Posted by News Express | 7 November 2020 | 789 times
The tumultuous United States presidential election has come and gone and somebody has been declared winner. But the question is, were the two major contestants in the election, Donald Trump and Joe Biden, the best that a country of more than three hundred million people have got? The answer is an obvious no. The fact is that we are in a world whereby the worst is ruling the best. That is why a school of thought stated that the world is not ruled by skills and competences, but rather by hypes and gestures.
During the run-up to the 2008 United States Presidential Election that had Barack Obama of the Democratic Party and Senator John McCain of the Republican Party as candidates, I was with an American Professor of Economics, one of the best in the world.
When he saw the candidates that emerged from the two dominant parties, he exclaimed: “Is this the best that America has got? We are, indeed, in super trouble, no matter who wins the election, because none of them has what it takes upstairs to lead the United States at this critical period.”
That was immediately after George Bush Jnr. had bungled the economy of the United States just to remove Saddam Hussain of Iraq from office.
The Professor had used 30 minutes to give me in clear detail, the challenges confronting his country and ways out of them. I was highly impressed with his indebt knowledge that I felt that any American, could easily run for the office of the President of the United States based on what he told me and make the country great again.
They were so simple and very practical. In fact, you can even feel them. It was nothing but the ABCs of how to make America great again, after Bush had brought the country’s economy to grand zero.
Then, I had asked him the only question I could think of at that point in time.
“Prof, since you know all this about governance, why don’t you go into politics?”
He shook his head and said what most knowledgeable people in the world say, “No, no, I’m not cut out for politics. I don’t have the balls for the game.”
I became a bit disappointed. Then, why do you lament over the capacity or content of those who have the balls for it? I had thought within myself.
That is the reality. The best brains or the most skillful hardly make it to the highest political offices in the world, even when it is a fact that no nation can develop beyond its scholarship. The reason for this is because, apart from stewing in relative obscurity, that is locked up in classrooms and research centers, they usually lack the vital tool to push themselves through which is confidence.
Rather, it is the mediocrity with large doses of confidence that do occupy the highest political offices in the world. For those who are disappointed about the mental capacity of those who are ruling and would continue to rule the world, they should understand that the world does not run on skills and competences, but rather on hypes and gestures.
That is what made Barack Obama and Donald Trump, Presidents of the United States of America. That is what made Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister of Britain. That is what made Vladmir Putin, the Prime Minister of Russia, that is what made Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria- Hypes and gestures and never skills and competences. It is those who shout the loudest that are heard. It is those who are always around that get noticed. It is those who retail their tales the most that people get connected with, even if their tales are high-sounding but meaningless or they are talking nonsense.
So, why the most skillful and most competent remain dedicated to their tasks, researches, studies, and what have you, they lose public relations. The mediocrity, whose only tool of trade is confidence take advantage of this shortcoming on the part of the intelligentsia to impress themselves on the minds of the people as messiahs that even when the best brains wake up and want to aspire for any office, they would be seen as outsiders or even interlopers by the populace.
In most countries of the world, the youths are lamenting of failure on the part of its leadership. The youths are feeling discouraged, disillusioned and disenchanted by its leadership.
However, no serious efforts are being made by the youths to turn the tide. For instance, recently Nigerian youths took to the streets to protest against Police brutality and bad leadership. They lamented hunger, unemployment and not been given opportunity to contribute to the leadership of the country as old, tired and retired public officers are been recycled.
However, in the 2019 Nigeria`s presidential election, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presented two tested entrepreneurs and wealth creators in the persons of Alhaji Atiku Abukakar and Peter Obi. The best presidential and vice presidential candidates in the history of Nigeria's democracy. Rather than going for them, the youths went for repackaged and hyped presidential and vice presidential candidates. They went for a “changed democrat,” as if what it takes to become a democrat is to remove one cloth and put on another.
But now as the saying goes, the chicken has come to roost. The flake has fallen off from their eyes and they realized that in the last two presidential elections, they had chased style rather than substance. They had realized that they went for hype and gesture, rather than skill and competence.
There is no doubt that youths make up over 70 per cent of Nigeria`s population, so they have what it takes to determine who leads the country.
Recently the youths demonstrated their potential by shutting down the whole country in a protest that made the almighty federal government that believes it could do anything and “nothing would happen,” panicking.
In the same vein, they could also change the narrative of leadership in the country by making sure that skilled and competent people are being elected into public offices, rather than people who want to go into political office through hypes and gestures.
ABOUT THE COLUMNIST
Peter Anosike is a well-known journalist and development economist.
His book, Dangote’s Ten Commandments on Money (Lessons on How to Make Money from One of the World’s Richest Men), was rated as one of the best development books in the world by Wall Street Journal and FORBES. The book has been adopted as a workbook for grooming entrepreneurs by the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN). Anosike’s other of his books include, How To Be The Best You Can Be and Look Forward and Lean Less On Your Past – all trending in Smashwords along with Dangote’s Ten Commandment on Money and How To Be The Best You Can Be. You can follow him on Facebook and Linkedin.
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