Posted by News Express | 23 March 2015 | 3,898 times
Quite frankly I have come to the painful realisation that I am not electable and cannot and should not allow myself to continue to be deceived by political jobbers who merely want to use me for their own selfish ends.
I have checked through my record in office, and even by my own reckoning I have performed woefully and by far below expectation. This is not entirely my fault though; the man who pushed me into this position only wanted anyone who would perform below his own ridiculous record and would now say that he was a champion. The two successors he lined up to occupy the seat after his tenure were certainly no match for his own sharp practices and political devilry.
Now the race is on, and all political parties are warming up to have a shot at this exalted position I am holding and all sorts of gimmicks are being put into play. Even though I have put more money into the race than all the resources of my competitors combined, history has shown that money alone does not win elections. History has also shown that rigging can only take place where a candidate is popular to some extent. Outright rigging cannot take place in a hostile constituency. I also know that any one that rigs himself into office this time around will not live to relish his ‘victory’.
Unfortunately for me, I have a knack for talking before thinking, resulting in several avoidable and costly gaffes. When terrorism first reared its head, I jumped to the micro-phone and announced to the world that I knew the people behind the terrorist act. In fact, I said that they were ‘my people’. What led me into making such a terrible blunder, I still cannot fathom. And I was not under the influence of intoxicating alcohol.
At many international forums, I usually perform woefully to the consternation of the world audience and to the embarrassment of my fellow country men and women at home and in the Diaspora. I still cannot get myself up to understanding the nuances of a statesman. Honestly, I have given up on that score.
Corruption has become one huge industry under my administration. It is simply beyond words. Before I became the No. 1 citizen there used to be corruption and stealing of public funds. There was bribery. There was nepotism. But since my ascendancy, all these ills have assumed gargantuan proportions. Public officers under my watch are no longer stealing; they are seriously looting the treasury. Incidents of several billion dollars and other currencies taking flight have become commonplace.
Arrests are routinely made at almost all the world major airports of individuals connected with government ferrying humongous sums of money across the borders. The impunity and recklessness of public officials have become unspeakable. And since the buck stops at my table, I am unfortunately made the scapegoat.
I have other personal challenges, especially domestic, which I cannot mention in this my open letter to fellow country men and women. But I am sure everybody knows how many times I have been embarrassed by home-made circus shows. Quite unfortunate.
I need not talk about the over-flogged issues of mass unemployment and high incidents of crimes. Armed robbery, kidnapping, extortion, and assassinations are sky high while corresponding cases of rape, fraud, and child stealing are also on the rise. Insecurity has therefore become the highest problem confronting our country, and I have not been able to respond adequately and effectively to these glaring challenges.
There are millions of children of school age who are out of school and are left wandering in the streets and making themselves unwilling recruits to the army of miscreants, vagabonds and vagrants. They are ready tools in the hands of terrorists.
Those who knew me before I rose to my present level know that I am a very simple, easy going and decent individual. I was not cut out for the roughness of the Nigerian politics or the vulgarity of Nigerian public life. It is therefore not my fault or making if I am not able to cope with the prevailing life style of Nigerian politicians or public office holders.
I am very well aware that a good number of my ministers and other political appointees have grown wings and have become untouchable. I regret to say that such erring individuals shall continue to enjoy their impunity and recklessness as long as I am in office [even if not in power].
It is unfortunate that I have not been able to provide needed leadership and have failed to galvanise the people in the way historic world leaders have done. I must confess that I feel highly embarrassed when I see adverts put up by political jobbers comparing me with legendary Mandela or the first class political engineers in Singapore, Malaysia, China and the US. I beg, I did not ask them to insult the well earned stature of such leaders by comparing them with Lilliputians!
I make no pretences that I am in any way near the leader Nigeria requires at this time. But as politicians, my self-seeking supporters will continue to make exaggerated claims for me and continue to dress me in borrowed clothes. As some of my friends say in Pidgin English, ‘I know my weight.’
I knew that the billions stacked away for elections must be spent. And all those whose mouths were already salivating did come up with different political games so that their already bulging pockets may burst. Please do not hold me responsible for the hundreds of faceless groups which put up advertisements drumming up support for my candidature. They were only worshipping the god that watered their bread.
I have done my calculations and honestly, I refuse to be hoodwinked or deceived. I know that based on the realities of the political arithmetic on ground there is no magic that can be performed to make me win in a fair free and credible election. I know it. I have warned my radio-TV-newspaper politicians in Lagos to stop deceiving me. I told them: If you are broke, just tell me in plain language that you are broke. Stop feeding me with lies about some bogus signatures collected from ghosts!’
I must thank God that I have come this far in life without lifting a finger. God has been extremely kind to me and my wife. He has elevated us beyond imaginable heights.
This same I have shaken hands with some of the most powerful men and women on planet earth. I have dined and wined with the Queen of England. I have sat side by side with President Obama. I have appeared on CNN. This same me!
I will be glad to welcome any compatriot to my village after the Elections. I feel proud that I did put up a good show even if it was in the dying minutes of my administration.
My advisers instructed me to throw money blindly at people and honestly, the treasury would have stories to tell.
And I learnt a lesson I will never forget: Nigerians know how to rake money from foolish politicians. They know they would not vote for you but they continue to encourage you all the same to part with your money. And as they say: It is our legitimate share of the national cake.
I am not electable. And I am sensible enough to know that.
Honestly, there is God.
•Chief Tola Adeniyi (shown in photo) is a former Managing Director of Daily Times of Nigeria. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org
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