Nigeria is looking for change agents


Ozodi Osuji

      The various political parties in Nigeria have thrown up their candidates for the upcoming 2023 presidential election. The three names that emerged are Abubaker Atiku of the PDP, Ahmed Bola Tinubu of the APC and Peter Obi of the Labor Party.

    Here is my quandary, if you ask me what these three men represent I cannot, in all honesty, tell you what they are running for office for. I do not know what their political agendas are; I do not know what they are trying to accomplish for the people should they win the election!

     They have not put out well-reasoned platforms of what it is that they want to accomplish while in office.

     Indeed, neither of them is an ideological politician. I bet you that if you asked them to discuss capitalism, communism, socialism, conservatism, liberalism, fascism, corporatism, and mercantilism none of them has a clue of what you are talking about.

     As a developing country, Nigeria needs a combination of the best of capitalism and socialism; a mixed capitalist cum socialist political economy; not either capitalism or socialism but both because each has its merits and demerits.

    In the West political parties are organized interest groups with certain beliefs on how the human polity ought to be governed; they campaign to win elections with the intention of implementing their ideological agenda into public policies.

     Nigerian political parties do not represent political ideas (left, right and center of the political spectrum) as found in other countries. Instead, folks just join a club through which they hope to capture political offices (National legislature and or Presidency) without having any idea of what they are going to do should they win.

     They call what they are doing pragmaticism; it means that they stand for nothing beyond their stomach infrastructure.

     However, they have a kind of agenda: they want to have the opportunity to go steal to their hearts content and while at it be seen as African big men.

    All these three men are known corrupt politicians; therefore, should any of them win, it is still going to be the same old, same old looting jamboree that has characterized Nigerian politics since its independence in 1960.

     Nigerians seek political power for two reasons, to steal from the national treasury and offices that make their narcissistic, underdeveloped egos feel like they are especially important persons even as they do nothing for the people.

     Can someone please tell me what Nigerian politicians, any of them, have done for the betterment of the people?

     Can you show me which Nigerian politician worked to provide all Nigerians with publicly paid education, at all levels (elementary, secondary, vocational and university), and provide all Nigerians with publicly paid health care; and which one has made a considerable effort to industrialize the country.

     All of us know that Nigeria is composed of many ethnic groups, about ten of them large ones. Nigerians talk about restructuring the country into true federalism. Please show me a Nigerian politician currently running for office that has shown, on paper, what he understands a restructured Nigeria should look like; a true structure of Nigeria would have about twelve states: Yoruba State, Igbo State, Edo State, Ijaw State, Efik State, Idoma/Tivi State, Plateau State…composed of many small ethnic groups

… Hausa State, Niger State, and Bornu State

      Nigeria needs a new breed of leaders, but, unfortunately, the three thrown up by the Nigerian corrupt political class are not those who are going to do the job of transforming Nigeria into something like Singapore and other Asians tigers.

     The present crop of Nigerian political leaders is corrupt to the core and are thieves in government. I expect nothing positive from the three men vying to become the president of Nigeria come next year.

      I would have liked to see each of these three men present to the people books that delineated their political agendas (each of them were out of office for over eight years and that was enough time to have knocked out a book of, at least, 350 pages, delineating what they want to accomplish for the people and asking the people to hold them responsible for what they plan to do for them).

     One would have loved to see each of them holding seminars discussing basic micro and macroeconomics, finance and leadership and management matters; telling us about their understanding of the Nigerian economy, what is wrong with it and how to fix it; the Nigerian political landscape and what is wrong with it and what to do about it;  the leadership challenges in a multiethnic  country and how they plan to coalesce the various ethnic groups and use them to accomplish their political goals. 

     What are their strategies and tactics, what are the goals and objectives that they want to accomplish? I do not have a clue what these three men want to accomplish for the country. If I have no clue what you want to do while in office why should I bother coming out to vote for you?

      I come vote for you to steal money to become an African big man, and that is it? Is it not possible for, at least, one of these men to be like Paul Kagame, the President of Rwanda and has goals and objectives he wants to accomplish for the country?

     How about well marshalled plans to industrialize the country, constructing infrastructures like roads, bridges, railroads, airports, hospitals, schools, and laying down the environment that enable economic activities to take place in the country.

     If these men have nothing useful to do for the people, why do they want to become the country’s President?

      Tinubu asks folks to vote for him because it is his turn, he waited out Buhari to have his turn and that is good enough reason to elect him?

     Atiku said that he paid his price as the vice president and now it is his turn to be the president.

     Peter Obi runs around talking about the problems with Nigeria, which we all know, but not about what he is going to do about them. He could have thought about those problems and written about them and presented step by step plans of how he is going to tackle them. Instead, he gives ad hoc ideas on what he can do. He wants to reduce the cost of running the Presidential Villa, Aso Rock, so the few pennies he is going to save from doing so equates to managing the fifty or so billion dollars annual budget of Nigeria? The least he could have done is present a mock budget for Nigeria that shows the source of his revenue and his planned expenditures, recurrent and capital expenditure.

     Obi, Atiku and Tinubu are good old Nigerian chop-chop politicians out to become the newest batch of African big men but not builders of the human polity.

     These three men are not the change agents that Nigeria is looking for. I am sure that such change agents exist in Nigeria, but where are they? Why don’t they come out from whatever woodworks they are hiding in?

     And while we are talking about it, how about me, is all I can do just talk about the issues and do nothing about them? Why not stop my analysis paralysis, jump into the political fray, and try to solve the identified problems?

     That issue is best addressed in a different paper; for now, the salient point is that those who present themselves as candidates for the upcoming Nigerian presidential election, and for that matter, for the National Assembly, are not the leaders that the country asks for, what they are I have no clue.

Ozodi Osuji

September 14, 2022

(907) 310-8176

  • says that Dr. Osuji’s writings on leadership, management and Nigerian political economy are among the most quoted articles and books.

Comments are closed.