In our own political biosphere, it is indeed a natural phenomenon for candidates to promise heaven and earth to their constituencies when they seek to occupy a political stool. From technical issues to which some candidates have absolutely no inkling about to issues that is far beyond their grasp. They campaign, spend millions, buy votes and promise change. Those promises mean nothing if we cannot trust those candidates who we vote to work and fulfill their promises since most campaign promises have become an empty clichÃ© and a political formula often with no altruistic intention. General IBB has promised to fight corruption and use our natural resources to build infrastructures and develop the economy. Atiku has promised change; a proportion of which Nigeria has not seen in years. In the campaign promises of Bukola Saraki, he has promised development which will propel Nigeria out of poverty and underdevelopment. Jonathan and Ribadu as well as other aspiring candidates have vowed to fight corruption and take Nigeria to greater heights. But are these promises genuine and do these candidates possess the competence, discipline, exposure and know-how to deliver such promises? How would electorates determine the most altruistic, real and sensible of these aspirants who will truly deliver on his promises?
Do we read their lips? Or examine them at the TV debates or simply scrutinize their rÃ©sumÃ©'s and track records. Many ways of choosing an altruistic candidate in elections have been suggested by various scholars of political genius. In one of the seminal dialogues of Aristotle, he suggested "three credentials necessary for those who vie to fill the first departments in government. First, affection for the established constitution; second, abilities which in every way is completely equal to the business of that office; third, virtue and justice correspondent to the nature of that particular state they are placed in". As Aristotle further evinced, where all these qualifications are not found in one person, we should then consider two qualities, which of them is possessed in a greater degree".
Without using Aristotle's or any orthodox political theory, we can simply sieve out those of the present candidates who are not worthy of our votes, are not men of virtue, abilities, and justice and those who certainly should be in a maximum prison somewhere in the dead end of Kiri Kiri. But what about the few who indeed we can trust and commit the resources of our nation. Do they have affection for the constitution according to the view of Aristotle? The love of the constitution is indeed the beginning of change; for a leader who has affection for the constitution has regard for the polity and has minimum self-centered interest.
Candidates like Babangida, Jonathan and Atiku have shown that they do not have sufficient affection for our constitution based on the performance of their past political administrations. Need we regurgitate the evil perpetuations of General IBB during his past 8 years in office? What about Goodluck Jonathan and his disservice to our polity and constitution by employing criminals like Alamesiegha to head important federal government committees? Any sane person that glances through the recent list of federal government national honors will see clearly the stuff that Goodluck Jonathan is made of and his romance with corrupt magnates. Talk about his wasteful spending and you'll realize how much of a nonchalant leadership he has offered so far. This is just a tip of his unrewarding attitudes and political character. Atiku on the other hand is simply known by everyone as blatantly corrupt, self-seeking and a person who lacks a true national and progressive mindset. Besides, all these candidates as well as some others have no good track records and are impractical in their political manifestos. When we talk about track records, what is implied is not the office someone has held in the past or what position one has occupied, but what sensible contributions one has made with such position. How one has fared in managing risks, contributed to progress, resisted vices and made positive changes. How many of the current candidates have clean and excellent track records; are incorruptible, selfless and effective. Not even General Buhari whose past administration was known as fairly effective could answer some of the contemporary questions faced by the Nigerian state. General Buhari for one possesses all the humility we should find in a leader, he is progressive and not someone who we can refer to as corrupt or self-centered. The major flaw about him however is that of his considerable ideological weakness.
This General on many occasions has been asked about his vision for Nigeria and on each of these occasions; he has never articulated a sound vision which would address some of our most fundamental problems. Therefore, a Buhari presidency while it would help Nigeria to achieve some growth may be characterized with weaknesses in several important areas. For example, a Buhari presidency may achieve considerable feat in education and agriculture but might not be able to deliver much on anti-corruption and policy advancement which are critical elements to sustainable growth.
One trusted candidate whose presidency could bring enormous progress to the polity is that of learned Pat Utomi who has an impressive track record and has proven to be well informed not only about the problems of Nigeria, but also about the requisite solutions that will lessen the pains of our being. A Utomi presidency would make the best use of Nigerian youths, thinkers, strategists and technocrats as well as Nigerians from all over the world. The problem with Utomi is that he has gotten it all wrong from day one. In a competition with contenders who have all the tools and mercenaries at their disposal, a grand political strategy would have done wonders by increasing his popularity and making him known and closer to millions of electorates. Besides, Utomi could have over the years, been a strong PDP opposition since the ANPP and other parties have been considerably weak. Presently, it will be a gain saying to aver that Pat Utomi would be president in 2011.
About the Ovation Boss; it is clear from the sequence of articles and debates on the public space that he is not one who has found the favor of several educated Nigerians. In fact, the number of essays and informed public piece's against his person and track record has surpassed those which have considered him right. This self-acclaimed pro-democracy vanguard is perhaps the least experienced candidate of all. Besides, as many analysts have argued; this candidate cannot be trusted owing to his much praise singing of past corrupt leaders through his paparazzi Ovation publication. Another fact to consider is that Dele Momodu is the type who thinks he's popular. But the fact is he is not. This candidate is only known by average Nigerians who can afford his ovation publication. But what is their population and how many of them are indeed ready to cast their votes for him.
Nuhu Ribadu is another candidate who with little exposure has proven beyond reasonable doubt that he can fight our biggest cancer (Corruption). Like Ribadu, all that Nigeria needs is a fearless leader, incorruptible, effective, sensible and respectful of the constitution. Although, Ribadu while he's had excellent track record during his time at the EFCC has made several mistakes as some have preferred to argue. But, the fact is Ribadu is fearless and can fight a mountain of corruption no matter how tall it is in the Nigeria of today.
Residence in the slender package called Ribadu is that nil tolerance for corruption, disgust for ineptitude and dire hunger for positive change. The candidate called Ribadu while not very much exposed or politically aware is sufficiently passionate to get a pass mark to be our commander in Chief. Ribadu is possessive of the qualities; virtue, passion, affection and determination to take possession of the office of the President and is a much sensible option amongst his other contenders. For Ribadu, his presidency may not see the total death of corruption as many may expect but we can expect that corruption will not rule our world. Under a Ribadu presidency, we can expect positive change, rule of law and fair progress. We can also expect phenomenal growth and good policies as well as security and economic expansion. As an AC candidate, it will not be a loss guess to project that about 5-10 parties will rein their support for Ribadu during the build-up to the election.
Take it or leave it, a Ribadu presidency is much needed than a repeat of Jonathan Goodluck or than another murderous regime of General IBB or Atiku. Ribadu is proven to have a good track record than any Bukola Saraki or any Gusau or Dele Momodu. The question is whether he can get sufficient votes and support that can take him to the corridors of Aso Rock? The fact is for this to happen; an outstanding strategy is needed to win the corrupt mercenaries of PDP which is the only threat to his win.
To win come 2011, Ribadu's strategy should be more focused towards getting the votes of the Ndigbo's and the Minorities in the Niger Delta as well as some parts of the North. Already, the west owns AC and majority will naturally give him their votes but still, more strategies will be needed as one can never fully predict a presidential election.
Majority of Nigerians are in excruciating pains and a change agent is needed to help win the war that has bedeviled our growth. The same mercenaries who created these problems cannot then be the solution. Nigeria is crying for a selfless leader, who is firm, incorruptible, effective, sensible and who respects the rule of law. We want a seasoned, fearless and transformational leader that is sensitive to the needs of Nigerians, one who knows how to tackle our problems that can give us the best and address most of our fundamental challenges.
As maintained by one of the prominent theorists of leadership "transformational leadership focuses on organizational change by emphasizing new values and alternative visions to the future that transcend prevailing status quos (Gellis, 2001: 18).
That is exactly what Nigeria needs. A leader that do not have the same thinking as the old ones, one who is not necessarily possessive of all the experience, but who at least knows and respects the basic rules of life and ready to give it all it takes. A leader who will not only tell us that the best way to generate electricity is through hydro-power dams, but through same new, clean, cheap and sustainable ways.
We want a leader who is youthful and â€˜Y2K compliant'. One who has the skills, competence, wisdom, effectiveness and fearlessness to make change where change is needed? All these skills and aptitudes cannot be found in Babangida nor is President Jonathan possessive of any of them. Whoever finds it in Buhari or see it innate in Atiku should bring their evidence to the table. For Dele Momodu, Bukola Saraki and the rest, all they simply deserve are some ambassadorial positions to keep them quiet and off the active raider of Nigerian politics for another 10 years or so. In the meantime, let's see where the pendulum swings.