The Triumph of Loyalty over Competence – Blueprint Newspapers Limited
Despite the unification of Nigeria as a single entity by Sir Frederick Lord Luggard in 1914, Nigeria still struggles with an imbalance in representation.
This development has precipitated the agitation of different nationalities and ethnic regions which presumably feel prejudiced in the management of the affairs of their countries.
Nigeria, as a united territory, has failed to reach the pinnacle of development due to the failure of successive rulers despite possessing the natural resources necessary for economic growth and job creation. .
Right now, Nigerians are of the opinion that the last time they tasted real representation of leadership was during the First Republic. The rulers of this era did remarkably well in laying a solid foundation for phases of development in all spheres of Nigeria where ethnicity, religion and regionalism were not the basis for consideration.
This is all the more true as only the great Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto, maintained the unity of northern Nigeria despite the multiethnic and pluralist divisions in the north.
Nigeria, the giant of Africa, is becoming more and more complex to understand because of the direction and shape that our politics have taken.
Then the focus was on a chief’s region, religion and tribe instead of his willingness to rule on the core principles of justice, fairness and fairness. So far, this unpleasant tale has led to the disintegration of the united territory known as Nigeria, a legacy left by the late Luggard 107 years ago.
It is evident that the continued failure of successive governments to provide quality leadership that would have offered solutions to the problems of an average Nigerian, whether in the South or the North, has spawned the ‘We want our own’ syndrome. . Let us think about supporting political candidates beyond regional and religious borders. Let us resolve to support Nigerians who have love for this country at heart, even if they worship the ghost.
This syndrome of “We Want Our Own” has at the very least destroyed the relationship maintained between the leaders of the First Republic and the people. Today, such a healthy relationship has been replaced with bad blood, so much so that it has become virtually impossible for today’s leaders to be successful.
The question of loyalty to the credibility of candidates to fulfill their mandates is now on the agenda, with regard to the Nigerian political climate. The foundation of unity laid by unforgettable heroes like Ahmadu Bello, Nnamdi Azikwe and Obafemi Awolowo has been eroded by the division and division created by the current political elite to perpetuate, in style, their divide and rule system.
Nigeria would have been one of the best democracies in the world and we would have rubbed shoulders with today’s American democracy if the pace of Abiola-Tofa leadership maturity had been sustained.
The presidential election of June 12, 1993, which led to Abiola’s victory, remains undoubtedly the best in the history of Nigeria’s nascent democracy. It was such a victory that no ethnic difference could hold back, as MKO Abiola won Bashir Tofa in the latter’s home state by a 57 to 45 percent margin of victory. This has been possible in the face of patriotism as opposed to ethnic sentiment.
Most interesting of this account was the fact that Abiola and her running mate, Kingibe, share the same faith, as both were Muslims. The truth here is that Nigerians voted for the best candidates and not for their tribe or religion. It is the rhythm of unity, national cohesion and patriotic zeal that the current Nigerian political elite has failed to maintain in Nigeria’s journey to democracy after military incursions.
The Shagari / Ekwueme era of 1979 followed a very strictly ethnic and regional pattern, as Shagari lost miserably in the southeast, Ekwueme’s political base, his vice. The launch of Abiola / Kingibe in 1993 took on a different model. Without the fact that the former military government headed by former President Ibrahim Banbagida annulled the historic presidential election, it would have gone down in history as a clear departure from this current unhealthy model of ethnic line voting, regional and religious.
And that is why the cancellation, condemned by both the national and international community, triggered a wave of protests and violence, especially in the south of the country. It was a fierce political test for the BWI-led military government, as it fought hard to stand up against foreign powers in order to decide the fate of Nigeria as an independent and sovereign state.
The Obasanjo / Atiku PDP ticket in 1999 was more north and south. However, Olusegun Obasanjo and Olu Falae, as the main presidential candidates, are of Yoruba origin. Obasanjo got the most votes from the northern region due to his alliance with the northern oligarchy while more votes from the southwestern region went to Olu Falae, his closest rival. The election results were slightly different from the 1979 Shagari / Ekwueme ticket which completely followed the regional model.
The Yar’adua / Jonathan ticket in 2007 was clearly a northern contest, as reported results showed that the late President Yar’adua had secured 70% of the total votes cast, leaving the remaining 30% to the incumbent president. . Muhammadu Buhari and former vice-president Atiku Abubakar who took second and third positions respectively. The largest percentage of the vote came from the north because southerners viewed the contest as more northern business.
The Jonathan / Sambo ticket in 2011 had both ethnic and religious colors. While Jonathan has won convincingly in some northern states, incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari has lost terribly to Jonathan in the south.
The day after the announcement of the presidential election results sparked a wave of protests in some northern states, an ugly development that left many Nigerians innocent, including some body members who were stationed in the north for the national service for the young dead. It was around this time that the “We Want Our Own” syndrome created by the Nigerian political power blocs began to oust everyone, without sparing its creators.
The Buhari / Osinbajo ticket in 2015 foreshadowed a real political struggle between the three different political groups that merged into the All Progressives Congress (APC). The political forces that banded together to wrest power from former President Jonathan were made up of three different groups. While the first group included those who shared the same ideology with President Muhammadu Buhari; the latter were made up of those whose aim was to overthrow Jonathan and the latter group was populated by those who had joined the first two groups only to win the elections at all costs.
Although the forces have all tribes, religions and regions represented after them, it was very difficult for APC to gain both the south-south and south-east geopolitical areas because of Jonathan. The APC recorded an emphatic victory in almost every state in the north and southwest. The party’s victory in the southwest is due to the political weight of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. The election of this phase had both religious and tribal connotations, although it was accompanied by a nationalist approach.
It is indisputable that Nigeria is currently at the center of the fire, trying to deal with internal conflicts between fighting against Boko Haram insurgents in the northeast, bandits / kidnappers in the northwest, farmer-pastoralist confrontations in the northeast. the southwest and armed militias in the nooks and crannies of the country. Regional unrest, emanating from separatist groups such as Biafra and the Republic of Oduduwa, continue to take different forms, as the clamor for power sharing, control of resources, restructuring, regional security equipment and above all, regional autonomy persists.
Likewise, there are regional actors who defend the cause of the Sovereign National Conference where deliberations can be conducted on whether the federative units of the country can still live together. There is a fairly general feeling of alienation and dissatisfaction among the various components of the Nigerian federation, a situation which has also deepened mistrust and prompted separatist agitations.
The aforementioned turmoil has so far stunted Nigeria’s growth on both the economic and political fronts. The state apparatus is currently being tested as the “siege order at home” is one of the many tensions exerted by regional forces. What about the formidable Boko Haram leaders who previously controlled strategic towns in Borno? We are all aware of the current events and challenges posed by bandits in the Northwest and many others.
It has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that most of this turmoil does not reflect the wishes and aspirations of well-meaning Nigerians who need safety, food, shelter, good roads, infrastructure, affordable health services, quality education, electricity and portable drinks. water among other social amenities that an ordinary Nigerian needs to survive. Misinformed Nigerians have been led to believe that those who control government resources are the brains behind these current events in the country.
We cannot deny the fact that those in the corridors of power have succeeded in injecting this ethnic hatred into our blood so that, as we continue to argue for our faiths and our regions, their tactics of division to rule continue to gain momentum.
The political elite cannot be immune from the greatest percentage of blame, even though as citizens we have grasped this myopic situation to allow loyalty to triumph over competence in the process of selecting those that we want to put in a position of authority.
As the presidential elections of 2023 approach, it is only when we reproduce the Abiola / Kingibe political experience of 1993 in today’s political firmament that we can prevent Nigeria from being overwhelmed by ethnic incubi. and religious. Unless and until the “we want ours” syndrome is eradicated, development will continue to elude us. And where loyalty trumps competence, the ordinary Nigerian always pays the price.
Mohammed, National President, Arewa Youth Advocate for Peace and Unity Initiative, writes of Bauchi, Nigeria.