The promised land depicts a happy place or condition that someone wants to reach; a place where dreams or hopes can come true. The promised land is the desire of everyone. However, reaching the promised land is not a mere wish: it takes the strong combination of leadership and followers. In specific terms, no promised land becomes attainable without the right instrument or driver, and in this case, the leader. We are currently in an electioneering period in Nigeria, and this is in preparation for a change of baton from the present leaders to another set in 2023. The election cuts across the Presidency and National Assembly at the Federal level and Governorship and Houses of Assembly at State levels. This accounts for the recent spate of declarations by various aspirants for the occupation of the highest office in the land. Expectations are very high as Nigerians now, more than ever before, seeks to elect a leader that would dare to be different, take the bull by the horn and courageously and decisively act to pull the nation out of the current pitiable state it finds herself.
It has been a long exodus from independence till date and we are yet to sight or get near the promised land. Interestingly, this unfortunate and seemingly unending exodus was acknowledged by one of the leading aspirants for the nation’s presidency, whose political machinery helped foisted the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015. Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu was reported to have said, “I will build on Buhari’s legacies and take you to the promised land”. That statement coming from someone that disclosed his presidential ambition as being an age-long ambition, does not portray any cognizance with the sorry and gory state of the nation. Perhaps, it is a very clear indication of his likely insensibility towards the feelings of the masses. Again, it is a categorical but pathetic elation to retain and continue with the status quo of near nothingness to show by this regime, near the completion of their two terms in office. The obvious conclusion to be drawn from that statement is the fact that the likes of Bola Ahmed Tinubu enjoy our own Israelite journey that has not only prevented us from becoming the giant that we ought to be, but also remaining backward. Who on earth becomes so indifferent to failure or so comfortable in it, to the extent of ascribing it as “legacies”? Since when have legacies begun to be measured in terms of backwardness? What legacies of Buhari could Bola Ahmed Tinubu have possibly thought out that he wants to build on? Nigerians would be glad to hear them, and I pretty doubt if there would be any.
Nigeria’s political history so far brings to remembrance, the biblical experiences of the Israelites in their movement out of Egypt (after 400 years of servitude) to the promised land. The experiences were highly unanticipated, wrought with so many tales, most of which were quite disheartening. What may have taken a few days to accomplish ended up becoming a journey of forty good years, by which time many of them had become history. The irony remains that there were massive setbacks occasioned by bad followership. It may also not be unconnected with the leadership style of Moses himself. It took him a long time to understand the basic principle of effective management birthed upon grooming and delegations of duties. Thank God for his father-in-law who cautioned him against continuing in his yeoman’s method.
The similarities of the two nations (Nigeria and biblical Israel) reverberates in their inabilities to achieve desired results in record time. This kind of scenario is also not uncommon with others, though. How could a journey designated for a few days have taken a whole forty years? Surely some things went wrong; leadership or follower’s crisis, or a combination of both. Moses’ meekness may be likened to sentiment or weakness, hence so many things could have been overlooked. But, ultimately in clear terms, the followers were extremely difficult. They were ungrateful and unfaithful towards God and the efforts of their leader. His absence for a while saw them debate (murmur), deviate and derail. That is not far from our present-day experiences in Nigeria where we complain of things that are not working but never ever elating to do the right thing. A country of people that admire abroad and wish their country is like that, but kill such desires by their actions and inactions. Where on Earth do wishes become horses?
In the case of Nigeria, there are a combination of factors that have made the supposed giant become crippled. This write-up would spare details as they have been subjects of discourse previously. Nigeria has sojourned for more than 60 years since its independence from Great Britain. The country is, however, not moving forward to reflect our rich natural and human resources. We seemed to have rather moved at a pace that is not even fit to be described as cycle movement, but backward. All the nations within our status at independence and even those far below us have left us behind.
Leadership ineptitude is to the high heavens. It has always been a case of talking and never walking the talk. Sweet talks and rhetoric, especially during elections, yet never produces any desired results. Self interests/personal gains and enrichments are always evidently manifest. On the part of the followers, it is a very different and disheartening ball game. Everyone heaps blame on the government without doing their bits. As corrupt as politicians and government officials may seem, what one sees daily reveals the extent to which most of the citizenry are culpable. Their demands and high expectations towards personal issues are very high and pushy, and gives impetus to greed and thievery, especially by the politicians. Almost everyone in society is impatiently greedy and seems to be waiting for their opportunity to access, plough, plunder, and possibly confiscate our national resources. Those waiting to steal are truly much more than those stealing. Unfortunately, situations like these only help to elongate the time for attainment of the desired state of an envisaged egalitarian society.
It is rather shameful that after more than six good decades of independence, Nigeria has remained much more dependent. True to an earlier review, Nigeria is an independent dependent nation. Our independence status is only in terms of our indigenous governance as against our Colonialists. In almost all other spheres of life, it is a clear case of dependence. Our primary resources are either untapped or harnessed and exported, only to be used for production outside our shores and brought back to us as imported goods. Our electricity energy sector has been very woeful. The privatization of the distribution companies hasn’t even bettered the citizen’s expectations, no thanks to both those that facilitated it in deception to the inventors and the citizens that clamored for it, but want it given at free cost. All sectors of our economy are bleeding and with issues that make it demand some form of very drastic, if not revolutionary measures to reinvent.
So, what measures should we adopt to help us come out of the woods? Firstly, we must recognize the importance of having a driver that is capable of initiating and implementing drastic measures. It certainly won’t benefit us as a nation to allow the old status quo to remain. No nation survives in a situation where all that matters to the leaders is sharing and looting of public funds and plugging the citizens into continuous hardships and penury. As no vehicle can get to its destination without the deliberate and conscientious effort of the driver, so is any nation. There is no way movement to the promised land can be made possible without having a leader with a clear vision and mission. Unfortunately, almost all those seeking public office have nothing to offer. It has been a case of “It is my turn” and “I have paid my dues”. This is why we must be weary of ambition. Ambition should not confer on anyone any measure of right. Same way, it is totally wrong to assume somebody is fit for the position of the President because of his political sagacity, might or experiences. What experiences are our politicians having other than that of rigging elections, sharing bounties, looting the economy, and other negative endeavours? We don’t need experiences that has put and kept us in continuous pauperism again, never!!!
However, it is interesting to note that the will of God for Nigeria, to make it great, has not become elusive. There is hope!!! The Nigerian masses couldn’t have been wrong with the song for a newness in their lips. The current organic movement in support of Peter Obi represents a clear direction we need to go. Unfortunately, but expectedly too, the typical politician who have made it their occupation are fighting hard to thwart the resolve of majority to kick-start a new Nigeria with a Peter Obi Presidency. This is very unfortunate indeed, especially given the fact that he has chosen somebody with an impeccable resume as Vice Presidential candidate, Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed. The lethargy of those having sleepless nights over their emergence range from those plunging the country, their accomplices and collaborators, and those they have unduly and corruptly empowered with state resources, the blind followers who remain gullible, those with misplaced loyalties who remain stereotyped along needless personal or political party supports at a critical time like this, and those with the very ulterior motives of championing Islamization of the nation against the secular nature it is presently.
It is good to point to the fact that Peter Obi is in politics, not by ambition but by Divine Mandate. Of course, we all recall how he was dragged in. Even though he was Governor for eight years In Anambra State, he wasn’t that popular in the Nigerian political lexicon. He didn’t at any time plan to go further, to have necessitated him ‘building corrupt bridges’, as others usually do from day one of being Governor, all in preparations for a higher office. As Vice Presidential candidate in 2019, Peter Obi was still scarcely known. He didn’t one day try to sell himself, though he had an intimidating resume of private and public service. Not until he answered the call from Nigerians to rescue Nigeria, by elating to run as President, he remained an underdog. But you know what? God put his name in the lips of the masses, and within a space of three months, he became Nigeria’s most popular living being. Things he did as Governor that he would have used to boast previously began to surface, and being new to ears and quite unbelievable, Nigerians were quick to settle for him. Peter Obi is a product of Grace!!! No wonder that people get disgraced from attempting to undo him.
In the final analysis, Nigerians are very right to support whoever they want to without being blackmailed. But anyone who would play the conscience card, may come to know that looking elsewhere or canvassing for any other candidate, especially since the campaigns proper, may have an underlining factor. There are people who are hardly heard because they seldom come out to speak. When such people speak, common sense demands that they be heard. So many people have spoken in favour of Peter Obi. Forgetting the ones by politicians and/or statesmen may be pardoned as people may construe them to be sentimentally biased. Should we also think of bias when the likes of Afe Babalola and many others give direction? Our long search for a purposeful leader should start from what has been freely gifted us now in the name of Peter Obi/Yusuf Datti-Ahmed combination. That is where the hearts of Nigerians are registered, removing the forcefully induced followership of others. I come very much in peace!!!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Uwayah, a public affairs analyst, writes from Edo State.