Sophistry Vs Track Records: What Nigerian Voters Must Use As Yardstick In The 2023 Presidential Poll - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE

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Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Sophistry Vs Track Records: What Nigerian Voters Must Use As Yardstick In The 2023 Presidential Poll

             •Adelaja

If speeches and oration are the only things that define leadership capabilities and competence then you will probably hand over the presidency to Obi, because by his mere speech he could make 100 Nigerians to start playing in the NBA. Well, that is by the way. But I dare say Shettima was more articulate and precise in his presentation at the NBA, never knew he could talk! Eventually, at the end of the day, it was Shettima that stood out in a balanced presentation that made realistic promises to Nigerians based on records and performance

The Daily Crucible | Thursday, August 25, 2022

By Sunday Adelaja

The great thing about the major contenders for the highest seat in the land is that all of them at one point or the other have held public offices at one level or the other. 

By the amount of noise that has been made so far, it's fair to say the three major contenders are TINUBU, ATIKU, and OBI in descending order of the likelihood of winning the election. OBI is a major contender because of the present noise he is currently making with his obidient movement.

TINUBU and OBI were executive governors of their states at one point or the other, calling the shot on what needs to be done, so we can say at a certain level they have been given the opportunity and freedom to demonstrate what their leadership capacity and ideology is all about.  ATIKU on the other was VP for eight years under Obasanjo and as much as his master gave him the opportunity he presided over the National Economic Council until when their path both crossed on the issue of the third term agenda. As much as ATIKU will want you to believe he has more experience than the other two, I will disagree on this front. There is a difference between being the number 1 and being the number 2. Being VP of the federation doesn't make you more experienced than being the number 1 of a state no matter how small that state is, the no 1 is the one who decides what happens. Yes No 2 can make suggestions, but ultimately the decision lies with the number 1. I have been privileged to be both number 1 and number 2 and I know there is a world of difference between the two. 

The bottom line is the years of public service that these three major contenders have had gives us the ample opportunity to assess them based on what they have done and not what they say they will do. One is TRACK RECORD, the other is ORATION/EMPTY PROMISES politicians make every four years. And in choosing from these three who have held various public offices before now I think the former is more important than the latter. 

For newbies who are just coming into public offices, the idea of assessing them based on what ideas and manifestos they bring to the table is by all reckoning the best means of assessing what they have to offer. However for men who have had various opportunities to participate in public services the best testament to what they have to offer for the future is what they have done in the past. It's why football matches are predicted based on past statistics. Nothing defines the future more than the past, yes there are times when the future veers off from the trend of the past, but in most cases that do not apply where humans are concerned. 

For those who follow football, you know what you are getting when you hire Mourinho to be the manager of your team and you know what you are getting when you get Pep to manage your team. How do we know? It's by what they have done with various teams in the past. A Pep team will always play out from the back. Some said it can only be done in Spain, that it could not be done in England. 6 years on after moving to England, almost every team wants to play out from the back because of Pep's influence. Pep will not suddenly change his philosophy and beliefs. People don't just change like that. Pep telling you he would play defensive football is the deception of the highest order because his track record and past data show he will possess the ball 70% of the time. This is how everyone is, including political leaders: their past work is the greatest predictor of their future works and once a leadership ideology has been formed it cannot be changed. Someone who fails in handling little responsibilities can not suddenly become capable of bigger responsibilities, the bigger stage don't suddenly make you capable rather they expose your unpreparedness and lack of capacity!

This is why it somehow amuses me when people say they are waiting to hear what Tinubu has to say to know what he has to offer. Why doesn't he show up at the NBA congress and tell us what he has in stock? 

It bothers on political naivety for me when I see people get excited by the lofty words and fake statistics that Obi keeps reeling out! Some people posted how Obi said the cost of governance is expensive and intends to reduce it! Now that is not music to my ears or breaking news! It's all cheap talk! It's also funny when they say Atiku is articulate but also boring. Oratorical prowess differs from one to the other and should not be the yardstick for leadership measurement. 

And that's why I am not looking forward to any interview by any of these three or any debates. I am not looking forward to any political debates or presidential debates, to determine who to vote for! It's political stupidity to rate politicians based on WORDS when you can simply compare their past WORKS and TRACK RECORDS in public service. I am not looking forward to any MANIFESTOS anyone is bringing that are not reflected and verified and validated by what works they have done in the past! POLITICAL PROMISES being made this season holds nothing for me compared to past PERFORMANCES from these public holders. And this is what we should all be looking for: the consistency between their present promises and their past performances. 

I will give you some analysis here of what I mean by using what played out during the opening ceremony of the NBA congress in Lagos. 

If speeches and oration are the only things that define leadership capabilities and competence then you will probably hand over the presidency to Obi, because by his mere speech he could make 100 Nigerians to start playing in the NBA. Well, that is by the way. But I dare say Shettima was more articulate and precise in his presentation at the NBA, never knew he could talk! Eventually, at the end of the day, it was Shettima that stood out in a balanced presentation that made realistic promises to Nigerians based on records and performance. 

Still, I will proceed to use the NBA presentation to address the point I raised above. There were some key issues Obi addressed or let's say key promises that he made.

First, he addressed the issue of security in the land and according to him, insecurity stems from the high unemployment rate. Obi promised to fix this. Can he fix this or not? Let's not take his words, let's look at his works. Obi left Anambra as one of the most unsecured states in Nigeria. And the misery index of June 2022 rated Anambra in 8th position with a misery index of 62.3%. The misery index measures the degree of economic distress felt by everyday people due to the risk of joblessness combined with the increased cost of living! Now a man who couldn't reduce unemployment at the state level cannot do so at the federal level. It's the basic principle of knowing someone who fails in handling small responsibilities should not be entrusted with bigger responsibilities. What is the history of these man with job creations? How many jobs did he create while he was governor of Anambra? No records of any.  If there are let us bring them to the public domain. These are what we should be asking for and paying less attention to whatever he says about China or any other thing he is saying on Arise TV or Channels Tv or NBA congress! 

Do I need to hear what Asiwaju wants to do with security and unemployment? No! His records are there.  He created LAMATA, LASMA, and repackaged LAWMA, those three agencies alone are employing tens of thousands of Lagosians. His singular idea of bringing governance to the grassroots-led to the creation of 37 LCDAs, which has made rural policing possible that gathers security intel. The neighborhood watch and the LSNC are all been funded through the security trust fund created under his administration and handed down to successive administrations. Of course, the RRS of the police is doing amazingly and today Lagos which was plagued with loss of lives from armed robbery, car snatching, and bank robbery is having a new lease of life. It's the most secured state in the nation now and it's why many from the east and other parts of the country will keep flooding in! Indeed if there is one presidency that will consider and put in place state and local policing then we should look no further than that of the City boy! Why? His antecedents in Lagos are pointers to what he can do in that respect.

And I must not forget six of my friends who. got employed through Asiwaju's bold initiative of employing 2000 youths at the dawn of the new millennium. 

Many have thrown up the recent stats that Lagos is among some of the city that are less livable and I remind them, Lagos is the only city in Nigeria worthy of consideration for such ranking. If Lagos is not livable then the rest are not even visitable! I know some journeys I have undertaken this year that when family and friends learned off are always in prayers until I come back!

I will take one more example. At the congress, Peter Obi also stressed the importance of EDUCATION and POWER as the bedrock for the economy. There is the alleged event in Anambra where Obi was quoted as saying education is not for the poor and how he demanded that all the fees for the three terms in school be paid at once. This rubbish any claim about his investment in education, given he wasn't the first governor to return schools to their original owners! Tinubu did that first and started paying WAEC fees for students. Let's live education and concentrate on that which immediately impacts the economy: POWER!

On the POWER front. No amount of oratory should move any rational keen observer of the Nigerian political space to bet on Obi providing them power when we have a TINUBU in Lagos who as far back as 1999 had the vision to embark on independent power generation or an ATIKU who's principal fought Tinubu over the legality of an IPP. The short-sightedness of Obasanjo then made him fought Tinubu over the years on the IPP project and the creation of the new 37 LCDAs. Years after the 270mW Tinubu was able to generate is now part of our national grid today. Anyone waiting for these three men to speak on power before deciding which of them to entrust with his votes is simply wasting time, their antecedents tells us who is more likely to deliver on that front. These two examples will suffice for now.

Nigeria is at a critical point in her history that this is not the time for trial and error leadership where the hope of a better life is based on the promise of a politician who possesses neither the capability nor the track record that suggests they have the competence to do what they are promising us to do. Our problems are basic as a nation and we don't need fanciful vision casting and sophistry of words to describe them or proffer solutions to them. What we need are leaders who at various levels and capacities have demonstrated in their little political and public place the viability and workability of their ideas and who if given the chance on a bigger stage can replicate what they have done at the grassroots level! 

This is not the time to be swayed by what anyone says or didn't say, we currently live in a world where we have so much access to information and data. Making an informed decision about the coming election will begin by researching our politician's track records and works more than paying attention to their words. For the 2023 election,  this is the path to go, but I won't be surprised if people blinded by raw emotions clouded by ethinicism, religion and pure sentiments ignores that which is obvious and toll the path of which holds no reason or future.

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