GENERAL Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida (IBB), the self acclaimed evil genius, on April, 1993, said, and I quote: “We will hand over, but, while we don’t know those who will succeed us, we know those who will not succeed us.”
He said this in preparatory to the June 12, 1993 presidential election. The election held as scheduled. IBB handed over, but not to the acclaimed winner, M.K.O Abiola, popularly believed to have “won” the election said to be the freest and fairest in Nigeria till that time. All is now history!
Now, we are on the march again! The question I’m raising here is not whether Buhari will win or not in the 2019 presidential election. The question is, who is the likely successor of Buhari? And those who should not succeed him. It is 10 months to the February 2019 presidential election, we are not seeing yet anyone talking of, or writing about, “this is a credible candidate…” all we are hearing reading is “why Buhari shouldn’t recontest.”
A pointer to who should not succeed Buhari… I mentioned something about “integrity” the other time… In 2016, David Cameron, the then British Prime Minister, briefing Queen Elizabeth about the anti-corruption summit which was to hold in London, said and I quote: “We’ve got some leaders of some fantastically corrupt countries coming to Britain… Nigeria and Afghanistan, possibly the two most corrupt countries in the world.”
Joined in the conversation was the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who quickly interjected: “But this particular president (referring to Buhari) is not corrupt… he is trying very hard.”
Now, we may agree or disagree with Welby, everyone to his or her own opinion, but here, we can see three world leaders discussing, the Queen, a monarch (listening to trusted ones to shape her opinion), Cameron, a political leader expressing his views on what he knew about Nigeria and its leadership, the fact about corruption which is the country’s popular trademark. But Welby, a religious leader, who should be impartial, singled out an individual, Buhari, and vouched for his integrity. I don’t know how many people Welby would stake his name for in Nigeria, as far as their integrity is convened.
Born January 6, 1956, Justin Portal Welby, the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury, is the most senior bishop in the Church of England, which by implication is the symbolic head of the Anglican Communion worldwide. As of the time he made that statement, he was 60 years old, and two year later, he hasn’t recanted his belief on Buhari’s integrity. A man of 62, with his position, exposure to why one must be truthful, and religious leaning should know what he believes in and stands for.
The point I’m raising here is about the need for a leader to have proven “personal integrity,” and not fronting Buhari for anything. It is letting us know by Welby’s submission that all hope is not lost in the search for a credible leader. And that there are still many Buharis in the system.
Welby has graciously shown us that what can give a leader visibility in the Comity of Nations, most especially a Nigerian leader is his or her personal integrity, which is verifiable and a credible one of Welby’s calibre can attest to. Nigeria is already perceived to be a corrupt nation, and its leader should also not be seen as some wearing a toga of corruption in 2019 and beyond. This won’t help the country.
Really, the personality of a leader is very important. It determines to what extent he or she can be trusted. It determines the kind of people he can have around him or her. It determines his or her rating in company of other leaders. It determines how favourable he or she will be amid competition. Everything boils down to his or her integrity.
In view of the above, I will mention 10 categories of people who should not succeed Buhari:
1. Someone with no proven integrity on the overall assessment should not succeed Buhari.
2. Someone who a person of Justin Welby’s calibre (not necessarily Welby) cannot attest to his or her integrity in public should not succeed Buhari.
3. Someone whose integrity is currently being questioned by a way of being indicted by a court on corruption charges, or still answering corruption charges should not succeed Buhari.
4. Someone who is of a questionable character in all ramifications should not succeed Buhari.
5. Someone who has been found guilty by a commission of enquiry and no superior body has absolved him or her against charges should not succeed Buhari.
6. Someone who has a controversial gender affinity, a man attracted to man and a woman attracted to a woman, which is a criminal offence in Nigeria should not succeed Buhari.
7. Someone whose better part of investments is outside Nigeria should not succeed Buhari.
8. Someone who operates a foreign account outside the constitutional provisions should not succeed Buhari.
9. Someone who cannot recite the two standards of the national anthem and the pledge should not succeed Buhari.
10. Someone who has not shown that he has interest in Nigeria as a singular entity should not succeed Buhari.