‘Why Buhari may not make history’
When I read Martins Oloja’s seminal piece titled, ‘Why Buhari may not make history’ last Sunday, I was elated because it’s an opportunity for me to contribute my view to this subject of national importance.
‘Nigeria And Visionary Leaders’
In my small mind, visionary leaders can be seen or described from different perspectives but for the purpose of this topic I will simply describe a visionary leader as someone who came and impacted positively on the lives of his people and left them better than he met them or better still ,liberated his people from diseases, hunger , economic deprivation, ethnic conflicts, etc & restore unity , oneness, prosperity and orderliness in a society. I do not intend to take you far about few examples of visionary leaders we have produced in Africa. In Nigeria, we have produced the likes of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Alhmadu Bello, Sir Tafawa Balewa, Chief Anthony Enahoro & even our own Chief Olu Akinfosile, who could be seen as our state visionary leaders in their own right. We have state visionary leaders and even local visionary leaders depending on the space where such person is operating from. However, it’s a common saying that every politics is local.
So, for you to graduate from one level of visionary leadership to the other , you have to show traits of leadership from schools, communities, society. One common thing that united these great men together was liberating their people from the yoke of imperialism by the British government and they successfully achieved their dream of independence for their people. Although they are not with us today, tbe air of freedom we are experiencing across the country today can be attributed to their great work. However, the internal colonialism we talk about today is our making & we should all strive to resolve them ourselves. So, I would like to say that these great leaders came & impacted positively on the lives of their people and left them better than they met them so I have no hesitation to describe them as visionary leaders.
Visionary leaders abound in some parts of Africa too . Although some of them are no longer with us. Thomas Nyerere of Tanzania, Kwame Nkruma of Ghana, Nelson Mandela of South Africa etc are examples of visionary leaders in Africa.
Buhari & Date With History.
The emergence of Buhari as the president of the most populous black nation in the world was full of hopes & great optimism by Nigerians both home & in the Diaspora. Even friends & well-wishers of our country were not left out. The great optimism can be seen partly because Buhari was once a military head of State and his regime though seen as authoritarian but was able to restore order in our society through the implementation of War Against Indiscipline (WAI’. So, his emergence was full of hope & end to corruption etc. Secondly, that he was given the chance to have a date with history as the president after three attempts in tbe past is remarkable. There was a particular occasion when he openly wept for his failure to win an election. Therefore 2015 election & renewals of his mandate for his second term in office in 2019 provided greater opportunities for him to write a good history for himself as a visionary leader. In my view, he needs to do the following if he wants to be make history as Oloja noted:
Ethnic bigotry: Mr. president should see the country as his constituency and not promoting disunity through ethnic governance. The next president after him will implement same policy & there will be agitation, which may lead to disintegration. A visionary leader will run inclusive government to promote unity and cohesion of the country.
Constitution and cost of governance: It is high time we restructured our constitution because the one we are using today was handed over to us by the military without input from “we the people” as claimed. As nation evolves. We continue to reform our constitution in respect of those things that will make us better as a nation. We should work on the federal character clause in our constitution, cost of governance as though we proclaim presidential system of government but in application, it is unitary government. We have too many contradictions in our constitution. Therefore, Buhari should rise above ethnic sentiments and work for the country as a visionary leader so that he can have a date with history.
In summary, leaders don’t necessarily take the views of their advisers 100%. They usually have their own inner views and should be held accountable when they are in power and after office. They must take responsibility for their success and failures. Our president will no doubt be counted in less than four years from now among the visionary leaders we have produced in Nigeria, Africa & the world if he can rise above ethnic bigotry, pick the best hands to run the affairs of this country with him , run inclusive government, embark on constitutional reforms and reduce the cost of governance , sustain the fight against corruption, deploy recovered loots as social investments to reduce poverty in our society. Thank you.
Otunba Olatunji, a political communications consultant wrote in from Lagos.
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