nomination forms to seek a second term in office.”
In the absence of a credible and formidable candidate to challenge Mr. Jonathan in 2015 for Aso Rock, we might as well kiss any hope of reclaiming the presidency from Mr. Jonathan good bye. We’re done. All opponents go home. Give up! See you in 2019!
I believe Mr. Jonathan will easily cruise to second term, but he won’t be able to claim any mandate. PDP and Mr. Jonathan have failed to articulate any vision for governing. Both have not demonstrated any innovative, creative, and forward-looking platform.
It will amount to a barren exercise to itemize the litany of campaign promises made by Mr. Jonathan four years ago when he was running. Never in the history of representative democracy in Nigeria have Nigerians been short-changed like we have experienced under the Jonathan administration.
PDP is a party without vision. Mr. Jonathan is a president and a candidate with neither vision nor mission. It will be a case of double jeopardy for Nigeria in 2015 and beyond should Mr. Jonathan and PDP hang on to power. Like other political parties and their aspirants, Mr. Jonathan and PDP are neck-deep in corruption. Therefore, he’s physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally paralyzed to reform Nigeria.
The moral and political compass of Mr. Jonathan has been tested for four years while that of PDP has been tried for 16 years. Both Mr. Jonathan and PDP are immobilized by poor and limited visibility.
PDP is a party full of muddle of mediocre managers struggling to gain or hold on to power by corruption, harassment, and intimidation. The Bible observes (Prov. 29:18) that “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Mr. Jonathan and PDP leaders wallow in a directionless trough, desperately hoping that the next crisis will hold off until they have wriggled out the current one.
Vision, principles, ethics, morals, and values have been swallowed by the rank and file of PDP by the struggle to survive and repel the next leadership coup. They have no policy stepping stones to achieve a vision for Nigeria. All they are good at is propagating and rehashing invisible advertorial achievements blurring their vision even more.
Their only vision is appealing to their immediate self-interest, a shortcoming of our current adversarial democracy and election cycles where the party and its leadership appeals constantly to a bad case of collective amnesia of the voters.
It is said that all politics is moral.
Political leaders put forth proposals on the assumption that their proposals are the right things to do, not the wrong things to do. The principle of democracy rests solidly on empathy. Citizens care about each other, and acting on that care, taking responsibility not just for themselves but for their families, communities, and their nation.
The role of government is to carry out this principle in two ways: protection and empowerment. In this crucial role, Mr. Jonathan and his party for lack of word, have let Nigerians down.
On all fronts – safety and security, prosperity, economic recovery, job creation, education, infrastructure, healthcare, organizing rights, economic justice, rule of law, and so on, both Mr. Jonathan and his party have turned Nigeria into a tragic waste. Nearly four years in office, it has become morally impossible for Mr. Jonathan to declare war on poverty and corruption – by example.
Mr. Jonathan turns to poor Nigerians only in times of election or reelection. It is the only time that he humbles himself and identifies with the poor. Nigerians have come to realize that his promises are casual promises made on soap box in the heat of the campaign moment.
Nigerians are under the illusion that Mr. Jonathan is a kind, warm hearted, sensitive president who would jump to helping them the moment they snap their fingers. But he’s not like that. He’s the Emperor of Nigeria who expects us to serve him – not the other way round.
Vision, inspiration, empathy, trustworthiness are manifestations of a leader’s judgment and character. Needless to say, character is vital in a leader. It is the basis for everything. Everything the leader does reflects what he or she is.
Mr. Jonathan is puffed up with pride. He’s saying “I’m better than everyone else. With blasphemous pride, he says “I don’t give a damn.” A president famous for his superfluity of nothingness. A president whose tongue has assumed double function, it is a high caliber shell that explodes with barrage against his personal peeves.
The president is responsible to us.
There is something wrong with a president who doesn’t recognize his responsibility to the citizens. Unless the president is willing to take risks, he’ll never do what he’s capable of doing. Mistakes and missteps are necessary for actualizing his vision, and necessary steps toward success.
Mr. Jonathan has proven that he’s an ordinary man and not a warrior. An ordinary man takes everything as a blessing or a curse. But a warrior takes everything as a challenge.
Nigeria has been described as a failed state. “These are the hard times in which a genius would wish to live …,” says Abigail Adams to her pen pal Thomas Jefferson, “Great necessity calls forth great leaders.” My next president with his party that would turn around the failed state in 2015 must be warriors. PDP and Mr. Jonathan are not.
I’m still searching for the warriors.
The writer of this opinion is Bayo Oluwasanmi. Email: [email protected]