It is clearly an understatement to say that Nigerians are impoverished consequence of being badly governed by corrupt, inept and wicked political elite. The natural resources of the country has been cornered by less than 10,000 politicians who regularly consume more than 80 per cent of our annual revenue in the form of salaries, allowances, inflated contracts and various fraud schemes. In his contribution to the ongoing debate on the need to restructure the federation, Rev Chris Okotie in his widely circulated letter, he called for the setting up of a government of national reconciliation and reconstruction.

He declared: “Government of National Reconciliation And Reconstruction is the mechanical instrumentality for the crystallization of the new Nigeria of our dreams. It would be predicated on a new concept of aboriginal democracy. Our current democracy has been hijacked by elitism, mysticism and Satanism. Aboriginal democracy will focus on cultural historicity, evolutional modernity and global relativity as the necessary ingredients of our evolutional political indigenisation. Under this system, the current legislature would merge with the judiciary to create a unique judicature that administers justice and shares the enactment of legislative responsibilities with the Presidency. This would save us the huge cost of running the National Assembly and obviate all the paralyzing debates that often stalled the passage of bills”.

Nigeria is now in the abyss; our vibrant, able-bodied youth are all over the place roaming the wildness of lack, joblessness, privation, ignorance, uncertainty. These truly are uncommon times. This nation is now in want of genuine leaders, uncommon folks who can pull us out of the ditch we certainly can’t expect the present system to produce such a leader, unless we restructure.

How can a nation so endowed with human and natural resources so deficient in quality, patriotic leadership? That’s a question begging for answers. This is a question that has defied answer since 1960 when we became independent. Nigeria is suffering because of our predilection for enthroning leaders based on religious or ethnic affiliations and other bizarre considerations.

Many of our past leaders have been “reluctant or lucky leaders” who were begged to take the power mantle because of accidental vacancies in the presidential villa. Thus accidental leaders, lacking in competence, talent, training or natural endowments to lead a complex, multi-ethnic and diverse people like us have regularly driven this nation into catastrophic accidents. This is the bane of Nigeria.

As the 2019 presidential beckons, youth of this country should realize that we are facing uncommon challenges and only uncommon leaders can lead this country to the promise land. They must rise to the challenge.

Such a leader must have prepared for the job at whatever level of leadership through quality, education, sound knowledge of what is to be done and the, ability to galvanize the people into positive action to solve problems realistically. Only sacrificial leadership can achieve this goal.

Again let’s hear Rev. Okotie: “I am fully persuaded that Nigeria needs a man who is credible, dependable and trustworthy. A God-fearing man who is embroidered with compassion and love for country, a man who will be readily accepted as a symbol of national unity, who can bring genuine reconciliation and guarantee peace and tranquillity in our nation; a man who is completely insulated from the variegated conflicts that mark the antecedents of our major political actors, a man who can apply the principles of malice towards none and charity for all; who can invoke a Pan-Nigerian philosophy that rejects the partisan provincialism of finger pointing at this time when Nigeria is threatened by existential adversaries; a man with the requisite intellectual capacity and moral perpendicularity”. That’s on point.

We need leaders who can steer us away from the subsisting sharing mentality to the zeal to create wealth, and distribute it in an equitable manner. And it should not matter at all where they are born, their ethnic, religious identities or political philosophies. All we need are patriotic leaders with strong pan-Nigeria outlook. My ideas of uncommon leaders are people who are honest, anxious to make a difference in their generation with a legacy of life-changing projects that the world would be proud of.

Certain things must be done to move Nigeria forward. We must remove federal character, religious and ethnic affiliations, and any known restrictions that promote mediocrity above merit in the name of ethnic balancing, from our constitution. There must be gender equality and opportunity to advance for the physically challenged in our society. We do not need bloated national assembly. A slim, unicameral legislature with just 100 members who work on part–time basis with sitting allowance as their only compensation is all we need.

– Shefiu Hammed wrote from Kaduna.