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The Presidentís successor

Posted by Kunle Oyatomi on 2005/09/05 | Views: 309 |

The Presidentís successor


Ripples from the Presidency are beginning to take the shape of waves which have the potentials of creating a storm in the Nigerian political ocean.

Ripples from the Presidency are beginning to take the shape of waves which have the potentials of creating a storm in the Nigerian political ocean.

It is bad enough if the question is merely that of policy disagreement or strategic approach to addressing issues which appear to have created a chasm between the president and his vice.

The latest report that thereís perceived disloyalty of the vice to his boss seems to ring a note that it is becoming familiar over the question of succession.

President Olusegun Obasanjo appears to have the stride of an elephant demolishing every standing opposition to his power and position. And it appears that the vital institutions of our fledgling democratic experiment have been so crushed under the sound such that there is a desert field of leadership in the country.

Today, we are not too sure if any potential presidential aspirant has enough nerve to come out openly to sell himself and his ideas about ruling Nigeria without prior consent of the president.

The only glaring exception is Gen. Mohammadu Buhari of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), who takes the bull by the horn and is prepared to confront the president on any issue that he feels strongly about including his preparedness to occupy Aso Rock come 2007. Apart from Buhari, within the framework of the PDP, nobody has done any clinical work of preparation to contest for the presidency.

That has been the pattern in Nigeria since 1960.

Virtually all the people who turned out to be the leaders at the centre had no plan whatsoever as to specific issues and problems.

Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, the first Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, never had a specific vision articulated, either in a document or manifesto as to how he intended to rule Nigeria. All the military rulers after him were equally barren. Shehu Shagari told us publicly that he never set out to become president of Nigeria. So it was not a job he prepared for. All he was concerned with at the time of his campaign was to become a senator.

The military men after Shagari had no idea what Nigeria should become except that they were obsessed by the consideration of national unity.

Our great OBJ was recovering from the trauma of a close shave with death when he had the Nigerian presidency thrust on him.

Now, OBJís tenure is expiring in 2007 and, up till this moment, not a single aspirant has come forward to articulate an approach to the renaissance of Nigeria.

We are therefore left with OBJ who appears to bestride the political arena with such suffocating grip like it is beginning to look as if the best we can have as a successor to OBJ is either OBJ himself or somebody who is not prepared for the job.

We dare say that this is a fundamental error that keeps Nigeriaís political situation permanently in a flux. This country called Nigeria deserves something better than a president by anointment. The country as it is today is the result of those anointments because all the anointed ones had no blueprint about moving Nigeria forward.

The way we are going appears to suggest that a grand manipulation is being planned for a favoured successor who might not be prepared for the job.

Thereís a scramble, it would seem, for being the right person in the right place with the right connection to manipulate the system for a successor. This is not what Nigerians need at this time. As the most populous African nation, we deserve something better for once.

Now is the time for prospective aspirants to the presidency to come out and canvass a blueprint for a new Nigeria. With less than 20 months to the next presidential election, Nigerians deserve to know, not only the credentials and antecedents of a possible successor, but also have a thorough knowledge of how such person intends to take Nigerians out of the woods.

Obasanjo is free to be interested in who succeeds him, but heís also bound by democratic ethics and norms to keep a level playing field for everyone who is interested and capable to be president.

We need a complete departure from the past and that need is becoming desperate.

If the best the past can offer us is what we have today, then we need a complete break from that system. Nigeria cannot afford in 2007 to have a president who is not prepared for the job.



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