By Luqman Soliu
Now that election is getting nearer our people have started campaigning again and the prominent of this electioneering is the feature of old faces. Is it a curse that we must be recycling our leaders or their children? What is the fate of those of us that are educated but don’t belong to these erstwhile leaders’ family? Is there any sign or hope that we shall ever occupy any significant posts? Well, I may not be politically-inclined for now but what about those endowed with the charisma but are prevented by these cabals who continually cage us in their political nest. If Nigeria is a country with more than one hundred and fifty (150) million people and those above age 18 are more than 60% of this figure, this means that more than ninety (90) million people are above voting age of eighteen (18) years in Nigeria. If among this populace, half (45 million) is more than thirty years of age which is the minimum number of age required by the Constitution for anyone to contest elections in the country, how many people in the whole of the country would occupy posts among the millions of people within eight years if politicians are allowed two terms?
Now, to understand the issues let us examine the constitutional provisions as regard the age for various positions. The constitution as regards House of Representatives as contained in Section 65(b) prescribes 30 years as minimum age for election of a member into the house while Section 65(a) prescribe 35 years for the senate. Similarly, Section 106(b) prescribes 30 years for election of a member into state house of Assembly while Section 77 (b) prescribes 35 years for a candidate to be elected governor and section 131(b) prescribes 40 years for a candidate to qualify to contest for presidency. Meanwhile, the average lifespan for most citizens in Nigeria nowadays is sixty-five (65) years and if someone could occupy a post or another since he clocks 30 years tills he dies and other people are in the same age group, don’t you guess the minute fraction of the whole population will perpetually rule us while the same set of people would continue to be servants to the enigmas? If a president, 36 governors, 774 chairmen, 109 senators and 360 honourables in the federal House of Representatives, state assembly honourables, councillors, commissioners, advisers, ambassadors, etc that could not exceed 10,000 in all now recycle themselves into power, are we not bound to be perpetually enslaved?
When will it be my turn or your turn to become leaders even if qualified in all ramifications except we insist anyone that has occupied a post should vacate for others and find something else done? If politics is the same as activism which people like Gani fawehinmi laboured for, would our people be struggling and killing themselves over that? It is obvious, they siphon public funds in politics that is why they are bent to win at all cost whereas in activism one spend his wealth, time and energy.
It is high time Nigerians started abhorring two-term syndrome. After all, late General R. Murtala Mohammed remained the best leader the country had ever produced despite using just six months and some days. If he could achieve such a feat within a short period although eliminated gruesomely by the wicked souls and our current leaders could not beat his record within four years, then there is no basis of even supporting our current leaders to complete their four year tenure let alone promoting them for second term. What other wonder did Fashola perform in Lagos during his second term if not exacerbate people’s living conditions? At least, those motorists plying Lekki/Ajah Road would testify to the extortion on the roads by the agents of government while Lagos state university students who were hitherto paying just N25,000 and were later made to pay N250,000 immediately Fashola secured his second term would be in the best position to narrate their experience.
Apart from crisis and a costly plane Amaechi bought for Rivers government, which other achievements did he bring to Rivers people during his second term? Babangida Aliyu was an epitome of selfless service in his first term but his second term was nothing but a pay time to his cronies. Jonah Jang of Plateau was only successful during his second term at dividing governors’ forum and supervising ethnic cleansing in his state while Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom state only succeeded at supervising PDP road to extinction as the PDP governors’ chairman that could not prevent defection of aggrieved members to the opposition parties.
Olusegun Mimiko is another example of fraudulent administration that embarks mainly on three millennium schools for almost three years. The state was standstill until a year to his second term election that he started construction of roads and hospitals and once he secured the second term, the pace of his landmark achievement has been overtaken by moribund development. Even the former Ekiti state governor, Ayo Fayose, who ought to be resting in prison for hiring fowls for his fake poultry project commissioning is still contesting for Ekiti gubernatorial election. The case is not different in Osun State where thugs and murderers are now the major contenders in major elections. What an unfortunate society with throngs of armed robbers as politicians!
Now, our ex-convict and acquitted former port authority chairman is still warming up for another appointment after defrauding the agency of more than N53billion even when Mr. fix-it that could not fix just a road with billions of naira allocated to his ministry while he was Minister of Works now heads the board of trustees of the national ruling party for the second time. Is it not a curse that the present rulers would continually rule us and or be substituted by their children and relations? They bar us from contesting election while below the age of 30 years whereas majority of them assumed national leadership at age 23 and 25 years and they are yet to quit the stage for the younger generation. These same sets of power mongers that have turned themselves to cabals and power brokers now intimidate us with their insistence to remain in power. How many are these cabals? Are they as many as the downtrodden? Can these oppressors defeat the oppressed if the oppressed decided to revenge? Is it not the time for the oppressed to resist the attempt to be enslaved forever by these cabals? Attempt of some former leaders that had occupied posts in the country without any impact on their people to contest again is an affront on the electorates’ intelligence.
Well, I acknowledge the fact that the rampaging youths that have constituted threats to orderliness, peace and progress of the country are mostly errand boys for these oppressive politicians and that this hard-hitting message might not have made majority to withdraw their support for the big men and see whether the big men can survive without them. Nonetheless, it is my candid believe that if youths clamouring for second term of our politicians could reason and withdraw their support for them, a new chapter in the political history and governance of our country would be opened whereby youths would determine those that should contest or not. Instead of singing praising for another person’s second time, why not promote yourself or another person for a better tomorrow? Or is it a curse that you must always serve people while none serve you? No wonder, they keep mortgaging the future of our youths without recourse to the needs of the masses. If Amosun of Ogun state that promised 50% reduction in school fees before his assumption of office could fail to redeem the promise, you should expect nothing than geometric increment in fees should he secure a second term.
Luqman Soliu is on firstname.lastname@example.org