The Fourth Industrial Revolution has already become definitive of the twenty-first century, and the Nigerian civil service system cannot afford to keep struggling to key into the fundamentals of a new age that has transformed human sensibilities and ethos in many radical ways, from the way we work to the ways we organize our lives and existence. The public service is one of the fundamental institutions, across the globe, that has been significantly affected by the massive and radical digital transformations of human administrative endeavors. The challenge, however, and especially with a public service in a difficult administrative environment like Africa, is how easy it is for the public service to be caught up in its bureaucratic rules and processes in ways that deeply circumscribed its efficiency and service delivery mandate. This is all the more so for the Nigerian public service and her struggle to reprofessionalise as a functional institution while undermining her bureaucratic credentials.
This is not a light assessment given the predilection for an institution like the public service to be taken in by administrative traditions, and be fixated on a procedural mindset that is firmly opposed to change. Such a mindset becomes trapped unfortunately in yesterday’s ways of thinking and is immune from exploring the new possibilities available for making the public service a better institution for complementing the capabilities of the state to improve the well-being of humans. The vocation of the public service—the administrative principles, codes of practice, ethical values and knowledge systems—constitute all that shapes the future of the profession. However, what happens if the professionals are not looking up, and defining the conditions and circumstances that make for the continuous transformation of the profession? What happens, that is, if we refuse to conduct regular environmental scanning, deploy scenario planning, follow global trends, or interrogate the intellectual assumptions and theories undergirding administrative practices? Thus, with the shifting demographics, constantly evolving technologies, and environmental sustainability challenges, the way we lead, the way we administer, the way we solve problems or manage change, etc., are changing so dramatically now that any institution not willing to key into the innovative sensibility will be left behind. And, of course, the Nigerian public service cannot afford to be left behind.
The way forward is straightforward: it involves investing in new thinking. The idea of new thinking speaks about the capacity of an individual, an organisation or a state to assess and reassess current situation and future possibilities through a strategic framework that will enable the individual, organization or state function better and more efficiently. The idea of new thinking is conditioned by a reform program that is strategic. In other words, new think for any organization or institution combines strategic thinking and strategic planning to be able to face the future. It is this strategic thinking that allows an institution like the public service to rethink and reengineer its modus operandi and business model to become better.
The notion of new thinking presupposes an old one. And with regard to the public service, this old thinking template is represented by the traditional, “I-am-directed” Weberian framework that defines administrative business before the advent of the managerial revolution. This Weberian structure required from civil servants the requisite characteristics of anonymity, neutrality and impartiality, and an overall profile circumscribed by efficiency, effectiveness, integrity, accountability, responsiveness, representativeness, loyalty, equity, fairness, and so on. However, it is a system that is essentially hierarchical, cumbersome and acutely bureaucratic to effectively fulfil the mandate of good governance. As a migrated structure, the Weberian system arrived in Nigeria without its value foundation. This made it impossible for the Weberian structure to organizationally mature into fully formed and value-oriented institution. Thus, it eventually became a bureaucratic paradigm that became ultimately a bureaucratic culture that contributed to the underdevelopment narrative in Nigeria. This made it possible for the system to be hijacked by various personalities for selfish and short-term ends.
Transforming the public service in the grip of this old business model demands also that the reformer must put in mind that the transition into the fourth industrial revolution must also occur within what has been called the VUCA environment. The public service is immersed in a VUCA environment, characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity. These are four elements that are defined by the state of the world, decisions of government, and national dynamics. The VUCA environment is one that confronts the functioning of the public service and demands an engagement that enables the public service to confront the challenges and achieve administrative excellence in the process. This implies that such a public manager who will steer the public service through the challenges of the VUCA environment cannot be merely transactional, and operating with a twentieth century administrative mindset. It also means that the public service must always aspire to become capacity ready in meeting the challenges of governance and administration that the social, political, cultural and economic environments might throw up.
The public service, within a VUCA environment, is faced with the challenge of transforming itself within what is called a scenario. In administrative reform, a scenario consists of a starting point (an initial or alpha state), a trajectory (chain of steps or events) and a future (omega) state. A reform agenda or scenario therefore takes a state from the alpha point though a trajectory to an omega point. Within a VUCA environment, therefore, the public service is always finding itself in an alpha point as the environment keeps getting complex and challenging, and is always oriented towards an omega that is better able to serve the needs of the citizens. The burden of the VUCA environment, together with the imperative of the fourth industrial revolution, requires that the public service in Nigeria must be constrained by the demand of strategic thinking and planning. While strategic thinking is conceptual and initiates the search for imaginative strategies, strategic planning is more programmatic in the ways it formalizes the steps involved in transforming the public service.
In thinking and planning strategically, therefore, care must be taken to distinguish between creating a strategy and being strategic. On the one hand, creating a strategy is a process of translating a plan into a set of results. On the other hand, the act of being strategic is a competence that involves critical thinking. The argument is that an institution, like the public service, requires strategic thinking to generate a reform strategy that will move the institution forward into more optimal functionality and productivity. Both must be channeled institutionally to the most central process of strategic decision making. This is what allows the institution to either think outside of the box or even without a box to structure institutional imagination. Strategic decision-making is ultimately tied to an institution’s capacity to maneuver through the VUCA environment in order to perform better. Thus, to move the Nigerian public service system forward to an omega point of cutting-edge optimality that creates performance, public value and productivity, there is the need to bring strategic thinking to bear on the institutional parameters, processes and values in ways that generate strategies for efficiency and effectiveness. Here, we survey the significant areas that constitute the locus of new thinking for the public service and the transformation of its efficiency and service delivery capacity.
Since strategic decision-making is key to the adoption and deployment of new thinking in Nigeria’s public service, then strategic policy intelligence emanating from the irreducible developments in contemporary decision science becomes inevitable. Decision science has become a critical field that has integrated cognate developments from artificial intelligence, organisational psychology, systems thinking, machine learning, probabilistic modeling, scenario analysis, big data analytics, and many more to become a key area that the public service must buy into to push forward its policy intelligence that strengthen decision-making. Modern policy making that has taken cognizance of decision science will most likely possess nine fundamental features: (i) forward-looking; (ii) outward-looking; (iii) innovative, flexible and creative; (iv) evidence-based; (v) evaluation; (vi) review; (vii) joined-up; (viii) inclusive; and (ix) learned lessons.
Strategic decision-making in turn demands that we rethink the nature of government and of the governance space where this strategy would be deployed. This is the occasion for the open government initiative to create a Public Service 2.0. Open government is founded on the principle that government—not just its laws and policies, but the reasons and processes of decisions that generated those policies and the flows of money that fund their implementation—should be open to the citizens and nongovernmental agents. The idea of open government aligns the public service with the necessity of (re)creating public value(s) that will transform the quality of life of the citizens. Indeed, the joint production of public value(s) by the government, nonstate actors and the citizens places the public service squarely within the ambit of the New Public Governance approach, the New Public Administration, and the New Public Service approaches that place the active citizens at the core of democratic governance, and the center of service delivery by the public service.
No public service can operate within the imperatives of the fourth industrial revolution without transforming its idea of human resources management and the dynamics of the workplace. For example, the idea of remote working and specialist contractors provide an institution like the public service the capacity to recruit a global workforce and create incentives that increase employee loyalty and commitment, and collaborations that generate productivity. This gives room for the achievement of a better work-life balance deriving from freer time and flexibility to work. And facilitates the acquisition of “twenty-first century literacies”: (a) interpersonal skills: facilitation, empathy, political skills; (b) synthesising skills: sorting evidence, analysis, making judgements, offering critique and being creative; (c) organising skills: group work, collaboration and peer review; and (d) communication skills: better use of new media and multi-media resources.
Thus, even though institutional reform is inevitable within the public service system in Nigeria, such a reform must be constrained by the imperatives of new thinking that arms the public service system with the wherewithal by which it must facilitate its own transformation. This is how the public service can become not only world-class, but compliant with the fourth industrial revolution and the challenge of national development in Nigeria.
. (Being a paper presented at a seminar held at the Public Service Institute of Nigeria – PSIN, Abuja, recently).
. Olaopa is a retired Federal Permanent Secretary, and Professor, National Institute For Policy and Strategic Studies
(NIPSS), Kuru, Jos .
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Exposed: The Real Peter Obi
By Promise Adiele
Today, I am possessed by the spirit of exposure. Without let or hindrance, resistance or disputation, I surrender to the service of my fatherland to expose, perhaps in the process, educate the foolish and enrich the wise, nothing more. While exposing, I didn’t consult the Ifa oracle or Delphic oracle, both Yoruba and Greek prognostic divination essences famed for revelation. Exposure, that act of revealing the unknown, invades my conscious mind while the revered apostle of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud watches with keen interest. I admit to being a helpless captive of the spirit of exposure. It goes beyond the paralyzing mental hypnosis suffered by victims of religious ecstasy. I am fully aware and awake, with no hallucination, reverie, or phantasmal anecdote. I have no choice in the matter, therefore I must expose, reveal, uncover, and inform. St. John suffered the same fate as I do today which inspired him to write the Biblical book of Revelation. Exposure is different from prophecy, the alter ego of prediction. While exposure reveals what exists but is not known, prophecy reveals what does not exist, therefore not known. Today, I am not predicting anything. I want to expose many things about the presidential flag bearer of the Labour Party Mr Peter Obi. Every presidential aspirant must be exposed, nothing hidden. No guesswork. No half-truths.
My determination to expose the real, undiluted, factual, identity of Mr Peter Obi inheres from the tumultuous effect his persona is currently having on the Nigerian political horizon. Interestingly, the emergence of one man in our country’s political maturation is causing a tsunami across the length and breadth of the land. In my commitment to unravel Peter Obi, I have engaged the remote and immediate peculiarities of his identity, his historical existentialities, and the sublunary ethos that foreground his groundswell among Nigerians at home and abroad. Also, my objective is to steer the wheel of our contemporary political discourse away from obtuse, unreasonable circles to centres of rational, objective thinking. Granted that we can make mistakes sometimes, but we shouldn’t hug idiocy forever. Nigeria is on the cusp of collapse due largely to the mistakes of 2015 when we collectively plunged into a semblance of Hades for failure to expose what needed to be exposed. But 2023 offers a good opportunity to correct the mistakes of the past. Peter Obi’s exposure? Here we go.
First Exposure: His full name is Peter Gregory Obi and his nickname is ‘Okwute’. He has a clear, real, and honest identity. There should be no contention or controversy about the identity of the potential of the next president of Nigeria. ‘Okwute’ in Igbo language means rock. The muse reminds me of the connection between the Biblical Peter and rock. Recall that the Master told the Biblical Peter, “upon this rock will I build my house and the gates of hellfire will not prevail against it”. Today, we have a potential president of Nigeria whose real and nickname are subsumed in that divine declaration by the Master. Peter ‘Okwute’ Gregory Obi’s identity draws on celestial and terrestrial possibilities which explain the wildfire his emergence on the political scene is provoking. Surely, the gates of religion, ethnicity and other nebulous metaphors that represent hellfire will not prevail against his name. Remember, his name is Peter Gregory Obi. No questions. No stolen identity. No one adopted him as a child. No family is denying his parentage. It is only a deluded generation that will vote for anyone whose identity is shrouded in secrecy. Identity denominates human existence therefore a fake identity presupposes a fraudulent personality. Peter ‘Okwute’ Gregory Obi is his name. He does not have any other name. Go and verify.
Second Exposure: Mr Peter Obi was born in 1961 and he is from Aniocha Local Government Area in Anambra State. No controversy. That is his origin. Did you know that? He has an identifiable genealogy and definite origin. Any political office aspirant with an indeterminate origin is a disgrace to the political process and unbridled insolence to the electorate. Peter Obi’s origin is well known. His origin is not an object of infinite conjecture. He did not migrate to Anambra from any of the neighbouring states or countries. The next president of Nigeria must have a specific origin known to all Nigerians. No guesswork, no permutations, no lies, no mysteries and no sophistry. Anyone, even a foreigner can aspire to any political office in any part of the world, but hiding one’s identity is criminal, therefore morally disqualifies anyone from any political office in the land much less the presidential seat. Peter Obi is from Aniocha Local Government Area in Anambra State. Go and verify.
Exposure Three: Did you know that Peter Gregory Obi is arguably the only former governor in Nigeria that does not collect a kobo as pension from his state Anambra? Go and verify. Some past governors have impoverished their states by appropriating the exchequer and collecting almost 70% of the Internally Generating Revenue. Such states have the potential to be like Dubai or even better but because their former governors, cronies, and family members have the states in their pockets, the states wallow in inadequacy, leveraging the average, not aware of their vibrant potential. Peter Obi’s wife does not control any part of Anambra State. His only daughter does not control any market in Anambra State. His only son does not own properties in Anambra State. Peter Obi does not have thugs all around the State as a murderous arm of violence and civil menace. A man that does not collect a pension from his state as a former governor is not greedy. Nigeria does not need a greedy president who will turn state coffers and structures to private use.
Exposure Four: Are you aware that Peter Gregory Obi is healthy, fit, and agile? Now you know. He can engage in physical exercise and do thirty to fifty push-ups in a few minutes. He can jump on the treadmill in a jiffy and remain there for a long time. Did you know that in 2022, he plays football, table tennis, and lawn tennis? He does not have any known medical history which will impair his official function as the president of Nigeria. Given Nigeria’s experience under the current administration, the country does not need a septuagenarian, sickly, frail, and senile president. According to Suyi Ayodele in his Tuesday FLATOUT column in the Daily Tribune “a town which makes the invalid its king does not prosper because the health of the king determines the prosperity of the town”. No one gives a sick baby to a sick nurse to look after. Nigeria is sick, very sick therefore requires a fit, proper, agile, and healthy president to fully take charge of our collective affairs. Remember, when Muhammadu Buhari took over the reins of power in the country, he lamented that age was affecting his performance and wished he was younger and healthier. He went on to spend considerable time in a London hospital while the country suffered in parturition. This must not recur. A body led by a set of rotten eyes will inevitably head for disaster. Nigeria should never be led by a sick president again. Peter Gregory Obi is healthy and rearing to go. Kindly go and verify.
Exposure Five: Peter Obi attended Christ The King College Onitsha Anambra State. Afterwards, he was admitted to the University of Nigeria Nsukka in 1980 to study philosophy, the acclaimed parent discipline. He graduated in 1984. Some lost souls are peddling the propaganda that he spent twelve years at UNN studying philosophy. Well, Obi graduated from UNN in 1984 at the age of twenty-three. If he spent twelve years studying philosophy at UNN, that means he was admitted to the university in 1972 at the tender age of eleven. These greasy-brained detractors will stop at nothing to merchandise falsehood of impudent dimension. Anyway, he attended Lagos Business School, Harvard Business School, London School of Economics, Columbia Business School and the International Institute of Management Development. He also attended the Kellogg School of Management of North-Western University, Said Business School of Oxford University and Judge Business School of Cambridge University, go and verify, no controversy.
As Nigerians feverishly trudge towards the 2023 election to save the country from imminent collapse, all the presidential hopefuls must be exposed and critically scrutinized. We must also remember that our present condition is the end-product of an odious conspiracy in 2015 by a few people with vaunting, inordinate, self-serving objectives. It appears that APC’s only objective as a political party is to preside over the liquidation of the Nigerian federation. Do they think we are stupid? We cannot succumb to ennui at the most critical moment of our corporate existence and allow the ruling potentate to further imperil our existence. We must ask the basic questions about all the candidates, their identity must be exposed, health profile, education history, and place of origin. I have exposed the Labour Party candidate. Expose APC and PDP candidates honestly and straight to the point.
Mountain Top University.
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The Failed Government Of Muhammadu Buhari
By Victoria Praise Abraham
We do not have problems in Nigeria. What we have is a failed leadership and a failed government of the APC-led government of President Muhammadu Buhari. His government cannot effectively tackle insecurity, unemployment, food security, incessant strikes by various bodies in the country and many other leadership challenges presently plaguing our nation.
When Buhari of the All Progressives Congress took over in 2015 we all thought our many problems as a nation were finally over. We thought that our great messiah had finally come and that our lives as a people would now finally get better, richer and healthier. The Buhari government had promised change and we were already in a bad place as a nation and as a people. Alas, this was not supposed to be.
Today, we all can testify that it has been a change from bad to worse and from the frying pan into the fires of life.
Life as a Nigerian living in present-day Nigeria has become extremely difficult, frightening and a great ordeal and struggle. Everything that can collapse has collapsed. The health care system, the educational system and even the economy is in the sliding bend. We have never had it worse than this and our prayer to God Almighty is for urgent interventions and deliverance from this clueless government that has helped to mismanage the economy and our naira.
We have been bruised and battered by the lack of leadership or poor leadership by this APC-led government of Muhammadu Buhari for more than 7 years. Our sensibilities have been assaulted as we daily now live in the fear of being kidnapped either on trains, on the roads and even in the air. The situation is dire, pathetic and desperate at all levels of life. The daily kidnappings, killings and abductions have now reached alarming low levels the kind we have never seen before to the point that the president himself is lamenting the situation. How on earth can you as a president lament the troubles in your nation? This is a clear and glaring sign of a failed leader and a failed government because it means that you are fed up and unable to properly cope with the challenges that you are facing as a leader in the 21st century Nigeria.
We are assaulted daily by terrorists, bandits, kidnappers, abductors, armed robbers and pen robber in the same Buhari-led government. If not, how do we explain the humongous thefts of our collective wealth by top people in the Buhari-led government? A case in view is the high-level theft by the accountant general of the federation Ahmed Idris who stole billions of naira from the coffers of the nation.
Unfortunately, we have a president whose greatest pastime is jetting all over the globe in search of pleasure and peace while his own nation burns under the fires of terrorists, bandits, armed robbers and pen robbers. It is an open secret that Muhammadu Buhari is the most-travelled president of Nigeria.
Muhammadu Buhari at the slightest invitation from any country and for any occasion is quick to accept these invitations and of course there are also his many medical trips abroad at the expense of the Nigerian state.
It has never been this bad in our national life. People no longer sleep with their two eyes closed especially in the areas worst hit by terrorists and bandits in Nigeria. The north and the south of Nigeria including some parts of the east and west are being bombarded and we are daily losing precious lives of our Nigerian youths and even the middle aged and elderly. Women and children are not spared by this daily ordeal of insecurity, and instability.
A large percentage of Nigerians can no longer eat three square meals because of the prevalence of poverty, food shortages and this is further compounded by poor or no health care systems. The power outages are another pathetic showing in the life of this APC-led Buhari government.
For the average Nigerian, it is hell on earth because they cannot eat well, they cannot sleep well and whenever they fall sick there is no access to good healthcare and so many are dying under the terrible hardship that never gets reported in the papers but this hard reality of the ordinary Nigerians is clear for anyone to see because more and more people have taken to begging for their daily living.
There is no job for the poor man. There is no peace for the poor man. There is no joy of any kind for the poor man. Even the educational sector is not spared in this great failure of leadership by the APC-led government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
A large number of Nigerians live below a dollar a day. This situation is so bad that Nigeria has been dubbed the poverty capital of the world. Most of our youths are jobless, helpless and hopeless. The government has not deemed it fit to create an enabling environment for job sustainability.
There is nothing concrete and planned on the ground to curb youth restiveness, so you find most youth taking to crime because somehow, they have to find a way to live.
The Buhari government of the APC party has failed to provide these teeming millions of youth jobs to secure their future. A president that cannot think outside the box and be creative enough to find solutions to our myriads of problems is not my ideal kind of president.
During the campaign season just before Buhari took charge of the running of Nigeria as president he pledged to tackle insecurity, unemployment, and corruption. In his presidency these problems have worsened at a frightening rate.
Under this Buhari-led presidency Nigerians have become poorer and impoverished in an alarming fashion. The exchange rate of the naira to the dollar has been on a free fall for years now and the central bank governor under the Buhari-led government does not seem to know what to do about the problem.
The economy has been battered and bruised because of the lack of proper structures that can help grow the economy. Nigeria is importing everything and exporting less and less. Even the oil that is produced in Nigeria is again taken out of the country for refining before it is again imported back into Nigeria.
Our economy continues to struggle at the lowest levels. We are rich as a nation but poor as a nation and as a people. This is a great mystery, misnomer and travesty.
We are unable to travel interstate to do business with each other as Nigerians because of incessant abductions. Economic activities continue to dwindle to an all-time low since the Buhari-led government took over from the Jonathan-led government in 2015.
Buhari has borrowed so much from international bodies and China that we will spend many years repaying all that he and his government have borrowed in the last seven years and more.
We are in desperate times because our innocent citizens are being kidnapped, and killed daily all over the north. There are problems of IPOB in the eastern part of Nigeria and we all remember the killings in the Owo massacre of Sunday the 5th of June 2022.
President Muhammadu Buhari never deemed it proper to visit Owo to commiserate with the indigenes of Owo over this dastardly act of terrorists in South West Nigeria. This lack of empathy and compassion from Buhari is unbelievable and acceptable. It shows that as a leader he lacks compassion and a very strong attribute of a great leader is empathy and compassion.
The Buhari government has not deemed it proper to enact laws that will stop Fulani herdsmen from roaming the lands of Nigeria and wreaking havoc on the innocent land owners of the south. We have a government that prefers cows to the precious lives of its human citizens in Nigeria. Under the present Buhari-led government we have become more divided as a people and as nations. Nigeria is a marriage of many nations and a wise leader will work at uniting these different nations with the Nigeria nation and not work hard at dividing it as the Buhari government has done in the last seven years.
Our present situation as a nation is pathetic, frightening and we are in need of quick divine interventions from God. On a practical level it is time for the impeachment of Muhammadu Buhari because in his time we have had unprecedented records of death of innocent Nigerians, more corruption, higher levels of the unemployed Nigerian youths and general insecurity and traumas.
The problem we have as a nation is not the myriads of problems but rather a failure of leadership or no leadership at all. Our leaders at the highest and at all levels have failed us a nation. We are rudderless, leaderless and clueless as a nation.
Our leaders at the highest helm of governance has failed woefully and it is time for them to all bow out and retire back to their bases.
It is time for the Buhari-led government to be impeached to save our fatherland and our unborn generation from further slide, decay and destructions.
We do not have problems in Nigeria, what we have is a president that prefers to jet around the globe to seek pleasure and peace in faraway Britain, Dubai, France and Spain rather than stay in Nigeria to fix the challenges confronting his leadership.
What we have in Nigeria is a leadership problem because everything starts and ends in leadership.
All these other countries that Buhari prefers to stay in is as a result of leadership that works, that is effective and promising. We have leaders that lack the know-how, of how to properly solve problems in Nigeria.
In 2023 we need a president who is visionary, intelligent, fearless, selfless, courageous, compassionate, a unifier, sincere, competent, charismatic and a good communicator to help us rebuild our nation Nigeria,
We have fallen as a nation and we need a rescuer and a builder to help us rebuild and restructure the Nigerian nation.
As it is now, we are yet to find the messiah. As we begin the countdown to the search for the next crop of leaders, we must be very clear and discerning so that we do not choose leaders that will traumatize us as a people. We must choose credible, competent and compassionate leaders going forward. We truly do need ‘CHANGE’ now not the change Buhari promised us in 2015 but the change that will help to move our great nation forward forever. The APC-led Buhari government has failed woefully. He must now do the decent thing by resigning or be impeached by the senate.
A new Nigeria will emerge by the special grace of God Almighty.
. Abraham is an award-winning author and CEO of Vic-Abraham Media Nigeria Ltd.
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Muslim-Muslim Ticket Narrative: The Republic In Peril
By Hope O’Rukevbe Eghagha
The Muslim-Muslim ticket which the APC under the otherwise shrewd and perspicacious Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu has adopted promotes and reinforces a dangerous narrative which the seven years of the Buhari administration have negatively entrenched in the minds of Nigerians. For, before Buhari, it was largely in somewhat hushed tones that the mythical Fulani ownership of geographical Nigeria was discussed. Not supported by any instruments of pre- or postcolonial relations, that dangerous supposition was essentially in the minds of a few and believed by fewer persons. For most southerners it was a joke, an infantile joke to claim that the rich waters and oil of the Niger Delta belong to some fellows who live one thousand miles away. It is like the Israelis claiming that the oil fields in the Arab states belong to them because God had promised them the land flowing with milk and honey!
With the style and composition of the Buhari government, the irredentist president made his plans clear to all – government was by a section of the country, for a section of the country and for a particular religion! To boot, Fulani from some countries in Africa have started assembling in the country to make Nigeria their home. The hostile scoundrels who kidnap, maim or kill are not indigenous to Nigeria, I dare say. The baffling thing is that southern leaders could not effectively challenge the gradual dismantling of a national consensus that had governed interethnic relations since 1960. Most of them in mainstream politics simply latch on to the received wisdom that to gain power in the centre you must suck it up to the holders of power from the north. So, they sacrifice their people on the altar of greed for power!
In 2003, before the grand alliance of unlikely forces that finally gave Buhari access to federal power, Bola Tinubu was reported by Wikileaks to have said that “Muhammadu Buhari is an agent of destabilization, ethnic bigot, and religious fanatic who if given the chance would ensure the disintegration of the country. His ethnocentrism would jeopardize Nigeria’s national unity’. It is true that the Tinubu camp has vigorously argued that their principal never said any such stuff. But Farooq Kperogi in Notes from Atlanta (December 4, 2021) has laid the authenticity of the statement to rest by asserting that ‘I took up Tunde Rahman’s challenge and showed that Tinubu indeed said what he was quoted to have said – and worse’, citing diplomatic cables wrenched from Wikileaks trove.
READ ALSO: Rivers APC Ex-governorship Aspirant Resigns From Party Over Tinubu’s Muslim-Muslim Ticket
In skewed appointments both to cabinet and non-cabinet positions, Buhari made no bones about telling Nigerians that he meant to govern Nigeria as a colony of Fulani hegemony. Nowhere is this hegemony so evident than in the security architecture of the country. Also, the marauding herdsmen in the country never fail to remind abductees that Nigeria is their patrimony and that accounts for the soft approach of the incumbent government in dealing with the menace posed by terrorists and bandits. Nigerians have cried aloud about the skewed appointments in favour of one section of the country. Nothing has entered the ears of the Commander-in-Chief! Suddenly, the successor administration if the APC wins is a Muslim-Muslim band. Not good for the sight. Not healthy for perception. Not healthy for inter-religious harmony.
Nations build institutions which sustain and protect the core values of the country. In a country as multiethnic and multireligious as ours, no individual or administration should violate those core values. It is possible to argue that the fundamental principles for national unity have not been defined and nationally accepted. For example, power rotation, the place of religion and ethnicity must be worked into the Constitution. Nothing must be taken for granted. No section or religion must claim or preach superiority. It has the capacity to implode the country, either now or in the future.
It is against this background that the APC Muslim-Muslim ticket must be resisted by pressure groups, ethnic and religious associations. The issue must be on the ballot box on election day. A northern Christian who was Legal Adviser to APC resigned his position because of his objection to the Muslim-Muslim ticket. Ironically, Senator Tinubu and the APC had expressed reservations about the same-religion ticket in 2015. It was for this reason Professor Yemi Osinbajo was drafted in with his impeccable Christian credentials as a pastor in RCCG. What changed in 2022 or 2023?
The ethnic tension in the country that has reached a crescendo is alarming. Whether by design or default, the Tinubu and Shettima ticket is an attempt to further increase the tension and permanently destroy the fragile attempts at inter-religious harmony. It promotes the inane idea that one ethnic group or religion is superior to others in the federation. It is foolish to believe this nonsense, even if the ethnic group is numerically stronger. The point must be made that this rejection would not have mattered if the operating conditions in the country were settled or acceptable. For as we know, a Muslim could be as bad as a Christian in governance and vice versa. In other words, promotion of a religious faith does not bestow administrative or governing competence on anybody. The list of those who have misgoverned the country includes Muslims and Christians, with religion playing no moderating role in attitudes to the commonwealth. The ruling APC which has mismanaged Nigeria into a freefall is slapping Nigeria further in the face by tying to force an anomaly on the nation.
The APC has attempted to make things look good by appointing spokesmen who are Christians. This is after suggesting that a Christian from the north as a running mate to a Muslim from the south is not good enough to attract votes from the north. What a slap to northern Christians. This accounts for the bold and resolute reaction of the Dogaras and Babachirs, something we must take seriously.
All Nigerians must queue up to vote for their candidates in 2023. Hopefully, votes will count this time around. If they do, the Nigerian people will speak on who they want to govern the country. Sadly, the PDP ticket is also guilty of negating one of the assumptions that had governed the country – power rotation. We are therefore in a fix with the two old political parties. What will the end be?
Professor Eghagha writes from the Department of English, University of Lagos.
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