By Magnus Unuakpor
Today many Nigerians, especially our youths are mad as hell concerning the character and nature of our political leaders since the beginning of the Fourth Republic. They are not happy with many politicians in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and those of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). And many a citizen have given voice to their concerns on the media, be it on TV, radio or the social media.
The reason for this anger is the realisation that politicians across the various political parties are not governed by high ideals, noble considerations or the public good. If anything, it is self evident that many politicians are instead propelled by private regard, greed and selfish interests. One cannot but agree with the Oba of Benin, Ewuare 11, who recently declared, concerning the behaviour of many politicians, that “we have leaders who get to office and enrich themselves, and forget the electorate; whereas without the electorate, nobody can occupy any political office, especially elected office”.
This reality makes the forthcoming 2023 elections crucial especially for the office of the Presidency. There has been a flurry of aspirants. As things stand, there are 40 or more persons across political parties that have declared their interest to be Nigeria’s next President. As expected, some are pretenders who just want to be “also ran”. And there are those who mean business.
Among the aspirants are, wait for it, a certain 102-year-old Madam Nonye Josephine Ezeanyaeche, also known as ‘Living Legend’ or “Mama Africa.’ She is the founder of the ‘Voice for Senior Citizens of Nigeria’. I do not know her party yet.
The APC has no less than 17, as at last count. These include: Yemi Osinbajo, Ken Nnamani, Tunde Bakare, Bola Tinubu, Kayode Fayemi, Emeka Nwajiuba, Chris Ngige, Rochas Okorocha, Dave Umahi, Orji Uzor Kalu. Rotimi Amaechi, Ben Ayade, Adams Oshiomhole, Godswill Akpabio, Yahaya Bello, Godwin Emefiele and Abubakar Badaru.
The PDP has no fewer than 17 aspirants. These include; Atiku Abubakar, Bukola Saraki, Pius Anyim, Peter Obi, Bala Mohammed, Aminu Tambuwal, Nyesom Wike, Dele Momodu, Mohammed Hayatu-Deen, Sam Ohabunwa, Emmanuel Udom, Olivia Tariela, Ayo Fayose, Charles Okwudili, Chikwendu Kalu and Cosmos Ndukwe. The African Democratic Congress has two aspirants, just as the other “lesser” parties.
For party delegates in the presidential party primary, especially in the two main political parties, making a choice does present a challenge. However, it is quite simple to make a good choice if party delegates are guided by a desire for Nigeria to be governed by a President who holds higher and steadier considerations than those of personal sympathy and private regard, especially with the awareness that youth nationwide are fed up of corrupt politicians whose god is greed and selfish aggrandizement to the detriment of the people.
If anything, a cursory look at the politicians who are serious point to one reality – most of them are driven by mere inordinate ambition for power for its sake, or private regard. Quite a number of them have demonstrated inclinations to selfish aggrandizement, vain arrogance, hedonism, malignant narcissism, corruption and other negative tendencies in times past. We can no longer pretend not to know them.
Most of the former and present Governors on the list of aspirants have rapaciously raped the local governments in their various states such that governance at that level lies prostrate nationwide. There is no local democracy and our communities are havens of desperate poverty, while these former and present Governors, who are clearly now overnight billionaires, have millions if not billions to throw around seeking presidential crowns. Many of the characters prancing around seeking the presidential crown now have not been sound politicians driven by the need to seek the common good.
So there is an urgent need to point out a man who, in view of our present realities, stands a chance to move the nation forward in the right direction. Aside the present and former Governors aspiring to be President, some of the others who are running may be good guys but they just don’t have the requisite experience and networks that count for delivery to achieve the radical national transformation.
Martin Van Buren (1819) said: “A man to be a sound politician and in any degree useful to his country must be governed by higher and steadier considerations than those of personal sympathy and private regard”. Putting party or ethno-centrism considerations aside, this characteristic best describes the person of Vice President Yemi Osibanjo.
He has humbly been giving his best in dedicated service over the years and Nigeria’s progress and development is his utmost motivation to run for the Office of the President. What is facing the country today is beyond a partisan, zoning or ethno-centric matter. The best prepared and most experienced hand with the right heart must be on deck come 2023. I clearly see that an Osinbajo presidency at this point in Nigeria portends a future of progress and development.
I do believe that with Osinbajo, we can lay hold on a better future! Unfortunately, there is no time, because the future is already here – the 21st century and its possibilities and demands are already living with us, with nations moving at the speed of innovation and creative governance. Every citizen should ensure that the future of Nigeria is not worse than today to prepare for a great and promising future of the nation. From his actions and utterances, one sees that this is the future that Osibanjo wants to partner Nigerians for!
To chart this future, Nigeria needs a leader that is an able man who fears God, a man of truth and a man who hates covetousness. We need a leader who will not pervert justice, nor show partiality, nor take bribes. But one who is just. We need a leader who will not pamper corruption but see to it that system reforms and innovations that discourage and prevent corrupt practices are initiated and implemented.
The nation needs such men whose governance thrives on merit and not by political affiliation or tribal sentiments. This future can be charted with a leadership of wit, exposure, competence and experience. There is no gainsaying that Osinbajo fits into this description following his antecedence, credentials and exposure in public and private service in the last two decades with records there to show.
A young Nigerian, Emmanuel Habila asserted this same position on his Facebook post: “Osinbajo is a man whose credentials tower above all who seek to lead the nation in 2023. He is a man of uncommon ideas whose time has come”.
A lot has been written about Osinbajo’s brief tenure as Acting President in June 2016, January 2017, May 2017, and August 2018 when President Muhammau Buhari was on medical leave. In this brief moments when he exercised full executive powers, Osinbajo took many decisive steps to enhance the quality of governance without appearing disloyal to his boss.
Many Nigerians have seen a great and firm leader in Osinbajo. They trust that the country would be in a competent hand under his presidency. Osinbajo will manage our diversity with full attention to details, continue to fight corruption and strengthen the war against crime, banditry, kidnapping and terrorism. It is reassuring that the President has implicit confidence in the VP’s capacity and ability to lead.
Just recently on his visit to Edo State, Osinbajo said: “My purpose is to serve this country. When it comes to serving this country, it is the desire of my heart”. This is heartwarming.
Osinbajo is the leader we must not miss come 2023! The delegates of his party in the APC presidential primary and voters, especially youth as well as women in the coming presidential elections should take note.
Unuakpor, a public affairs analyst, writes from Lokoja