It’s no longer news that Pastor – Politician, Rev Chris Okotie has declared his intention to run for the Presidency, come 2019. What has kept tongues wagging is his unusual request to be adopted by the two leading parties, APC and PDP, as their joint consensus candidate for the forthcoming presidential election. In his long well-articulated points contained in the two letters sent separately to the chairmen of the ruling APC and the main opposition PDP, Rev Okotie tried to chart a radically different path for Nigeria to accommodate all the contending forces in the polity and resolve all age-long crises that have plagued the nation.
The letter is a broad manifesto of sort, or what someone has called “Okotie’s magna carta (great charter)” for the way forward for this country. But the most revolutionary point in the letter is his call for the abolition of the National Assembly:
“My mandate, therefore, will be to set up an interim government which I have christened ‘Government Of National Reconciliation And Reconstruction’ as the mechanical instrumentality for the crystallization of the new Nigeria of our dreams. It would be predicated on a new concept of Aboriginal democracy.
Our current democracy has been hijacked by elitism, mysticism and satanism. Aboriginal democracy will focus on cultural historicity, evolutional modernity and global relativity as the necessary ingredients of our evolutional political indigenisation. Under this system, the current legislature would merge with the judiciary to create a unique judicature that administers justice and shares the enactment of legislative responsibilities with the presidency. This would save us the huge cost of running the National Assembly and obviate all the paralyzing debates that often stalled the passage of bills”.
The on – going skirmishes between the ruling APC and the opposition reached a head when the DSS stormed legislature leading to the sack of Lawal Daura, the head of the security department. All along the National Assembly controlled ironically by the APC, does not seem to get along with the presidency because of entrenched opposing interest constantly at play. Rev Okotie’s call for its abolition might well resolve most of the deadlocks that slow down the pace of governance.
In Okotie’s view, so long as we make government attractive in terms of the generosity in the perks of office attached to it the allure of power would remain an irresistible incentive to contest for it at any cost. There’s an underpinning of violence that marks electoral contest because, the end product is monetary rewards, and once victory is achieved in our winner takes all politics.
The situation is aggravated by the fact that in Nigerian setting, government is the most “viable business” that guarantees high return on investment. It is also the biggest employer of labour. About 75 percent of federal government budget is expended on recurrent expenditure, leaving a paltry 25 percent or thereabout, for capital projects. How then can the nation attain its development objective? Government officials who are supposed to lead the way for a Nigerian renaissance are in fact, one of the country’s biggest obstacles to good governance.
Imagine this: the salaries and emoluments of law makers and executive account for close to 50 percent of federal expenditure, in a hefty, trillion naira annual budgets. Coupled the staggering expense of the last elections, the reason the government is cash strapped is not far-fetched. Okotie’s said, pointing to the problem of “big government” as one of the looming failure of governance. The high cost of election; the creation of job “job for the boys” after elections and the compelling need by the newly elected politicians to recoup investment in election expenses, are at the core of aggravated corruption that plague or democracy.
Okotie’s says that our government should be reformed in a way that, only those who are genuinely committed to public service would be interested in elective politics. That is when politics would begin to attract the best and most honest. Once politics become a financial dry land most of the hustlers in power today would quit and find something else to do.
Finally, to drive the change required, we need a totally different type of leader. Again, Okotie got it right “Compelled by the same spirit, I have re-emerged from my political hibernation to contest for the Office of President in the forthcoming elections.
I am fully persuaded that Nigeria needs a man who is credible, dependable and trustworthy. A God-fearing man who is embroidered with compassion and love for country. A man who will be readily accepted as a symbol of national unity, who can bring genuine reconciliation and guarantee peace and tranquility in our nation.
A man who is completely insulated from the variegated conflicts that mark the antecedents of our major political actors. A man who can apply the principles of malice towards none and charity for all; who can invoke a Pan-Nigerian philosophy that rejects the partisan provincialism of finger pointing at this time when Nigeria is threatened by existential adversaries. A man with the requisite intellectual capacity and moral perpendicularity. I believe that the benevolent grace of God has telescoped these virtues into my person, to prepare me for such a time as this”.
– Sanni, a public affairs analyst wrote from Kaduna