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Thursday, August 11, 2022

Question for Political Office Seekers

Bayo Fasuwon

The time for change is getting closer, and Nigerians are in high expectations for a new wine, possibly in the old or if things change, in the new wine bottle. Almost all the electorate are involved in argument over the capacities and capabilities of their preferred candidates. Now, many are hell bent on unraveling educational history of BAT, others are investigating the investment wisdom of Peter Obi, and many are busy interrogating the future of Nigeria’s enterprises under an Atiku-led Nigeria.

Another funny but striking feature of this present times is that instead of the aspirants talking, telling us what they have in mind for a revamped and productive Nigeria, they are busy throwing banters at each other, and their parties, telling stories of the past, despite having a hand in the stoppage of the teaching and learning of history in our various schools. Funnier is the fact that Nigerians, gullible, frail and hungry are hailing the tales by moonlight and the online mud sling in this crucial time of the nation’s economic hullaballoo. Both the supposed leaders, and ignorant electorate are busy wasting time, energy and resources on valueless activities. Nigerians are simply not asking the right questions, and therefore are not getting the right answers.

From time immemorial, Nigerians had given room to politicians to swindle and rubbish their trust in perpetual liars, whose major intention is to milk the nation of her resources; empower their children to continue the pillage, extortion and impoverishment of Nigerians; and promote the ethnic and religious rivalries to their advantage. In order to achieve these gruesome unspoken manifestoes, they mount podiums to reveal their castles in the air and promise, by words of mouth, things of little value, while robbing Peter to pay Paul.

At campaign rallies, songs of calumny are sung, vote buying promises are fine-tuned, and empty promises are made. If not for a nation suffering under the burden of demonic enchantment, and hypnotic enslavement, how on earth would a politician receive a loud ovation from promising to pay workers’ salaries as at when due? Promising to provide electricity, build refineries, construct and repair roads; create millions of employment and fight, yes, fight corruption.  These are the major promises made by politicians every four years. We have a political class void of ideology, and far removed from the major issues that plague this nation. Thus, all in all, the oral covenant made with the people are soon revoked, and vehemently denied, especially by the spokespersons of the miscreants in power; and of course, a lying Minister of (mis)information. So, what Nigerians have had since 1999 are leaders who sit in the saddle of power, fork and knife in hands, to devour available resources; borrow from China and even Benin Republic to whet their destructive appetite, while the nation’s governance is in autopilot. That is what Fela Anikulapo Kuti would refer to as ‘yeye rolling’.

While politicians have been telling us what they would do for Nigerians, it is high time for Nigerians to make demands on what they want government to do for them. As the electioneering process hots up, it is time for Nigerians to come up with a communique on what they would that people in power at all levels do for them. To achieve this, various unions and organisations are expected to rub minds and produce a blueprint of their desired goals to government. Operating within the dictates of a living system, these demands are to be submitted to the non-ideological political gladiators to peruse and determine if these demands could be met or not. It is foolhardy to interview political office holders and ask them how they would tackle issues.

They would always give answers that are read off books and borrowed brains to swindle the populace. It is also quite possible to bribe and or bully their interviewers on what to ask. But if Nigerians under the auspices of the youth, the middle-age, the aged, the academia, the business groups, medical practitioners and many more who understand and are victims of misrule in the nation could aggregate their demands, and ‘make it plain on the wall’, then the first step in getting good governance and giving direction to pimps in power would commence.

Political parties and their flagbearers would be expected to peruse these demands, determine which aligns with party and candidate’s objectives, choose that which they could achieve, and this therefore forms the deed of agreement between the people and those that would emerge as the leaders of the ailing country. It is often said that where there is no word, there is no contract. Many leaders have occupied positions without achieving anything for the people because there was no contract in the first instance.

When a person applies for a job, the organisation stipulates its objectives and terms, and if the applicant cannot conform, then, such is not given the job. All politicians are job seekers, hence must have rules of engagement and contractual agreement to work with. These articulated demands would eventually form the bedrock of performance appraisals for leaders in years to come. It is however important to observe that many of the demands may not be achievable within four year term, hence politicians should be free to determine which of the demands they would want to accomplish within the given period of their administration, so Nigerians would be free to choose amongst the strange bedfellows, those whom are expected to fulfill most of their demands.

However, the acceptance of the job specification and expectation must not be cemented by verbal consent. Each political party and aspirant must put pen to paper, stating in clear terms the accepted responsibilities, signed and sealed by signature, blood thumbprints, and stamps. These ‘bloodied’ agreements must be published in the news for all to see, and would determine whom the nationals would choose for leadership. A deviation from these contracts would therefore stand as grounds for impeachment. re-calls and rejections in the years to come.

Such agreements would form the basis of government for incoming leaders, and give them a focus, rather than chasing rats in government houses, and making reactionary decisions that would mark the death knell of a collapsing nation. It is within the contents of these agreements that parties and leaders would approach the drawing boards to determine the human, material and intellectual resources that would necessarily ensure that the covenant with the people are kept and delivered. Such written and published agreements would eradicate uncoordinated activities of the various ministries and parastatals, and would also dictate the direction of the nation’s foreign policy and interactions with political and economic actors in the international milieu.

These agreements would also determine to a large extent the direction of Bills generated in our Legislative houses, as well as the orientation of the courts in the dispensation of justice. In short, this piece is demanding that the people should, as a paradigm shift, give directions to people in power in order to achieve a better Nigeria. While Political leaders may eventually adopt different strategies to achieve these demands, a better understanding of the Machiavellian dictum of ‘the ends justifies the means’, would suffice to mean that, there must be an end (which yours truly advocates must be determined by the people), before the means (which would be developed and executed by the people in power) is determined, outlined and followed.

So, the right question to ask now is: “Nigerians, what do you want from Political Office Seekers (POS)?”

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