My Meeting with Bola Tinubu & Muhammadu Buhari By Odusote Oluwakayode
It took a while for me to understand my friend’s advice. On what basis should I be diplomatic in the circumstance of our political misfortune and why should I convince them that Nigerians love them? I’m not hoping to be a Reuben Abati who’s astute and critical column possibly earned him a place in the present government which eventually rubbished his hard earned integrity nor do I hope to be a Dr. Doyin Okupe, who as alleged just graduated from being an attack “puppy” to an attack “Dog”.
I thought to myself, what could the basis of my invitation to meet with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and Gen. Muhammadu Buhari? All I know is that I got the invitation through my friend. Anyway I shrugged to his advice, giving him no challenge to avoid being persuaded against my conviction.
It was my first meeting with the Jagaban as fondly called by his political followers. Apart from Bola Tinubu in the expansive mansion, Three other men were gathered around the table, each of them smiling as I approached. There I saw, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, Chief Bisi Akande and Chief Tom Ikimi. They sat gloriously as elders of the APC.
In his usual charismatic style he said Bola Tinubu said “Youngman, I thank you for coming to this meeting at a short notice, it was your friend that insisted we invite you. He said you have an articulate way of making your points known and as you know, our party needs every useful advice to guide it in our plan to institute a government that would be to the interest and benefits of the people.”
I shuffled impatiently in my seat, surprised at a demand I wasn’t prepared for at least not at a short notice as affirmed by Jaganban. “I do not think we need to waste more time,” he said, with anticipation. “With the knowledge that you know the distinguished leaders seated and considering we have a larger meeting of party faithful in the next 30minutes, you may begin”
The other leaders of the party brought out their pads and pen in anticipation of putting down important points. Without much time to waste, I composed myself and made deserved protocols. Distinguished leaders, I cleared my throat, trying to find the perfect words needed to begin. My humble expectations, I hope, would be similar to that of the large poor masses of this nation.
For APC to be truly representative and admired, it must be modest and prudent, guard against arrogance to serve the governed with sincerity of heart and soul. It is easy to lead without being power drunk. The point of determination must always be to serve the people whole-heartedly and never for a moment divorce the government from the governed, to device policies and programmes in the interests of the people and not for the interest of the few elites or for the interests of the political party.
The organs of state must practice true democratic principles and tenets; they must rely on the governed and serve the people. All government officials, whatever their exalted positions, are expected to see themselves as servants. Responsibility is key – the duty of the leaders is to hold themselves responsible to the people. Every word, every act and every policy must conform to the people’s interests, and if mistakes occur, they must be corrected – that is what being responsible to the people means.
The leadership must be reminded that patriotism is not just a mere lip service. The specific beauty attached to service is patriotism. The government’s patriotic service should not be to corruption, insecurity, unemployment, oil theft, mismanagement, lack of quality education, lack of affordable and quality health service etc. Bringing about the defeat of parasites killing Nigeria by every possible means is in the interests of the nation. The wars launched by stated parasites are harming our statehood; therefore, the continuous subjection to the claws of parasites crippling our nation should not be allowed to defeat us totally. The truth must be told, we are presently being punched without the needed energy to free ourselves from the unwanted domination by the enemies of a peaceful and successful nation.
For me, the idea of defeat to these adversaries is not patriotism; it could be likened as complicity to criminal activities, many of our leaders are culpable in this regard. A virile, progressive and people’s party must take the responsibility of fighting in defense of the country it governs or seek to govern and only by achieving such will it be possible for a Nigeria to practice what we have always yearned for- True federalism and Democracy.
Enough of deceptions, the party must see to it that all Nigerians are sincerely told the truth that ours is the most populous black nation on earth, with endowed natural resources, oil wells, good weather but an economically backward and poor one. The truth must be devoid of baseless and empty promises. The people would appreciate hearing that to make Nigeria rich and great needs several intense efforts, which will include, among other things, the effort to practice strict economy and combat waste. Such efforts however, should not be to the detriment of the people while the leaders swim in affluence.
Discipline should be practiced in running all facets of government sectors, the principle of discipline should be observed in everything. Wherever the leaders are, they must treasure the nation’s productive sector and invest wisely in the material resources, and must not take a short view and indulge in wastefulness and extravagance for selfish political and financial gains. The selfish traits would kill the nation. In order to speed up a new and not “Negotiated Nigeria”, every federating unit must be acknowledged the needed and necessary respect a member of the union deserve.
Economically, restoration and re-development of agricultural sector and industrial production should be massively encouraged, the aspiring government must do its utmost, in the course of governance to preserve all useful means of production and of livelihood, take resolute measures against anyone’s destroying or wasting them, oppose extravagant and irresponsible spending. It should be made clear to civil and public servants that corruption and waste are very great crimes. Our campaigns against corruption and waste achieved some results under the Nuhu Ribadu led Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), but further efforts are required, especially with the truncation of such campaign under the present administration. Instead of engaging state governors to contribute to a sovereign wealth fund by force, our financial system must be guided by the principle of saving every naira for the needed infrastructural developments expected to aid economic and social developments.
A dangerous tendency in our leaders is the continued unwillingness to share and understand the hardships, sufferings and the pains of the mass poor of the same country we ascribe as “ours” due to their concern for personal political fame and financial gain. I believe no one needs to tell our leaders, the government or aspiring government that this trend is very bad. May I say that for a willing party – called progressives hoping to put smiles on the faces of Nigerians, one way of overcoming it is to simplify the system of government.
Politics should not be played with hatred, verbal exchanges and killings. Our politics should be based on issues of national concern, neatly debated and the electorates left to choose a better choice. Politics as a game should be with a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have the obligation to treat each other with dignity and respect.
Politics as a game should be with a promise that says the economy should reward drive & innovation and generate growth. That government and corporate businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create Nigerians jobs, with good package to meet necessary demands.
Politics as a game should be with the promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves, provision of Security, provision of free education, provision of infrastructure, provision of reliable health service, provision of clean water, provision of electricity, provision of refineries to refine our crude instead of importing what we produce.
Our governments have the mandate and obligation to work for us, not against us. It should ease our pains, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity for all and not just for the rich and those with influence whether questionable or not.
Those are the qualities enshrined in the game of politics – the passion that the leaders are responsible to the led, the courage that in times of challenges, we rise or fall as one nation, the love that I am my brother’s keeper from any tribe.
That’s the promise I see in politics and that’s what a party with genuine programmes need to keep up with for a better nation.
Our government must invest in education. They must recruit quality teachers and make teaching attractive, by paying good salaries and giving them more support. Such gesture from the government will produce standards…
With my spirit rising to say more, I hit my hands on the table and the immediate pains brought me back from a long night dream.
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