By Donu Kogbara
LASTÂ week, the British general election results were inconclusive. The ruling Labour Party was humiliatingly forced into second place by the Conservative Party, which won the most parliamentary seats. But the Conservatives didnâ€™t win enough seats to secure an overall majority and a political deadlock ensued.
This week, the Conservative leader, David Cameron, resolved the deadlock by entering into a historic power-sharing pact with the Liberal Democratic Party and forming a coalition government. Cameron, now the new Prime Minister of the UK, has installed Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democratic leader, as his Deputy.
While you are reading this column, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, the new President of the Federal Republic Of Nigeria, will be embarking on an official visit of my state – Rivers. He will be hosted by the Governor, Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi.
As I mulled over the above scenarios, it struck me that all of the men in question belong to the same generation. Cameron and Clegg are both 43. Amaechi is 44. Jonathan, who was born in 1957, is not much older.
It also struck me that being close in age is not the only thing that Jonathan and Amaechi have in common with Cameron and Clegg…and that all four men appear to sincerely desire the best possible deals for the territories they control.
Cameron and Clegg have different ideological backgrounds; but like so many of the British politicians Iâ€™ve observed over the years, they come across as being fundamentally similar in outlook and as being earnest, decent types who are eager to prove themselves and do a great job for the British people.
Meanwhile, though Jonathan and Amaechi belong to a messy murky party that is not driven by any clear ideology, they themselves seem (to me at least) to be as well-intentioned and worthy of high office as Clegg and Cameron.
I have friends who think that Nigerian politicians are, without exception, so corrupt, incompetent, uncaring, shameless, selfish, backward and fake that they have nothing in common with their counterparts in the Western world.
And I daresay that some Vanguard readers share this widespread opinion and will conclude that Iâ€™m praising Jonathan and Amaechi for dubious reasons.
And I can totallyÂ understand anyone who is instinctively suspicious of all Nigerian politicians, given the terrible pains and strains that we have been compelled to endure since British colonialists left us to rule ourselves in 1960.
But there are exceptions to every rule. And I donâ€™t think that I am indulging in wishful thinking or blind sychophancy when I say that Jonathan and Amaechi are, like a small handful of other Nigerian politicians (Governor Fashola of Lagos, for example), different.
Amaechi recently declared, at a function where he was given a good governance award, that Nigerian leaders have failed and do not deserve the awards that are lavished on them. And I wonder whether anyone can deny that this type of self-deprecating honesty isÂ rare within the context of the Nigerian political scene.
As for Jonathan, almost everyone who meets him waxes lyrical about his lack of arrogance; and I believe that leaders who can be so straightforward and humble are capable of delivering the benefits that their constituents desperately need.
I believe that Jonathan and Amaechi represent a new breed and will break with the disappointing past and provide those who depend on them with bright futures. I believe that they take pride in their work and want to be high achievers and REAL heroes. I believe that they want to EARN their crowns.
I believe that they donâ€™t want power simply because power is honey-sweet…and thatÂ they want to use the influence they wield in a dynamic, positive way.
Jonathan could have easily sat back and appointed a substantive Minister of Power (who can be blamed if the electricity nightmare doesnâ€™t end before the end of his tenure). But he has opted for a bold hands-on approach. He is taking personal responsibility. He is making it clear that the buck stops on his desk.
If Jonathan succeeds â€“ and I believe that he will make significant progress because his heart is in the right place – the PDP will lose its appalling reputation and win the next election, effortlessly and without having to resort to rigging.
Meanwhile, since he took office in 2007,Â Amaechi has launched an impressive range of development initiatives and established a Due Process system that reduces his own powers. If he continues to curb himself and focus on building his state up, most Rivers people will gratefully beg him to stay put beyond 2011.
Someone told me that there is a huge billboard mounted outside Dubai Airport that has the following words emblazoned on it: â€œWelcome To Tomorrow!â€.
I would love to hear from readers who agree or disagree with my belief that Jonathan and Amaechi are Tomorrow Men.
Rejoice no more
ONE of my domestic helpers has just died.
Her name was Rejoice. She had such a nice nature and was so willing to learn. When she got sick, 3 different doctors provided 3 different diagnoses and one performed the operation that killed her.
Nobody will ever know whether it was his fault. All I know is that the mortality rate in this country is ridiculously high…and that medical personnel are not queried often enough. People die of all kinds of curable ailments here.
May Rejoice rest in perfect peace.
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