The next President is going to meet a great mess. In a metaphorical sense, the nation is suffering from three main disabling diseases. They are leprosy, diabetes, and HIV/AIDs; all in one body.
In the case of leprosy, which is a disease that attacks the sensory nervous system, the brain is unaware of the suffering of the extremities. The presidency, which represents the brain, is not getting the true picture of the grassroots suffering and the excruciating poverty breaking the masses because the feedback system is attacked by corruption, wickedness, and immorality.
In diabetes, there is an abundant level of sugar produced in the body, but it’s not getting into the body tissues for metabolism, and its excess is left in the bloodstream; thereby destroying vital organs. With HIV, the defence system is weakened to the extent that a small group of ragtag criminals can kill the nation and bring it to a halt.
The next President needs to be intelligent and supported by men with acumen, not the ‘garagara’ person with an impulsive temperament that is after the praise of sentimental citizens. He has to act quickly and carefully. He has to centre his efforts and concentration inwards, not outside. I know a lot of our problems have roots in foreign interests, yet local problems must be solved locally.
The President has to be careful of the dishonest clergy. Like mosquitoes, they feed on every system without adding any values except polarising the nation more on the religious divide. I cannot imagine a nation facing insurgencies left, right, and centre, yet the clergy would fold their arms without intermediating to see for conflict resolutions. Rather they are busy fuelling religious polarisation.
The recent BBC Africa Eye documentary and daily Trust documentaries about the insurgency in Zamfara State have exposed the ethnic and tribal undertones as the real genesis of the decadal mayhem the North Western region is experiencing as a whole. The crimes were committed by both sides of the divide but unfortunately, the outside world sees one side as the only criminal, and thus the government acted in such a line of thinking, messing up the conflict and applying the wrong measures of communal conflict resolution.
If the next President also follows the same trajectory, thinking that the present government was only dealing with the criminals with kid-glove, then a greater insurgency will definitely ensue. It’s taking almost 12 years to fight Boko Haram in the North-East, with their leader only killed during a factional fight, not by our military action. And now, many Boko Haram fighters are fortunately surrendering as a result of the genuine efforts of reconciliation and rehabilitation by the federal and state governments as demonstrated by action, not rhetoric. This unfortunately is irking some, especially the elite, as cajoling criminals. To them, anything short of annihilating them is no solution.
Comparing them to Indigenous People of Biafra who are non-repentant and not ready for reconciliation is disingenuous. Yet politicians have to deal with that.
The economy is in such disarray that needs a true nationalist that will institute measures even if they are against these ‘fake’ corporate bodies that are Dracula sucking the blood out of the nation. Not the kind of ineffective but detrimental measures we experience in the past, but well-studied economic measures that will not only increase the Gross Domestic Product, but raise the per capita income of individuals. Today in Nigeria, the middle-class income strata are almost effaced. You are either poor or extremely rich.
As for security, there is a need for a general overhaul to reflect the security challenges the nation is facing. The nation needs state and county police, and a national guard, with forest rangers also drawn largely from the dwellers of the forest. No Nigerian should be marginalised in development and participation in nation-building.
The nation needs a robust educational reform. No child should be left behind. In a ten-year generation, most Nigerians should be educated somehow, the nation will then rise to great heights. Without education, all said will go with the wind.
The next President is not going to face problems that are for a novice, nor can the nation wait for him to learn any longer. He should be ready from day one and like a sprinter ready for action with the blow of the whistle.
Nigeria cannot be ruled effectively by a sectional or regional politician, but by one that has the national appeal of carrying all along.
May Allah heal our nation from bad leadership and communal clashes. Amin
- Ahmad Gumi is an Islamic cleric and scholar