By Abdullahi Musa
It is apparent, or it is possible, that after a certain period in our maturity trajectory, we lose our ability to hero-worship. We are no longer swayed by rhetoric, we have heard it all. A fiery visionary, who may want us to bid farewell to our senses, in order to be laced with explosives, to face certain death, while he lives on to carry on the good works, finds in our mind, an immovable, granite wall, which he cannot penetrate.
Not so with the young. Life to them is about daring, about vision, about achieving the impossible. Above all, about risk-taking. It is about heroism, about peer acclaim, about disregard of safety, about damning consequences. It is about never pausing, about series of explosions, the loudness of bangs, perpetual highs, if you so wish. There is something about Modi. I saw a picture of a hall where Modi was addressing Indians when he visited Australia. There was ecstasy in their faces. Arms were being thrown up in the air out of pure joy. A people in perfect harmony with their leader. I do not know for how long that honeymoon will last, nor do I care. After all I am not an Indian. What appeals to me from that scene is that for you to lead properly, you must be connected to the people you are leading.
As for Putin, I am intrigued by the West’s demonisation of him. One, Putin is not an Asian, like Modi or Xi or of China. He is of the same race as Cameron and Merkel. He is unlike Obama, who claims to be black while he cannot be; particularly in his actions. He cannot improve the lot of blacks in America, neither can he take black nations out of their quagmire. He is a slave, installed to do the bidding of white America: to act out its prejudices, however vile. Putin is reviled by the West because he stands between them and control of Russia and its former constituent parts. He refuses to be a Gorbachev. The thorny issue between them is Ukraine and Cremia. He is accused of annexing Cremia, of wanting to turn back the clock. Using lenses other than that of the West, you can see that he refuses to be dictated to by USA and Britain. It is just like a rapist being perplexed why his victim should not simply surrender her sovereignty over her body with equanimity.
I looked at the two leaders in that picture as unique human beings: each standing up for something in relation to his country. There is an India, there is a Russia. There is no Nigeria in the context you define Russia or Nigeria. Russians are not lucky though. They are being targeted, isolated. India is being wooed. Putin is resisting what he calls as the Iron Curtain that is being wound around him. How far he can escape it depends upon the will of his people, particularly the elites. Many would prefer to follow the new masters, safeguard their ways of life, even though their country would be the equivalent of a colony.
That intimate discussion between Putin and Modi showed two leaders who have countries to govern. Russia is, to among other things, build sophisticated helicopters in India. There are also chain of nuclear reactors there. Such kind of talk cannot happen between Modi and Jonathan of Nigeria. Jonathan has nothing to offer but oil. That oil is not the handiwork of any person living or dead.
Is it luck that builds nations like Russia or India? Is it luck that shapes one to be a Modi or Putin? I learned that Modi does not have a wife. India is spared of the ridicule of unelected wife deciding who becomes the governor of which state. There are, I believe, genes at play in a person’s identity and actions. Inspite of numerous examples to emulate, many of us cannot achieve greatness. Puny mortals eking out a living on daily bases do not aspire to be great. But any person who finds themselves in power ought to. In the very least, try to be better than those they are leading. In our terrain, they choose to be more a based. Mere stealing, according to someone’s criminal procedure code, is not condemned, neither should it be tried in a court of law. Such a person therefore surrounds himself with mere thieves. We are doomed, apparently, because we cannot have as leaders those we can look up to. Our leaders are mere thieves! How can we be upright?
Abdullahi Musa via firstname.lastname@example.org