A few months ago, I had this very extensive argument with a friend that the #NotTooYoungToRun movement is almost entirely based on identity politics and of course a tool by the political elite to keep us less stirred; little victories spark major celebrations in my country. Agreed, a thirty-five-year-old should be allowed to contest for president, but shouldn’t the real issue be competence and merit? Shouldn’t candidates of all ages be quizzed on their leadership skills? The Libyan despot Muammar al-Gaddafi entered office at age 29. Age doesn’t guarantee performance, but I understand the sentiment of young people pushing for this, I only hope they understand mine.
During this argument, said friend quickly shut me up with the name Fela Durotoye, citing that the idealistic motivational speaker was both young and competent. He went ahead to allude that in Fela, we have the most competent candidate the country has ever seen.
“The man is Nigeria’s number one leadership and management expert, kamdan John”.
I was calm. Then this happened.
I think the vision that God breathed into my heart was first received on the 23rd November 2004 and God had said to me that by December 31, 2025 that Nigeria will be undoubtedly the world’s most desirable nation to live in and he said go and build me the people that will build the nation. On May 25 2005, God said to me, raise me a generation that is empowered…
This cringe-worthy excerpt from Fela Durotoye’s vision statement is maybe the worst first paragraph a politician in a diverse and religiously multi-faceted society can come up with. In no way am I saying that Fela shouldn’t be open about his faith, but that it should form the anchor for his campaign and aspiration for the country is appalling, especially when you consider that Fela should know better, the man is a Professor at Stanford. I mean, God said to you? You would think he was running for Pope. What if multiple 2019 candidates give us the same “God said to me” line? Whatever your religious leaning is, sincere or feigned, how does this advance your credibility as potential leader of our nation, any nation? Unless your primary aim was to bait unlearned, gullible Christians. In such divisive times, using religion as political leverage is just diabolic and if this is the case, then we don’t know the man at all.
Politicians like Fela, are these our young leaders? Are these the best examples of young competent politicians? There has been a recycling of the same ineffectual leadership since the civil war and we don’t look like we are ready to put a halt to it. How are we going to be taken seriously by the old ruling class like this? How is it that there are over a hundred million Nigerian youths, but somehow we don’t have a say? We are too much in a mess to be at ease. Let’s come alive, the incumbent septuagenarian president who is so clearly out of touch with Nigerians (especially young Nigerians) still has no opposition and the election is barely months away.
Let’s banish “visions from God” as manifestos and come together and listen to people who have realistic visions with policy road plans on how we can achieve the Nigerian Dream.