By Adewale Kupoluyi
I have every reason to be appreciative of the journey of my life. There are many reasons for me to be thankful. I’m grateful for the past years, despite the many life-threatening challenges. Looking forward, a glaring manifestation is the rare leadership opportunity that came my way to lead the most populous nation on three different occasions, though under different circumstances. This is a rare feat that mere hard work and ambition can never propel one to achieve or attain if not by pure divine providence. I thank my stars for making me a man of history among my contemporaries that may be better off in terms of experience, qualifications, and intelligence but were not that privileged.
Before I proceed further, I need to ask myself this critical question; have I touched the lives of the generality of the people positively with this plethora of elevations? In other words, have I been a source of blessing to my countrymen, women, and humanity in general? How would I be remembered when I complete my final tenure as a servant-leader? Or, even on the Last Day? Would I be known as a change agent, promoter of national unity, or a sectional leader? I’m pondering over these questions because many people have accused me of being tribalistic, fanatical, and draconian in my approach to governance. They have blamed me for making major and choice appointments from my part of the country, and adherents of the same belief with me. Not only that, I was accused on many occasions that I dishonour court orders with impunity.
The truth is that it is just natural for me, or anyone for that matter, to feel more comfortable with people of like minds or things in common, surrounding them. This is an incontrovertible truism. Can you trust strange people? Anyway, I think I should soft-pedal because of the discordant tunes trailing my actions and the persistent accusation of nepotism. Let me strictly go the way of federal character. I hope I’ll not regret this intention to accommodate all and sundry in this government? Maybe I should consult a few people that I know from other parts of the country that can recommend people that I can work with rather than throwing public appointments open? In short, I’ll give other parts of the country a sense of belonging in state affairs in response to critics after due consultations.
On the issue of not respecting court rulings, it would be addressed. My problem with this whole set-up is that democracy is just too slow for my liking. Under democracy, you need to get the nod of almost everyone before you can take any firm and concrete decision in the best interest of the nation. There is too much bureaucracy in the so-called democracy. During my first term in office, I recall that things were a lot faster and prompt when it comes to making decisions and riding the society of graft. Today, you need to pass through many formalities in the course of restoring sanity into the ailing system. What can I do other than to go-slow before they give me another title depicting that I’m a totalitarian and autocratic leader? It baffles me why people don’t see anything good in the way and manner that modern governments should be run.
Anyway, I have now decided to follow their crawling democracy. I’ll not kill myself. I’ll have to take it easy and run slowly with these nagging people. The wrong perception of my administration should change in the New Year. For me to realise all the above promises and turn a new leaf, I would have to put less emphasis on doing the bidding of the cabals for me to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people. I’ll need to act fast. My second tenure is gradually entering into another year. Time is running out. I need to do something about this power-drunk man leading a kitchen cabinet. I better tame the monster and wounded lion before he does further damage to my administration. I doubt whether the people would honestly believe that I can make independent decisions without input from this powerful fellow and other fellows lurking in and around the villa.
This power-hungry man simply fights everyone. My spouse is not spared. It is becoming messier by the day. I better wield my big stick before he puts our administration into a serious mess. A friend recently asked me whether the fellow is unofficially my deputy considering the low profile the real vice has been subjected to in the last few months. My wife is my wife and my vice is my vice. I better learn to start listening to her and stop the derogatory statement often churned at her. I have come to realise that she meant well for me and our country. The New Year would be a turning point for me by listening more to the wise counseling of my wife, and my vice, and pay little or no attention to the litany of sycophants beclouding and surrounding my sense of judgment.
Leaving the cabals matter or ‘kitchen cabinet’ for now, the much-talked-about high poverty in the land would be looked into. More people-friendly policies would be unfolded to reduce the burden and plight of the people. We’ll look into the possibility of reopening our borders. Though laudable, the closing of borders has not sufficiently stimulated the production of certain items on the priority list, as expected. Should the people then be subjected to double jeopardy? This issuing of visas to foreigners on arrival may even be stopped because of unseen and far security implications. Certainly, there’ll be no going back on the fight against graft, which is the main cornerstone of our government. I think we need to pause and take stocks of how far have we faired. I am not sure how sincere and objective is the criticism that our anti-corruption programme is selective. I believe our enemies are simply looking for a way to rubbish what we’re doing. Anyway, if it is for the sake of doing so, we need to review and restrategise our approaches; whether it’s true or not that perceived enemies of government that are targets of this dogged fight.
What has heavily dominated the media space is the hues and cry that people are being unnecessarily detained despite the subsisting court rulings. My headache with these so-called critics is that they don’t know what it means to be living with wicked people that are always ready to destabilise what we are doing without minding the security implications of their actions. I’m almost sure that if they were in my shoes, they’ll put their enemies in perpetual incarceration without damning the consequences. Maybe we’ll revisit their cases and give them reprieve? I hope if we do this, it won’t encourage others to take us for granted? Anyway, we would set them free and drop charges against then in the spirit of reconciliation in a brand New Year.
More importantly, I’ll communicate better with people. I’ll be involved in active engagement with the citizens, to feel their pulse and hear directly from the horse’s mouth. This is no time for propaganda because the truth must always be told. This, I’ll tell all my aides. I’ll lay the cards before the populace amid speculations of a third term agenda and other sundry issues. I’ll be empathic with the people. In the New Year, I’ll put smiles on the faces of the people and make the nation a better place to live in. This is my pledge and resolution to the people as the New Year kicks off!
Kupoluyi writes from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta.