Can one dislike His head and wear the cap on His knee? By Abasi Femi Oguntayo
By Abasi Femi Oguntayo
Have we ever asked ourselves why we have not gotten it right since we have been electing leaders in this country called Nigeria? Have we ever asked why developed countries always seem to get it right than us in terms of choosing who to lead them? Democracy as defined by Abraham Lincoln is the government of the people, by the people and for the people.
We need to ask ourselves, government of which people? Government by which people? Who are those who participate in the election or selection? Who are those who decide who becomes the leader? When these questions are given accurate answers, then the reason why we have not yet gotten it right will not be farfetched.
Let us take a look at this country from the pre-independence era; when this country was still a colony of the Britain, when this country was controlled by the colonial masters who are considered to be better off, not illiterates or educated illiterates like we have today. Where governance is now about compensating people with serious elective posts that require passion and experience.
Moreover, Nigeria is not getting better by the year, instead, things are getting worse. There was a time our currency, Naira had more value than British pound and United States Dollar. Now reverse is the case, a dollar is now three hundred and fifty Naira! How did we get here? We need to ask ourselves this question.
When are we going to get it right? We are now in a society where people neglect experienced and competent people and choose to elect someone without the necessary qualifications and experience, someone who they believe they can control not minding if he gets there and does not perform his constitutional duties very well or does nothing worthwhile. All they want is someone who they believe is in their calibre or in some cases of some so called learned choosing, they want someone who they believe is below them and will not be lord over them. Not minding if the candidate is capable of the task or not.
Maybe they have forgotten, that the consequences of their selfish choices will either affect everyone positively or negatively. That is why developed countries will always seem to get it right every time. Even their worst choice is the best to us, this is because, when you look at those that decide who becomes their leaders, they are mostly intellectuals, working class people, educated people, less frustrated people, averagely okay people and people who know the good from the better and the better from the best for them.
They are not people who elect their leaders because he is a moneybag, they do not elect their leaders because he or she seems to be respectful or submissive, they do not vote their leaders because he is white or black, man or woman, young or old, as long as he is the best, most qualified and experienced for the post they give him a chance. That's why America is always getting stronger by the year.
It is only in Nigeria, someone who has solid and numerous educational qualifications be neglected and someone who has not more than an O'level certificate will be preferred to represent a constituency in the legislative. This is all because the power is in the hands of the people, the people who place personal and selfish interests over their choice of leadership. If we continue like this, I fear, Nigeria will be underdeveloped till eternity.
The way our people decide who is elected to offices are quite alarming and that is why you will see a Secondary school drop-out sent to the House of Assembly to represent a constituency all in the name of, he is submissive, he is generous or let us compensate him. They have all forgotten that being in the legislative arm is a serious business and is far from being submissive, generous or being compensated.
We all know what it means for a constituency to send someone to represent then in the legislative, it entails fighting for the people, getting for them what belongs to them, making laws that the people, especially the people of his constituency will benefit from and these are what bring about development.
Until we overlook sympathy and apply merit in our choices as a people or as electorates, we will never experience reasonable developments in our constituencies, state and in the country at large. Let us put a round peg in a round hole. Democracy grants us the power to make the choices and as it gives us the power to make the choice we will also face the consequences of our choices, if we make a wrong choice we will face the consequences of our choices and at the same time, if we make the right choices, we will all enjoy the dividends of democracy.
In relation to the Yoruba proverb I quoted above 'Can one dislike the head and wear the cap on the knee?' Politics is not a do or die neither are there permanent friends or enemies in politics. When we know the right or better candidate for a particular elective position, as an electorate or a stakeholder, let us make right choice by putting the round peg in the round hole. Let us not because we dislike the head wear the cap on the knee, because whatever choice we make will definitely have an effect on us, sooner than later whether positively or negatively.