By: Abdurrahman Onifade Bello
One of the burdens of leadership is dealing with sycophants whose sugar-coated exaltations can propel one to a world of illusory hallucinations. In Nigeria, some leaders have been led to ‘No-Man’s Land’ by praise-singers and professional sycophants whose support for ‘Any Government in Power – AGIP’ are usually to ensure nothing happens to their stomach infrastructures. Over the years, these people have remained relevant, simply because our leaders long for praises, arguably at times more than their emoluments. They want praises for their actions and inactions; ineptitude and mental-servitude, fortitude and folly, hence the need for sycophants.
Once you take a swipe at Nigerian leaders, you would be battered with infamous words from those sycophants who see you as hindrance to their ephemeral benefits. In recent times, we have had sycophants who as special advisers likened their master to Jesus Christ. They trampled on our senses; telling us their masters were the best things that ever happened to Nigeria.
However, when the brooms of ‘Change’ swept ‘Transformation’ away with its big umbrella in 2015, we thought these menace would end, but there has been no change. In actual fact, they exacerbated the obnoxious experiences we had under their predecessors. Like GEJ-men, like Buhari-men. Nothing has changed in the corridors of power except the heightened blame passing.
The 13-page letter written by former President Olusegun Obasanjo has generated a lot of controversies. Not even the recent public statement by the evil genius, General Ibrahim Babangida, got to the apex to becloud Obasanjo’s controversial public statement. If there is anything one needs to always know about Obasanjo, it is that: he is intellectually and strategically cunning. Like Fela mentioned, ‘I challenged Obasanjo, na wayo e dey all the time’.More so, this could be because he was not only a war strategist owing to his military background, but also an intellectual politician who never desires to leave power. Relevance, he so much desires. And he epitomizes the reality that a politician is a chameleon, a saint and an activist.
The core message from Obasanjo to President Muhammad Buhari is simple: go back to Daura to rest and do not seek re-election in 2019. Obasanjo is entitled to his opinion; while Buhari has every constitutional right to seek re-election. However, it is worrisome that people like Obasanjo and Babangide who plunged this nation into its abysmal state have become vocal against the same rots they created. Their skillful perpetration of official corruption will not be forgotten easily in history; particularly, Babangida who annulled the 1993 election adjudged to be the freest and fairest in the history of this nation.
Meanwhile, the content of their messages cannot be disregarded. After all, even mad men make sense at times. President Buhari’s advancement in age, the long medical holidays and the burdens of leadership have shown his (in)ability to lead this nation. These have quickened decline in the fulfillment of the electoral promises by the President and his party, APC.
In fairness to the President, he seems to have very good intentions in leading this nation out of economic recession to prosperity. But good intentions at times may never translate to good actions. And when actions contradict expectations of good intentions, the consequences become unpalatable. Save for his obvious accentuated ethnocentric chauvinism, the President has been able to curtail the ostentatious profligacy that had characterized the lifestyle of politicians and public officials in the past. Despite that, Nigerians did not vote a change heading nowhere with slow motion. It could be true that Nigerians are impatient, but they gave their mandates to a man whose integrity they believed would take many out of the seeming poverty. But no. Not only has fuel price doubled, the prices of commodities have escalated beyond affordable imaginations.
While the President may be a good man, the reality remains that he really needs rest. That could even be a chief reason why his own wife, Aisha Buhari, has been reported on several occasions to be an open antagonist to his re-election;.She really loves him and wants him more in the ‘other room’. Importantly, she does not want to be a presidential casualty. Hence, the fervid desire that her husband faces reality and has his integrity fully ‘packaged’ back to Daura. She wants him in her cozy arms; not gallivanting around the globe and later ending up in a London hospital. No.
The President should not be hoodwinked by sycophants who want to put him through another tortuous burden of 4years in office. They are beautiful liars, who through their deceit will leave no stone unturned to make him swallow their adulations. We have started hearing statements like ‘he is the best man Nigeria has ever had’, ‘he is the one and only Nigeria needs’, ‘Without him Nigeria cannot be successful’, and so on. But should the President fall for their lies and seek re-election, I wish him ‘Goodluck’. Yes, Goodluck.
Furthermore, it is time Nigerians divorce the ‘there is no better alternative to Buhari or the APC’ mentality. French journalist, Albert Camus, might have had Nigerians in mind when he said that, “blessed are the hearts that can bend; they shall never be broken.”Our hearts could have been broken with the pervasive sufferings in the nation; yet, we should never cease in our search for a better leader. And in our fervid search, we should not be bamboozled by any ‘Coalition’. The real identity will be unraveled as time comes by; but it appears now as nothing but a conglomerate of political dinosaurs who masquerade as concerned leaders. They are the same faces we have always seen since our primary school days; and same names we had read in the not-too-current affairs.
Importantly, while I do not believe good leadership is a product of age, Nigerians have to open their ears to young Nigerians seeking presidential office. It is high time we began to seek alternatives to the same people who plunged this nation into the atrocious situation. It is high time we looked for fresh ideas and elected individuals whose perceptions about leadership and global issues in the 21st century are not stimulated by obsolete ideas of the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. It is high time we asked these young individuals salient questions about their plans on education, security, infrastructures, power and corruption. It is really high time we started our search for available alternatives because there is no better time than now!
Failure of leadership has catalyzed failure in governance. But Henry Ford admonished that “failure is simply an opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” We cannot afford to fail by threading the conjured path of no alternative to the extant failures; except if we, as a people, want to pursue the manifestation of Albert Einstein’s maxim that ‘doing same thing again and again while expecting different results is glorified insanity’