When in 2006, cerebral haemorrhage came knocking on the being of Aerial Sharon, the Israeli prime minister penultimate, he transferred authority to his then Vice Premier Ehud Olmert, who took the country to the next general election in March 2006, like Nigeria's Yardua, Sharon didn't just develop his brain haemorrhage suddenly in one night, according to a new York times report, Sharon had long battled with a hole in his heart and was suffering from stroke, however, like Yardua, Sharon was frequently hospitalised. But as fate would have it, barely months amidst preparation for his third term election to office, Aerial Sharon was completely rendered comatose at 77.
In spite of his declining health, the fervid resolve of Sharon to become the Israeli Prime Minister for the third time, shows the greed of leadership, personal discontent and self gratification marked by the a wanton quest for power, thus, I've come to the logical reasoning that political greed and leadership discontentment are in fact not suis generis to the Nigerian experiment. i.e they are not a Nigerian thing. However, what is different between Sharon and Yaradua is that Sharon was having his health treatment in Israel by Israeli doctors, while the Israeli public were often kept abreast of their president's health.
Another example of this leadership greed was found in Fidel Castro who didn't resign as president until his long battled illness became acute that he couldn't lead his executive council for a long time, and had to cede power to his brother Raul Castro. The same was for Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo, the longest African President who was flown abroad after a long battled and unnamed illness, and in fact the 32nd president of the United States of America, Franklin D Roosevelt in 1945, who died of the same cause as Sharon (cerebral haemorrhage) during his fourth time in office as the US president. In case you don't know, yes, I mean fourth time.
My argument here is that if presidents are given the chance, no matter what condition they are, they will selfishly hold on to the corridors of power, while they ostensibly hold their state and people to ransom for as long as they are permitted, this may even be an interesting case if an active or transformational president sits at the helm of power, take for example President D. Roosevelt who although I consider selfish by contesting election for four times, but Roosevelt during his four tenures led America out of world war II, and the depression of the 1930's which almost got America beg its enemy for food.
For president Yardua, I'll keep asking these questions; of what benefit is his presidency to the Nigerian state? When the rate of poverty is climbing, corruption is re-institutionalising, interest rates are increasing, inflation rate is growing and the rule of law is failing? I'm not praying for the death of our president, but I pray that he resigns as president of the federal republic of Nigeria and let the constitution take its function, pronto! Last week, the federal executive council after their inconsequent meeting argued that the president is not genetically modified therefore he's liable to fall sick as every human, fine, but for how long will this last? At whose expense? At whose detriment? Not the federal executive council or the general assembly of course, but Nigerians who are still crying for the fulfilment of their basic needs.
His resignation is so desired, Not only on the basis of his sickness but also on the basis of his illegitimacy, inept, incompetency and absence of charisma and qualities that makes a contemporary president. When in the past I talked about the president's lack of quality as our Grand commander in chief, I was challenged by few old friends, but thank goodness! I've found a voice in the scores of empirical evidence on what makes a president effective; in the past, I was talking about his lack of poise, skills, character, influence, charisma and all that a president needs to move a grand state forward. But according to Barber (1972) there are other parameters by which qualities and performance of a president can be measured, what makes barber's model more acceptable is that, it has been used to measure the performance of presidents in the past and the results have been nothing less than fantastic, Barber identifies five broad determinants of a president's performance. Two relate to the political context, the contemporary power situation (e.g., the partisan balance in Congress) and climate of expectations (e.g., the state of public opinion). The other three bear on the president's inner characteristics - his political style (habitual way of carrying out his responsibilities), worldview (political beliefs), and character (the deeper layers of his psyche).
Looking at no 1. (the president's partisan balance in congress) one can see that president Yardua has an advantage because his political Party, the PDP holds the majority of seats in both arms of the Nigerian congress, this according to Barber is a power which presidents can use as a political advantage to advance their political will and course, in order to benefit those who are governed. What has happened instead of in the case of Yardua is political maladroit as can be seen in the depth of power play in Nigeria today, scoring him on the second measure. (public opinion) means he'll be given zero on a scale of ten, owing to the fact that, most of the Nigerian public are not in tune with his administration, check facebook for example and see the comments of almost 2000 Nigerians that have signed up just in 7 days to demand the president's resignation, Saharareporters.com alone have recorded over 160 public demand for his resignation in 3 days, while the Nigeriavillagesquare.com have also received a huge amount of people signing up everyday to demand for his resignation, apart from the prominent 55 Nigerians that demanded his resignation last week. From both newspaper articles and television scenes, it is also notable how much there has been a growing hatred for the presidency of Yaradua, for any one who doubts the power of public opinion, I think such person should take a lesson from the case of president Bush and the public perception on his failed political administration.
For Barber's number three (his habitual way of carrying out his responsibilities), since 2007 president Yardua have only been able to reverse past policies without implementing safer alternatives, budget implementation since his incumbency has never reached a pass mark, rule of law is only a scanty mantra, while past officers convicted of corruption are let loose, equally, 6000 Megawatts of electricity promised Nigerians in December is still a promise to be fulfilled so much that we have a president who have earned the nickname: Baba go slow. Although, as the saying goes: slow and steady wins the race, president Yaradua has never being steady in any of his approach on matters of national progress.
Number four of Barber's model looks at the president's political beliefs, where I think he scores very poor, in fairness to him though, he's a good man with good intention but his liberal view and intention have been corrupted by his immediate cronies and political stewards. President Yaradua has demonstrated time after time through his policies, and official discharge of duties that he holds a bigger allegiance to his political party, the PDP than Nigeria itself. So we have a president whose political beliefs are no more than his party chauvinism.
Finally, looking at the last operation of Barber's model which is the deeper layers of the president's psyche, for this, I have taken into account his sense of justice, astuteness, skills of moderation in issues, and his personal ideology, and results of his psychoanalysis reveals that Yaradua has no deep understanding of politics, economics or what is socially obtainable in the Nigerian general environment, we have a president who can not argue convincingly about international politics or issues of national seriousness, a president who does not know much about the history of his country, who is deeply committed to his religion and not open to other beliefs, therefore, on this last parameter, I've come to the logical conclusion that Yaradua has indeed not passed any of the performance measures of Barber's theory.
Because sometimes, models and theories go wrong, or are simply insufficient to determine the real situational facts, I have used another construct of other classical political theorists on the inherent factors that drive a president's performance, a prominent one is the model of (Greenstein, 2000), whose study comprised six qualities of 11 presidents, the first, which pertains to the outer face of leadership, is the president's proficiency as a public communicator. The second relates to the inner workings of the presidency, is the president's organizational capacity his ability to rally his colleagues and structure their activities effectively. The third and fourth bear on the president as political operator - his political skill and the extent to which it is harnessed to a vision of public policy. The fifth is the cognitive style with which the president processes the Niagara of advice and information that comes his way. The last is about the firm taming of the soul i.e. emotional intelligence - the president's ability to manage his emotions and turn them to constructive purposes, rather than being dominated by them and allowing them to diminish his leadership (Goleman, 1995)
Based on communication, president Yardua has disappointingly lacked or demonstrated an effective communication regime and proficiency and only on very few occasions can one count when our president has engaged with the Nigerian public effectively. The fact of the matter is that our president is not a good communicator and he lacks all the necessary knowledge and skills to communicate effectively, so how can a leader who lacks effective communication skills successfully lead his people? Does the president know that he must know a lot about the problems and challenges of the people he governs so he can communicate with them based on their issues and problems? Does our president even know the particular problems of each ethnic group we have in Nigeria? If he doesn't, how might he be able to define solutions to such problems? How might he be able to understand their plight and how might he be able to address their needs?
The second theory about the president's organisational capacity shows that president Yardua perhaps has had the worst economic team in the past 10 years in Nigeria, for example: at no time has a Minister been publicly abused, disowned, petitioned and condemned by the people, on the basis of corruption, and the president does nothing about it, not even a dint of investigation; so is the case of Nigeria's attorney general and some of Yaradua's minister's. In fact policies of the president shows that, he has no great team working behind his back, hence the low quality types of policies which is generated, this maladroit goes to show the lack of organisational capacity of president Yardua. The third, about how a president harnesses his political skill to enhance public policy in-fact is where the president scores zero because, there seem to be lack of political skill inherent in our president, at no time since his presidency has he demonstrated a skill which has been of influence to the people, more so, no public policy of his has benefited the entire Nigerian masses since his inception, therefore, there is no doubt that we have a president who by every means can be considered a mediocre.
Walahi, I can present more than, 101 empirical models, which suggests the quality of an effective president which our own president do not have, therefore, why do we expect change from a person who isn't just inclined to making change but lacks the essential qualities to do so, why does the federal executive council tell us such fallacy that it is offensive to advice the president to resign, whose president is he anyway? I beg your pardon, not mine; we need a president who can represent, a true leader chosen by the people, a president dazzling with charisma, qualities, skills, exposure, talents, knowledge and strength, we want a president who is hale and hearty, effective, strong and dynamic, we want a president whom we can call our suis generis, we own, we president, we want a president who listens, learns, knows, teaches, and can truly make effective change which Nigeria needs, a president who acts, infact who is super active, we've not found this in President Yaradua, therefore, this is a clarion call, a call for him to give way to the constitution by giving chance to the Vice President to take us to the 2011 presidential elections.
This is a sincere call for the president and his political cronies to remember the old Yoruba adage that (Oba to je ti, ilu roju, Aye a royin, eyi to je ti ilu daru, aye awi), meaning, whatever legacy, good or bad that a leader leaves behind is what history makes of him. Yardua your government is a pain, this is a call on Nigerians to exercise all their inherent power in decent manners to ensure that come 2011, we vote in the leaders of our choice.
God Bless Nigeria
Ola Onikoyi, Jr