As I was about writing this piece, I suddenly heard a rebuttal from Asiwaju’s media team on his possible run for the Presidency. Earlier in the week, we were buffeted by news reports of the possible run for President by the Asiwaju in the event of a vacancy in the position. It was reported that the Asiwaju was quoted as saying that he cannot rule out this possibility if and when the environment was conducive enough.
This rebuttal notwithstanding the reality of this push must be discussed and weighed against the current political calculations in the country as a run towards 2019. A second term for President Muhammadu Buhari is looking quite slim if you ask me, his health issues, the weakening of the APC structures that brought him to power, the economy and insecurity in the land are all challenges that would seriously strain a possible comeback.
The President’s health remains the most critical factor in his decision to run or not run come 2019. The question he should be asking his doctors would be if his health and age can withstand the rigors of a nationwide electoral campaign. Even if he is given the go ahead, the stress following such massive physical assertion would certainly weigh him down immediately after, thereby negatively impacting on his ability to rule effectively if he wins.
It is this vacancy that the Asiwaju has seen and has thrown this kite to gauge public mindset towards his possible candidacy. This rebuttal to me is all part of the scheme. Throw it out there, measure public reaction and then pull back and claim to have been misquoted. It is the oldest trick in the book.
But let’s look at his candidacy very critically, forgetting that this statement might be termed as an insult to the people of the South East who by now will be contemplating looking at Nnamdi Kanu’s message a little bit more critically.
What are his chances if he truly throws his hat into the ring. Has the Asiwaju reached the point where his candidacy would reach the MKO Abiola meteoric candidacy which crisscrossed religious and ethnic barriers uniting Nigerians in a bold bid for real and true change? Has the Asiwaju reached that climatic milestone for I suspect that it is only at that point that his candidacy would be taken very seriously?
So today, how do we see the Asiwaju? Do we still see him within the narrow prisms of South West politics or has his foray to the other parts of the country leading to his forging partnerships which put the present government in power thrown him up into the sphere of national leadership in the mould of the founding fathers of our country? Has he transited into true national leadership? Does his power base extend to the creeks of the Niger Delta or the rolling hills of Cross River? Does the Asiwaju maintain name recognition in the far and vast plateaus of the north east?
I think he has really tried in building bridges even outside the country towards the western part of the continent where he can lean for support from friendly governments. But if you really look at it, the Asiwajus foray would be very polarizing as it could easily go down hill swallowed by the politics of ethnicity.
Is the Asiwaju a true leader? My answer would be a resounding ‘Yes’. He has shown that he understands the forces that hold together this fragile contraption, he understands the principles of leadership and the fine ethos of separation of powers and delegation of authority. He has built a deep fountain of foot soldiers with strong capacity and good followership and who within a second can assume the mountain of leadership and deliver true benefits to the people.
His keen selection of governors after him in Lagos has clearly shown this and his input in building the government at the centre with some of his human capital also alludes to this and I think we are ready for his type of bold and vivacious leadership.
So how do I conclude on this piece? My position is a strong support for his candidacy should he decide to throw the hat into the ring. What we need today as a country facing the kind of challenges we are facing right now is a selfless leader with a keen understanding of economic and political forces, a leader whose sights are trained far beyond regional sentiments but with a world view that sees Nigeria as one entity strong and united in its bid towards global leadership.
RipplesNigeria ….without borders, without fears
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