Saturday, 3rd June 2023

The right man for the job

By Lanre Alabi
19 February 2023   |   3:33 am
After almost four decades of political instability, many coups and counter-coups, three assassinations of heads of government and a civil war, Nigeria began a bold search for political stability in 1999 with her decisive return to democractic dispensation.

APC presidential candidate Bola Ahmed Tinubu

After almost four decades of political instability, many coups and counter-coups, three assassinations of heads of government and a civil war, Nigeria began a bold search for political stability in 1999 with her decisive return to democractic dispensation.

A lot has been said by constitutional lawyers and political activists about the pitfalls of the 1999 Constitution. However, after over two decades in operation, four transition programmes including the transfer of power from an incumbent leadership to the opposition, it can be said without equivocation that the worst of 1999 Consitutition in reality is better than the best of others.

The veracity of the foregoing assessment is anchored on the fact that the Independence Constitution lasted only two years,1960 to 1962, while the Republican Constitution lasted the same period between October 1963 to January1966.

The 1979 Constitution, which ushered in the Second Republic, lasted for four years between October 1979 to December 31,1983.

On its part, the Third Republic was outmoded at the outset having suffered a distrastrous and catastrophic fate with the annulment of the June 12,1993 elections by the Babangida-led military administration. This was an event that shattered beyond description the foundations of united existence, ushering in a period of darkness and uncertainty lasting eight years before providence came to the nation’s rescue.

It is against the backdrop of the bitter experience of the turbulent political journey so far that our suggestions on current efforts at electing a new captain to pilot our ship in the next four years shall be hinged upon.

In the next two weeks, Nigerians will be confronted with the responsibility of making a choice between stabilising our hard- earned democracy or slipping back to the pre-1999 period of uncertainty.

With the remnants of Boko Haram still wreaking havoc in the North East and banditry still ravaging the rest of the North; with the deadly campaigns of the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) in the East and the shinanegans of the Yoruba Nation separatist agitators in the South West, the threats to our democracy and our survival as a nation can no longer be taken for granted.

Given that perception is often stronger than reality, the fear of ethnic,religious and regional domination is as potent as ever. So also is mutual mistrust among ethnic and religous groups.

In other words, the centrifugal elements of our turbulent past are still as potent and active as ever. That is why we salute the patriotism of the Northern APC governors in insisting that power must shift from the North to the South.

The leaders of the main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, on the other hand, have in the name of political expediency rejected the wisdom of power shift by picking their candidate from the same ethnic and regional group as the incumbent president. The party has also dogmatically and arrogantly rejected the genuine feelings of the founding fathers of the party from the South and five elected governors that the position of the party chairman should be ceded to the South. Already, a lot of furore is being generated within the party with this flagrant disregard for the dynamics and dialectics of our political reality and historical existence.

To assume that the Presidential Candidate of PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President and elder statesman, is unaware of, or insensitive to the above is to be uncharitable.

That was why he has gone out of his way to dangle the carrot of restructuring to the Southern part of the country.
There is no doubt that his electoral victory will heighten the fears of Hausa- Fulani domination and give more vent to separatist agitations throughout the country..

Meanwhile, the Peter Obi phenomenon is an impressive attempt to give solidity to pure wind. The excitement that his candidature elicits in some quarters is fired by the failure of the Peoples Democratic Party to respond to the genuine aspirations of Nigerians for power.

The presidential mission lacks any ideological clarity as Peter Obi is an unrepententant bourgeois ideologue and free enterprise ambassador seeking a socialist ideological platform, the Labour Party, to execute his neo-capitalist agenda.

Many people rightly believe that his aspirations only exist in the social media since the party lacks any meaningful existence in the states and local governments. His party has centred its appeal on Igbo ethnicity, those who feel that it is the turn of the Igbos. He has also played on the religious sentiments of Nigerians as there is even an allegation that he has released N2billion to the churches to induce the votes.

Without equivocation, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu appears to be the most electable of all the major contestants. By all considerations, he is the most prepared candidate for the job at hand. He is easily the most cosmopolitan and and pan-Nigerian politician that has emerged from the Southwest after Bashorun MKO Abiola.

Tinubu’s bold and decisive intervention in 2014 played a critical role in bringing the progressives to power in 2015.
His success story in the economic fortunes of Lagos as the single largest economy in Nigeria and the fifth largest economy in Africa is noteworthy. His management of succession politics and the rest of the Southwest commends itself for the entire country where political and economic stability has been an exemption rather the rule.

The task before us is gargantuan in nature. To achieve the dreams of our founding fathers for a united, great prosperous and equitable nation, to justify the hopes and aspirations of the entire black race, to build a military and security infrastructure commensurate with the need of Nigeria and the West African subregion, to eliminate insurgency, confront banditry and arrest kidnapping, it requires the services of a man of mettle. It is a job for the most astute of men.

The Yoruba say that before you give a man an elephant to share, give him a rat to share first. If he does this creditably well, give him an elephant. Tinubu has done it creditably well in Lagos and the Southwest, providing sustainable political and economic direction and leadership. The other contestants are barely relevant in the states they led by the same number as Tinubu.

If they had left no enduring visible legacies in their backyards, what lasting impression will they leave for the generality of Nigerians if given the mandate beyond paper achievements?

Tinubu is the man for the job and we should not pander to base sentiments to deny Nigeria the opportunity of getting it right this time.

• Alabi, a public analyst wrote in from Lagos