I’m passionate about Our Cooperative, but how do i decide who is best to lead it, especially since the present leader got there by “the Hand of God” and he wants to continuing leading us; He has serious contenders for the post, and this is a candid opinion of that contest, and whom I would like to win it.
Something to clear up, first of all.
About thirteen to fourteen years ago, I had the privilege of leading a University Christian Youth Organization, as the President of the Campus Christian Fellowship (CCF-NIFES) in FUTA. In our little world on the campus of the Federal University of Technology Akure, the Christians were in the majority, and the organized student fellowships were indeed a major force to reckon with in student politics. They also had the ears of the University Management, most of who were our fellow “brethren” in the University Chapel; so you can say the organized Christian bodies were capable of deciding the elections of the Student Union Government, merely by leaning towards a favored candidate.
The contestants of course sought the “endorsement” of the big fellowships regularly. It was not out of place to just notice the appearance of a noted student-politician in your congregation repeatedly especially as the elections drew near. In fact, some went ahead to “give their lives” and become fellow brethren to ensure they won the votes of the Christian bloc. All fair, but I had the course to address my group in one especially-packed meeting, a few days to one of those elections. It had been rumored that CCF was going to declare their candidate that night. Not a few were shocked when I informed the hall that the fellowship I led did not have a candidate, and that God has a way of using the one we call a devil to bring his will to pass while when we vote the one we think is an angel, we get disappointed and disillusioned. I also pointed out that you could find two Christian brothers completely divergent on their political views and affiliations, and still be entitled under God to their views (and votes). I still hold dearly that opinion that it is not the business of religious leaders to tell us whom to vote for. Vote from your own perspective of the situation, with your conscience intact. The outcome should then be left for God’s will. Like the Good Book says in Proverbs 16:33 “Make your motions and cast your votes, but God has the final say” (The Message Translation)
All this long story is to let you know that this discourse is not to “inform” anyone that “This is who God says we should vote for…” but that this is an explanation of why I hold the views I currently hold. I am sure it will persuade some to my line of reasoning, but in all this, my prayer and hope is that our cooperative society thrives in prosperity for hundreds of years to come.
You may know that I refer to Nigeria when I say “our cooperative society” but I like the phrase Cooperative Society as it conveys the picture that we are all contributing to the big purse, through our Income Tax, Petrol Tax, Value Added Tax, Profit Tax etc. Secondly, when we think of Government as something other than the management of our collective resources for the purpose of giving us security, and good roads, and infrastructure that we could never have been able to do by ourselves; when we think of Government as an almighty benefactor with deep pockets, we tend to accept anything “they” deem fitting for us. As the protesters in Tunisia, Egypt, Jordan and Yemen are showing this week, we are the Government, and the resources are ours, if we do contribute to the common purse.
So it is very important to choose amongst us, someone that will not only secure the collective purse, but someone that will find very innovative ways of investing our money and increasing it moderately. Of course we need someone that can use our money and other resources, like the Cooperative Security team (also known as the Police and the Armed Forces), to protect us from the harsh life (bad roads, no electricity, infant and maternal mortality, armed robbers, embarrassment all over the world, genocide in Jos and Borno). In short, we need someone that can watch our interest.
As we register to go to the polls this April 2011, the incumbent Cooperative President is asking to manage the cooperative again. We also have a former Police Officer who did us proud by bringing to book thieving past committee chairmen; then we have a former School Principal who has very good records in his management of the Kano purse, and in terms of his respect for all shareholders; and finally a former Cooperative President who thinks that what we presently have is a terrible rot that he could fix.
These four main men (there are also others, like the Prof and the Photographer) have passionate supporters but I have seen that in terms of Courage and Personal Example, only the Police Officer and the former Cooperative President have what I think our Cooperative needs at this time.
In what ways has the present President failed the Cooperative?
1. Our savings are being depleted daily: The Cooperative’s local and external debts have grown astronomically to more than $30bn (Thirty Billion Dollars) from near-zero when Balogun of Owu left in 2007. The Excess Crude Account (our rainy-day money) has depleted to only $200mn, from about $30bn, in just one year since he took office as an Acting President of this oil-rich Cooperative.
2. There is no control on how money is being wasted in the Presidential Quarters, as can be seen in the budget proposed for 2011. Renovation of already-renovated guest houses, huge traveling expenses, entertainments etc are all draining us. This is no way to show example to the Civil Service or the other 36 committees we have.
3. We are not getting commensurate services for all these monies being spent. Some people claim they now have electricity almost 24/7 and that this will take a long while to fix. No problem. It seems I am the only one still running my generator. But what about the Benin-Sagamu Rd, the Onitsha-Enugu Rd, or worse still, the complete break-down of security in all our branches, especially Plateau, Borno and indeed the Abia axis.
These signs worry me very seriously, and left to me, the present Cooperative President is not fit to continue. If you’re in a hole, the first thing to do is to stop digging. As long as our brother Goodluck is surrounded by vultures, the digging will continue.
Of the two cooperative members that I think can lead us out of this rot, I do respect Nuhu the former Policeman a lot but he has not been put in charge of a lot of our money like the older man has. Secondly, Nuhu also has some things he has not been able to explain away. The EFCC Chairman’s official accommodation that he bought is one I have a major problem with. He has said that his father-in-law was the one that went to borrow money from a bank and helped to buy it. The father-in-law that is a Professor? I am not sure I am ready to believe that just yet. I know he means well, but I am not sure he can survive a thorough microscopic scrutiny. I may be wrong, but I prefer the tried and trusted.
I simply believe that the older gentleman has shown, for many years, an incorruptible character that no one has been able to fault all these years. He lives a spartan and ascetic lifestyle that lets me trust that his court will not be full of ‘owambe’ first ladies and their crews. Some say he is a religious fanatic, but they cannot show one single instance of his fanaticism. His former boss Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo (rtd.) described him as one of the most honest men of integrity he knew. Dedicated and honest.
For now, that is what I want in the President of this Cooperative. Moral strength to say NO to waste.
In choosing as running-mate a well-known social critic who now has no choice but to live by the high standards he has set all these years, Buhari has shown he is looking for like-minds to help in repairing Nigeria.
I am sure that if Buhari wins, with Bakare as a Vice President:
1. Government waste will begin a downward slide that will be noticeable in our purse.
2. A revolutionary Inspector General of Police will be appointed. Our Police will become sane, and something we can all be proud of. Believe me, of all the ills in our Cooperative, the impotence of our Police Force and their harassment of innocent Nigerians while thieves (big and small) get away is about the biggest shame on our character.
3. The Federal Civil Service will wake up, and be efficient.
In short, we will stop this drain on our purse, and start a journey of righteousness that will exalt our nation.
I have said it on other forums that our followership in Nigeria is really inadequate, as we tend to encourage the corrupt and wait for our own chance to ‘steal’ public funds, but even at that, a good leadership will help us recognize and attain our highest ideals.
I welcome other opinions on this April 2011 election, but I am persuaded that our best effort this time will be to vote in the Buhari/Bakare team. In fact, this will end up being a “Revolution by Other Means”. And that is a welcome development.