Ogundana Michael Rotimi
Season`s greetings to all and sundry. It`s a season of love and a time for sober reflections. A time to come together as one, to stay together and to work together for a better nation.
My sympathy goes to the citizens of Chibok community in North-Eastern part of Nigeria, most especially the abducted girls- their families, friends and loved ones. Also, to everyone that has been a victim of one form of terror or the other. They`ve been through a lot in the hands of the heartless sect- Boko Haram. It is my desire and prayers, that before the next Christmas season, Boko Haram would have been completly defeated, the Chibok Girls would have been completely rescued and Nigeria would have regained its lead roles in the continent of Africa.
The past rises before us like a dream and again we are in the great struggle for national life, the struggle to save our futures and that of the unborn generations from the hands of devourers and cankerworms in leadership positions. Everywhere we go, we hear the sounds of preparation, the music of boisterous drums and we see the gathering of men and women, young and old, all for one purpose- to campaign and show support for the candidates of their choice in the next general elections.
Nigeria as a developing country, like many other countries in the world, needs vibrant men and women with significant records of excellence, integrity and leadership skills to take up the mantle of power in every facet of the society both in public and private sectors.
However, on many occasions the stories have always been on the contrary and the reality on the ground is that in many cases, we have been forced to choose based on religious or regional sentiments. We have been forced to choose based on zoning. We have been forced to choose based on power distribution- because power must go to the north or because power must come to the south or because power must stay at the centre.
Situations like these from history do not give room for competent leaders to rule a country. Hence, are not also good for our country. Every other yardstick for the choice of candidates that take up leadership positions in the country except integrity, leadership skills, passion for excellence and competence must be erased.
The 2015 election is here, you will agree with me that both candidates presented by the two major political parties in the country for the highest and most prestigious position of our land have been chosen based on sentiments and are not definitely the best candidates the two parties can produce. No matter our controversial any of the parties might be, their flag bearer could have been different and a better choice could have emerged, if sentiments were completely ruled out.
But sentiments left us with no choice other than President Goodluck Jonathan- the most criticized President in the history of Nigeria as the People Democratic Party (PDP) flag bearer and General Mohammed Buhari- the most controversial Head of State in the history of Nigeria as the All Progressive Congress (APC) flag bearer.
The truth is, if we had placed our criteria solely on credibility, performances, antecedents and competence, we could have had better candidates other than the duo that we have now. This is not to say that those that we have now are not good choices, but there could have been better choices. President Jonathan of course is not the best PDP can offer, neither is General Buhari the best APC can offer. But the kind of sentimental society will live in forced us to choose them.
The fact is, we cannot ever become a great nation if sentiments continue to be the criteria that control the choice of leaders we have. Sentiments will only continue to bench our competent men and leave them to waste away, keeping them out of leadership position where we so much need them.
How can our country develop when every vital decision to be made is drowned and influenced by primordial and primitive ethnic and religious sentiments? How can citizens contribute their idea to national development when their opinions and thoughts are influenced by religious or regional sentiments?
As it stands now, there are a lot of mediocrities being celebrated in the system, and a lot of wonderful stuffs from great men and women that are being ignored or discouraged because we choose to make sentiments our judge.
As far as I’m concerned, sentiments fuel mediocrities and it’s a damned shame that a country as potentially dynamic with brave men and women as Nigeria should be overseen by dullards, with myopic, and complacent attitudes, all because of sentiments. And the consequence is that a common danger tends to occur where sentiments exploit the competent to make the incompetent look competent and at the end mediocrity is placed on the same level with excellence.
The idea for which this nation stands, will not survive if the best we can give is delivered based on sentiments. If we must achieve excellence, we must strive for the highest standards in every sector of our society.
We cannot continue to be handicapped by sentiments; we cannot continue to be deprived of having our best candidates in the elm of affairs due to sentiments. A stop must come to this. Competence should be the sole criteria for choosing our leaders. We can be a great nation if we choose our leaders based on 100% competence. It does not matter the region or religion.
This is probably the last piece you will be reading from me in 2014, thanks to you all for 2014, let`s do it again in 2015.
Happy New Year in Advance!
God Bless You
God Bless Nigeria