Two-time Nigerian leader(Olusegun Obasanjo) recently alluded to a Pastor’s charge to his congregation to pray that their children be like the characters they had decided to vote for in the upcoming 2023 presidential elections. While some hands remained raised, several went down in the congregation. Whatever Led to the immediate change of mind in those who put their hands down is the reason for this article. It is obvious that Nigerians vote for people they cannot trust.
Two of the most powerful driving forces of our electoral choices are ethnicity and tribalism. Like attracts like is a principle of homogeneity but should it inform our electoral choices? Certainly not! The idea that people from our own tribes and ethnic groups ought to be more trustworthy is wrong. To elevate kinship above capacity, competence and character is to miss the point of election. It should be about choosing the best hand for the job. Ethnicity has brought disappointments to Nigerians. Insecurity in North western Nigeria has never been this bad, and that at a time President Buhari who hails from the region is in the saddle of power. Similarly, the South western part of Nigeria suffered infrastructural neglect under the Obasanjo administration and yet, Obasanjo hails from the South west of the country.
Why would a parent vote for a candidate who lacks morals? He lacks the foresight to see that the moral choice has possibilities. That is why in my opinion, to vote for a candidate because he is more likely to win due to his structured party and experience is wrong. I believe we should all vote according to the dictates of our conscience. The emergence of good leadership might take time and a process of making several attempts and building momentum in order to get there. Who knows whether the collective presumption of failure keeping many from voting rightly is the reason why victory will elude the right candidate? We must put away our presumptions and simply vote rightly. Even if the one we perceive as the best does not win, we have momentum to build upon next time. It is my desire that we simply change the voting dynamics in our dear nation.
What should be the place of religion or a person’s faith? As much as I know that a real believer can be more trusted than an unbeliever on a normal day, experience has taught us otherwise. Several of God’s children who found themselves in positions of power have disappointed us by soiling their hands with corruption. Moreover, the Bible is replete with ungodly leaders that God chose to use for His own glory. The first pharaoh who God used to preserve Israel, Cyrus, who God used for the restoration of the nation of Israel, Arterxerxes who helped rebuild the broken down wall of Jerusalem and others. God can use Christians, Muslims and Buddhists and other religions. Of course, if we find a Christian who possesses other more important qualities relevant to leadership and governance, we should get behind him with our votes.
What exactly should we look out for? Firstly, Track record of success. Who is that person who has led a state government, large business or at a lower level and made a huge success of it. We need a practical demonstration of exceptional leadership and competence. Secondly, who is an embodiment of the values of integrity, prudence and moral excellence? It is pertinent that our nation is led by a great communicator. A visionary who can inspire hope by clearly communicating the values that will elevate our nation to the next level of transformation and development. Patriotism is another thing to look for. A selfless love for our nation, her diversity and the riches of her culture. Also with our recent past being bedeviled with the a couple of unhealthy leaders, we need a young, healthy and vibrant man.