Now, in different power centres across the nation, critical discussions and mobilization are all centred on who the next leaders of Nigeria must be this 2015. Meetings, strategy sessions, primitive diabolic and spiritual incursions, and operations in stratagem are presently on-going in this regard. What is ahead is largely unknown. But what is clear to all is that BUSINESS AS USUAL is DYING FAST! Here, I will remain the voice of the very conscience of our next leaders and their observers, otherwise called the people. My singular goal is to inspire responsibility.
Probably the most critical thought for our next leaders is the truth that though we appear to be relatively at peace, we are actually engaged in a subtle but deadly war. They must know that beyond bombs in the North East and kidnappings in the South East and South South, we are in a war against a great many of the norms we have allowed to pass for too long. We are at war against the limitations posed by infrastructural deficiencies and retrogressive policies. We are at war with selfishness and greed. We are at war with our thinking. We are at war with our history. We are at war with our ethnic and religious diversity. We are at war with ourselves. Actually, the people are angry!
Our next leaders must work with the correct assumption that the people are angry; and are getting angrier by the day. Our wives, husbands, children, friends, employees and employers, colleagues and associates are those who daily soak the impact of our anger; not necessarily the custodians of the system that incubates the frustration. Believe it; this even gets the people more angry as they behold their scripted individual and collective helplessness that allows them to merely talk about the inventors of their pain, while they attack their loved ones with the frustration. Our next leaders must understand the language of nature and history that very soon…gradually…the people will take the anger to where it foundationally belongs, if the character and genius does not begin to emerge from the custodians of power.
Our next leaders must understand that no person is and no people are designed by nature to perpetually endure the torture of ignorance, hardship and pain. Power dynamics dictates that ignorance, hardship and pain have a natural lifespan; and that each human soul must own enough power to experience the attention, resource and advancement his individuality deserves. The science has to be that while hardship and pain breeds’ frustration; ignorance, left unguarded and not emancipated, possess incredible potential to organize itself in time and through wild, angry and negative reactions, ignorance will evolve into a formidable adversary. When mass ignorance is angry and becomes an adversary, it is usually an unpleasant experience for power centres anywhere.
Power centres must accept that the Nigerian masses are terribly ignorant; and that this ignorance has been manipulated for over 50years, but can only be manipulated for so long. The people are manipulated to use their ignorance to pretend that their votes lead to change, when in truth and at best, the votes are only a critical tool to move power from bad leaders to worse leaders or from worse leaders to bad leaders. Nigerians rarely make choices between good and bad; and at this point in time, the nation lacks the character to make the choice between good and better or between better and best. Fundamentally, the nation is rarely presented with such options. It’s only a matter of time, one day, Nigeria’s greatest problem, the mass ignorance of the people, will be solved by nature through consciousness. This consciousness will not come from the walls of academics. No! it will come from the continuous and consistent stings of pain and frustration—an education of the human soulical content that comes from a compelling need to take a new and unpopular look at his environment, recognize the worst kind of hardship and pain he can experience in it, ask if other options exist about how this pain and hardship can be greeted outside the limits of fear and opaqueness, commit to the journey of finding those options, then finding the options and embracing them as a matter of supreme urgency. It’s called power to the people; and this power is purposeful and best when it is willingly given to the people through meaningful and manageable welfare economic structures and systems in a credible and working democracy. With this, it breeds genuine mass followership. But this power is dreadful, lethal, deadly and disastrous when it is denied the people through fear, oppression, hardship and pain. Part of the wisdom for our next leaders is for them to accept that even if the lustful desire of a power centre is to retain power, power dynamics still dictate that the best and most enduring way to retain power is to give power.
The big lesson for our next leaders is the truth that they must supply the requirements that the people seek or become the victims of nature—it is not a curse, it is a dictate of power. Power dynamics demands it: It states that as long as power is not faithfully used to serve and protect the welfare and security of the people and to drive peace and stability, power will shift to another custodian as a deliberate movement in the direction of progress and to give another power-host a chance to dignify or shame himself or herself. Power dynamics dictates so.
Truth be told, what Africans wanted before independence, is what they still want now in 2015. After many years of independence, their conditions have not changed; as a matter of fact, they are now worse. But the lives of their leaders, politicians, social critics and even their nationalist and freedom fighters are better; they are more famous, they have more money, bigger investments and top reputation capital earned at the expense of the people’s social and economic peace. More than territorial integrity, the people wanted equal opportunities, adequate infrastructure that supports the creative expression and freedom their individuality deserves. With independence achieved, African nations actually began a long and strange march towards growth and development that made development look so complex and mysterious—a strange march that has taken more than fifty years in the wilderness of mismanagement, corruption and poverty and has left a generation dead and unfulfilled—without having seen the Promised Land—a promised land of quality education, rapid infrastructural development, and mass employment for its citizens. This is the complex history that lies at the base of the civil wars, wide spread poverty and disease that has ravaged the continent. But if we think in this manner about the people of 50years ago, we must think differently about the people of 2015 and the responsibility they must accept. Nigeria’s next leaders must know this and understand that these are the critical goals to defend in office.
The THREE (3) CRITICAL GOALS for the next leaders has to be: (1) 24-hour Power Supply (2) Security of Life and Property everywhere, evidenced critically in the defeat of Boko Haram and (3) Alleviation of CORRUPTION through TECHNOLOGY. However, while campaigns from some of the unpopular political parties are more practical, measurable and justifiable; in the various campaign speeches from both PDP and APC especially, we have heard more rhetoric and hot air than at any other time in our political history. We hear BIG TALKS with zero discussion of the “HOW” to the PROMISES being made. Our next leaders must accept that PROMISES that will NOT SHOW the “HOW”, is making a HIGHLY AUDACIOUS MOVE to INSULT the INTELLIGENCE of the people. In critical and pressurised times such as this, our leaders and aspiring leaders need to know that the people are tired of mere talk…we need the science to these promises…the HOW!
Yet, from a wider spectrum, I am more disturbed by the shallow thinking of most of our elites and change agents. Politicians are only able to display such affront of making promises without a communication of the “HOW”, only because they know it’s enough for the head and hearts of the people. Conscious minds everywhere must demand that the “HOWs” should come with each promise on the manifestos. It is a noble demand. No candidate, whether of PDP or APC or SDP, UPN or any other, should actually allow ANY VOTER DEMAND for the HOWs. It is the moral duty of the candidate and the moral right of the people to know the HOWs to every promise. It is actually service and justice to all. I consider it an INSULT for ANY CANDIDATE to expect ANY NIGERIAN to CAST a VOTE based on ZERO-TALK about the HOWs. CHANGE is a SCIENCE, not a WISH! CHANGE is METHODICAL. The HOWs of the PROMISES are as CRITICAL as the CHANGE. No conscious Nigerian should understand why he or she should use PURCHASING POWER to BUY what is NOT UNDERSTOOD. We should rather NOT BUY. We should know ALL the BRANDS (14 Political Parties) that the market (INEC) has made available, know the BRAND that can deliver the best customer experience and INVEST our PURCHASING POWER (VOTES) in that direction.
We should and must ONLY vote according to our conscience not through sentiments or uninformed bias. It is common sense; and anything outside this is no longer the conscience. Conscience cannot communicate truth and meaning without understanding. The pride of a conscious soul is to say that candidates on all sides must lead the conversations about the HOWs if there is a serious interest in my vote. This resolve is one of the proof of my education. Our conscience cannot make a well informed choice without first hearing out ALL candidates, assessing them based on the standards of PROMISES and HOWs, and then voting based on who can lead us in the manner that will deliver the value. Change is only experienced when conscious and large-hearted souls accept the responsibility, burden and contribution to leadership. Our vote should be a formidable contribution.
It comes back to our soulical contents. Our next leaders must know that they must be bold and be proud to think, behave, relate, or initiate unusually—the original way—with clear impact on policy formulation and legislation. Our next leaders must find the empathetic sense, humility, strength and courage to drive this. I remind our next leaders of the ideal that, against all odds, by the force of nature, seasons go, seasons come, and the content of history is determined by the choices of mortals who accept responsibility for the outcomes they prefer. This Spirit of Change will inevitably sweep across most parts of Nigeria, ushering a new school of leaders. I assure our next leaders that the process will prove slow but it will be inevitable. Business as usual is dead…don’t be the last to know. Rather, accept that the glorious office of those who changed Nigeria is still vacant and available for today’s people to work to occupy. The future is waiting to put the names of such uncommon leaders in the annals of history as the change agents and the new fathers and mothers of the great nation Nigeria. The leaders who can lead this change are the ones with the character to embrace their sense of mission above the pettiness their personal interest can define. The future is waiting. Nigeria’s next leaders must know these. And the responsibility also lies on the rest of us to DEMAND that they know these things and DO them for the betterment of our nation and continent.
Olakunle A. SORIYAN, is a Transformation Strategist, Thought Revolutionist, Total Life Management and Nation-Building Trainer, Coach, Consultant, Public Speaker and Commentator. He can be reached on email@example.com
It worth mentioning again that the diverse majority in our country must resist the thinking that only in our separation can our peace be ultimately found. It is a wrong thinking aptly refuted by the success of nations such as Singapore, The US and even post- apartheid South Africa. These nations have managed to subjugate their diversity to a common national interest and have displayed great wisdom in handling their diversity.
I mentioned in the last post on diversity that their success rest on five ideologies – Identity, Legitimacy, Penetration, Participation and distribution.
Identity implies a subordination of your original identification with a religion, tribe or location to a unifying national identity. We are to view ourselves first and foremost as citizens of a nation above tribe, ethnic or religious sentiments. Legitimacy speaks to a display of commitment by the people to a government they have selected and accepted. It suggests that we must accept the wisdom of a government when it delivers the value we understand and prefer while when we are totally rejecting its foolishness, we must have the character to seek to understand it.
Penetration demands that government must reach out to all people everywhere on the land and get them to want to follow (desire) and to follow (act on) its ideas, rules, laws and commands. Penetration will be realistic when government demonstrates a visible willingness and commitment to meeting people’s basic needs and satisfying the freedom, the right, attention, peace, welfare and resources their individuality deserves.
Now, Participation discusses people’s needs to participate and have a say in the affairs of their state and government. Here every atom of talent, gifting and individuality is represented in all affairs of state. Please I mention only talent, gifting and individuality not colour, ethnicity, religion, race or tribe. Participation demands that everyone is carried along in the creation and sustainability of resources and opportunities within the nation to achieve the kind of peace and prosperity that in itself meets the individual and collective aspirations of the people.
It includes equal opportunities for children to grow up, to hone and grow their careers without manmade barriers and limitations. It is an ideal that supports the freedom, creativity and individuality every citizen deserves regardless of the language they speak, where they are from and the religion they practice. It promotes meritocracy while regarding the less privilege that providence has not naturally endowed to compete favourably within the strict demands of excellence and merit. It poisons the pettiness and prejudices that discriminate opportunities for people based on class, religion and ethnicity.
Lastly, Distribution is about who gets what, when and how. However, if the principles of identity, legitimacy, penetration and participation are already in force as the primary experience of every citizen, distribution becomes a very simple and automated experience of the people.
Let’s call the bluff of the falsehood that our diversity is a weakness or limitation. What we need now is to accept that we can think and solve problems. We need the courage to define and accept our diversity as a unique blessing and embrace the mental rigour and exertion to convert it to great value. We must press for creative interdependence without hatred, bias or sentiments.
I will mention it again, to deny the great possibilities just because the effort has not been invested will be unfair to our national integrity and peaceful coexistence. We are where we are only because we have not stretched enough to find out the other great places we can be. THIS IS THE LIFE!
I want to shed more light on my earlier post-Which do you care about-The IDEALS of a FAMILY or the TOOLS that create it? In it, I mentioned that the tools that create a family (sex, weddings) are different and less important, compared to the ideals that sustain the family. I also mentioned the need to ensure that adults entering into marriage are able to deploy the necessary quality of thinking (philosophy or concept of marriage), discipline and morality.
While this might sound bizarre,shocking or aggressive, call it whatever you want, I desire that government will create some critical standards for people desiring to marry to meet before they can be issued a marriage certificate.
I’m sure a part of you is saying – Really? But please bear with me while I explain the rationale behind this.
I believe the law should regulate this wild desire to start a family without the required mental, financial and emotional resources. Now, this opinion can’t get more absurd to some – WE ALL DON’T HAVE TO BE PARENTS. If and when we choose to become parents, responsibility demands that we make all the necessary sacrifice to protect the life of an innocent child who didn’t apply to visit the world.
Have you watched some animals to see how seriously they take parenting? If some animals can take responsibility, it then becomes an abuse of our essence if as humans, we don’t live up to expectation in parenting. If evolution claims we are higher animals, it also indirectly spells that we raise offspring by higher standards.
Parenting is RESPONSIBILITY. It is our noble duty to raise children, to support them by taking an active part in guiding them on the way to becoming mature adults for the fulfillment of their unique destiny. Parenting means embracing the task of teaching children to think along principles, embrace discipline and find meaning in living by a strong moral code.
Enough! Of parents who lack the traits to oversee the development of their children into responsible adulthood. I say this to advocate for the abandoned children who have ended up as victims of child abuse, molestation, child pornography, teenage pregnancy and prostitution. UNICEF estimates that nearly one million children enter the sex trade every year. Experts say that nearly 10 million children are working as prostitutes, with 90% of them being girls. Do you think such children came out of deep-thinking, loving and responsible parents?
In Nigeria, children are deployed as beggars to appeal to the sympathy of passers-by. In Somalia or Congo, they are armed with weapons and thrust into the horrors of war to either kill or be killed.
Still, there is yet another category of sincere but ignorant parents who provide plush mansions for their children to live in and send them to elite schools. They provide all things except the most important of all – parental care and attention.
See, because the bar of entry for bearing children and entering into marriage is low, a lot of half-baked people lacking character can now start a family with gaily indifference. Since it is now considered a status symbol rather than a noble call to responsibility, no superior value is attached to bringing forth a child outside of societal expectation from the couple. Even children are now being used as emotional weapons by women to secure the commitment of suitors. That is how ridiculous and unabashed we have become.
My advocacy is this – adults should be barred from marriage or parenting until we have secured a good knowledge of the emotional, mental, financial and even spiritual preparedness of the intending couples.
Even now, government must legislate some kind of law that assures thorough preparation in thinking, discipline and morality before people can enter into marriage. The law should also assess resource management and emotional intelligence.
It can begin with Nigeria even if it’s not done elsewhere. We can no longer assume that bearing children will automatically make a man or woman responsible. They must prove their maturity. THIS IS THE LIFE!