Beyond The Third Term Hysteria


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Beyond The Third Term Hysteria




M. O. Jolayemi



culled from THISDAY, April 10, 2006



As a stakeholder in the entity called Nigeria, I am as worried as any other citizen about the goings-on in our political system; where we were coming from, where we are and where we are going. The present scenario does not indicate that we as a nation have a focus or destination. The situation looks like everybody to himself and God for us all.

One must agree that all over the world, including the successful democracy, there were human temptations by successive leaders on the future, which is largely unknown; including the fear of challenges in the next destination either for self or the corporate entity. Even ordinarily, people fear transfers from one station to the other.

The difference between African leaders and other developed Nations is the resistance to such tendencies. Good leaders must resist terms outside a prevailing constitution or arrangements if a nation must move forward.  This is, however, not the crux of the matter. I am less worried about the tendencies for elongation of tenure as we seem to be faced with in Nigeria today but rather the alternatives to it.

I was in the United States of America in September 2005 and was privileged to watch the pre-campaign dinner of one Presidential hopeful for the next general elections in America. The man was in IOWA State for dinner organised by his supporters and I listened to his speech, which was full of what he believes the next American President should take up as challenges.

The presidential hopeful, looking at the state heath care in America believed there must be a direct fight against the scourge of cancer, a mysterious ailment that had killed many American in their primes. He looked forward for a more comprehensive research in this area to put an end to a problem that has stressed Americans over the years.

He took on the educational system in America where freedom, individual rights and liberty had more or less put human virtues and integrity at the back burner. He x-rayed the decay in the system and the way forward to bring America back to its glorious days.
He then spoke of the judicial system that needed overhauling. He was of the opinion that Judiciary in America had more or less taken over the job of law making which is primarily that of legislators. He felt the various judgements and pronouncements at the bench had made nonsense of the moral aspects of American laws. Example is the marriage of people of the same sex i.e. man marrying another man etc.
The speech of this Presidential hopeful was targeted at issues that border on the lives of Americans and possible pragmatic solutions to such menace in the society.

I therefore have no doubt that his speech and concerns were born out of outcomes of various painstaking research efforts either personally or commissioned by him in his guest to rule and direct American lives in the next dispensation after the incumbent Bush administration. This was being done for an election that was about two years away.

Of course, he was not out to create confusion in the country, not a rally or one million man match but showcasing his talents to rule America and put the Country on the right path. He dwelt on issues to sensitise American voters on the deficiencies in the system and that he has what it takes to correct them.
Back to Nigeria, how many of the aspirants to various offices have done anything to show an understanding of a problem or problems of the Country and the way out of these problems? Most of our people are busy fighting the suspected third term. The truth is that this is what the common Nigerians are bordered about and to be honest with you, the devil you can see now is better than the angel that you cannot understand. Some sympathisers of third term do not necessarily like the idea but they are afraid of the glaring alternatives to this third term.

Sorry, I do not mean to offend anyone, our current Vice President perhaps would have been in the position to continue the work, particularly the reforms embarked on by the administration to which he is a senior participant. Unfortunately, he has not been able to convince Nigerians that he has plans to better the lot of the people. He has not done much to let Nigerians know that despite the teething problems in these reforms, there are alternative ways or some plans in offing to make the situation better for Nigerians.

Leadership is not how wealthy one is or how much of properties one has acquired over the years. Most of the past American Presidents were not very wealthy but full of useful ideas to protect the interest of their people and the reason why leadership was entrusted to them. The truth is that had the man positioned himself very well from the inception of the administration, perhaps, the president would not have even contemplated second term.
Talk of other aspirants, majority of whom are merely making noise on the pages of newspapers and other media. None of them has outlined any useful programme that would benefit the electorate. One of them was saying this is our time as youths but your time to do what? To continue to loot the Nation blind like past leaders? The bain of our problem is nothing but dire need of visionary leaders. The issue is not your age or energy but either it will be put at disposal of the citizens to better their lives and give hope for their offspring.

Remember Chief Obafemi Awolowo of blessed memory; he said in one of his interviews that why he was busy burning candles over the problems of the Nation, opponents were busy boozing and womanising about. Leadership is a serious affairs and most successful rulers have taken pains to study, research, and deny themselves of many good things to make their goal. After all, the saying goes that you cannot eat your cake and have it. That was why Awo was referred to and rightly as the best President Nigeria never had.

Coming back to third term, the truth is that Nigeria is today at the crossroads; not that third term itself will succeed but what happens if it does not? Supposing Baba wakes up one morning and announces that he is no longer interested, where are the materials that can assure us of the future? You will say there are millions of Nigerians, good talk; these are the same millions who became helpless when General Sani Abacha had a divine call. We had to go and look for the man who was then in prison not really having any plan or programme. He was only lucky to get some young ones to put one together for him and that was only in his second term. Of course, we gambled with the first four years; the result was very glaring.
For how long shall we have unprepared leaders to govern us? I belief this is food for thought, lets have programmes articulated even if we later have another better President we never had.

I therefore would like to canvass that as many as are sure of their capability to administer this Country should come up with a convincing programme and policy directions for the electorate. The energy being sapped on alleged third term agenda can be channelled towards political and economic research that will give this Nation a hope and a future. We have many talents in this Nation including the current Vice President. It took General Murtala Mohammed an analysis of mistakes of the past and a resolve to correct the errors by a populist programme. He started with himself and he had the courage to deal with others. Murtala Mohammed, though a military dictator remains my political idol.



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