Inspiration for this essay came from studied observation of the Nigerian polity in the period leading up to the next general election, particularly the disturbing trend of insecurity all over our country. Although it is not easy to put a finger on the reason for the bloodletting that has virtually become a daily national occurrence, but as with everything in Nigeria, it boils down to leadership.
Ever since Nigeria got her political independence from Britain in 1960 through 1963 when it became a republic, it has always been said that youths are the leaders of tomorrow. And quite like the ubiquitous sign framing many a shopkeepers’ door,[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]‘no credit today, come tomorrow,’ it seems that the tomorrow never comes, because each day the sign keeps pointing to tomorrow.
But, over the past five months when the fever and frenzy caused by concerns raised with anxiety and expectations for the 2019 general election increased, I looked at the men and women (well I am not so sure if any woman has showed up as yet) raising their hands to indicate interest in the leadership of our dear country. It dawned on me that the leader Nigeria needs in 2019 is a Nigerian.However, I was pained to discover that most of those aspiring to take over from President Muhammadu Buhari, including Buhari, are not Nigerians indeed. Why do I say so? Most of the serious aspirants for the position of President fall within the bracket of those born before Nigeria’s independence in 1960.
The discovery got me thinking and I began to wonder whether in truth the unending puzzle of challenged leadership troubling the country’s development was not caused by this attempt by outsiders or non-Nigerians to continue presiding over the affairs of the country. In my mental cogitation, I could understand how these BBN (born before Nigeria) think they could fix Nigeria, the makeup of which is beyond them.
Having been overtaken by the upgrade of Nigeria into a republic, these BBNs have continued to impose their colonial hangover on modern Nigeria thereby shackling the country’s nationhood and path to greatness. Imagine an attempt to upgrade a locomotive engine to a diesel engine. What a fruitless venture!
Yet that is an apt analogy of what my country, Nigeria, has been trying to do since 1978 and beyond, when the true Nigerians attained the age of civic maturity. Contemporaneously, in that line of reasoning, it could be safely argued that the continued imposition of BBNs on Nigeria’s leadership from 1995 when the true Nigerians (TNs) had grown to full constitutional maturity for elective office has been at the core of Nigeria’s developmental atrophy.
I was forced onto the realization that the perpetration of colonial mentality, which has been the defining leadership style of the BBNs had, by alienating the TNs from leadership, damaged the psyche of Nigerian citizens. I discovered also how it was from the BBNs that such divisive and negative social elements as ethnicity, religious acrimony, cronyism, nepotism among other disruptive sentiments entered into Nigeria’s social fabric.
Just like the European scramble and partition of Africa, these colonial surrogates and interlopers raked up those hurtful sentiments to divide Nigerians and blind the citizens from their usurpation and greed. Gradually, it dawned on me that even military intervention through coups d’état and election rigging are part of the nefarious legacies of the BBNs. These colonial middle men harbour no regard or affection for true citizenship and good governance, because they are only out to satisfy their craving for profit and primitive acquisition.
It follows therefore that the perpetration and recycling of BBNs in leadership of Nigeria is the root of political corruption and economic exploitation in the country. Therefore, as 2019 draws nearer, the patriotic demand on TNs is to come together and reject the recycling of BBNs in the country’s leadership the same way the third term plot was resisted in 2005. How can that be done?
Part of the reforms in Nigeria’s banking sector was the introduction of the Bank Verification Number (BVN). That innovation has helped in no small measure to track illicit fund flows, as well as, reduce the incidence of fraud. Most importantly the incidence of BVN has helped to establish the true identities of banks’ customers and lessened the opening of ghost bank accounts.
Similarly, one of the innovative reforms in Nigeria’s electoral system is the introduction of the Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) and its twin, the Card Reader machine. Consequently, Nigerians should ensure that they register and obtain this almighty PVC for the purposes of preventing BBNs from occupying the leadership of this country in 2019.With the help of PVC Nigerians can locate TNs to empower for the Presidency. One of such TNs is the incumbent governor of Gombe State, Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo.
Governor Dankwambo is a new breed prepared by education and learning for the impending wonderful transition of power from colonial middlemen to true Nigerians.The young man, who was born two years after Nigeria gained her flag independence, has exhibited all traits of good leadership in the way he has been piloting the affairs of Gombe State ever since he mounted the saddle as the governor.
He has not manifested desperation for power as many BBNs have done. He knows that mandate is conferred not taken by force or fraud. As a young Tiv man from Benue State, I am impressed by the good tales being told about Dankwambo. Should he heed the growing calls on him to seek the office of President of Nigeria, Dankwambo would be the first doctorate degree holder to mount the saddle. He is among the best from the northern part of the country.
As young people we are proud of what Dankwambo has achieved, especially his humane and empathic leadership style. Not many of the old brigades pushing to be Nigeria’s president combines education, experience and emotional intelligence as Dankwambo. I am convinced just like many other young people that Dankwambo is the man we are waiting to rally against the effete leadership that has kept Nigeria bound and backwards.
The wait is worth the while. We want a leader that would unite Nigerians and galvanise young people towards purposeful living, political inclusion and economic empowerment. In Dankwambo we see the DNA of a true patriot with all the essential ingredients that make Nigerian youths winners: education and determination. We are confident that whenever Dr. Dankwambo steps onto the scene, all true Nigerians from North to South, East to West; would volunteer support so that we chase the old baldheads out of leadership and begin a new journey of political freedom and socio-economic independence. Dr. Dankwambo, we are waiting.
Terkembaar wrote from Yandev, Benue State.
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