ASIWAJU: 10 Things Before May 29

By Tunde IMOLEHIN

First, let me congratulate you, Your Excellency, for your well-deserved victory. You worked hard. You lived up to your famous statement that power is not served a la carte but through hard work. First shot at Presidency. Great outcome. History made. Kudos Sir.

I am particularly elated that my bragging rights are sustained. Three Presidential elections in eight years. Great to be actively involved in this string of achievements.

Expectations are very high, Asiwaju. Many want you to succeed while not a few wish otherwise. The choice is yours. It is also our mandate. You have what it takes to be the best President Nigeria has ever produced. Going forward, I would like to submit 10 salient points (not in any particular order) you should not ignore before May 29, 2023 and even beyond.

MERIT FIRST

Merit is quality of being particularly good. In all that you will do as President, place merit above all. “By merit, not favouritism, shall we attain our ends,” Plout remarked.

TAKING DECISIONS

You cannot make progress without making decisions. Life is determined by the decisions we make. With so many options available to us, making decisions can sometimes feel daunting and confusing.

Like Napoleon Bornaparte said: “Nothing is more difficult and precious than to be able to decide.” And in the words of Maya Angelou, “you may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.”

We have seen you demonstrate uncommon courage in decision making in the past. A particular case was the seizure of funds belonging to local governments in Lagos State by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2005.

That action provided ample opportunity for Lagos to think like a sovereign state able to overcome its financial challenges. Remember the words of Roy Disney that “decision making is easy when your values are clear”.

To become a great President, count on the words of Wesam Fawzi who said “the quality of (your) life is built on the quality of your decisions”.  We are our decisions, Professor Salam Al Shereida said. Asiwaju, may your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears, in Nelson Mandela’s unforgettable words of inspiration.

REWARD PHILOSOPHY 

We are in a country where entitlement mentality is profound and scary. But you must not mix this with reward philosophy. Reward is based on internal relativities, commitment and loyalty to the institution. In our party, one of our weak points has been the lack of appropriate reward for loyal, hardworking, patriotic and highly resourceful party men and women.

But given your pedigree as a thoroughbred democrat and party man, this should be a thing of the past. Not all (loyal and dedicated) members can and should be in office, however, we must find a way of boosting and keeping the rank of progressives by running an all-inclusive administration by making everyone to have a proper sense of belonging.

Note that recognition is not a scarce resource, you can’t use it up or run out of it, according to Susan Heathfield. Kindly also note, Your Excellency, that many people work for money but go the extra mile for recognition, praise and rewards, in the words of Dale Carnegie. So, post 2023, we should rebuild our party because as Robert Mcnamara noted, brains, like hearts, go where they are appreciated.

LESS IS MORE

“Less is more” is about efficiency and optimum yield and value. It is the concept of minimalism popularised by the famous German-American Architect, Ludwig Van de Rohe. It is the value of simplicity and that by having less, you can actually create a life of more. In applying this philosophy in governance, many have spoken of a smart/lean government that guarantees efficiency. Government of Quality and not Quantity.

I know some will argue whether this is possible under our present political dispensation, I believe it is possible. One of the things that should define your government is to try things not because they are popular but because they are ideal and sustainable. We should restructure the system. The dead weight is immense and unsustainable. We should shed our weight else we perish in illusion. There is no gain without pain, remember! If government is lean resulting in a healthy and wealthy country, we all are.

NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE PROBLEM

In 2015, one of the “mistakes” we allegedly made was to underestimate the rot left behind by the defeated government of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Your Excellency, you should please avoid this. Go to Aso Rock with the mindset that all is not yet well in the polity…with the economy, that people are still not sleeping with their two eyes closed. And of course, you should arm yourself with the notion that the anthem of corruption is unchanged despite hard efforts. Like Robert H. Schuller said, never underestimate your problem or ability to deal with it.

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX

Modern times demand this especially in the face of scarce resources and global competitiveness. So, Your Excellency, you need to explore ideas that are creative and unusual and are not limited or controlled by rules or tradition (I am not asking the President to break the law). Results posted in the last 8 years have indicated that we need to think differently, unconventionally or from a new perspective especially in addressing the 3 cardinal points of the outgoing administration. The beginning of greatness is to be different and the beginning of failure is to be the same according to Roy Whittier.

LOW HANGING FRUITS 

These are easy to accomplish tasks or easy-to-solve problems in a particular situation. For Nigeria, job opportunity ranks high. Anything that can bring down the embarrassing unemployment figures in the country within the shortest possible time and halt the growing restiveness of the youths should be explored. You will have to live up to your promise to make youths believe they can work with you and that they have a future in Nigeria.

Of course, the ongoing stress induced by the mismanagement of the CBN money policy and the subsidy quagmire demand your immediate attention in office. However, you have to also remember that the higher hanging fruit is typically riper and more nutritious.

PROTECT THE WEAK

“Defend the weak, protect both young and old, never desert your friends. Give justice to all, be fearless in battle and always ready to defend the right”…The Law of Badger Lords. Brian Jacques.

Defending and protecting the weak is self-preservation. It is simply logical. One day, you and I might become weak and can expect others to help you do the same you did to them. Your Excellency, your government should take greater numbers out of poverty.

Whilst you provide a suitable environment for the strong to get stronger, the weak and poor should also be strengthened.  Do the strong have the obligation to help the weak? They are explicitly obligated to help the weak and they have to obey GOD who saved them and made them strong. Remember also the metaphor, EAT THE RICH?

LEAVE A LEGACY

You already made it clear in Abeokuta when you said “I don’t want to be forgotten. Give me the Presidency. It is my turn” This implicitly means that you would like to live and be remembered.

Leaving a legacy means giving something that will be valued and treasured by those who survive after your passing. The one legacy that comes to mind is leaving a situation better than you met it- the best President Nigeria ever had. A more united, peaceful and secured nation. An industrialised and sustainable nation. But it takes hard work.

10 REBUILD PATRIOTISM

Can a random or average Nigeria die for his country today? BIG question.

Patriotism is the feeling of love, devotion and sense of attachment to one’s country.

Over the years, the love for the Nigerian flag or passport has waned. Many Nigerians have lost their patriotic zeal and spirit for one reason or the other. Not a few are convinced they don’t have a sense of belonging in the country.

Apart from a strong and healthy economy, safety and security, inspirational leadership is key to sustaining the spirit of patriotism in an average Nigerian especially among the youths. The Nigerian Orientation Agency should be restructured and empowered to power an advocacy strategy that can make Nigerians to want to live, work and die for their country if need be.

Leadership by example should be the watchword. We need leaders and heroes who can inspire though admirable lifestyles. We all have to make the necessary sacrifice to achieve these just as Bob Riley noted when he said “I have long believed that sacrifice is the pinnacle of patriotism”. Oscar Wilde also wrote: “Show me the heroes that the youth of your country look up to and I will tell you the future of the country.”

Patriotism is a thing of the heart. A man is a patriot if his heart beats true to his country according to Charles E. Jefferson.

* IMOLEHIN, an Architect, Environmentalist, Communications and Sustainability Expert is a member, All Progressives Congress (APC) and Founder, VANGUARD PROGRESSIVES FORUM & CHANGE VISION NIGERIA. He is currently the Senior Special Assistant {SSA} to the Honourable Minister of FCT on the Environment & Waste Management.

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