Nigeria Needs Pacesetters, Not Placeholders
By Reno Omokri
On January 10, 2022, the former Governor of Lagos state, and now the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, visited President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa. After that meeting, he informed the waiting press that he had intimidated Buhari of his “lifelong ambition” to be President of Nigeria.
Bola Tinubu claims to be 70 years old. So, if his statement that he has a ‘lifelong ambition’ to be President is true, then he must have been planning for at least 40 years.
Was it not Brian Tracy who said, “Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution; this gives you a 1,000% Return on Energy”? So where is Bola Tinubu’s return on investment on his planning?
How can you be planning to be President for years, and when you finally get your party’s ticket, you are not able to choose a deputy? It shows indecision and unpreparedness. Even before you won, you should have known who you wanted to choose. Nigeria needs a leader, not a fiddler!
If Tinubu says he has a lifelong ambition to be President, then it says a lot about his ability to plan, and the planning ability of those other Presidential candidates, who are still relying on placeholders to fill their tickets. How can you plan for a lifetime only to go for a placeholder?
Having a placeholder shows that you are not ready. Not ready to contest. Not ready to win. And certainly not ready to govern. We have been once bitten by Buhari. Therefore we should be twice shy with Tinubu, and any other Presidential candidate who has problem deciding on a substantive running mate.
It is only that we are a very forgetful people. What led to the first recession under Buhari? The fact that 6 months after being sworn in as President, he had not named a cabinet. Indecision in a leader has repercussions. If you can’t pick a deputy on time, you can’t lead Nigeria on track
All parties were furnished with the INEC timetable. They knew the deadlines. Any party that could not organise itself in an orderly manner to produce a Presidential candidate and his deputy within the allotted time, has shown its unpreparedness to govern!
Nigeria needs a leader who can take decisions. Someone who can work and decide under pressure. If Nigerians are attacked, we need a leader who can respond in a timely manner. People who cannot choose their running mates within the allotted time cannot be decisive leaders.
No matter what you think about the PDP, the fact is that as a party, they have demonstrated decisiveness. They picked their candidate within time. And their candidate picked his running mate with dispatch. What this should tell Nigerians is that the PDP is READY to govern!
At this time, Nigeria does not need placeholders. We need pacesetters. Bola Tinubu calls himself Asiwaju. The literal meaning of Asiwaju is someone who opens up the front. A leader. A pacesetter. What kind of Asiwaju cannot make up his mind who his running mate should be?
We should not tolerate a situation where it is easier for political parties to pick presidential candidates than it is for them to pick vice presidential candidates. That kind of foot-dragging and pussyfooting is a red flag that signals unpreparedness to govern.
When you are not organised enough to give the public your genuine vice presidential candidate within the time allotted, you are invariably proving that you are not in fact a political party. You are merely a group of people conspiring to take power for your own interests!
And to add salt to injury, the All Progressives Congress officially came out with a position that Nigerians should stop “mounting pressure” on Tinubu over his inability to choose his running mate. They prove my point. If choosing his vice presidential nominee is too much pressure for Tinubu, then he is obviously not up to the higher pressure of being President.
If a party is giving you a dummy candidate to be withdrawn later, what is to stop them from giving you dummy promises to be withdrawn later? Is that not what Buhari did with All Promises Cancelled? This is a warning to Nigerians. Slaveholders use placeholders to pull the wool over our eyes!
It is not just Bola Tinubu who would have an issue with the placeholder theory. For months, many people have been arguing against another Fulani President, and I counselled them against such identity politics. Now, Kwankwaso is their new darling. How are they going to explain their new-found love for a Fulani man? How will they eat their words, seeing as Kwankwaso self identifies as a Fulani?
What are they going to say? Especially as Kwankwaso, in his June 18, 2022 BBC Hausa interview, clearly stated that the expectation is that the older man (him) should be the presidential candidate, while the younger man should content himself with the vice presidential slot? If they accept Kwankwaso’s suggestion, it means that their problem is not with the Fulani. Their problem is power and they will do what it takes to get it!
I am just watching the unfolding drama of this set of people whose main political strategy is to insult and threaten. What have they not called me? Fulani slave. Fulani boy-boy. Reno OmoFulani. These things they said in writing. Many of such insults even went viral. But today, they now see value in the same Fulani that they dehumanised. I laugh in Fufulde!
Why do I laugh? Because I lived with pure Fulani in old Sokoto state. They have one trait, which serves them well. They do not react emotionally, so when you hurt them, you may think that they did not notice, or remember. However, they are uber-observant, and have the memory of an elephant.
And this is one reason why I commend Bola Tinubu’s supporters. I don’t like Tinubu. I believe he lacks the qualities needed for a good leader. But he has good followers. They do not insult or threaten. They are very goal oriented. Marketing their candidate with persuasion rather than intimidation.
In conclusion, the bottom line is that the All Progressives Congress and the other placeholder parties are ill-equipped and ill-prepared to govern. When we say Atiku is the unifier, some throw tantrums. Look at our ticket. Fully balanced. Northern-Southern, Muslim-Christian, Fulani, Delta Igbo. Can you honestly say that any party has a better combination? Do you want Muslim-Muslim, or Christian-Christian that is even Southern-Southern?
The PDP is ready. If the election is tomorrow, they are ready. They are ready to win and to govern. Nigerians just face the facts. Whether you love him or hate him, the fact remains that no other candidate is as prepared for the job of President as Atiku Abubakar.
You want Nigerians to vote you in as a party, yet you can’t decide who is your running mate? If you have an inconclusive ticket, how can you have a decisive government? If you can’t meet INEC’s deadline, how can you meet your own promises? Let us face facts!
Others say they are working on a merger with Kwankwaso. Kwamkwaso has already said he will NEVER be a VP candidate. So in essence, what are they telling Nigerians? As of today, the only party that is ready for the election is the PDP. You can hate facts, but you can’t dismiss them!
Coca Cola only sold 25 bottles of Coke in their first year of operation. Today, they sell 1.9 billion every day. So don’t be afraid to take a loss to be the boss. Give yourself time, that business WILL succeed. Progress has a process. It comes over time, not overnight! And persist even if you encounter a rough patch. Put things into perspective. You are having a bad day. You are not having a bad life. You are broke. You are not poor. You are angry with a client. You do not hate them. Someone broke your heart. They did not break your life. Perspective is effective and supportive!