Monday, 27th March 2023
Breaking News:

What Nigeria’s next leaders must accept!

By Olakunle A. Soriyan
23 February 2015   |   11:00 pm
NOW, in different power centres across the nation, critical discussions and mobilization are all centred on who the next leaders of Nigeria must be this 2015. Meetings, strategy sessions, primitive diabolic and spiritual incursions, and operations in stratagem are at present on-going in this regard. What is ahead is largely unknown. But what is clear…


NOW, in different power centres across the nation, critical discussions and mobilization are all centred on who the next leaders of Nigeria must be this 2015. Meetings, strategy sessions, primitive diabolic and spiritual incursions, and operations in stratagem are at present on-going in this regard. What is ahead is largely unknown. But what is clear to all is that business as usual is dying fast! 

Probably the most critical thought for our next leaders is the truth that though we appear to be relatively at peace, we are actually engaged in a subtle but deadly war. They must know that beyond bombs in the Northeast and kidnappings in the Southeast and Southsouth, we are in a war against a great many of the norms we have allowed to pass for too long. We are at war against the limitations posed by infrastructural deficiencies and retrogressive policies. We are at war with selfishness and greed. We are at war with our thinking. We are at war with our history. We are at war with our ethnic and religious diversity. We are at war with ourselves. Actually, the people are angry! 

  Our next leaders must work with the correct assumption that the people are angry, and are getting angrier by the day. Our wives, husbands, children, friends, employees and employers, colleagues and associates are those who daily soak the impact of our anger, not necessarily the custodians of the system that incubate the frustration. Believe it; this even gets the people more angry as they behold their scripted individual and collective helplessness that allows them to merely talk about the inventors of their pain, while they attack their loved ones with the frustration. Our next leaders must understand the language of nature and history that very soon…gradually…the people will take the anger to where it foundationally belongs, if the character and genius does not begin to emerge from the custodians of power. 

  Our next leaders must understand that no person is and no people are designed by nature to perpetually endure the torture of ignorance, hardship and pain. Power dynamics dictates that ignorance, hardship and pain have a natural lifespan, and that each human soul must own enough power to experience the attention, resource and advancement his individuality deserves. The science has to be that while hardship and pain breeds’ frustration; ignorance, left unguarded and not emancipated, possess incredible potential to organise itself in time and through wild, angry and negative reactions, ignorance will evolve into a formidable adversary. When mass ignorance is angry and becomes an adversary, it is usually an unpleasant experience for power centres anywhere.   

Power centres must accept that the Nigerian masses are terribly ignorant; and that this ignorance has been manipulated for over 50 years, but can only be manipulated for so long. The people are manipulated to use their ignorance to pretend that their votes lead to change, when in truth and at best, the votes are only a critical tool to move power from bad leaders to worse leaders or from worse leaders to bad leaders. Nigerians rarely make choices between good and bad, and at this point in time, the nation lacks the character to make the choice between good and better or between better and best. Fundamentally, the nation is rarely presented with such options. It’s only a matter of time, one day, Nigeria’s greatest problem, the mass ignorance of the people, will be solved by nature through consciousness. This consciousness will not come from the walls of academics. No! it will come from the continuous and consistent stings of pain and frustration—-an education of the human soulical content that comes from a compelling need to take a new and unpopular look at his environment, recognize the worst kind of hardship and pain he can experience in it, ask if other options exist about how this pain and hardship can be greeted outside the limits of fear and opaqueness, commit to the journey of finding those options, then finding the options and embracing them as a matter of supreme urgency. 

  It’s called power to the people; and this power is purposeful and best when it is willingly given to the people through meaningful and manageable welfare economic structures and systems in a credible and working democracy. With this, it breeds genuine mass followership. But this power is dreadful, lethal, deadly and disastrous when it is denied the people through fear, oppression, hardship and pain. Part of the wisdom for our next leaders is for them to accept that even if the lustful desire of a power centre is to retain power, power dynamics still dictate that the best and most enduring way to retain power is to give power.         

The big lesson for our next leaders is the truth that they must supply the requirements that the people seek or become the victims of nature—- it is a dictate of power. Power dynamics demands it: It states that as long as power is not faithfully used to serve and protect the welfare and security of the people and to drive peace and stability, power will shift to another custodian as a deliberate movement in the direction of progress and to give another power-host a chance to dignify or shame himself or herself. Power dynamics dictates so.

  Truth be told, what Africans wanted before independence, is what they still want now in 2015. After many years of independence, their conditions have not changed; as a matter of fact, they are now worse. But the lives of their leaders, politicians, social critics and even their nationalist and freedom fighters are better; they are more famous, they have more money, bigger investments and top reputation capital earned at the expense of the people’s social and economic peace. More than territorial integrity, the people wanted equal opportunities, adequate infrastructure that supports the creative expression and freedom their individuality deserves. With independence achieved, African nations actually began a long and strange march towards growth and development that made development look so complex and mysterious—-a strange march that has taken more than 50 years in the wilderness of mismanagement, corruption and poverty and has left a generation dead and unfulfilled—-without having seen the Promised Land—-a promised land of quality education, rapid infrastructural development, and mass employment for its citizens. This is the complex history that lies at the base of the civil wars, wide spread poverty and disease that has ravaged the continent. But if we think in this manner about the people of 50years ago, we must think differently about the people of 2015 and the responsibility they must accept. Nigeria’s next leaders must know this and understand that these are the critical goals to defend in office. 

  The three critical goals for the next leaders have to be: 24-hour power supply, security of life and property everywhere, evidenced critically in the defeat of Boko Haram and alleviation of corruption through technology. However, while campaigns from some of the unpopular political parties are more practical, measurable and justifiable, in the various campaign speeches from both PDP and APC especially, we have heard more rhetoric and hot air than at any other time in our political history. 

• Soriyan is a consultant, 

We hear big talks with no discussion of the “how” to the promises being made. Our next leaders must accept that promises that will not show the “how”, is making a highly audacious move to insult the intelligence of the people. In critical and pressurised times such as this, our leaders and aspiring leaders need to know that the people are tired of mere talk…we need the science to these promises…the how!

  Yet, from a wider spectrum, the shallow thinking of most of our elites and change agents is disturbing. Politicians are only able to display such affront of making promises without a communication of the “how”, only because they know it’s enough for the head and hearts of the people. Conscious minds everywhere must demand that the “hows” should come with each promise on the manifestos. It is a noble demand. No candidate, whether of PDP or APC or SDP, UPN or any other, should actually allow any voter demand for the hows. It is the moral duty of the candidate and the moral right of the people to know the hows to every promise. It is actually service and justice to all. It is an insult for any candidate to expect any Nigerian to cast a vote based on zero-talk about the hows. Change is a science not a wish. It is methodical. The hows of the promises are as critical as the change! No conscious Nigerian should understand why he or she should use purchasing power to buy what is not understood. We should rather not buy. We should know all the brands (14 Political Parties) that the market (INEC) has made available, know the brand that can deliver the best customer experience and invest our purchasing power (votes) in that direction. 

  We should and must only vote according to our conscience not through sentiments or uninformed bias. It is common sense; and anything outside this is no longer the conscience. Conscience cannot communicate truth and meaning without understanding. The pride of a conscious soul is to say that candidates on all sides must lead the conversations about the hows if there is a serious interest in our votes. This resolve is one of the proofs of our education. Our conscience cannot make a well informed choice without first hearing out all the candidates, assessing them based on the standards of promises and hows, and then voting based on who can lead us in the manner that will deliver the value. Change is only experienced when conscious and large-hearted souls accept the responsibility, burden and contribution to leadership. Our vote should be a formidable contribution. 

  It comes back to our soulical contents. Our next leaders must know that they must be bold and be proud to think, behave, relate, or initiate unusually—-the original way—-with clear impact on policy formulation and legislation. Our next leaders must find the empathetic sense, humility, strength and courage to drive this. Against all odds, by the force of nature, seasons go, seasons come, and the content of history is determined by the choices of mortals who accept responsibility for the outcomes they prefer. This Spirit of Change will inevitably sweep across most parts of Nigeria, ushering a new school of leaders. The process will prove slow but it will be inevitable. Business as usual is dead…don’t be the last to know. Rather, accept that the glorious office of those who changed Nigeria is still vacant and available for today’s people to work to occupy. The future is waiting to put the names of such uncommon leaders in the annals of history as the change agents and the new fathers and mothers of the great nation Nigeria. The leaders who can lead this change are the ones with the character to embrace their sense of mission above the pettiness their personal interest can define. The future is waiting. Nigeria’s next leaders must know these. And the responsibility also lies on the rest of us to demand that they know these things and do them for the betterment of our nation and continent.

• Soriyan is a consultant,