INTRODUCTION: This is the first in my article series titled, Generation next. I am saddened by our seeming inability to transfer what we know and value to generations coming behind us. I have noticed that in every sphere of existence, the old seems to be better than the new. What are we doing wrong?
Few weeks ago Nigerians went to the polls to pick a new President. It was the climax of an exercise that started several months earlier. The presidential election campaigns were fiercer than it had been for many years. For over a year a lot of predictions and “prophecies” had floated around in our media and “rumour” space about the 2015 elections; some of the doomsday prophets had looked into the crystal ball and seen that Nigeria as we know it would know longer exist after 2015. By January of this year the tension was so thick you could cut it with a knife! People ran away from the country in droves; those who could not afford an overseas plane ticket ran away from the cities to their villages in anticipation of war. Properties in Abuja were sold for a song and the savvy made a killing.
There were two contestants in this political fight-to-finish: the incumbent president, Dr. Good luck Jonathan in his late fifties and rtd. General Mohammad’s Buhari, who, at age seventy-two, is clearly the older of the two contestants, with more than a decade in age difference. It is no longer news that General Buhari won the election and will be sworn in as President in a matter of days from now. He is hailed as a man having integrity, strength of character, good moral standards and excellent leadership skills. No doubt, these are the traits we need right now to move us from here to there. We are In a deep rut as a Country and we need a man who can lead us to our land of promise and if Buhari is that man, then Hallelujah, and happily too.
It is not Buhari’s first time as the commander-in-chief; he first held the position, albeit for a brief period between 1983 and 1985, and therein lies our story. He was Head of State and he tried to do a lot within a short period, brought back or institutionalized the queue culture and brought a high level of sanity to the way we do things. He could not do all he set out to do before he was overthrown but he started something. And now he has come back, ostensibly to finish what he began thirty years ago. I was a teenager when Buhari first came to power and now my son whom I gave birth to in my twenties is old enough to vote and be voted for, and Buhari comes back to continue from where he stopped!
What happened between the time he left and now? Was there no one younger who could have continued from where he left off? Where are the people he trained? Mentored? Where is the young teenage boy who learnt leadership and statesmanship under Buhari? Where are the young ladies who vowed to become better leaders because they saw a man lead with forthrightness?
Until very recently Chief Tony Anenih was the chairman board of trustees of the PDP and he is supposedly in his eighties, fair enough, he has been in the PDP actively participating at various levels of the leadership for the past several years; now I hear rumors that he is resigning. Very good. Where are the people, younger men and women, who will take over from him and run with the vision for the party? Where are those Awolowo trained? Azikiwe? Tafawa Balewa? Okotie-Eboh? Where are they?
Is it that they did not train or the young did not learn? And if they did not learn is it the fault of the teacher or the student? Whose responsibility is it when a leader does not have a successor? Doesn’t that make the leader a failure and therefore unqualified to continue leading? When this crop of politicians have all died and gone who takes over? Where is generation next? To be continued..