Op-Ed: 2019: Everyone wants to be president
The 2019 presidential elections is less than a year away, there is high anticipation, more than ever the
citizens want to participate- some want to vote in the right leaders, and the rest want to be president.
Everyone wants to be president as if to say the myriad of problems plaguing this country start and end
at the presidency. No one is talking about going to the national assembly to question and correct some
legislative abnormalities. It is almost a consensus that there are some defects with our laws, surprisingly
none of the new political entrants are interested in that.
As at the last count, 12 politicians had declared their intentions to run for the office of the president of
Nigeria under various political parties, while some are yet to reveal which political platform they will be
running on. Amongst those that have declared their parties, KOWA party leads with four aspirants which
includes a retired Professor of French and Applied Linguistics, Prof. Oluremi Sonaiya (who happened to
be party’s flag bearer and the only female presidential candidate in the 2015 elections). A former
country-director of DFID-UK, Adeshina Fagbenro-Byron, is also in the race to clinch KOWA Party’s
presidential ticket. Both Oluremi Sonaiya and Shina Fagbenro will have a Nollywood Veteran, theatre
practitioner and farmer, Ayo Cyril Lijadu, and Alhaji Dan-China, a businessman and farmer, from Borno
state to contend with.
Following closely behind is the PDP with three aspirants so far. These include the present governor of
Ekiti state, Mr Ayodele Fayose, former governor of Jigawa state, Alhaji Sule Lamido and not forgetting
the perennial presidential hopeful, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. Meanwhile, Ibrahim Dakwambo and Ahmed
Makarfi are being rumored to be interested in the presidency too.
Others who have indicated interests to contest include, Fela Durotoye under ANN Party, Mrs
Olufunmilayo Adesanya-Davies, Adamu Garba, Ex-CBN deputy governor and political economist,
Kingsley Moghalu, and Omoyele Sowore, the publisher of Sahara Reporters.
All the aforementioned aspirants have boasted to possess the requisite expertise, knowledge and skill to
save Nigeria from the precipice of self destruct, to untagle Nigeria from the tight wrap of corruption, to
chatter a new course for the country, etc.
I have come to see that the professionals and technocrats who have joined the race either do not
appreciate the enormous task or personal egos does not allow them see them, or are not being serious,
or it is the combination of all of the above.
The ultimate goal is to have a better Nigeria where institutions are stronger than men, where justice
systems guarantees justice for every citizen irrespective of political, religious and tribal affliations, where
things work for the general good and welfare of the citizens. The chief objective is to move Nigeria away
from the system of kakistocracy to a system of meritocracy; where only the best, the fit, the competent
will be in positions of authority. The aim shouldn’t be about becoming a president!
Pre-2015 elections, 5 political parties came together and formed a merger with the sole objective of
removing the PDP and Goodluck Jonathan from power. They succeeded and this was because they
found a unity of purpose and identified a common enemy- the PDP. These oppositions parties realized
earlier on that the only way to usurp power from the PDP was to form a coalition and fight together as a
unit. These people who replaced the PDP are no better than the PDP; in fact, about half of them were
former members of PDP.
These people that replaced the PDP, we later realized, alas were no different from the PDP we just
voted out. The corruption, mismanagement, plundering of national wealth, insecurity, deterioration of
the economy, falling quality of education, injustice, impunity, corruption, etc continued unabated and in
some cases reaching no new heights.
Long before the merger of the APC that replaced the PDP, it was clear to the discerning mind that that
was about the only the only thing to do to ensure victory. It is not different now as it is even now a more
arduous task to replace the current status quo. In fact unity, genuine, commitment and sustained intent
of purpose is very crucial and of urgent necessity.
If the self-aggrandizing politicians could come together in unity for selfish ambitions, it beats me why
the experts, professionals and technocrats coming in now cannot come together under one umbrella in
unity of purpose and a common goal- which is to save Nigeria. A wise man said these “presidential
wannabes” are most egocentric and are either unwilling to learn from past experiences are not
interested in being part of the solution.
We shouldn’t kid ourselves, if the professionals and technocrats turned politicians cannot collaborate
and work with the same synergy to channel their energy, finances and resources to dispel the
established corrupt politicians, we will continue to have the same very politicians we are trying to
remove continue to rule Nigeria in the many years to come and until we may get to the time when
Nigeria will be no more.
I suppose that these new players are not in the race for selfish goals and desires, if they are true to their
gospel they would understand the need to join forces with others. I read the declaration of Fela
Durotoye and I was convinced his ideals resonates with that of KOWA Party and ANRP, somehow he
decides to join a new political party called the Alliance for New Nigeria party. I wonder if these
newcomers really want to be president or just bear the title of “Former Presidential Candidate”.
In the coming weeks and months, we would be seeing more people presenting themselves forward for
elections into the presidency. But until the right thing is done, APC and PDP will continue to be the
alternative we despise but can’t dispose of.
Is a talent manager, political and social commentator.