Dubai has been adjudged the fastest growing city in the world and one of the favourite places for business and leisure in the Middle-East for some years now. Yet this was a place whose first city’s tarmac road was said to be the dowry paid by the Emir of Qatar to marry a Dubai princess. A year later, the emir who probably felt sorry for his backward neighbour, who had just been taken over by his eccentric new father-in-law, Sheikh Rashid bin Saed al-Maktoum paid for a bridge connecting the emirate’s two halves. Juxtaposing the development in Dubai from 1991 under the leadership of Sheik Mohammed, son of Sheik Rashid that has now put the little known city on world map and the events in Nigeria since the end of military rule in 1999, one can brashly say that the successive civil administrations are failures.
Taking a cursory look at these past civilian regimes, the first one no doubt started well, but the debacle of tenure extension made a mess of his good efforts. The second, a good-man they called him, but we all know that it takes more than being a good-man to do the needful. Unfortunately, the creator later called him home. The third one, in my opinion became a president by providence and had the best chance to put the nation on the right part, but he allowed corruption thrive too well under him. His case made me realise that intimidating academic certificates might not be enough to be a leader. To put a stop to the thriving corruption, another one with strong anticorruption antecedent was brought in. Regrettably, he had since been found guilty of nepotism and other “misfortunes” by the court of public opinion.
Certainly, none of them thus far met our expectations. Even the one which in my opinion made effort to better the lots of the people still do not fit into the kind of leader that genuinely has the people’s interest at heart as far as others are concerned. Unfortunately, many do not realize that in our hands lies the power that brought them in; and in our hands lies the power to replace them. Hence, all they do is complain. Others simply would say “Let’s leave them for God” and do nothing. The more religious ones have since gone spiritual, earnestly praying for a miracle; just maybe some of these selfish leaders would fall down and die. While prayer is good, at least it’s better than doing nothing. But then, it is not enough to bring the kind of leadership that will turn around the luck of this nation. As Edmund Burke observed “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”.
Soon another opportunity would present itself to us – another chance to do something about the hyenas and jackals that have held us to ransom for years and are not ready to let go. They will come again in their usual babariga seeking for another chance. Woe unto you, if you allow their rice and oil determine where you thumbprint on the ballot paper. Perhaps you should say to them, “Hey Mister Politician!” keep your rice and oil, and tell us in concrete terms how you intend to fix our roads which are nothing but death traps. Ask them how they would improve the quality of public education our wards receive so that they too can enjoy what your wards in schools outside the shores of this land are enjoying. Let’s also demand from them, what they intend to do to turn around the public hospitals whose statuses are currently not good for them and their family, which is the reason for their usual medical expedition abroad. Similarly, we should ask them how they intend to deal with the perennial epileptic power situation that has gulped billions of dollars without significant improvement, and how they intend to ensure that murderous individuals and groups don’t invade our homes in the night and snap life out of us. Furthermore, ask how they intend to balance the budget which remained deficit year in year out. Depending on what is peculiar with your community… the list is endless.
Perhaps they have come with promises of sponsorship of holy pilgrimages, free “Ileya” rams, and Christmas cloths. We should simply remind them that these are not the basic function of governance but rather, they should disclose how they intend to ensure that the economy booms again so we can prosper and then we in turn will buy for ourselves Ileya rams and Christmas cloths during the yuletides and embark on holy pilgrimages when we wish.
As things stand today, there appears to be only three choices, to continue with the change, change the change, or join the third force. The choice is ours. But once the campaign for the electioneering starts, seek personality and not party, contents and not container and if need be, consider a new path to the future if you think the one you are on would lead to nowhere. Most importantly, participate either as a candidate or a voter.
Shola Olayiwola is a freelance writer. He loves to write and defend the course of his country.