It’s search for president, not comedy talent hunt by Crusoe Osagie
Qries Girl in a jacket

It’s search for president, not comedy talent hunt by Crusoe Osagie

Nigeria and Nigerians have a certain comic attribute which many times is an asset and other times, an incredible liability. A peep into the creative industry gives insight into how well Nigerians can transform situations that annihilate other nations not just into jest and entertainment but actually earn a living doing so.

This capacity for comic relief and genius for intelligently making light of terrible situations has created a livelihood for the teeming Nigerian youth betrayed by a nation whose leadership has failed to transform its material endowments into a massive engine that creates wealth and opportunities for its people.

We have numerous young musical artists who whimsically shut down the O2 arena in London and such like venues with their world-class acts. Then, there are comedians who can literally hijack your attention for hours once you stumble on their skits on social media. I could go on and say more about how the Nigerian youth has used the lemon they have been dealt by the nation’s rudderless political leadership to make delicious lemonade but that is not exactly the objective of this piece.

Assuming that at least one of the many Nigerian political jesters junketing the length and breadth of Nigeria’s extensive ethnographical space, seeking to be candidates of their political parties, en route to the Aso Rock Villa, would read this piece, they need to realise that selecting a president for a country as distressed as Nigeria currently is should not be reduced to a comedy talent hunt. We have a crisis on our hands. We are at war with unrelenting insurgents in the north and across all of Nigeria’s forest belts.

The economy is in shambles. The central bank has artificially held the slide of the nation’s legal tender at around N600 to a dollar. Anyone with fundamental training in economics knows that if the naira is allowed to trade freely, it will be no less than about N1,000 to a dollar. The healthcare industry where Nigeria had a bank of extremely intelligent professionals trained with the nation’s hard-earned resources is being violently raped daily with doctors, nurses, dentists, optometrists, healthcare technicians, etc moving out of the country in droves in search of better practice and greener pastures.

To put this in proper perspective, I will use the situation in the local church where I fellowship; in the last 12 months or so, we have sent off not less than 50 families, many of whom have sold up all they had to their names and moved abroad. 80% of this number are families with healthcare professionals.

Nigeria is at crossroads. This is not like anything we have ever faced in all our years of existence. Unfortunately, the nature of individuals who have tossed their hats into the ring, seeking to lead Nigeria leave a lot to be desired and this shows clearly that the political class is either completely oblivious of the present Nigerian conundrum or like the Americans will say, ‘they don’t give a damn’.
The president Nigeria needs now is an astute leader, clearly above board. This is because apart from dealing with the tangible problems of insecurity, economic meltdown, unemployment, failed educational and healthcare systems among others, there is also the perception problem which is more subtle.

We need the world to take us seriously and that depends largely on the pedigree and outlook of the president we eventually choose. We can’t afford candidates whose only claim to power is their loquaciousness. We can’t afford a president who will need numerous economic advisers just because they lack rudimentary knowledge of how national and global economies work.

We need a president who will be polite, diplomatic and humane yet with a lot of guts to go against the establishment. We need a president with nothing to lose who is ready to die for Nigeria and Nigerians. Federal character is important, but not at such a time as this when doom is certain and imminent.

They say people get the leaders they deserve. Right from the primaries in the various political parties and the final elections, Nigerians, just like we showed our leaders through the #EndSARS protest who the actual holders of power are, let us put them in a chokehold till they give us the president who can and will halt this fatal drift.

Osagie is a concerned Nigerian citizen and special adviser to Governor Godwin Obaseki on media projects

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