Recently, a Nigerian made an analogy on Twitter between the type of president he wanted and the introduction of telecommunications companies in Nigeria. Two worlds apart, right? But the online writer managed to make the point of it. However, his introduction indicates that he is frustrated that his preferred candidate doesn’t stand a chance in the impending competition. He seems to submit because he has come to terms with that reality. His comment was meant to let her know that he didn’t feel like he had completely lost. He conveys the message that his candidate is a symbol, an idea, a movement, which he says will remain in the future. My goal is not to punish him, but to help shed more light on a relevant conservancy that he opened.
The online writer believes that his candidate is the one who can change the face of Nigeria. In trying to describe the qualities of his candidate, he used in his analogy the telecommunication companies (MTN and Econet) in the early days of their arrival in the Nigerian market. He said no one believed they could do it, but new entrants took over from Nigeria’s publicly owned NITEL, provided better service, and eventually NITEL became history. With this he implies that the politicians he does not like will go down in history and his own candidate will be elected.
In doing this, he does not cover the trace that, like many Nigerians, he too subscribes to the fallacy that there is a ‘saint’ out there somewhere, a ‘good’ man, one without flaws, who will wave a magic wand and all trouble of Nigeria will disappear overnight. Every time I come across this type of submission, I conclude that we don’t pay attention to what’s going on around us. Or maybe we do, but we don’t think about some of the events to come to insightful conclusions. If we did, we would form a better mental image of the kind of person the nation needs. So, here I take advantage of the online writer’s presentation by offering a perspective, which I think all Nigerians should consider when making their choice shortly. Then I’ll round out my presentation by interrogating some other buzzwords about the kind of president Nigeria needs.
Now, I deal with some preliminaries. The online writer used the market model of corporate management in his analogy regarding the selection of political leaders in Nigeria. He also cites foreign business entities to point out how he believes politicians he doesn’t like will fizzle out. To me, these comparisons are fundamental flaws in his presentation. One, the selection of political leaders is based on quite different dynamics; then, due to its nature, the issues, interests, intrigues and commitments involved, it is impossible to place politics in the same box as the market model for doing business. Business entities do what they do to make a profit. Politics, politicking, is about service. Political leadership aims to take on a public task that is often thankless, selfless service and, in better organized climates, non-profit. I will not continue with that point.
As for foreign business entities coming to Nigeria to do a service that doesn’t work to work, this also cannot be placed next to politics or the selection of political leaders. The analogy used by the online writer implies that we can expect someone from the outside to make what doesn’t work in Nigerian politics work. This can’t happen. So where will the political leader come from that the online writer believes he will do wonders for? among Nigerians. Nigerians will choose between them, so this raises entirely different questions. It is the question of how to decide the best candidate for the position. How do we know that the person who will act will meet our expectations?
How do we know that one candidate is good and the other is not? Is it just saying that one candidate is younger and the others are ‘old’? Do we decide who is the best candidate by saying that some candidates have ‘stupendous’ wealth and others don’t, and this makes the latter credible candidates? Is it by saying that accusations of unproven illegal acts are made against some candidates but not others? These questions are not asked by the online writer or answered. He simply claims that the candidate he prefers will one day emerge like MTN and Econet did, and that his candidate is better than anyone else in ‘agbada’ who is part of the existing political system.
It’s your opinion, and your best candidate may be the other person’s worst candidate. Still, for the online writer to insinuate that a candidate, who by his own admission will wreck his preferred candidate, is no good for the presidency is an exercise in contradiction. If his candidate is as good as he claims, Nigerians should follow him well enough for him to win. But they don’t. And what criteria do you use to conclude that your candidate is better than other candidates? How do we know that such criteria will guarantee performance if your preferred candidate becomes president?
The online writer’s comment creates the impression that he believes that all his candidate needs is to be seen as better by people like him, and that his very presence in government will change the system. This is my approach. I submit that the Nigerian system is the kind that can turn a ‘good’ man bad-bad, and trap a politician with the best intentions in such a way that he cannot carry out his good intentions. The last eight years have shown it, but we don’t pay attention, so some look for a ‘good’ man who they believe is not part of the system, an outsider like MTN and Econet. Some praised the writer online for his analogy and innuendo. To me, vital issues were overlooked by both parties regarding our system and how it works. I will state such issues, but I urge the reader to follow me step by step.
I make this request so that, contrary to what some Nigerians tend to do, no reader reads only this first part and, without waiting for it to end, judges that I have said nothing more than my “usual chatter”. Of course, for them once you don’t write to insult political leaders or make unsubstantiated accusations, you’re ‘babbling’. Some who like their own perspective to be the only one in town go off this way regarding my column, a phenomenon that makes me wonder about the quality of their mind. In any piece like this that requires careful dissection, I get to the point that I’m doing chronologically. It is to inform, clarify and enrich minds what I do on this page, not that fire and fury without substance, the argument at street level, that I see in some writings.
With reference to our system, which is my approach, and continuing my commitment to the presentation made online, I will largely use the regime of the president, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (ret.), for my explanation. I will situate every point I make in the last eight years of the Buhari regime. This is for the purpose of showing that, following the ‘shege’ the system showed the president, messing with whatever good intentions he has, any Nigerian who believes that a good man with a magic wand is what it takes to change the Fortune. of the nation around you do not reflect on what has happened. Because the Buhari regime shows that it is not a good man who can make Nigeria work, the whole system must work with him and for him.
I go back to the time when Buhari came to power. After Buhari won in 2015, a politician expressed his concern to me about the challenges facing Nigeria. He asked, “Where will he (Buhari) start from? How will you do it?” As I used to, using an analytical approach as taught to me in school, I explained how our governance structures were set up, their roles, and how the president-elect was not meant to do this alone. He can delegate responsibilities. All he needed to do was put the right people in the right places, and the system would execute the plans we all expected from the new president at the time.