Manifesto – Introductory Remarks
Let me begin by briefly outlining my past engagement with what could be termed the Nigerian question, captured mainly in the three books I have written on the subject as well as in the articles I continue to publish in Nigerian newspapers. On page 18 of my book, A Trust to Earn – Reflections on Life and Leadership in Nigeria (Prestige Publishing, 2010), I stated that the book could be viewed in a certain sense as “my personal manifesto”. Hardly could I imagine as I penned those words some five years or so ago that I would today be a candidate for the presidency of Nigeria. Here is what I set out to do, as stated in the book: “I am writing this book and offering my thoughts on a few aspects of Nigerian life, but my primary focus is on the issue of political leadership. I do this, not as an expert of any sort, but merely as a citizen – a concerned citizen who has thought about the issues to some degree and has decided to seek an avenue to bring her reflections on them into the public space… I write merely as a citizen; a patriot, who has lived through the ups and downs of her nation’s chequered existence, and who tends to bear the nation’s burdens in her bosom just as seriously as she does those of her own children.” (pp. 15-16) The book’s chapters give a clear indication of the issues of concern: Cahier de doléances (List of grievances); What time is it in the world?; The question of leadership; The purpose of education; Africa and the rest of the world; We have a dream…; A prayer for trustworthy leaders to emerge.
My second book, Igniting Consciousness – Nigeria and Other Riddles (Prestige Publishing, 2013) is a collection of articles, many of them published as blogs for 234Next Online. The third book is Daybreak Nigeria – This Nation Must Rise! (Prestige Publishing, 2014) and in it I attempt to plumb more deeply into the root causes of our problems and proffer some solutions. The chapters’ titles are all formulated as questions: What did the slave trade do to Africa and what can Africa do with it?; How on earth did others do it?; What must we do with ethnicity, religion and culture?; How will we redeem out political culture?; Where do we go from here?
The challenges confronting us have been well rehearsed over the years in our news media: they include abysmally low educational standard, massive unemployment, infrastructural decay, poor electricity supply, insecurity, and the culture of corruption and impunity which have corroded our public institutions. A current challenge which should be added is that of finding new sources of income for the nation given our dwindling income resulting from the falling prices of crude oil on the global market. Dealing with each of these issues will require all the ingenuity and courage that any honest, competent and motivated leader can muster. Each one of these issues will be treated separately, briefly.