By Charles Kumolu, Deputy Features Editor
The best in almost every contest wins. It is an age-long truism but it would be an illusion to expect such in today’s presidential election.
More competent candidates would lose in manners that defy logic in functional societies. As incredible as it sounds, that kind of outcome makes sense in Nigeria.
As you are reading this, the majority of 84 million registered voters may have accredited to vote or may have voted for candidates with the least capabilities and qualifications.
Sadly, the action often takes place without fears of what it portends for the nation.
As ridiculous as it is, no one cares and truly, none does.
After all, being average in knowledge and competence are known characteristics of most elected Nigerian leaders since independence.
Characteristics of Nigerian leaders
Simply put, there is no evidence that sound education, vision, and broad worldview had earned any other person an electoral victory in Nigeria although the late Chief M.K.O Abiola came close to that.
With a First Class in Accounting from Scotland combined, expansive business empire, viable manifesto, and rich international and local connections, Abiola was simply the best in that contest and he won.
However, the Abiola case remains isolated as most capable candidates with the best ideas hardly win elections in Nigeria where incumbency and vote buying are decisive factors.
That such a pattern would play out in today’s exercise has nothing to do with Buhari or Atiku but the Nigerian system which promotes mediocrity at the expense of competence.
Saturday Vanguard believes the trend highlights the absence of patriotism among Nigerians, which Chinua Achebe in The Trouble with Nigeria, said, motivates citizens to demand nothing but the best for their country.
An illustration of the situation could be seen in the perspective of the author of Democracy: The God that Failed, Professor Hans-Herman Hoppe.
He observed that: “Democracy virtually assures that only bad and dangerous men will ever rise to the top of government,” explaining that, “Prime Ministers and Presidents are selected for their proven efficiency as morally uninhibited demagogues.”
Poor choice of candidates
The American Professor of Economics is not alone in that line of argument, which by extension, explains the poor choice of candidates often made every four years.
Brain Flapping in Democracy Vs Psychology: Why People Keep Electing Idiots, asserted that: “It is clear that doing or saying unintelligent things is no barrier to political success. There are several psychological mechanisms that lead to apparent idiots being elected into powerful positions.”
This perspective, however, helps to understand why voters would ignore people like former Deputy Governor of Central Bank, Prof. Kingsley Moghalu; Serial Entrepreneur and Motivational Coach, Mr. Fela Durotoye; a Publisher of Sahara Reporters, Mr Omoyele Sowore; CEO of Global Analytics, Mr. Tope Fasua; and Mr. Gbenga Olowepo-Hashim for either Atiku or Buhari.
Without malice towards the leading candidates, Saturday Vanguard reports that most Nigerians consider Moghalu, Durotoye, and Sowore more capable of leading a 21st century Nigeria.
They are young, vibrant, highly educated and understand the indicators that could make Nigeria an ambitious country in the age of the internet. But they are what Paul Carsten and Didi Akinyelure described in The Men Who Could Lead Nigeria: The Presidency, Power, and Petroleum, as “civil society alternatives,” whose “chances of winning are slim without the big parties’ wealth and patronage.”
Notwithstanding, they are men of vision, expertise, and merit, whose profile, Saturday Vanguard, believes, leaves voters with something to ponder on.
Moghalu: Simply the best
Had competence been a decisive element in this race, the Harvard-trained scholar and administrator would emerge Nigeria’s President at the end of today’s exercise.
The 56-year-old economist, lawyer, former United Nations official, and Professor of International Business and Public Policy, is widely adjudged the best man for the job.
He is loved by the youths and admired by the old generation, but his chances as earlier stated, are challenged by the Nigerian factor.
Moghalu’s plans for the country are encapsulated in his manifesto entitled: Build, Innovate and Grow.
It is a compendium of his vision for Nigeria which he aims to achieve if elected.
“We must stop recycling failed politicians and regenerate our leadership ranks with competent and experienced young men or women. Youths who have prepared themselves with the relevant qualifications must take over the mantle of leadership because this struggle is about the future of Nigeria, not its past,” Moghalu said in his declaration of intent speech.
An excerpt of his profile on his website, www.kingsleymoghalu.com, reads: “Kingsley Moghalu is a global leader who has made contributions to the stability, progress and wealth of nations, societies and individuals across such domains as academia, economic policy, banking and finance, entrepreneurship, law, and diplomacy.
“Kingsley was educated at the London School of Economics and Political Science (Ph.D., M.Phil.), The Fletcher School at Tufts University (M.A.), University of Nigeria, Nsukka (LL.B.), and the Institute of Risk Management in London, UK. He has completed executive leadership programs in economic transformation, macroeconomic management, global leadership, corporate governance, and strategy at Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Business School, Wharton, Chicago Booth School of Business, and the International Monetary Fund Institute.”
Sowore: Robust grassroots campaign
Some may not like Sowore, who is also an activist, owing to his guts but many admire his zeal and vision.
Interestingly, his nationwide campaign for the presidency resonated among ordinary people, who actually vote.
He may not have the Ivy League qualifications of Moghalu, but the University of Lagos and Columbia University graduate understands the ingredients that could make prosper of fail.
Sowore, who is running on the platform of African Action Congress, ACC, wants to take Nigeria back from those he felt had hijacked it. Hence his campaign slogan, Take It Back.
The former President of Student Union, University of Lagos, has an 8-point plan which prioritises security, power, infrastructure, anti-corruption, economy and job creation, restructuring. health and education.
The 47-year-old Sowore started his famous online news platform in New York in 2006 with the aim of fighting “corrupt and wrong government practices.”
At a recent presidential debate convened by a Civil Society Organisation, Enough is Enough ,EIE, in collaboration with Television Continental ,TVC, Sowore pledged to: “Hit the ground running upon the assumption of office as President of Nigeria. From day one, Nigeria will be secured, corruption will be clamped down. There will be massive infrastructure development and agricultural revolution.
“We will return Nigeria to people who can build and maintain. Under our government, broadband will become a human right. No economic policy in the world will provide jobs without electricity, infrastructure and human capital. In the power sector, we will increase our power generation, massive infrastructural developments, hire 200,000 teachers when we assume office.
Durotoye: The new bridge
His decision to run for the presidency inspired hope and as well, represented a breath of fresh air in the race.
Before now, the 47-year-old presidential hopeful was only known as a successful business consultant, leadership expert, and motivational speaker.
He is also the founder of Gemstone Foundation, which trains youths for transformational leadership and social change.
Durotoye, whose mother and father are both professors, has a degree in Computer Science and Economics in addition to a masters in Business Administration, MBA. He is an alumnus of Executive Education programme of Harvard University and John F. Kenethy School of Government.
Durotoye wants to create a new Nigeria and has pledged thus: “If Nigerians give me the privilege to serve as their President, one of the first things my Presidency would instantly achieve on the first day is a presidency with a clear vision for Nigeria. I have been an avid proponent of the new Nigeria for at least 14 years.
My vision for Nigeria still remains that we will become the world’s most desirable nation to live in by December 31, 2025. This nation must become the most preferred destination to live, work and do business in.”
At a recent presidential debate, he said: “Under the leadership of ANN, we will deliver a nation that works for everyone, a nation that provides jobs for everyone. On job creation in Nigeria, those who have ruled us have done so with the intent of creating unemployment so as to impoverish the citizens. We will create a special business intervention fund to create five million jobs within one year.”