Can the Real Progressives Be Upstanding? By Wale Bakare
Much has been said and debated about the need to have a president that will be conscious enough to realise that he’s leading over 170million Nigerians who desire the basic needs of life to function in a country where it’s almost a norm to fail until one fades out.
Out of Nigeria’s huge population dubbed as the most populous black nation in the world, it calls for a squirm in intellectual struggle upon the realisation that less than one fifth of Nigeria’s population currently holds her citizenry by the jugular. The ‘’majority’’ are politicians who were elected or appointed to serve in one government capacity or the other. For instance, the house of representative boasts of about 360 Representatives while the Senate is well represented with 109members. The Ministers, Governors of each of the 35 States, their commissioners, other government parastatals and agencies cannot sum up to 5million people even if the figures were bloated. Invariably, that’s the population of a few minorities holding the majority of the people of close to 170miilion to ransom.
Nigerians have suffered from bad leadership, and one thing is certain- the centre is desirous of CHANGE. For these sets of people, the idiom ‘‘better the devil you know than the devil you don’t’’ doesn’t hold water; not when the option you don’t know seems a little rosier on the surface. The devil they don’t know would most likely be preferred even if only a slight difference it will make. Desperate as this may sound, the feelers among Nigerians depicts a clamour for change in whatever form it will come.
The two-party system being led by the People’s Democratic Party and the All progressive Congress, again affords Nigerians the opportunity to consciously exercise their fundamental human right; to decide if they will continue in this growing hardship marred by insecurity and uncertainties or look ahead to the opposition making gripping promises that can genuinely impact on the economic and the social wellbeing of the citizenry.
Automatically, it is expected that President Jonathan will be unchallenged for the party’s sole slot to re-contest in 2015 while the real test lies with the opposition party – APC to present a candidate that would be acceptable to Nigerians taking into consideration Religion/Ethnicity/Political Pedigree/Present &Past antecedents as key deciding figures.
Quite a number of potential aspirants have made headlines in the daily for some time now; signifying their intentions directly or indirectly for the nation’s number one post. Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and Kano State Governor Rabiu Kwankwanso are two strong contenders who have never hidden their intention for the plum job, but how they hope to get the endorsement of their party’s hierarchy and non-northern states will be a different scenario to watch out for entirely in the build up to 2015.
Muhammadu Buhari at 71 may no longer be the darling favourite of the teeming populace safe for his cult followership in the north east and north central that still accord him a veteran status worthy of the position. His albatross would be the Nigeria elites and the younger generation who sees him as a non-marketable candidate. Buhari will need to correct the misconception that he’s a religious fanatic and convince traditional rulers and frontline political leaders in the country that he’s truly a non-rigid progressive as opposed to the military-styled man that reverberates in the older generation’s mind.
However, the grand entrant of Abubakar Bukola Saraki fondly called ABS by his supporters to the scene has changed the political calculations amongst the APC top shots. Saraki often regarded as a ‘no nonsense’ Senator whom many have commended for providing a virile opposition to the federal government even while he was in the PDP. For the majority rooting for Saraki’s presidency, they opined that his youthfulness and vibrancy will make him the ideal man for the job. He is believed to share a blend of the elitist and the grassroots lifestyle. His youth following comprises majorly of the young generational voice across the country that are fed up with the status quo.
Bukola Saraki, a former Special adviser to President Olusegun Obasanjo and Kwara State governor for 8years, then he became the Chairman Governor’s forum and now Senator representing Kwara Central is believed to be armed with a wealth of experience far superior to the incumbent President before taking over from the late Yar’adua.
His stint at the helms of affair in Kwara was adjudged to have heralded radical and progressive economic and social solutions to the state. The Senator representing Kwara Central has used his position to challenge the government severally on subsidy payment claims, its ability to deal with oil spills and prosecute the corrupt oil cabals.
Bukola Saraki earned the respect of many with his outspokenness; speaking out against injustices, inconsistencies and blatant discrepancies by the ruling party. Informing the general populace of the proceedings that takes place in the senate-while working to ensure that he participates actively in most if not all of the senate activities of note.
Most recently, a youth based socio-political group New Nigeria Movement (NMM) has lent credence to the existing proposal urging the Senator to enter the race for the 2015 presidential election. The group stated that Senator Saraki remains the bridge between the old and the new generation of politicians. The secretary of the group Mr Uche Ogbonna said ‘’ Saraki is a bridge between the North and the South, he is a bridge between the executive and the legislature, he is a bridge between the private and public sectors and above all, he controls a large political network that cuts across the country with a generational foundation’’
The permutation among party chieftains and supporter suggests that they are favourably disposed to a joint ticket for Bukola Saraki’s Presidency and Obi Ezekwezili as Vice-President. ‘’ Madam due process’’ as she’s fondly called is the co-founder of Transparency International and Director of the global anti-corruption body based in Germany. The former Minister for Education has wielded tremendous support and following online and offline by virtue of her outspokenness on abysmal government policies and several government attempts to circumvent media slander on perceptible misconducts.
Dr Obiageli Ezekwezili was the pride of Nigeria and many African countries when she was named the Vice President of the World Bank Africa division where she managed 48 countries in Sub-Saharan African with an enormous responsibility of supervising a lending portfolio of over $40 billion.
Today, she is remembered globally for the motherly role she’s playing on the abducted school girls in Chibok, Borno State to #BringBackOurGirls alive alongside other activists.
By and large it is expected that in the coming weeks more candidates will filter in to contest the nation’s coveted position, at the moment we may not get any combination better than the Saraki/Oby ticket to excite the youth come 2015 as we prepare to position the country on the path of glory.
_______________________________________________________________________________________________________Wale Bakare is a writer and a social media enthusiast with strong affection for agriculture, politics and the conservation of the environment. He has published works on numerous online blogs, newsprint & magazines. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Soil Science and Land Management and a diploma in freelance journalist from the American College of Journalism. Wale writes from Lagos, Nigeria and can be reached on Twitter at @waleflame and by e-mail at email@example.com
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