The phrase “jump the gun” came into being in early 20th Century during track and field races arising from the unhealthy activities of some athletes. Expectedly, at the beginning of a race, a starting pistol is fired. The sound of the shot indicates that the race should commence. Interestingly, in some situations, some athletes will embark on the race before the gun shot is heard. This action prompted the expression, “jump the gun.”
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is yet to officially announce the commencement date of campaigns for the 2023 elections. The INEC’s position notwithstanding, politicians have commenced aggressive political activities cum subtle campaigns, preparatory to the elections. This unwholesome behaviour exhibited by politicians is resoundingly similar to the aforementioned action of some athletes during track and field races. Accordingly, it would not be out of place to describe this unethical activity of politicians as “jumping the gun.”
Evidently much, politicians have started building base of supports and embarking on massive constituencies building. On a daily basis, the tempo of political activities has spiked exponentially but yet to reach its crescendo.
The All Progressive Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had their internal squabbles and bickering. The battle for the soul of the party culminated into the eventual stepping down from the race for re-election after his first term, by the APC National Chairman, Chief John Odigie Oyegun. Consequently, the way was paved for immediate past Governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, to emerge as the APC National Chairman. Comrade Oshiomhole’s tenure was punctuated by calls for his resignation. He finally succumbed to intrigues and centripetal tendencies within the party in 2020.
In the same token, the People Democratic Party (PDP) has its own share of internal wrangling. Following these internal crises, stakeholders in the party called for the removal of Prince Uche Secondus as the Chairman of the party. The Governor of River State, Nyesom Wike, was one of the most vociferous voices in the call for his resignation.
Increasingly, however, a vast majority of Nigerians, more than ever before, are no longer enthusiastic about politics and are disenchanted with the level of governance in the country. The election cycles have been largely marked by fanfare and pageantry. Politicians have always come to dazzle and placate the masses with promises during elections. The former Governor of New York, Mario Cuomo, is noted for his phrase about politicians “Campaigning in poetry, but governing in prose.” Mario Cuomo’s assertion has continually remained relevant and concrete exemplification of our governance culture. Little wonder, we have been bedeviled by security, social cum economic challenges over the years. Quite unfortunately, our economy is in dire straits. Nigeria cannot be allowed to be relegated to the second or third division in scheme of things in Africa. There is the urgent need to effect a narrative shift.
Amidst these challenges and unsavoury trajectory, Nigerians are confident that our present predicament could be redeemed and Nigeria repositioned to emerge as a globally admirable country. This is achievable when we deliberately tackle holistically our leadership challenges. We strongly crave a leader poised to unleashing the full potentials of the country. Nigerians are clamoring for a transformational leader as against that which predominantly had been transactional. The former elevates governance to enviable heights, whilst the latter breeds mediocrity. It is in recognition of these dimensions of leadership that the search for an avant-garde leader becomes imperative as we prepare towards the 2023 election.
We need an avant-garde leader who would break away from the conventional and traditional way of getting things done and addressing the critical issues of governance. We need a leader that challenges the status quo by taking tough and far-reaching decisions, whilst abiding by democratic tenets and the rule of law. His dosage of will power must be astounding.
Equally mportant, we desire a leader that distinguished himself as an entrepreneur. He must have proved his mettle beyond mere rhetoric in running an organisation. No doubt, the experiences garnered over the years would be brought to bear as cutting edge to face leadership challenges. It is strongly believed that any candidate desirous of leading the country must be a person with a clear understanding of economy and a robust entrepreneurial background.
Another expectation from any candidates desirous of governing this country should be that of a bridge builder. Any leader that emerges must make frantic efforts to treat all the ethnic nationalities equally and each given a seat at the table. Let us create and sustain a paradigm of diversity and inclusion. The country today is sharply divided along ethnic, religious and political considerations. The president should be committed to building bridges of trust, love and harmony amongst the various ethnic divides in the country. There is mutual fear and suspicion amongst the various ethnic nationalities in the country. It will gladden the hearts of Nigerians to high heavens when the incoming president in 2023 tackles the lingering challenges of insecurity, which has mutated to other variants like banditry, youth restiveness and kidnapping, etc.
It is instructive and advisedly too, that politicians should make promises that are feasible and achievable. In the words of the renowned Scottish born American industrialist and philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie, “Actions speak louder than words; let your words teach and your actions speak.” Our leaders should allow their performances in human capital developments, infrastructure developments and sustainable economic growths, amongst other achievements, speak louder than what they say. The trust deficit from the populace against governments is growing.
Leaders should have a clear understanding of the limits of what is possible and convincingly communicate same to Nigerians, as equal stakeholders in the shared goals and vision of the country. The journey to that better Nigeria that is envisioned by all is tough, but undoubtedly, attainable when we all work together.
Oikerhe, Chief Executive Officer, Pydenneks Offshore Services Ltd, writes from Akowonjo, Lagos, via [email protected]