By Achilleus-Chud Uchegbu
Doris Day would have responded to the above simply saying che sera sera (whatever will be, will be). So many artists have made beautiful melodies reminding me and you that no one knows tomorrow. Of course, no one knows tomorrow. Not you and not me.
Not even your regular prophet and prophetess. He/she only makes a guess, often, a permutation. Much as we agree that no one knows tomorrow, we also try to make projections into what tomorrow holds. Such projections are results of calculations and analysis of today and yesterday. For instance, we make projects to suggest that because there was enough rainfall this year, food will be more abundant next year.
As humans, we look at the activities of today and yesterday and using the indicators, we conclude that tomorrow may be pleasant or painful. So, will Nigeria’s tomorrow be better with Atiku/Obi or Buhari/Osinbajo? I obviously do not know. But being human, my calculations would be to gaze into the future using indicators from the yesterday and today of the names mentioned.
For Buhari/Osinbajo, the indicators are mixed. Some are happy with their expression of leadership since 2015. Most are not. But leadership is about the public good and ensuring the good of the greater number of the population. The result-sheet for the Buhari/Osinbajo experiment was marked by the public reaction to the emergence of Atiku Abubakar as the presidential candidate of opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Somehow, his emergence rekindled hope for the future. The choice of Peter Obi as his running mate left so many people ecstatic. What that said of the incumbent leadership was that most members of the public, those who are direct beneficiaries of the effects of government decisions, had become weary, tired, disappointed, hopeless and helpless. The people were on the lookout for where liberating help would come from.
For the masses of the people, Atiku/Obi offers a new hope, a refreshing gaze into a future which though does not promise an immediate run on bliss, suggests a guarantee to steady and deliberate progression into seriousness and business mindedness.
For those who have remained conscious of arguments that had attended Nigeria’s search for meaning in leadership and governance since 1999, one narrative had remained constant -to run Nigeria like a business outfit. Those who propounded the theory of running Nigeria like a business outfit had argued that the country must be made to be profitable to all component units and guarantee a return on investment for all investors in its unity and nationhood (you and me). As a business, it must recruit the best qualified and the competent as managers. The managers must see their role not just about earning the best pay but about lending their expertise in building a business outfit that outlives the founder.
In running a business, managers do their best to eliminate wastage, adopt best approaches to cost reduction while seeking to increase profit. They also explore ways to improve on products. The bottom line is always to satisfy customers while ensuring that shareholders smile home. Basically, that is the expectation of Nigerians when they say they would like to see their country managed like a business concern. This, to my mind, suggests that Nigerians will be happier seeing their country move up on the ladder of serious nations while also being able to manage its products in such a manner that guarantees profitability. To achieve this, Nigerians will be willing to work with persons who have been tasted, and are successful, in business management rather than one whose pedigree is in parochialism and sadism.
In Atiku/Obi, most Nigerians see hope for a better future. Is that hope guaranteed? No one knows; just as no one knew that integrity could be replaced by sadistic nepotism, grandiose incompetence and comprehensive cluelessness. An Atiku/Obi administration may not offer Nigerians the Eldorado that they seek. It will however, help direct the pendulum to a more united country built on a foundation that appreciates the country’s diversity. Nigeria’s diversity is its strength. Any leader who ignores it digs a pit for himself.
For Nigerians to appreciate the possibilities that the Atiku/Obi ticket offers, the people must begin to see the pedigree that the two bring to the business of managing Nigeria. The possibilities are those of moving away from a regime of mindless nepotism and incompetence. Competence is a basic ingredient in leadership and the two have proved to be competent. It is immaterial that the driver is handsome or ugly, tall or short, dark of fair-skinned, over-flowing with integrity or lacking in it, in so far as he/she is competent enough to drive the truck. Like Indian mystic, Jaggi Vasudev, also known as Sadhguru lectured, competence is the basic ingredient for leadership. He said “you don’t choose a leader because you like him. You chose a leader because he is capable”.
Those who are ‘celebrating’ the Atiku/Obi pair are not doing so because they like them. Instead, they do so because they believe that Atiku and Obi are competent. And, they are. In the same manner, those who want Buhari/Osinbajo era done over with, do so not because they dislike the pair, but rather, because it is believed that they are incompetent and not capable of delivering on their mandate. And as have been shown, they are incompetent. So, we don’t have to like them. Likeness for Atiku/Obi is immaterial to their capacity and competence, which we all glean from their records in private and, public, enterprise.
Beside competence, one thing that we, as Nigerians, must internalize is that “leadership means a partnership, cooperation, mentoring, and support. It does not mean dominance. Dominance is tyranny”. That’s what Sadhguru says.