Akinwumi Adesina, Buba Marwa — Presidency 2023 List, by Fredrick Nwabufo
Nigeria has no shortage of real leaders. The country’s diversity and generous human resources provide an unlimited pool of talents, skills, abilities and character. Nigeria is blessed with everything a nation needs to be a common thread in the galaxy of nations. But why do the misfits end up in the cockpit here? The recruitment process has a bias for ethnic and religious emotionality. The enrollment process is the catch – basically.
The political recruitment process at party level is fatally flawed. Candidates for election are selected not on the basis of their character, background, ability and verifiable track record, but on the basis of where they represent, where they worship and how much they have to bribe those in charge. and party delegates – in the case of indirect selection.
Our party-level recruitment process seldom features disciplined and competent people for elections. In fact, people with the semblance of ability are more planted as fellow travelers to badly flawed standard bearers. Our policy does not emphasize ability, competence, qualifications, integrity, expansiveness, temperance and compassion as core values of leadership, but rather emphasizes geography and l religious identity of power.
We must boldly depart from this path. Nigeria needs healing. 2023 should be for national healing; bridge the chasm and forge new bonds. As I said in “Nigeria needs a Nigerian president in 2023 – no Igbo, Hausa or Yoruba”, the country needs a doctor to heal the country in 2023, and he has need a carpenter. He also needs a builder and an architect to better rebuild the country. He needs an all-in-one chair. Yes, Nigeria needs to be healed from six years of hatred, recriminations and animosity.
We need to get it right in 2023, lest we embark on yet another torturous journey through the wayward wilderness.
So I made my own list of five Nigerians who I think can keep Nigeria out of the storm. These people are distinguished by their integrity, excellence in leadership and brilliance. This list is by no means definitive, but it opens up possibilities of what could be and should be if we are to come out of the doldrums. Enough of the predatory politics and recycling of the same political class.
Adesina is the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB). He was first elected President of the Bank in 2015 and re-elected in 2020. He is an outstanding economist. He obtained a BA (first class) in agricultural economics from the University of Ife in 1981. He then obtained a doctorate in agricultural economics from Purdue University in the United States. He has won numerous awards and received worldwide recognition and nominations. He also has a strong track record of integrity and leadership. He entered the accounts of most Nigerians when he was appointed Minister of Agriculture in 2011 by former President Goodluck Jonathan. He was named “African Man of the Year” by Forbes for his reforms in the agricultural sector. He is widely regarded as one of the best agriculture ministers Nigeria has ever had. No other Minister of Agriculture after him comes close to the performance meter. I frantically checked all the dirt on Adesina, but couldn’t find any. He has no corruption case in Nigeria or elsewhere.
Adesina is not a politician. The odds may be stacked against him because he is not in the mold of the wheel-dealer politician. But it is heartwarming that its excellence has not gone unnoticed. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo is said to be a “backing for the drums” for Adesina to compete in the 2023 presidential race. Adesina is 61 and in 2023 he will be 63 — still in a good age bracket.
Mohammed is the Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations. She was appointed Minister of the Environment by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 – but she left the post to take up the post at the UN. Mohammed is one of the lodestars of Nigeria. If Nigerians want to break with everyday life, then Mohammed will be that elixir that will give life to the nation. She is known in international circles and has been acclaimed around the world for her work on the environment, education, gender inclusion and the SDGs. She has no instances of corruption and her leadership style would conform to the 21st century. She is 60 years old and will be 62 in 2023. Although she comes from a conservative and patriarchal society, the odds are against her; she has the sophistication and character to rule Nigeria at this time. Can we give women a chance in 2023?
Okonjo-Iweala is perhaps Nigeria’s most decorated economist. Her accomplishments are unmatched by any Nigerian finance minister before and after her. She is the first woman and the first African to lead the World Trade Organization (WTO) as Director General. She became DG of the WTO after a very competitive process. Global leadership is chaotic with a barrage of warring interests. I believe Okonjo-Iweala can handle Nigeria with all of its complexities based on his track record. She was once the coordinating minister of the economy, and it is obvious that with the current state of the economy, her time was a golden age. Nigeria needs a good manager of the economy. Okonjo-Iweala is 67 and will be 69 in 2023. Although in Nigeria’s very murky politics, the likes of Okonjo-Iweala do not thrive, we can always chart a different course. After all, isn’t 2023 to break the cycle and break with the old order?
MOHAMMED BOUBA MARWA
Buba Marwa, president of NDLEA and retired army general, is an accomplished administrator. He holds a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard. As governor of the former Borno state, he introduced the country’s first joint military patrol, codenamed “Operation Zaki”, to combat banditry and other forms of crime in the north. Other states soon followed his new example. As governor of Lagos, he tackled insecurity with “Operation Sweep”, set up a bitumen plant in the state; rehabilitated boys in the area by creating skill centers and providing grants to start bakeries, furniture, sewing and other businesses. He also handled ethnic differences in Lagos very well. His stewardship in Lagos remains a subject of legends and tales passed down from generation to generation. Marwa is a politician and member of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Even though he’s from the north, I think Marwa can handle Nigeria’s diversity and effectively tackle insecurity.
Osinbajo is a good gentleman; a sophisticated politician. He is cerebral, competent, temperate and disciplined. He is an example of what the avant-garde Nigerian politician should be. But an albatross hangs around Osinbajo’s neck. He shares the failures of the current administration and has taken a big boost in the public eye. He is appointed where administration falters, but not where it succeeds. Being the mastermind of the presidency, Nigerians had high expectations of him. Osinbajo will have to work to dismantle the web around his character. But I believe he will be a president, with seriousness and character, for Nigeria.
by Fredrick Nwabufo; Nwabufo is a journalist and writer
Twitter / Facebook / Instagram: @FredrickNwabufo