Editor's note: Public commentator, Chidiebere Nwobodo, says Nigeria is now ripe for an entrepreneur and quintessential administrator to lead the nation as citizens file out to vote their leaders in the 2019 general elections.
It's time for a drastic paradigm shift in the polity. It will be sheer mental retardation, ideological bankruptcy and acute philosophical delinquency for us to keep recycling proven failed strategies- against reason and commonsensical principles. We cannot continue to progress in error as a nation, by putting round pegs in square holes and expect to catch up with a fast-pacing world; where ideas - not guns and bullets anymore; dictates the political and economic tributaries of the 21st century world. We must wedge the ugly tide of electing (appointing) the blind to lead the foresighted. Gone are the days when Nigerians engaged in experimental leadership at the expense of the nation's development. The nomination of an economic maverick, entrepreneur and quintessential administrator like Peter Obi as Atiku's running mate has made Atiku/Obi joint ticket the darling of business community in particular and Nigerians in general.
The era of electing an economically illiterate president who will depend solely on his aides to govern, is not only a misnomer but moral tragedy and economic heresy. It becomes catastrophic when such a president is dogmatic and tyrannical in actions. The economy suffers the brunt; millions of jobs are lost and people get impoverished. Expecting someone who has never created wealth, jobs and opportunities for himself to liberate millions of Nigerians from economic strangulat*on, abject poverty and add substantial value to the economy, is not only sophisticated foolishness but insult on our collective intelligence as informed and educated country men and women. It's time to think out of the box. It's an expensive mistake and self-deceit to keep trying to solve 21st century challenges bedeviling Nigeria with archaic 18th century mindset. It is tantamount to attempt running smartphone android apps on antiqued Nokia 3310 of year 2002. Even the phone manufacturers in charge of Nokia brand today, had to upgrade that version of phone to accommodate current applications in the ICT world.
READ ALSO: Jonathan reacts as southeast elders accuse Atiku of choosing Peter Obi without consultation
Why do we keep treating leadership in Nigeria with so much levity and sentiments as if it is less important than the phones, laptops and other gadgets we make use of on daily basis? Can you afford to buy obsolete electronic gadgets at the cost of latest ones - of which can be described as scraps, simply because the seller is of the same tribe, religion or political party with you? In our own individual companies, do we hire and fire employees base on competence, prejudices and partisanship? Do we sought the services of a retired soldier; without private sector experience, to come and manage profit-oriented 21st century businesses (economy) because he has "integrity" alone (of which has been busted) and expect him to create wealth for us? Even when the inept chief executive officer was given opportunity to salvage a struggling company from "perceived" wrong decisions of his predecessor, he took the firm into bankruptcy (recession) instead, while blaming his predecessor - who incidentally had moved on. And some prejudiced shareholders are campaigning for him to be given an four-year term in office, at the risk of losing investors' and market confidence in the company?
A problem cannot be solved from the same state of mind that instigated it. It's time to handover business of governance to business-oriented leaders who can connect with a small scale shoe-maker in Aba and be in sync with corporate world in Lagos. Business-inclined leaders who understand economic implications of irregular and inconsistent foreign exchange policies. We need a business-owner president who will not engage in reckless bellicosity with private sector; a president who will keep tab with global economic dynamics.
Nigeria is in dire need of a president that does not seek the help of aides to get abreast with basic economic terms. We don't need a president with a flawed ideology that only hardball tactics must be used in resolving trade disputes. We need a president with prosperity and progressive mindset that will not see every rich person as a "certified looter" that must be jailed. A president that respect sanctity of the law will make Nigeria bride of foreign investors. We are in urgent yearning for a private-sector-friendly president - that can synergize with the business world to create millions of jobs for our teeming unemployed and underemployed youths, by dismantling every systematic bottlenecks erected by bureaucratic parasites and oligopolistic economic saboteurs.
Alhaji Atiku Abubakar is the man! He has done it in the past. The monumental gains we made in economic growth had his signature on them; as vice president and head of National Economic Council. His supervision of telecommunication revolution in Nigeria ensure that almost every adult Nigerian has access to mobile communications today. His economic and bureaucratic wizardry propelled the nation's telephone lines from a paltry of little above 4000 active lines to over 100 million we have today. The effects of telecom revolution has been seen - even by the blind. Thousands of direct jobs and millions of indirect job were created in ICT industry simply by stimulating the sector with the right policies. That we have active social media today is as a result of Atiku's sterling roles in liberalizing the industry. Some of you reading this article wouldn't have had the opportunity to connect friends on social media; via access to internet if not the sweeping reforms carried out by an economic team led by Atiku Abubakar.
On his own individual capacity, he has created over 50,000 direct jobs and 250,000 indirect job opportunities through the instrumentality of his well-run companies and businesses across Nigeria. Since independence in 1960 till date, we have never produced an economically savvy president with business background. We have had military generals, professional politicians and rent-seeking bureaucrats as president. You can see how we got here.
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An Atiku Abubakar has the economic dexterity to uplift us from the valley of world poverty capital, to a prosperous nation that will compete strongly with the rest of the global community. America, China, Britain and India houses 80% of ICT startup companies in the world today. Nigeria would have joined in this league if Atiku had succeeded Obasanjo in 2007. We could have been celebrating our own Silicon Valley's conglomerates - Apple, Facebook, Google, etcetera today. It is better late than never. Under President Buhari's watch, Nigerian economy has shaded over 24 million jobs of which brought the country's unemployment ratio to an alarming rate of 18.8 percent. If you're unemployed or underemployed as a result of bad economic actions and inactions of the government, this is the major reason you should join the presidential speed train of Atiku Abubakar so we can "Get Nigeria Working Again."
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