Early this year when I moved to my newly rented apartment, I intended to get four frames of people I admired greatly and wanted to inspire me each time I wake up that we have a responsibility towards the world and our nation. The first was Tyrion Lannister (a character in Game of Thrones) who embraced mockery and derisive names to keep his self-esteem up and survive till the very end; I framed him.
The second was Napoleon Bonaparte who dominated European and global affairs for over a decade, building a large empire until its final collapse in 1815. Napoleon I, dubbed one of the greatest commanders in history, even his wars and campaigns are studied in military schools globally, highly celebrated and controversial; I framed him.
The third was Alexander the Great, an ancient Greek King of the Kingdom of Macedon, by age thirty, he had created one of the largest empires in history, spanning Greece to northwestern India, never defeated in battles and one of the most successful military commanders in history. His achievements spread beyond the aforementioned, he had enviable legacies that even made Julius Caesar knelt before Alexander’s statue and wonder what he was doing with his life at 30 while Alex had built a vast empire at that age. However, I did not frame him. For all those legacies that disappeared after his death, his empire collapsed because he didn’t have an heir to his throne, nor did he name any before his death as his glory was built around him.
Perhaps, that was why Julius Caesar of Rome named Agustus (his adopted son birthed by his sister) as his heir before his assassination in the Senate; having learnt from the mistake of Alexander. Thus, it is not surprising that after Julius’ death, Augustus became the first emperor of Rome after the death of the Republic which was hastened by Julius’ death.
The fourth was Dr Bukola Saraki during his time as Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the general assent held by the public is a testimony to the fact that it was awe-inspiring and admirable. Doubting Thomases that are not convinced of the ability to matching creativity with achievements are, once again, disappointed by the greatest political lessons of 2015 and 2019. What he did for democracy either out of pretense or sincerity was admirable. It was on that note that I decided he deserved a place in my bedroom. Nevertheless, I did not frame him. This is because he is almost as guilty as Alexader the Great. Though, unlike Alexander, he named a successor, the essence of doing so was defeated for all the obvious reasons.
These people (both framed and unframed) were talented and got the platform to showcase their talents, they had an environment that embraced their brilliance. Hence, they became successful. Beyond the inspiration gotten from them, I am usually conscious of their mistakes and strive to learn from them. “Don’t be afraid to make your own mistakes but don’t repeat the mistakes of your predecessors”, the quoted text was a piece of advice from Imam Abdulqadir to a close friend of mine during a conversation. We must not repeat the mistakes of previous generations and not run from making our own mistakes. Citizens are also leaders.
Politics must not come at the expense of becoming wasted talents, as the names of the political Prophets above were not sufficient to prevent their empires or kingdoms from collapsing or declining. In 2023, pick Nigeria, not political Prophets, and if your Prophet becomes an aspirant, ask the necessary questions in the best interest of Nigeria, not followership, this is a crucial moment to pick Nigeria.
In Nigeria, 1999 offered bright young men a spot at the top, many people are products of such opportunity today. Jokers and political businessmen are all out again. Nigeria in this century should not be for experiments. By now, we should understand that there is little in what compassion and righteousness can make possible, only power and determination can move Nigeria forward. Olusegun Obasanjo proved that within a limited scope.
The next presidency should not be in the name of the Prophets, either yours or mine. Politicians have a country they want, technocrats know the kind of country they desire, and citizens have a country to protect. Having a big name is not enough as Nigeria is facing numerous problems, new and reoccurring ones, 2023 should not be about lavish promises but reality. Among many, some of us don’t believe in the sentiments popularly held by supporters of politicians that some of them possess divine inspiration in solving Nigeria’s numerous problems. This century must not be wasted nor should anyone who cherishes Nigeria be willing to risk four to eight years of their lives for promises which may be far from reality. Campaign promises must align with administrative realities.
Kwame Nkrumah was wrong for telling his people that “seek first a political kingdom, and all else shall be added to you”, for nothing, absolutely nothing has been added to Africa or Nigeria. We are not seeking a political Kingdom; we are seeking everything else that needs to be added to us.
Should everything be in the name of the Prophets again? You know them. Well, Buhari already proved us all wrong, he proved that “love is the death of duty”, and this time should be about duty to Nigeria. We all have a duty to remember that we are citizens first before being a supporter to anybody.
There are questions we must ask, there are answers we must get. It is time to start envisioning a new Nigeria, where oppression will be converted into an oasis of freedom and justice. Where our unborn children and existing, bright people can thrive. The task of perfecting our union as a nation must move forward. It can only move forward because of us; if we reaffirm our spirit in letting Nigeria triumph; if we choose to protect Nigeria above possessing it through politicians either as supporters or slaves. Freedom is when we let competent men come forth without depriving them of their credits. As political parties are regrouping, faces and forces are uniting, citizens should give a fair assessment of each person.
ISHOWO, Isiaq Oluwatosin
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