Peterburns Munyasya in his inspirational quote says everybody has big dreams,… But very few make big efforts.” This speaks volumes of my maiden shot to join the Nigerian political train in this 21st century. It is not a single night thought, nor is it a walkover for someone to thread a new path in life no matter how excellent the path seems. To the person, the new path would certainly create some challenges for him since he is a novice in the discipline. But that does not mean that we can’t try new ways in life. It is in line with this that I take this new decision of joining the Nigerian politics at this critical time when Nigeria needs serious political surgery to survive. It is a well-thought decision that I have to implement, and with God almighty still, on the throne, it shall come to pass.

It will interest you all to know that great leaders of the world too hard had to consider so many reasons, including thoughts and made research and came out with critical results and a decision to serve the people which is the public theatre that is watched by million eyes, criticised by thousands of critics, and abused by many haters, and is only criticised positively by little critical thinkers who shove away sentiments and jealousy, to see and analyse constructively both the good and the bad, calling a spade a spade, with no element of hypocrisy.

This was a similar decision that made Theodore Roosevelt tag his speech, “Duties of American Citizenship” on January 26, 1883, where he calls everyone to delve into politics irrespective of their busy schedules elsewhere. To him, politics is a duty to everyone just like a father is to the family. His mind-blowing excerpt reads: “Of course, in one sense, the first essential for man’s being a good citizen is his possession of the home virtues of which we think when we call a man by the emphatic adjective of manly. No man can be a good citizen who is not a good husband and a good father, who is not honest in his dealings with other men and women, faithful to his friends and fearless in the presence of his foes, who has not got a sound heart, a sound mind, a sound body; exactly as no amount of attention to civil duties will save a nation if the domestic life is undermined… In a free republic, the ideal citizen must be one willing and able to take arms for the defence of the flag, exactly as the ideal citizen must be the father of many healthy children…”

If you analyse this speech critically, you will understand that Nigeria is the country in focus here, for Roosevelt’s speech of the 18th century, is still applicable in Nigeria. If we must go forward, we must be honest and just in our dealings with fellow men in our country. But unfortunately, in Nigeria at the moment, politics is crudely tagged a ‘dirty game,’ where only the crooks are allowed to play, only the cheats, and only thieves are allowed to ply the road. Never! For Nigeria at its maiden independence was predicted that in the next fifty years from that day, it was going to be far more developed than the United States of America and India owing to the human and natural resources that abound in the country, thus it was tagged, “The Giant of Africa.” This axiom was not tagged for nothing. Nigeria is naturally blessed in all spheres to have thrived beyond its present stage but what happens?

The sincerity in our leadership has been misplaced. Wherever leadership in Nigeria is mentioned, there comes to mind the Nigerian-African writer, Chinua Achebe’s “The Trouble with Nigeria.” Here, Achebe sees no problem with the Nigerian soil, vegetation, animals and natural resources but in her leaders who have bastardised the system, and twisted it for their selfish gains to the point that when someone in a reputable family wants to join politics (in Nigeria), the family become tempted to disown or disassociate themselves from the person, knowing well that if the person is a millionaire today, he is coming out of the office as a billionaire after JUST four years of acclaimed service. Where does the elected/appointee in the Nigerian government get that wealth so quickly in four years? Loot! This is indeed the trouble with Nigeria, BUT must we remain in the dark forever?  No! So, the need to reclaim the lost glory of Nigeria, our dear and only nation is not later but now! How?

Elsewhere in the world, ideas, policies, and developmental strides are embraced and respected, not money. There, politicians map out policies and sell them to the masses through campaigns and the electorates choose the most trustworthy candidates to represent them. They also serve and are not allowed to be served. And that reminds me of Late Nigerian-Canadian Professor, Pius Adessni, in blessed memory, who said that, in his duplex in Canada, he had heard knocks at his door on a certain morning and he quickly opened it. Behold, he saw a man standing at his door face to face with him. The man introduced himself as their legislative member in the government, the category of what we call, the House of Representatives member in Nigeria. The legislature told Adesani that he came to know what and what his subjects had wanted him to say at the next legislative plenary session. To the surprise of Professor Adesani, the legislature of that status was alone, with no guard, no car, no convoy, no siren! Why? Because he was doing his job! In this kind of country, leaders are honest and they are trusted. In this kind of country, the law is supreme over its citizens. In this kind of country, people go into politics not to amass wealth but to serve and bring development to their people. Why do we choose to go the other way when other people are going straight? This calls for meditation over our leadership style in Nigeria.

It is no doubt that Nigeria is at a crossroads at that moment with a lot of negative challenges like corruption which has eaten deep into our fabrics from the cleaners to the top government officials. Election malpractice, banditry, killings, kidnapping and robbery, and their master terror group, Boko Haram, are all affecting our daily lives and businesses because of failed leadership. But interestingly, in isolated states like Cross River, governed by Professor Ben Ayade, and in the far North East, in a state worst hit by Boko Haram, Professor Babagana Umara Zulum , Peter Obi, they performed magically well in terms of infrastructure and other sectors of development. A few other state governors and other leaders are doing well too. Are these politicians who are doing well not Nigerians? They are! Are these people not seeing and controlling billions of naira every month? They do! But they choose humanity over selfishness, and this is how it is supposed to be. This is to say that there are massively bad people everywhere in Nigeria but there are still good ones we can trust anyway. And what the masses need is to be educated on how to choose good leaders, and how to refuse to be bought with peanuts during elections, and when that is done, we will understand that governance is different from politics, and we will get it right and move our nation forward.

In conclusion, I know that the path I am threading today is with thorns but with you, the masses embracing the new real change that other developed nations have embraced and have worked for them which is ideas and policies over money in governance, respect for rule of law, we will rapidly move forward.

I sincerely hope that if given the chance to serve, I will be more of a servant than a leader because you, the masses are the master and I will take all the good advice from you because I can’t catapult myself into the government by any means but through you, thus it is your wish I will do, not mine! And hopefully, like Martin Luther King said, and it came to pass, we shall move from dark to light soonest when we change our ways positively, for it is hoped that keeps us going. Luther in his exact words captures thus:
“I have a dream that one day, every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.”


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