By Bidemi Ayoku

THE recent letter of Rev. Chris Okotie to the chairmen of the two leading political parties – All Progressive Congress, APC and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP,  made interesting reading. Also, it raised some pertinent questions about the scope and depth of his programme for the masses and his awareness of the diverse problems facing Nigeria,at this auspicious time. His request to be adopted as a joint consensus candidate of both the ruling party and the main opposition party may seem outlandish, but, viewed critically it seems to make sense. It also underlines the frustration of new generation politicians with an archaic, retrogressive system that has held the nation back.Well-articulated programmes of candidates like Rev. Okotie merely strain to be heard in the midst of the loud and empty noise of the ruling elite.

Those who have followed the thoughts of Okotie and his vision for Nigeria, since he announced his presidential bid in 2003, would attest to the correctness of his current diagnosis of the nation’s malaise,as contained in his letter, now popularly called “Charter for the restructuring of Nigeria.” We should remember that in 2003, Okotie was the first to speak about Generational POWER shift and the imperative of liberating the country from the old cabal which has held it hostage since independence.

Now he comes with a new concept, Aboriginal Democracy: “My mandate, therefore, will be to set up an interim government which I have christened GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL RECONCILIATION AND RECONSTRUCTION as the mechanical instrumentality for the crystallisation of the new Nigeria of our dreams. It would be predicated on a new concept of Aboriginal democracy. Our current democracy has been hijacked by elitism, mysticism and Satanism. Aboriginal democracy will focus on cultural historicity, evolutionary modernity and global relativity as the necessary ingredients of our evolutionary political indigenisation. Under this system, the current legislature would merge with the judiciary to create a unique judicature that administers justice and shares the enactment of legislative responsibilities with the Presidency. This would save us the huge cost of running the National Assembly and obviate all the paralysing debates that often stalled the passage of bills”.

At first, Okotie’s Generational Shift Campaign was derided in the media as unrealistic, and without any substance. Even his colleagues in the church leadership sharply criticised him for daring to venture out of the sacred altar of the church into the arena of politics. But like all reformers, pioneers and revolutionaries Okotie persisted. Today other ministers like Pastor Tunde Bakare and Prof. Yemi Osinbajo have joined the fray with Osinbajo now in Aso Rock as No. 2 man.Other young folks have come out to challenge the older politicians by seeking the mandate to lead Nigeria at the highest level

This clearly is evidence of Okotie’s deep “thinking outside the box” but the public did not take note. He has defined his philosophy as a programme of actions that seeks to re – channel resources to the direct needs of the people. In simple terms, he calls it Human Capital Development. Even the United Nations recognised the importance of promoting and developing human capacity in all its ramifications.

What really cut it for me in his celebrated letter is his offer to run again based on his credentials: “Compelled by the same spirit, I have re-emerged from my political hibernation to contest for the Office of President in the forthcoming elections. I am fully persuaded that Nigeria needs a man who is credible, dependable and trustworthy. A God-fearing man who is embroidered with compassion and love for country.A man who will be readily accepted as a symbol of national unity, who can bring genuine reconciliation and guarantee peace and tranquility in our nation. A man who is completely insulated from the variegated conflicts that mark the antecedents of our major political actors. A man who can apply the principles of malice towards none and charity for all; who can invoke a Pan-Nigerian philosophy that rejects the partisan provincialism of finger pointing at this time when Nigeria is threatened by existential adversaries. A man with the requisite intellectual capacity and moral perpendicularity. I believe that the benevolent grace of God has telescoped these virtues into my person, to prepare me for such a time as this”.

Nigeria is not in short supply of good men and women of integrity. The problem we have is that access to power is a very costly venture and is obviously the exclusive preserve of the political class. Each time young people come out to run for public office, they are submerged by the overbearing influence of the political elite because of their strangle hold on power and the financial clout to sustain it. But Rev Okotie has persisted. This time with the passage of not-to-young-to-run bill, the political establishment seems to have agreed with the charismatic pastor-politician that time for generational power is finally here.

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