By Abraham Ogbodo
This sounds too dangerous to be left hanging. We all know why Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State is today sleeping with both eyes open. A once proud private jet owner has been cruelly reduced to a common passenger on Arik Air flight all because he got too excited and said something that sounded close to applying for President Goodluck Jonathan’s job in 2015.
If you ask my opinion, I will say he was reckless and did not show enough presence of mind and political sagacity. Even in job searching, there is due process. The job has to be available first before applications are invited from prospective candidates. Nobody is ever asked to apply for a position that has not been declared vacant. Accenture and all the top recruitment and management consultants in the world will confirm this.
And so, before someone somewhere whispers dangerously into the ears of Mr. President, I want to unequivocally clear the air. Mine is just a mere aspiration without a definite time frame. It has nothing, I repeat, NOTHING to do with 2015. I will wait patiently till Jonathan is done with his tenancy agreement in Aso Rock Villa.
I am not in a hurry. As a matter of fact, I have just read somewhere in the 1999 Constitution that as a free citizen of Nigeria, part of my inalienable rights, the type activist lawyers call fundamental human rights, is freedom to dream big and long lasting dreams. It is on the basis of this that I am planning to become the president of Nigeria. As you all know, our democracy does not run on a smooth path.
There are too many studs on the pathway and so I have decided to keep tightly to my chest the exact year that I will roll out the drums to campaign. I want all this noise about 2015 to dissipate because I do not want anybody to ground my tokunbo car on account of my ambition to become president.
I have discovered that people do not prepare for the presidency. This is not healthy at all. Sometimes, a man is conscripted straight from the prison or farmhouse into the high office. Other times, a man whose ambition is to quietly retire as the governor of a state is forced to over reach himself and climb the presidential chair.
There are also times, when the presidency is reduced to a casino centre where luck, rather than skills is the determinant. You don’t do things the same way and expect different results. The presidency is too important a business to be operated on ad-hoc basis or run like a national lottery programme.
This is why I want to start preparations well ahead my election so that I will hit the ground running as soon I am sworn-in as president by the Chief Justice of the Federation. I don’t mean Justice Aloma Mariam Muktar. Sorry, I have to constantly draw attention to the fact that mine is a long term vision so that I don’t run into trouble.
Instead of activating your hopes with promises of what I will do when I become president, I think it is much safer to stick, for now, to the things that I will not do. For instance, on the economy, I will not go to the Breton Institutions to source a sophisticated finance and co-ordinating minister of the economy, whose only path to economic growth and prosperity is removal of fuel subsidy and who will coordinate the economy entirely on the principle of demand and supply, without any allowance for social responsibility.
Instead, I will look diligently around in Ariaria market Aba, Onitsha main market or Idumota market Lagos, for one with a lot of street wisdom, who understands the correlation between subsidy removal and the cost of a tuber of yam or a measure of amala.
I will disappoint my best friend, Eddy Odivwri, who will be hoping to be appointed Chief Of Staff in the presidency. He is too familiar and too close to be competent. If he refuses to take ‘no’ for an answer and keeps pestering me like a gadfly, I will cause a federal university to be established in my village and then appoint him a super registrar with powers to sack the vice chancellor and the governing council if he likes. To further pacify him, I will ask my wife to step down for his wife for the position of permanent secretary in the Delta State civil service.
By this time of my presidency, 67-year old uncle Richard Iyasere will have advanced to a loquacious octogenarian and an elder statesman who will be abusing anybody that runs uncomplimentary commentary on my administration. But I promise one thing, I will do everything within my presidential powers to contain him within reasonable limits so that he does not say things that will increase my task of governing Nigeria with all its complexities.
More importantly, I will not want the Urhobo to see my presidency as their turn to have unhindered access into the so-called national cake. Consequently, I will call a meeting of stakeholders including kings of the 23 kingdoms in Urhobo land to clearly state the point that mine is not an ethnic heritage and I will vehemently resist any attempt to make the Aso Rock Villa the 24th kingdom of Urhobo land.
Definitely, I will come under tremendous pressure to appoint an Urhobo man or woman as petroleum minister because that is where the action lies. I will oblige, but on the condition that the right candidate is sourced and presented for the job. I will be most careful so that nobody confuses me with good looks to make him or her permanent minister of petroleum resources.
That ministry is too strategic for a try-your-luck game. For instance, the would-be petroleum minister must know enough to catch oil subsidy thieves without recourse to endless committees and the services of consultants.
On security, there is nothing serious to say for now, except to note that things will have hopefully normalised before my ascendancy. But if for any reason, the bombings, shootings and killings continue, I will come out most decisively against the perpetrators of these acts of violence.
Governors of the affected states should be warned well ahead that I will not declare a half-hearted emergency rule in some 10 or 15 wards and local government areas and then go to sleep hoping for miracles to happen. I will invoke my powers under Section 305 of the 1999 Constitution to proclaim a complete state of emergency and sack governors of the affected states.
I will be most hard, but if it becomes necessary along the line to soft pedal and offer amnesty, I will ensure that only human beings excluding ghosts are forgiven. In fact, I will set up a committee of witch doctors to apply magical powers to separate ghosts from human beings and prevent the former from benefiting from the amnesty package.
All my uncles, aunties, mentors, etc should begin taking lessons on good citizenship. It is a new dawn and they do not have any option than to be of good character. In fact, they should be exemplary if they genuinely wish to enjoy my presidency.
I am saying this because, if in the course of my presidency any of them falls short of the law and becomes an ex-convict, I am not going to be generous with the prerogative of mercy as others before me and grant the much-needed presidential pardon. I mean, if a man or woman hides under my relationship with him or her to make corruption a second nature, he or she will be thoroughly disappointed because I will step aside like former President Ibrahim Babangida and allow the law to run its course.
I will resist the temptation of inventing a slogan for my presidency. The variables are just too difficult to be pre-determined. The drumbeats will dictate the dance steps when the actual show begins. And so, whether I adopt a Seven-Point Agenda or a Transformational Agenda, the things I will find on ground upon my inauguration will draw up the best agenda.
However, if you insist I say something on agenda, I can tell you right away that I will prosecute a WORKABLE AGENDA when I become president. It simply means, you get what you see and not what is expected. That way, the content of unfulfilled promises regarding steady electricity supply, good roads, improved education and healthcare, security of lives and property and even the over promoted Vision 20:20 20, will be kept minimal. I will also source for a less garrulous information minister who will speak less from his head or imagination and more from government’s achievements that are on ground.
I do not know what the National Assembly is planning to do with the tenure of the president and governors as it sets to amend the 1999 Constitution. If however the two terms of four years apiece stay as against the proposal to make it a single tenure of six years, I will play my re-election politics without blemish. I will clinically handle matters at the grassroots.
For example, I will cause key politicians from the South-south geo-political zone to undergo a loyalty test to select would-be governors who will not turn against me midstream. I will engage pastors and even witch doctors to administer oaths of allegiance.
Having said that, I also think what is more important is the realisation that as president, I am automatically larger than my small world.
I will make the governors especially those from the South-south geo-political zone my foot soldiers in the task of engaging the larger polity. Everybody will understand his or her place in the scheme and there will be no reason for the commander in chief to contest limelight with his soldiers.
In other words, I will strive to lift myself to the station of the Biblical Roman centurion who says to one, come, and he comes, and to another, go, and he goes. If however one or two choose to breach the established protocol and invite me to a wrestling match, I will not hesitate to wield the big stick.
We all know that the kite loses its predatory status when it fails to catch chicken. Do not be frightened. My authority will not flow from coercion or brute force, but an understanding on the part of the followership that there is no better way outside the path of the leader.
Source: The Guardian