Chief Dele Momodu is a fine writer. I simply love his prose and the beauty of the flow in his writings but it ends there for me most times. His opinions always tend to play at the level of the social and sometimes irrelevant space, missing the core of public discourse, especially when he so brilliantly chooses topics of national interest.
His ability to delve into self-adulation and public praise-singing as against a serious and cursory look at the issues have not ceased to amaze, making me usually scan through his beautiful headlines but paperweight logic, as he once again embarks on the very beautiful journey of self-imposing his bulk on our social consciousness.
The same has occurred on this issue where he has taken the mantle for support for our budding President. The write up as expected has gained so much traction that it has leaped from the back page column in Thisday and travelled through social media to almost all nook and crannies of the world, nestling in the minds of true Nigerians. But there lies my sadness.
For such an influential writer with the massive reach he has mustered over the years, his inability to tackle concrete issues on this matter beyond the almost banal topics he chose to justify this budding presidency has done serious damage to the ambition. In citing only the ‘robust IGR’ policy in Lagos as the only main policy positioning of the Asiwaju as his claim to the Presidency in my minds eye only throws up the candidate as a ‘one legged Lilliputian’ angling for the most powerful position in the country.
Coming down to dribble himself in the popular mud of Asiwaju’s achievement by stating his oft ability to gather ‘great minds’, comparing his own sad attempt at the presidency and stating that if only he had 10% of Tinubu’s resources, network and public service experience he would have done better’ and then goes deeper into the murky waters of Nigerian politics by attempting a debate on the shadowy ethno-conspitorial arguments for and against the much vaunted influence of the so called Hausa -Fulani supremacy in Nigerian politics by attempting to answer the question – ‘will the Hausa -Fulani give him the power’ as if it is theirs to give.
Now, my pain. We cannot achieve the renaissance we so yearn if we continue with these types of narratives. This is not about Tinubu and his candidacy which, I must say at this juncture that, even I have begun to look very closely at it with the mind set of it being a strong possibility. But it is the sadness in our continued play at below par political discourse which eventually feeds into the negative avarice that continues to dog our politics and nationhood.
When you build an otherwise credible candidacy and cloth it with the subjudiced ethnocentric paradigms you begin to get a candidate that will be looked at as a candidate of one ethnic region that needs to be sold to the other regions as a packaged product that will ‘help your region if elected’.
Dele Momodu’s piece and other write ups like that miss the point badly. For Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu to be given a fighting chance he must be seen as a national symbol. A symbol that is pan Nigerian with the strong capacity to tackle very concrete issues that continue to plague us as a people.
The issue of the economy, poverty, infrastructural decay, despondency, lack of growth in all indices of human development do not limit themselves to ethnocentric boundaries and would not allow a leader, as positioned to us like Mr. Momodu has painted the Asiwaju, the time of day to dance owambe at it.
We need a better packaged Asiwaju. I have implicit confidence in his ability to deliver especially in the areas of the economy and infrastructural delivery judging by his antecedents in Lagos. That should be what would be sold to us and not his ‘softer’ antecedents otherwise we would be looking at a muted candidacy.
I have started looking very closely at the prospect of a President Asiwaju. I had the eureka moment during a discussion with a Lagos State technocrat and he said to me, ‘Edgar call Asiwaju whatever you want to call him, but his vision for a better Nigeria cannot be faulted’. I had a Saul of Tarsus moment by that statement and began to take a closer look at this possibility.
Till date, I am not sure if it was what he said, but the conviction of what he said that must have driven the eureka moment. But from that day I started scouring the firmament for credible candidates and could not really see any one that could portend a strong challenge for the presidency at this time.
So if we are going to get President Tinubu or any president at all, we should begin to look for an MKO Abiola-type candidate. A larger than life candidate whose message cuts across the shallow boundaries of pedestrian Nigerian politics and whose positioning in terms of the very concrete issues that bedevil this country is well assured. Then, and only then, can we begin the very slow and tortuous path to national renaissance.
That Dele Momodu’s piece, although brilliant in its finesse, missed the mark and, in my estimation, did not help the candidate. Let’s change the narrative.
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