Why Nigerians Must Stand For The Asiwaju, By Iyoha John Darlington


It has become absolutely necessary for me to write again and today speak in this tone in the course of our nation's history. Facts, they often say, are indeed facts and the undeniable fact is that the line of justice and fair play must be toed under the existing circumstances no matter whose ox is gored to move Nigeria forward. The propeller shaft of the Nigerian Ship Of State must be properly overhauled as we begin yet another voyage to the promised land.
The time has come to put national interest above selfish and regional interests and I remain unshaken in my conviction that this is indeed the ideal which the Great Oak, the Asiwaju of the Yoruba race stands for. That is why he has been at the forefront of pro-democracy struggle through the ages to reposition Nigeria on the path of socio-politco and economic development. He could not have risked his life by standing toe to toe with the military which we were all living witnesses to until the former reluctantly relinquished their hold on power in 1999.
Armed with a vision he dutifully and conscientiously served the country as governor and came out a model leader. This, of course, is not in dispute. The Asiwaju is the most formidable political figure in Nigeria today who believes the unbelievable, and has achieved the unachievable political goal. He expects more from himself than from others at the risk of his own life to regenerate our country. By words and deeds, he has inspired and shown many how to get there and brought many along for what turns out to be an unbelievable ride.
Our nascent or infantile democracy has been fraught with unexpected problems, major crises, unforeseen roadblocks and as a leader he has consistently taken down the sails, batten the hatches and like a deal that was planned and executed with military precision did not allow the opportunity to rescue Nigeria from instability and uncertainty to slip by. He did not see these twin evils- instability and uncertainty- as barrier but as an enabler to reorganize, reshape our future thereby making us much stronger and regaining our rightful place in the comity of nations, this he succeeded in doing with a professional touch.
That the Great Oak is openly human is not in dispute. I think he is one Nigerian who shows sincere excitement when things go well, celebrates and empathizes with people but worries and swiftly rises to even out an imbalance which may affect people's capacity for physical and mental well-being.
The Great Oak – Bola Ahmed Tinubu – has been leading by permission and expressed consent; that is what democracy is all about and he has made tangible contribution towards good governance on a daily basis thereby fulfilling the essence of having a government in society. Today, Nigeria appears to be suffering from too many problems and these range from our individual complexity to a frustration factor.
A new government was put in place in Nigeria about fifty days ago through none other than the agency of the above-named. Having studied the situation, he saw that the country was desirous of change which he fought doggedly for and it is all to bring the dividends of democracy to our people. This is a man who comes from a region that has a breed of great intellects and he doubtless is one himself. He could not have fought to install a government only to be hijacked by a cast of neophyte actors whose mediocrity would only succeed in further plunging us headlong into abysmal depths.
This second piece on the Great Oak – the Asiwaju of the Yoruba race – is deemed absolutely necessary in reaction to readers comments and criticisms. Some severely criticized my opinion and argued that the Asiwaju does not own Nigeria and can therefore not dictate to about 170 million Nigerians how the ship sails in the National Assembly. With all due respect, I express my disagreement with them. Like I did say before it is high time we put national interest above selfish and regional interests. Good governance is all we urgently stand in need of and it is all about the security of lives and property, productivity, and job creation and these were what the immediate past administration presumably lacked that gave birth to a merger. Thus, the All Progressives Congress as a child of necessity became the product of his untiring efforts to revitalize democracy in Nigeria. Hence, the wind of change must be allowed to catch the sails.
The majority of people have spoken against dissenting voices and a new government is now in place in Africa's largest economy and biggest democracy. It therefore, behooves everyone to rally popular support for a force of accountable, responsive and legitimate government which the Asiwaju represents by standing up to local gangs who loathe the Asiwaju leadership of the All Progressives Congress. This, however, is not to say there are no Nigerians on the north of the Niger who are practically in sympathy with the Asiwaju's liberal ideals.
I have lived in this part of the Old World for over two decades now and studied their political institutions and system of governance. On this side of the globe everyone with skill aspires to reach the highest level; there is relentless advance of the meritocracy and this ideal is seen in practice in liberal democracies like Italy, France, Germany, Britain, Norway and in fact throughout the euro-zone.
The old political order which is in practice in Nigeria must give way if she is ever to progress like other advanced nations. Mediocrity is highly rewarded in Nigeria where you find a square peg in a round hole. This has weakened and destroyed our institutions. It is not in dispute that the Asiwaju is a formidable force out to propel the prophets of competent technocrats and meritocracy into power in a new Nigeria that was unarguably given birth to on May 29, 2015.
To every problem plaguing Nigeria today, there is no denying the fact he has a clue looking back at his proven and impressive pedigrees. The Great Oak doubtless has a title which accords him the right to direct, instruct, organize and instill discipline and a sense of self-worth in others. Many, I am told, remember him not only for his remarkable achievements but for inspiring by example and helping others on a personal and individual level like such that we saw that first brought former President Jonathan and later President Buhari to power.
All in all, President Buhari must distance himself from regional egocentric loners who rally round him like traditional izimbongi with an over-inflated sense of self-worth. Conversely, he would be better advised to heed the voice of unflinching candour emanating from a Dutch uncle, the Asiwaju of the Yoruba race! Like I pointed out earlier on under no circumstances should regional interest be allowed to overshadow or supersede national interest. The Asiwaju has by words and deeds stood out by a public display of suppo rt for a popular initiative and risked sailing unchartered waters since 1992. In fact, meritocracy one of his distinctive trademarks must be allowed to triumph and dictate the pace under the new dispensation. Anything short of this, I dare say, is morally bound to return us to the proverbial vicious circle.
Iyoha John Darlington,aka Lington Donovan, a social activist, an opinion leader, political analyst and public commentator on national and global issues writes from Turin, Italy.

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