Given some of the headlines that are trending on the pages of newspapers and online media, one may not be wrong to say that the “Rat Race” that usually characterize post election challenges has started. The headlines are cast in the similitude of “Buhari’s ministers list: New Details Emerge”, Muhammadu Buhari: President-elect hasn’t chosen ministers”, “APC Disregards Rumours Concerning Nomination of Ministers”, “People of Nsukka Demand For Enugu Slot”, “Governor Recommends Commissioners To His Successors” and other headlines that implied that political jobbers, political traders and those that are notorious in exhibiting the ignominious act of McCarthyism are already at work. When anyone reads in between the lines of stories that are behind the foregoing headlines, he would definitely not need a soothsayer to tell him that the Rat Race for political appointments that usually presage a new government has commenced with subtle underhanded political practices.
Against the foregoing background it is obvious that the names of political surrogates are always submitted to executives for appointments to the detriment of qualified politicians. In a Rat Race situation, merit is usually sacrificed on the altar of mediocrity and consequently thrown to the dogs. To me, this would never augur well for manifestation of the change mantra that prominently featured during the last political campaign that reverberated across the country’s political landscape.
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I must confess at this juncture that amidst thousands of political terminologies and phrases that can be found in lexicons that one of the phrases that has kept on exciting me is “Rat Race”. You may have asked, “What is Rat Race?” There is no denying the fact that many would somewhat visualize what it means from what they saw when rats were struggling over a piece of bread on a refuse dump. Others may understand what the phrase “Rat Race” means from the literary sense of the word. There is no denying the fact that many politicians in their mannerisms have reflected their political lifestyles from the foregoing perspectives.
However, I am becoming more obsessed with the phrase “Rat Race” as it is unarguably finding expression in the underhanded political practices of politicians. I am so obsessed with the phrase that not even the legendary Bob Marley and the wailers’ musical lyrics on Rat Race in one of his hits could make it become meaningful or understandable to me. In my etymological journey to find what the phrase means, a dictionary defined it as “ceaseless and undignified competition for success in one’s career, social status, etc.” From the foregoing definition, it is truly an “undignified competition for success” when it is seen from the absurd perspective of how a political godfather that employed the mantra of change to beguile his party supporters would pencil down the names of his surrogates for political appointments. If I may ask, “How can mediocre bring realistic and beneficial change to the people under the present political dispensation that is being driven by change?
At the heart of this political shenanigan called Rat Race in this context, there is the risk of the entrenchment of mediocrity in the polity and the possibility of the proverbial cake ending up not being shared in the spirit of equity and justice among Nigerians across ethnic, religious and political divides. You may have asked “What is National Cake?” In this context, national cake simply means national wealth. And the primary concern of this writer in this piece is that the national wealth should prudentially be managed by incoming politicians from May, 29 and translate part of the wealth that would be expended to attain concrete and measurable development for the benefit of the country and her citizenry. The change Nigerians are expecting under Buhari’s presidency is the kind of change that would ensure that the cake is equitably distributed and made inedible for selected few that have been feasting on it since 1999.
For the foregoing developmental goal to be attained, the practices of underhand politics, McCarthyism and primordial sentiments should be eschewed in the process of penning down names of ministers, commissioners, special advisers and other political appointees that would work with incoming governors and president. Politicians should slow down in their Rat Race, and for once have the well being of Nigeria and Nigerians that voted for them during the elections at heart.
In my view, politicians ought to have learnt enough lessons that would put them on a good pedestal to be playing commendable leadership roles in their diverse political positions. They should by now learn to accomplish the projects or programmes they have for the people by driving true governance with meritorious team, and honourably desist from Ratfucking (an American term for political sabotage and dirty tricks.), Rat Race, McCarthyism and horse trading and play developmental politics that would benefit all Nigerians and Nigeria.
With this attitude to leadership, posterity would always remember them. To me, such attitude to leadership makes one to be more accomplished in life than playing dirty politics from one political dispensation to another.
Leaders should always be conscious of the fact that any position one occupies in life is ephemeral. Therefore, they should lead well in order to write their names on the good pages of posterity.
King Solomon, regarded by Christians as the greatest King that ever lived, said in the book of Ecclesiastes chapter 2 verse 8 “I gathered me also silver and gold, and the peculiar treasures of kings and of the provinces; I gat me men singers and women singers, and the delights of the sons of men, as musical instruments, and that of all sorts.” And in verse 11, he said “Then I looked at all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do; and behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.” This was the confession of a king who saw the beauty of kingship in all its ramifications, and yet he lamented that all was vanity. Then, why are today’s leaders not learning from this biblical experience of vanity?
As I bring this view into conclusion, leaders under Gen. Buhari’s presidency should lead in accordance with people’s expectation and they should always respect the people. They should not see the people as inconsequential and not entitled to the proverbial National Cake that is been baked by all.
Finally, it is expedient to ask, “As Rat Race commences, who eats the cake this time around? “Is it the people that would eat it or corrupt politicians that has been feasting on the cake?
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