We must bear in mind that the next presidential election is a delicate one: our fault lines have become gullies of sorts big enough to sink the marriage
Again, there appears to be a deliberate ploy to make the coming general elections in Nigeria less about issues and developments. There are distractions in the polity as pedestrian politics takes the centre stage ahead of 2019. Unfortunately, Nigeria’s elections have developed a notorious reputation for shying away from constructive interrogation of problems besetting the country, including seeking probable solutions to them. In addition to this troubling and re-emerging sign, the quality and antecedents of presidential aspirants on parade, so far, are still less than satisfactory – and this could, partly, be responsible for the unimpressive quality of engagement with the people.
But we must bear in mind that the next presidential election is a delicate one: our fault lines have become gullies of sorts big enough to sink the marriage while mutual suspicions have risen to an unprecedented level. Nigeria is more than, ever before, badly divided and there is a growing consensus within and in the silent opinion of the international community that another term of office handed to the current blundering administration may set the marriage on the path to Rwanda or Somalia. However, the presence of statesmen in the country like, Namadi Sambo, who could step up to the plate, gives the hope we may never have to go that perilous path.
Amid growing disillusionment, worsening security challenges, a clear lack of focus and direction, there is no longer a hiding place for a man like the former Vice President who has got the proven attributes and requisite experience to steer the troubled ship of the nation away from the approaching cyclone. This introspective piece should qualify as my third appeal to the former VP – who I am yet to meet in person – to join the race and offer a profound architectural perspective that could fecundate our politics ahead of 2019. I am also aware that prominent groups and individuals have been reaching out to him to add substance to the process. He is better-placed to lead.
Leadership that works is very key to unlocking Nigeria’s potentialities. Sambo has had a well-defined path on how best to address Nigeria’s numerous challenges. Indeed, he has outstanding records to show on how insecurity and our energy problems could be addressed. As the Chairman of the National Economic Council, Sambo led the Jonathan administration to build several power plants and transmission lines based on his vast experience as a consultant on power and energy who had trained many Nigerians in the past. He had also worked security magic with operation Yaki in Kaduna State as a governor between 2007 and 2010 before he was picked as Vice President. His time witnessed unprecedented peace and stability in Kaduna state.
Since President Muhammadu Buhari administration seems trapped in the unfading shadow and glory of the Goodluck Jonathan/Namadi Sambo administration, and has equally shown it has little or nothing to offer the nation, the clarion call on Sambo to venture into the race is therefore in apple-pie order. If we do not know where we are headed with a government that is bereft of ideas, at least we should know where we are coming from. Interestingly, it is either the Buhari government is commissioning projects executed by the previous administration or it is criticising it to cover up glaring failures. Prevailing situations dictate it is palpable and politically unhealthy to think another four years with the current administration.
An ordinary Nigerian cannot readily recall any signature project so far initiated by the All Progressives Congress (APC) led government, if any. The newly commissioned metro rail, some completed new airport buildings at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, and not forgetting the Abuja-Kaduna standard rail, are all signature projects of the last administration.
Although several attempts have been made to twist facts about these projects in a desperate face-saving bid, but truths have remained constants. All this however makes for a compel- ling reason Arc. Sambo should have a rethink, set the record straight, initiate dialogue with stakeholders and launch out.
No doubt, the burden of 2019 is huge, especially when you are dealing with a less-than- civil administration in conducts and actions. Increasingly, the government of the day is ready to bare its fangs and go all out to do almost the unthinkable to keep power. They have got several undemocratic forces and political hirelings aligning with them to force themselves on the nation despite their growing unpopularity. The recent siege on the National Assembly, the threats against its leaderships and the latest political heist in Rivers State, in connivance with the Police, are all obvious reasons why anyone should be worried about the nation and 2019.
But all these growing threats are not just enough to deter or stop a profound commitment to salvage a nation in the doldrums. And if I may ask, what else can they do to a man, who had been repeatedly subjected to untold harassment and intimidation, but has never been found wanting? He was repeatedly vilified by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) notwithstanding his status as a former number two man. Many were unaware of his ordeals and what he passed through then because of his silent and constructive disposition to public issues. He had maintained a decent posture in the face of persecution and intrusive desperation of the anti-graft agency, yet without any obstruction.
Aside his strong nationalistic broadmindedness, Sambo defies ethnic, tribal, religious, political and even class barriers in every sense of it. There is hardly any aspirant on parade today who can boast of his liberal tendencies with a profound detribalised background, exceptional qualifications and vast public cum private experiences. And when it comes to the raging issue of the moment on restructuring, he has a well established path with how the nation should be restructured in line with the outcomes of the 2014 National Conference. He is a courageous Nigerian of northern extraction who is in sync with every part of the country on how to unite the country and move the nation forward.
Sambo has demonstrated the openness of mind for a nation that works, and he is one leader that Nigerians can trust to do justice to everyone and every part of the country. As opposition parties and eminent Nigerians intensify consultations towards picking a consensus candidate who could replace Buhari and repair a seriously battered country, the new thinking must transcend “Anything-But-Buhari.” We must never make the mistake of “Anything-But-Jonathan,” which led us into the present cul-de-sac. But I must say of a fact that in making this wise decision, that it will be a disservice to common sense to overlook Namadi Sambo. Eminently qualified, and he is a leader that we need.
When nations fall into problem, the wise in the land always seek out a man or a group of men who can lead them out of the logjams. Nigeria can never be led by anyhow leader at this critical juncture. It is just too delicate to gamble with 2019 or allow the current process to sail unchanged. The search must be deliberate and painstaking. We have entered the critical weeks to make that wise choice, and we must certainly make it. I urge the former VP to avail himself of this patriotic option of being selected and voted for, irrespective of the seeming burdens attached. I dare say that the burdens are far inconsequential to the gains of salvaging a nation. VP Sambo has a job to do.