May 29th, 2015. A reminder of the transient nature of power
It's a new dawn. The nation is buzzing - so the citizens and understandably so. Something spectacular has happened, Mohammadu Buhari has assumed the mantle of leadership in this great country - Nigeria. That ours survived doomsday predictions is enough to generate euphoria. I aligned with the view that the political transition which threw in Buhari is unique, those who understands the intricacies of power in Africa will find no difficulty accepting this position. Jonathan Goodluck is out, Mohammadu Buhari is in. Who would've predicted that a ruling party in Nigeria would loose elections to an opposition party? This is indeed new in our political experience and surely a new lexicon in our political dictionary, but certainly one that is positive. Supposedly powerful individuals in Nigeria have seen their power castles crumpled before our very eyes, all because our people have returned to their proper position of being bosses. That which has hitherto subjugated the people and allowed pyramids of power to exist against their wish is now dismantled. In the April 2015 elections, a sitting president lost his reelection bid, governors lost senate bids, anointed candidates failed woefully, the rich and powerful could not influence the process to have their way. Power changed hands - thus reminds of a saying 'you would not be the first nor the last' meaning every position of power and authority ultimately has a start and an expiry date.
In all this, there has been winners and losers but one thing remains clear to me. Power is transient. The April 2015 elections have proved this point. Events around the world of late is a testament to the fact that power is evanescent. There has been a gradual revolution upstaging the status quo, with strong pyramids of power fast declining. Pursuers have become the pursued. Those in-charge of security agents are now afraid of this same security agents. The table has turned. Think of the Arab Spring in 2010. European members state have seen rapid changes of government - in most cases the people refusing to give a clear majority to established political parties. In the United States of America, while Democrats control the Executive arm of government, the senate and congress is controlled by the Republicans. Even the corporate world have seen decline in their hold to power. Recent developments such as mobility in world population and the ease of sourcing and sharing information through the Internet have contributed greatly in making fragile powerful empires - the people are becoming more assertive against interest of tyrannical leanings. Oppressive use of authority is no longer fashionable.The transience of power should make it a cherished commodity, it should serve as limit to tendencies for negative usage. It is a reminder that no matter how powerful you are today, it does not last forever.
Those repositories of power in Nigeria, post May 29th 2015, must learn something about the inherent nature of power and influence - it is short lived. The positive exercise of power should be pursued through all legitimate means. When the electorates give a mandate, it is expected that this converts to common good. The different sources of power such as referent power, legitimate power, expert, reward, coercive, and informational powers, should be harnessed to provide excellent leadership that seek the good of the mandate givers. Those times are fast gone, and for good, where the political elites only seek for the authority but not the responsibility aspects of power. The sole purpose of power should be for positive influence - it should be used to promote the good of others. There should be a set of principles which govern the use of power that have been freely given to you to check the pitfalls of abuse - self-interest must be balanced against the interest of common good and valued goals should be chased.
As rightly defined by situational management "Power is the potential you have to get things done or to make them happen". Your power, that is your potential— it derives from many sources: 'expertise, experience, knowledge, reputation, position, perhaps sometimes your personality'. You have been entrusted through the electoral system the privilege to use a mix of these power sources for positive influence. Power is the tool that enables you to change for good every aspect that depends on you. Nigeria needs an urgent turnaround in all areas of the national life. Corruption is endemic, basic citizenship is lacking, ineffective civil service, institutional mediocrity, judicial ineptitude, security challenges, over-reliance on oil, poor management of resources amongst other ills. We definitely cannot continue this way, it should not be business as usual - things have to change and the Nigerian electorates have sent a clear indication of intent during the 2015 elections.
Power. How transient, how brief, how short. Let the wise learn!