To get a corporate job in Nigeria requires one to be academically qualified and to have enough experience for that particular job. Regrettably, the job of the president of the country requires the lowest academic qualification and capacity which President Muhammadu Buhari has successfully lowered the bar for.
Antecedence and capacity – psychologically, physically, medically etc, required to run the country are not a demand but by the rights granted by the constitution; you and I are also eligible and qualified to be the president of Nigeria.
To lead a complex country like Nigeria is not only based on constitutional rights, or a welcome to ballroom party, it demands more in terms of vision and ideas, patriotism, managerial and leadership capabilities, academic knowledge and practical knowledge of human, material resources and wealth management, personality and individual’s performance in previous administrative engagements and of course in the family, among others.
In this nation, importance is placed more on constitutional rights, ethno-religious inclination and deep pockets. Intelligent people are found in each region and in each religion but are they given a chance? For inclusivity, each region should have a chance to produce a president for peaceful co-existence on a rotational basis otherwise called zoning.
As the 2023 elections approach, Nigerians are confronted with a different kind of politics which has trumped up a deluge of declarations of interests from across the country.
It is agreeable that it is the constitutional rights of those who want to become president but it spurs suspicion as to why some declarations come from those who have not shown any modicum of idea and vision to run the country rather than a toga of being a politician or a loyal party man.
In a country that the citizens are hungry and stressed to the bone, the time many people are bearing the weight of insecurity, poverty, and hopelessness due to bad governance, that many sectors of governance are nearing comatose, that is when the Buhari administration that prides in fighting corruption, is supervising the barrage of presidential declarations of interest costing from N40M to N100M in the two main parties. About thirty aspirants reportedly have declared interest.
How did they raise the money? Some of whom are government appointees who may not have saved up to that amount from their salaries. Could they have been using the cover of election forms to divert money from the ministries to the party? Was the amount made high to scare many potential professionals who can turn things around? Is it encouraging only the wealthy to aspire for office? Even when some claim their forms are bought by the people, is this not an insult to the millions of Nigerians who are unsure of the next meal?
A school of thought has it that it is a decoy for fundraising for the parties, another thinks these forms are picked to stand in for someone but it is more than that in my opinion.
After the demise of President Umar Yar’Adua, President Goodluck Jonathan had through the invocation of Doctrine of Necessity, was handed over power. In the 2011 election, he stood for the election, in which the North felt their position was taken. Several arguments were made in order to dissuade Jonathan from running for the office or to remain as the Vice President. He ran and won. To the north, zoning ended in that attempt.
Last year, in the meeting by the Southern Governors Forum, which could not state categorically the zone – South-east zone, to produce the next president, they insisted power must shift to the south. That oversight and the inability of the two major parties to agree on zoning and which region to zone to, is what has led to the deluge of declarations.
The north have had presidential power more than the south and having the Chairmen of the two parties from the North-central, have left open the South and the North-east to contest as the North-west under Buhari will not run again. This left the aspirants from the North-west and North-central questionable.
The barrage of the aspirants from the South-west which presently holds the position of Vice-president looks like they are going for a catch. Their actions and that of the South-south even when the South-east stayed away and supported when it was the turn of these zones, may be a nail in the coffin of zoning.
The aspirants coming from across the country are an attempt to force the parties to throw open the presidential race to all sections of Nigeria, which in essence is the death of zoning in the politics of presidential race.
Throwing open the presidential race will further affect the co-existence and inclusivity of the sections of Nigeria.
Curious that in all these shenanigans, little interest and or expectation are on the vision and ideas these aspirants are bringing to the table.
Some of them bandy words as their agenda; they put up bogus and unimplementable promises without a well laid out plan to lift Nigeria from the doldrums of bad governance.
Leadership, many think, is the bane of Nigeria in the 21st century but again, constitutional rights, ethno-religious inclinations and deep pockets will continue to influence the choices until the people are brave enough to choose their leaders!