Amaechi-Jang debacle: Our Leaders Should Bury Their Heads in Shame (1)

The political ‘arena’ in the last few weeks has become a cynosure of political malfeasance and a seething cauldron of political ‘battle’ no thanks to the duo of Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi and Jonah Jang’s squabble over who becomes the helms man at what I choose to call a cabal christened Nigerian Governor’s Forum. One that has led to what this writer calls a further butchery of the lean faith Nigerians both in the home and in the diaspora and also the eagle eyed International community were beginning to have in the nation’s electoral process. For those of us who were beginning to have our heads raised up in a seemingly- “Yes, we are beginning to get it right at electioneering after the last presidential election”, with the recent development, our hopes are dashed, bruised and crushed and unfortunately this trend may continue for a little more time. Forgive my pessimism but we must learn to call a spade what it is.
At the “birth” of the Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi , the governor of the oil rich rivers state and his counterpart Jonah Jang, the man at the helm of affairs at the terror stricken once pearl of the savannah fiasco, I had thought that it will be sorted out within the forum as responsible leaders and people who are meant to be role models should behave. But to my consternation, the problem has continued to rear its ugly head so much that it has awakened the political consciousness of too many a political observer and no day passes without the media both online and print alike having one or two things to say on the protracted matter. Our leaders should have their heads buried in shame for these all, and our allegiance to the government should be slated for determination as they could hardly command it by their appalling actions. It disgusts.
If the entire governors of the 36 states of this great sea of a nation cannot conduct a fair, unanimous and conclusive election at the Nigerian Governors Forum an umbrella body of all the sitting state Chief executives, then one need not look much further before it becomes crystal clear that our greatest problem is the lack of adequate democratic process and diabolical maneuvers in every national affair with the fuel of sentiment burning this vehicle driving us towards misrule- that, we cannot allow.
It is very saddening to note that even at this stage of our romance with democracy, sentiment still drive most of the decisions we make at all levels of government. It has been very difficult to shun personal or group interest in favor of national interest. And this same ugly trend has continued to put us aback in the clamor for a true feudalism not just textually but even in the most trifle decisions and sacrifices we make. It is this same phenomenon that squares up the once cherished governors against each other all in the name of contending for the leadership slot at the nation’s governor’s assembly despite being governors in their respective states. One wonders what would have become of the situation were it a neutral election involving the entire citizenry! I guess heads may have rolled and political assassinations the order of the day. When will our leaders ever get it right at leadership?
I cannot agree more with Chinua Achebe’s position in his lean book: The Trouble with Nigeria where he blames the whole problem that has become of us today to the epileptic leadership style our leaders have advanced all these years. In his last book: There was a Country, he didn’t forget to recount same and the literary icon was right but unfortunately, our leaders are not people who are influenced positively by the truth. Their ego and pockets, take the paramount consideration.
We have allowed the political lexicon- Zoning to become some sort of a demi-god which everybody must bow to else the center cannot hold. In every electoral campaign at whatever level of human society, you hear the word on the lips of every dick and harry so much that it has become very popular among the voting masses whose votes hardly count. If you ask me, the word Zoning should not be a yardstick for the candidacy of any elective post. That word, in its strict application, waters the ground for mediocrity, fuels ethno-religious bigotry and betrays the spirit and character of a true democratic state. Unsurprisingly, the same word is the bone of contention at the NGF. “It is the turn of the North, It is the turn of the South, It is the turn of the East to present the next governor and so on and so forth and one begins to wonder what kind of democracy we practice. From my little knowledge of the Law, the word Zoning is not found anywhere in the Constitution of this country but it is startling to note that it controls every electioneering process leaving the universal suffrage we all learnt from our secondary school days to only remain on the pages of textbooks and not in the real sense. True leaders, who understand what it takes to rule in a democratic dispensation, should not and cannot allow such words to become a cause célèbre in their political vocabulary but the reverse is the case in our own situation. Our leaders I repeat should have their heads buried in shame because they have failed and where we fail to hold them accountable, posterity and providence will do that for us.
With the recent development, my mouth is only left agape at what shall become the entire outcome of the upcoming gubernatorial polls in Osun state and Anambra state. I wonder what shall become of the primary elections in the major political parties and I don’t want to talk about what shall become of the elections proper at the dawn of 2015. Without being told, it is going to be a festival of corruption, where ethno-religious interest will become the order of the day and thereby reduce the whole process to a mere ridicule and in the same vein usher in new set of political ‘thieves’ whose sole goal is to milk the national treasury and leave the vast majority of the people counting their losses hoping for the day when their leaders emerge from the mystery of the ballot. Sadly enough, that day is not near.
While Amaechi and Jang continue to bring themselves to ridicule and lower their political worth in the estimation of people like me, they should know that some months ago the former bishop of Rome, pope Benedict xvi voluntarily called time on his papacy in order to allow a much stronger fellow to carry on the torch of the estimated world’s two billion Catholics. That is what leadership is about. While they continue to prove right the notion that our leaders are the ones misleading us, they should take a deep recollection and learn from the leadership virtues of Nelson Mandela who despite having the authority of the people to rule, voluntarily left office for the younger Mbeki. That is what I call leadership. Thought leadership ought to be about humility? In our own case, it is not. Pride is the definitive factor. Amaechi and Jang should have their heads buried deeper in the sand.
It is only in Africa and Nigeria particularly that one discovers such height of political malady. The last time I checked, we only take the front rows in the comity of nations in such matters. The peaceful loving people of Plateau and Rivers state respectively voted Jang and Amaechi to affect their lives positively in the last gubernatorial polls whether the elections were rigged or otherwise is not the object of this piece. They queued to get their votes casted in order for their children to be offered free education, to create jobs for the teeming youth population, to provide basic social amenities and so on and so forth and not to tussle for who becomes the chairman of the comity of governors as that never was the object of their being elected. If it becomes incidental that they vie for such offices, state interest and commitment should come first and not the lust for such other national portfolios as the one pitching the aging Jang against his stronger opponent Amaechi.
As we await for more to unfold, the conflicting duo, should allow more space for reasoning and not allow a collision of egos to rob them of their political sagacity albeit that is if they have the human conscience. It is either the election irrespective of who won and who didn’t is cancelled and a fresh election conducted at least to calm the storm in our national boat or the Forum be suspended with immediate effect before the impasse gets out of hand and like every other Nigerian matter, degenerate into the street as it may cost us more.
Nothing draws a nation backward more than a government where conspiracy against other members of the same government becomes an article of faith and our leaders seem to have toed this line to a reasonable height lately. It is only a matter of time before the cookies begin to crumble and providence will forever hunt our leaders if the worse happens. Let Amaechi and Jang be guided…….to be continued.
The writer is a law student and a public affairs analyst. He tweets at @yung_silky
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