As the general election approaches, former President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Olisa Agbakoba, has called on Nigerians to look beyond the elections and demand from their leaders what the future holds for them after May 29, when a new government would be formed or the present one continues.
He stated that it would be most unfortunate if, after the entire hullabaloo about elections and who leads the country, Nigeria remains the same with its political, socio-economical, religious and ethnic crises, adding that Nigerians (the electorate) should therefore ask their political leaders how the country would be run effectively.
“Nigerians will be disappointed if after May 29, we are still asking the same question since 1960,” he said.
The former NBA boss, who however hailed the All Progressives Congress (APC) for making the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) be on its toes, realising that it is no more the biggest party in Africa, told journalists at a press conference in Lagos at the weekend that the biggest challenge in the country was the weak political class.
He added that up till now, no political party had come up with a concrete plan on how to restructure Nigeria and present a blueprint on how to give the citizenry good governance, saying: “I have been trying very hard to understand what the issues are among the noise coming from both parties, till now, I have not heard any of them presenting issues, it just noise.
“However, I think one needs to give credit to APC for having managed to make PDP realise that it’s no more the largest party in Africa. So now there are choices which are important to allow the people validate or invoke power to install their leaders. But after taking over power, what next?”
Agbakoba said till now, no leader had answered the ‘Bola Ige’s immortal questions: ‘Do we really want to be in one country and how do we want to be in one country? He added: “If the PDP and APC leaders are not looking for answers to those posers or are not seeking ways to manage the Nigeria diversity, then they are not ready for leadership which Nigerians yearn for.
“So looking forward to president who will they run the country efficiently is the biggest challenge we are facing now, because there is a reason we are going to vote; you are going to vote because you have expectations but we haven’t heard what those expectations are; these are very big issues, and I don’t think the media has helped in solving the matter anyway.
“There is a clutter and a cacophony of deafening noise coming from both parties but the issues are not clear. Unfortunately, the APC has refused to take part in the debate because it is crucial to have a debate to enable both candidates articulate their views. Nigeria’s dilemma is such that the fundamental question posed to both candidates is given the fact that Nigeria is structurally and defectively weak, what do you intend to do?”
While berating leaders for disorderliness, Agbakoba in a piece, ‘National Order and 2015 Agenda’ he co-authored with Willy Mamah, and made available to journalists stated that: “Absence of order is the direct lack of strong leadership. Unlike the rich man who took a decisive step to impose peace, Nigeria has been led by a turnover of leaders who seemed unperturbed by the urgency of the need for an order.
“The apathy of our leaders may not be unrelated to the fact that disorder seemed to have favoured narrow political calculation and establishment pattern of power and inequality.
“Nigeria’s human and material wealth ought to have provided a platform for peaceful cohabitation, but the reverse has been the case, because the priorities of those at the top are in stark contradiction with that of those at the bottom. Everything rises and falls on leadership.”
He further said in Nigerian politics, the failure to identify the correct configuration to sustain a strong political country and its diversity along linguistic, ethnic, religious lines which are major divisive elements is the major weakness of leadership. “It is the reason you have wars across the world. So if
APC and PDP are not addressing how they intend to handle Nigeria’s diversity, then I think that is a major failure. We will simply have an electoral cycle number five since 1999 and it will now repeat itself, and in 2019, you will be here to ask the same question, the same situation would remain. Can’t you see how foolish we are unable to look back at our problems and present them to solve today’s problems?
As elections approach, the legal luminary urged “Nigerians to ask their leaders what future do they have for them, how are they are going to manage the resources to give the electorate good governance and take the country to a greater height.”