2019: The Heated Controversy On Age And Experience By Abdullah Abdulganiy

“It was allegedly opined that the best way to hide something from a
“black man” is to keep it inside a book, article, write-up or anything
readable. Why? Because we are very lazy to read. I hope you will read
this and render the assertion baseless and untrue.”

As the Nigerian constitution has it, a general election shall be
conducted every four years. In tandem with the above, the coming year
(2019) as much anticipated will be another opportunity for Nigerians
to elect those who will be at the helm of affairs. No doubt, the
citizens of Nigeria, both the Administrators and the masses alike, are
obsessed with the fast approaching general election. For the citizens,
it is another opportune moment to drive out dwarfs and misfits priding
themselves as giants among the Administrators. And for the
Administrators, it is another time to maintain dominance, political
influence and generate authority.

The men in the street – who were once relegated and belittled – in
turn will be “objects of worship” to the arrogant politicians
canvassing their votes. They know full well that Democracy is a game
of number. Hence, they humble themselves and pretend to be saints,
only to become empowered and get intoxicated and thereby display their
real selves. Indeed, they are devils in human’s look. Should we (the
masses) fail in making a right choice again, it then follows that we
go through another four years of tragic and traumatic experience. The
big question begging for answer therefore is that: how do we make the
right choice? Are we to vote based on ethnicity, religion, age,
experience or whatsoever?

Experts in the study of political behaviour have shown that
electorates vote considering these afore-said factors. But the bitter
truth is that all these afore-mentioned factors do not necessarily
translate to good governance and getting the best aspirant. They had
failed us in the recent times. A Yoruba had once been the head of this
country but it didn’t translate to the development of the Yoruba land
over others. A Muslim was once the head of this country but it didn’t
put a halt to the unequal treatments and injustice Muslims face in
Nigeria. The case of hijab can adduce to this fact. That somebody has
gathered enough experience in the political sphere of Nigeria is
neither a guarantee of good governance. In fact, people that fall
under this category have appeared to be the worst set of all
Administrators. If you should study the political sociology of Nigeria
very well, you will discover that most of the present Administrators –
whether at the federal, state or local level – have been active
players in Nigerian politics in the past. Most Lawmakers were once
Governors. Conversely, most Governors were once Lawmakers. By this,
one could suppose they have garnered immense experiences as regards
the workings and dynamics of Nigerian politics. But how have we been
benefited by their purported humongous experiences?

Youths Vs Aged, who wins?

A basic problem we have in this part of the world is coming to
consensus on the definition of the term “youth”. Who is a youth? At
what age does somebody cease to be a youth? Who is old? At what time
in life does one begins to age? These are questions begging for
answers. As 2019 becomes fast approaching, Nigerians have made the
upcoming general election the centre of most of their discussions. And
the battle line seemingly has just been drawn between the youths and
the geront-.
Most youths and adults alike now hold to the school of thought that
youths should be engaged in Nigerian politics. The former President of
Nigeria, Dr Goodluck Jonathan was of this view and had tasked the
youths to venture more into politics. A question begging for answer
now is that: Does youthfulness translate to good governance?

Mixed reactions were recorded following the declaration of the
President, Muhammadu Buhari, his interest to contest for a second-term
in the Presidency. Also, more reactions have also trailed the ongoing
#Take It Back Movement spearheaded by the founder of the controversial
media outfit (Sahara Reporters), Omoyele Sowore. While some saw it as
a reality, others described it as a mere daydreaming.
While the youths are more concerned with driving out the aged
(octogenarians) from the various political offices we have in Nigeria,
specifically, the Presidency; what is becoming obvious and evident is
that these old politicians are not ready to leave, hiding under the
pretext of “experience” and “net worth”. Indeed, these “Babas” must
have one way or the other read Niccoli Machiavelli, specifically, his
notorious work, The Prince. He was of the view that leaders must covet
power by all means. He holds that the end justifies the means. He
relegated morality outright in relation to politics.

Nigerian youths

While the youths do not seemingly buy the idea of “we are the leaders
of tomorrow” anymore; the aged are using the principle of “experience
is the best teacher” to hoodwink the populace. This is crystal clear
in the recent face-off between Barr. Shittu, the Minister for
Communications and Mr. Sowore, the Founder of Sahara Reporters and
Lecturer at School of Visual Arts in New York. The bitter truth is
that these two political “gimmicks” – youthfulness and experience –
won’t work for us this time around! Both youthfulness and being aged
do not presume good governance in the real sense.

Have we not seen youths trusted with the mantle of leadership in
various Nigerian varsities and in turn mismanaged the office by
looting funds meant for student welfarism for their personal pocket?
It is in this same country the SUG President of a popular Nigerian
University, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, by name Ezeja, allegedly
looted N4 million naira meant for the Union. Ditto, the SUG President
of the University of Abuja, Okoye, reportedly misappropriated millions
of naira belonging to the Student-Union. As-Sukuti’s Gate is still
fresh in the memory of we – Unilorites. The case of the young
Governor, Yahya Bello, could also be alluded to complement this
stance. The ungodly acts going on in Saudi Arabia is not unknown to
the knowledge of Muhammad Ibn Salman, the “young” Crown Prince. Thus,
I do not expect us to be bamboozled with youthfulness or other
shenanigans as concerned with age or experience in this country again
in this scientific age. It is not untrue that the young ones are
always characterised by agility and the strength to govern the
country. But it is a “white lie” to say there is always correlation
between youthfulness and good governance.

On the other hand, never should we be deceived again in this country
by the seemingly irritating conviction that because the old ones have
garnered a wide range of experiences, they should be trusted with
power. This is a shenanigan to the core! A malodorous and odoriferous
thought! With their purported immense experiences, how have they been
able to move the country forward? How have we been faring in the
recent years? These octogenarians should stop this prank for a while!

Thus, we can elicit from the above that there is no concomitance
between age and good governance. This reminds me of how Durkheim in
his seminal work, Suicide, debunked the earlier assertions attributed
to suicide and maintained that there was no concomitance between
suicide and such factors as geography, poverty, weather and so on. He
rather advocated “Social Integration” as a sole factor attributable to
the committal of suicide. In a like manner, I debunk the view that age
or experience is attributable to good leadership.

Who then do we need as our leader(s) in this country? What are the
qualities to be seen in a good leader(s)? This, I think should be the
matter arising. The ongoing controversy on age or experience is
needless and should be left aside for now.

Who will make a good leader?

“The leader of a group is equally its servant” – Muhammad (S.A.W)

As if we were unable to fathom this great message. The person who will
make a good leader has been aptly described by Muhammad, the seal of
all Prophets, long time ago. Whether young or old, a good leader is
he, who is ready to submit himself to the service of others. He
therefore renders selfless services. He, whom is not absolutely
concerned with his own benefits and satiating his selfish needs by
assuming the helm of affairs. And this, will not be by “mouth-service”
only, but also by action. Action, they say speaks louder than words.
Good qualities such as discipline, decency, selflessness,
truthfulness, trustworthiness, impartiality, “democraticness” –
entertaining others view and lots more should serve as blueprints for
us in choosing our leader. If it were a 18 year old boy that has all
the aforementioned qualities alongside other commendable qualities,
then we are free from bondage in this country and the Saviour is nigh.
If a 90 year old man were to be an exhibitor of all these qualities,
we are also good to go.

We need vote for somebody who will be devoid of party sentiment,
ethnic bigotry and lots more. In fact, the existence of political
parties as against independent candidacy is a traceable factor to the
shambolic state we find ourselves today. Political office holders,
except a very few amongst them, in turn serve the interest of their
parties. They are mostly apologetic and sympathetic to their political
cronies not minding the corruption embedded in them. This explains why
the recent released looters’ list by the Presidency was lopsided.

The present government has failed us, in the sense of being apologetic
to its party members alone. It would be recalled that the President
noted when he was sworn in that, he is for everybody and belongs to
nobody. However, his so called anti-graft war has really revealed how
incompatible his sayings are with his actions. Also, the present
government has been less proactive about issues of national concern.
It needs to stem the tide. But on the part of morality and discipline,
I don’t have any moral or legal justification to hold the President
culpable or wanton. I think he can do better in the coming year(s).

More so, we must learn how to be patient with our leaders in Nigeria.
It is no news that Nigeria has damaged totally, albeit, not beyond
repair. Nigeria has “jakajaka” and everything has “scatascata”.
Therefore, we need to give our visionary leaders enough time to redeem
Nigeria. As if I didn’t understand the stance of the immediate past
President, Dr Goodluck, that “No government can fix Nigeria in 4
years” well published by Nigerian dailies. It is now apparent that
Nigeria cannot be fixed in a short period of time. Not even the APC
can do, let alone, the PDP. Hence, let us be patient with our leaders
and advise them. Rome was not built in a day!

In all, we seek divine intervention. We pray selfless individuals
emerge as various political officers in this country.

~ Abdullah Abdulganiy is a columnist for Signals NG and director of The Light Column.

Opinions expressed in this article are solely of the writer’s and does not express the view of ALEDEH

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