THE NEXT PRESIDENT

By NBF News
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Who cares where the next president comes from? He could be an Igbira or Ijesha. Let him come from Portiskum of Patigi. Let him be from Isale Eko or Arochukwu. Who cares? I'm more concerned about what the next president will do, not where he comes from. Zoning has become a sore point and its proponents are acting like testy fools with toothache who won't go to a dentist. They are looking at the map instead of worrying about the catastrophe staring us in the face as a nation.

If we all have as much sense as God gave a goose, the zones we should be considering are not in the north or the south of this great country.

The real zones are political will, love for the country, moving the economy from the brink of collapse, retuning the country to its old glory and taking her to her seat in the comity of great nations. Our worry should be for and about the Nigeria we will bequeath to our children compared to the ones our fathers left for us. We should be zoning the 2011 presidency to the man who will not dance on the graves of the founding fathers while stashing away the family fortune in private numbered accounts in Switzerland. The next president should be our Moses , the one who leads us out of the land of bondage, for we have lived too long in the land of bondage.

We have groaned and moaned under taskmasters who increased our yokes every day. Like the Israelites, we have remained standing in Egypt in spite of our afflictions but it is time to leave the land of pains. It is time for Pharaoh to be brought to his knees along with his army. We need to zone the next four years to the man who will part the red sea and lead us to the land flowing with milk and honey. It does and should not matter whether the next president is from the west or east.

Even if the northern elders and the southern activists cannot agree on 2011, they can at least agree that things were better for us all 20 years ago. So why can't they come together , forget their selfish and parochial views which belong to the stone age and do what will benefit us all? Why should the people we look up to eat the yam along with the seedlings? What will they harvest next season if they gobble all up now? I thought grey hair means wisdom. Now, I'm not so sure. Maybe it is now a fashion accessory. Let's just move on, before I get angrier.

The next president is the one who will bring back the trains both for intra city and inter city transportation. We do not need a president who will spend four years signing meaningless agreements with the Chinese and Japanese on our rail lines. We are tired of paper work. We want the real thing. We do not want to be told any more tales by moonlight about how Okada riders are bad people and rough riders? Were we riding okadas in 1980 in the cities? Were we? Who will risk life and limbs if there are air-conditioned trains where you are served tea while reading your newspapers? Who wants to wear helmet on top of lace wig, fake or genuine? But we have had to live with unthinking leaders for years and like the Israelites in Egypt, we are finding ways to cope with our heavy yokes. Simply put, any man, Jew or Gentile, Ijaw or Fulani who cannot bring back the trains should not contest. We have specific needs and we intend to groan to God until He drowns Pharaoh in the Red Sea.

The next President must restore our peace of mind and conducive business environment by making the security of this nation top priority. We want to sleep with our two eyes closed once again. He must give us a world standard police with cops we respect, not the ones who dive inside gutters when kids throw firecrackers. We want police that patrol in helicopters. We want them to be paid like men and women who could lose their lives protecting others. If we continue to pay them peanuts they will continue to play monkey tricks on us. We want them to have the latest weapons and equipment. The next President must give us university-educated policemen, men who do not fraternize with murderers, robbers. We need policemen who will find murderers in days not the ones who sit on their hands for a decade mouthing ' we are still investigating'. And all cops, male and female, who rent out their weapons to robbers should face firing squad.

If we do not have policemen we can respect, we shall continue to throw squeezed N50 notes at them and robbers, kidnappers will move from being chief security officers of the states to commander-in-chief. They will move from robbing commercial banks to laying siege to the Central Bank. You think it's not possible? Did our fathers ever think in their wildest imagination that the day would come when 80-year-old men would be kidnapped for ransom and armed robbers would decide when banks open to customers? Whoever is not ready to secure our lives and properties should not impose himself on us. We do not care where he comes from. We are desperate and we want a President who has the political will to make a difference. We do not want a man who's afraid of kingpins. We do not want a man who'd be sponsored by 'çhairmen' of armed robbers association.

The church is supposed to be the house of God, a place of refuge and safety. But not any longer. It is now a place where hired killers do their business and you can't blame them. They know that we let our guards down in church and mosque. We believe angels are on guard. Even big men leave their security men outside when in church. The assassins are now sneaking in on God and killing in His presence. They know there would be no shoot-outs. They also know they will not be caught. Murderers have immunity in Nigeria. They are as big as governors and more powerful than the President. Assassins are self-employed, well-equipped professionals earning tax-free big bucks.

Kidnappers are also self-employed youths who have grown their businesses to a level where they now employ lawyers to negotiate ransom. They have evolved a system that works better than our security network. They have enormous powers and pay no tax. They are bigger than everybody and the fear of kidnappers' threats is the beginning of wisdom. If you doubt that, ask yourself why even governors pay ransom to retrieve their commissioners and come out to lie bare-faced that they didn't pay a dime. They have actually convinced themselves that we are fools. Why should we wake them up from their sleep?

What is important here is that the next President must be a man who will realise that poverty alleviation goes far beyond distributing 'keke Marwa', okada and sewing machines. How many graduates of mechanical engineering want to ride okada? How many political science graduates wants to ride (or is it drive) 'keke Marwa'? We need a man who has vision, a man who can relate unemployment level in Nigeria with Niger Delta militancy, kidnapping and bank robbery. We need a President who can distinguish between crimes by half-literates and those committed by desperate intelligent degree holders.

The next President must be one who'll tackle unemployment intelligently. Not one who appoints heads of agencies based on how much confusing terminologies and bright papers they can string together. Unemployment is as much a national emergency as our electricity headache (it is now migraine moving steadily towards brain tumour). For as long as there are intelligent but unemployed resourceful young men and women out there, there will always be murder in the cathedral. It is party chieftain today, what says it won't be a governor tomorrow? I don't want to imagine how Nigeria will face the world if our President is kidnapped. You think it can never happen? I never thought the day would arrive when kidnappers would seize a state and banks would close down for five days.

Have you heard that people now leave the church if they find a politician worshipping with them? Who wants to get caught in the hail of bullets meant for do-or-die politicians? And if we don't get a man who can fix that, soon we'd all be worshipping in our sitting rooms and leaving our pastors and politicians to use the churches. Abi? This country is endowed enough to fight unemployment and win. We simply have had leaders who either have no political will or see nothing wrong with unemployment. This is a country like no other. We have soil that can grow anything , including Indian hemp. We are not prone to tsunami or earthquake though we court floods. Our tourism potentials are uncommon but we are blind to them.

What is wrong with having federal farms? Why can't we have state farms? We do not need rocket scientists to set them up. We have enough unemployed graduates of food technology and agricultural science and animal science sweeping the streets of New York and malls of Value Mart and Primark abroad. We have land. We have oil money. We have personnel. How come we are poor, hungry and importing beans and onions?

Are all presidential aspirants reading this?