by Umar Sa’ad Hassan
President Olusegun Obasanjo might not be the best leader we have ever had.Maybe not even among the top 3 but one thing I love about the ‘OBJ Brand’ is the intrigue surrounding it. He is among the elite few we can allow get away with anything because of his immense Star Power.
We listen whenever he speaks.From elaborate tales of how he bettered our economy with impressive figures without a commensurate improvement in the lives of Nigerians to ones of President Jonathan training snipers. He never ceases to amaze me. When a man has entered old age, there are two sets of words he speaks – Ones you let go down the drain and Ones you should never forget.OBJ spoke words for the archives when he said years ago that the younger generation had failed us too. He went on to mention the names of some leaders under the age of 50 who served under him with nothing to show for it except EFCC Cases in Court. I was keen on reactions to President Buhari’s Ministerial list and the most ridiculous of all were ones criticizing it for having too many recycled faces and less new blood.What is ‘Change’ with these same faces forming the Government?
While one may agree with those who feel that Femi Adesina, the Presidential Special Adviser on Media should have left his defense at competent faces and not proceed to give us ‘Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense’ lectures (Apologies to the Late Fela Anikulapo Kuti) about the difference between chronological age and mental age, I agree with the crux of his submission-Competence over Age.
The Average Nigerian in his quest for a better nation has been blinded to some harsh realities.Anyone who hasn’t served in any previous government automatically appeals to him.Tell him the person is not even in his Mid-Fifties and he will cut you short with stories of the most recent Young leaders in the world and how the person is best suited for any job. But that does not in anyway guarantee a new way of doing old things.
It is imperative we look at the bottom.The many Youth bodies around these days are set up for one goal-Visiting and Collecting stipends from politicians to share among themselves in an era where every Nigerian Senator can afford to empower 10 youths every month with N500,000 to better their lives.That would be a better goal.
The Young Politician Youth is thinking of selling his support to the highest bidder or aligning with the Kingmaker no matter how corrupt during elections if he isn’t trying to rig it.Gone are the days when you would wake up to screams of ‘Greatest Nigerian Students’ and watch NANS demonstrate over a bad governmental policy. We seem to really think too highly of the Young Nigerian.
The majority of the biggest thieves in recent times are young leaders whom we expected nothing short of astuteness,dynamism and a better understanding of how things should work from at the beginning. But the manner in which they looted and flaunted it makes you want to wish for the ‘Seniors’ who seem more honourable in the art of stealing.
Lucky Igbinedion employed house helps from the Philippines and seemed to want to own every property he loved, Saminu Turaki robbed Jigawa State blind and Ibori owned a private jet and Bentley in Office.We have seen what Bukola Saraki can do and Our immediate past new blood and highly educated President oversaw what is arguably the most corrupt Nigerian Government ever. Those are some of the Young Leaders who have served us and though there are exceptions, I don’t think anyone can categorically say the majority of the leaders who have shone bright belong to the New school.
‘Change’ to me is a better life for Nigerians and not new faces in Government.
A deep dig into the careers of some of the known faces in PMB’s ministerial list would reveal some very impressive details.Govs Amaechi, Ngige and Fashola all served their people well and as far as petitions go, any bitter rival can file them.
The man at the top is who really matters to me and he hasn’t disappointed me so far. He will co-ordinate and oversee the affairs of the Ministers and drop who necessary.
The focus should be on the credibility and integrity of those listed to be Ministers and not hating them outright for being old faces.Only in the Super Eagles do you need to replace tired legs with fresher and hungrier ones.
We must abide by the 3 Cs in selecting leaders-Competence,
Umar Sa’ad Hassan is a lawyer based in Kano.