Finally the day is here. It’s been long coming. Painfully, the woman who sowed the seed is not around to harvest the fruits. However, Iya Oloja, Habibat Mogaji, in her world beyond, will turn with pride and a smile, in fulfillment. It was her who took young Bola to the foot of brilliant politicians like the Dan Masanin Kano, Alhaji Maitama Sule, The legendary Aminu Kano and other great politicians of yore because she saw greatness in the child. Today begins the harvest of that seed, from years of learning and building. It’s a New Dawn.
This just points out the enormity of the task on your shoulders, Mr. Brand New President. It goes beyond here, it encompasses the dream of our ancestors, where Habibat Mogaji, your mother belongs. The market woman, Habibat herself, was a political power broker. The market plus everything and everybody within it, were her constituency. She was in charge totally. That was the formidable backing she gave her son when he took on politics. She was everywhere with her army, where need be. No woman leader in recent times had commanded such a formidable woman force as much as Habibat Mogaji, Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s Mother. She deployed that force to the use of her son, our New President. You owe her. You can’t afford to fail her.
However, it is to the living that you owe the biggest performance bond. Nigerians can no longer take excuses. The whole World is tired of waiting for Nigeria. This is the last chance and Sir, I am sure you know it. It’s a big burden. Sir this is not the time for parties or gala nights. We have had too many of those. The work at hand, like they say in Lagos, your City, “e pass be careful”. But unlike Lagos, you are carrying the hopes and aspirations of over two hundred million people.
Mr. President Sir, if you had previously taken the Mandate Anthem, of your party loyalists, as just a song for the usual dancing and merry making, now is the time to feel the pains and complete trust, in that music. Pains from the millions of souls searching for deliverance over the years, from a deliverer they believe in. And complete trust in you, by hundreds of millions of persons who, by some inexplicable reasons, believe you can do it. And you must do it Sir, because that is what they mean when they chant, “on your mandate we shall stand”.
These Nigerians have surrendered their Mandates to You. That’s the meaning in that song. That’s the burden that you must carry. For the type of belief the people have in you, you must satisfactorily carry their burden. Over two hundred million burdens. What makes it a huge task, is the burden of belief they have in you.
Mr. President Sir, this is the first time someone from outside the government bureaucracy is coming to rule Nigeria since the days of the Military Regimes till date. Every past President/Head of State, had a stint with one Government Establishment or the other; some teachers, some Military, some para military. But you come with no such blemishes. You come with ideas not clouded with bureaucratic dogmas. You are here with a New Way of doing things, of thinking, of approach, so you must not be caught in the same old traps and mistakes. That’s a huge burden when you consider that you are going to work with the vultures that populate the public service. But no one cares Sir. No more excuses. The mandate says you are the one who can fix it. When Religious people give their lives to the Almighty, they know that HE Cannot Fail Them and With HIM, all problems are gone. It’s a huge burden I tell you, Sir, but that’s what we have done by surrendering our mandates to you.
You once described your campaigns as gruesome. Hhmmm. Indeed, but that’s nothing, compared to the work you have just signed up to. The difference is that while the campaigns road shows were tiring and energy sapping, this, will be exhaustive and brain storming. You CANNOT back off. Not that it’s too late, but because you were not brought up like that, your pedigree won’t allow it. So from where you are coming from, from your antecedent, you dare not fail or falter.
You can’t fail yourself. You have a date with history, a date with destiny. It’s something you have dreamt of. Something you have toyed with and deconstructed in your mind. Very few humans live their dreams. You are living yours. You therefore, just cannot afford to falter. Because It’s your dream, only you can interpret it. All of us around you, are mere pawns in your game. The world will little note nor long remember what our impacts are, but they will never forget the Bola Ahmed Tinubu Era. It’s Your Era, It’s Your Dream, It’s Your Burden. Don’t transfer the trust we gave you Sir, to someone else. Don’t strive to make popular decisions, Make the right decisions. Even when they appear mean and sometimes harsh, the long run will vindicate you and what appeared unpopular will become the songs of salvation.
Remember you have no Godfather. You are your own Godfather and not answerable to anyone but yourself and millions of Nigerians who gave you their trust. You have come from outside the circle of the Kingmakers believed to be “the owners of Nigeria” and crowned yourself King. So you must expect a fight back from them. You must expect that every step you take will be infested with booby traps. Thank GOD, you are ahead of them, you are the Asiwaju and so must lead whilst they follow, wether they like it or not.
Gladly you are not a joker, you have never been, so don’t take the task ahead for a joke, not even for a second. Politics ended at the polls, now is the work time. Forget the shenanigans of sharing of offices because none of those jostling for positions know how the shoe pinches. Believe me Sir, they are all wearing different sizes of shoes and most of them are just for mere fashion. Yours are not. They can’t be, particularly when you realise that yours is one size fits all the two million feet of Nigerians. What magical pair of shoes that is. So while you are choosing able lieutenants don’t forget that it’s you that must dance alone, in these shoes, when the chips are down.
Everywhere you turn to in Nigeria and even beyond our shores, expectations are very high. They have never been this high, not even in the years preceding the civil war. That time, it was those who created and fought the war that again took up arms to mend the fences they destroyed. Yours is different. You are a complete outsider to the wreckage you are called upon to repair. So you must fashion your own tools, assemble your technicians, and navigate through a myriad of issues you probably know next to nothing about. Let no one deceive you Sir, that you can’t do any magic about the Nigerian problem. It’s a magician that we need now, Your Excellency. You must possess the magic wand or be consumed by the sheer magic in the system.
Don’t be bothered about the demons they say bedevil the seat of power, you are the King of Demons now and must ensure that all other demons bow to you. You planned for this journey, you worked for it, you dreamt about it and you have gotten it. Even the demons know that you have a plan for them. A plan that should and must bring them to their knees or you, be taken over by them.
I don’t believe you must hit the ground running Sir. That will be too slow for today’s Nigeria. You must come out flying , Your Excellency. Hitting the ground has the tendency to incapacitate and could delay the running Sir, please don’t hit the ground, it could be dangerous, just fly out and make sure you have in your company, very competent flight attendants.
You are at the threshold of history and it beckons. Only men of valor make history. They don’t deal with sentiments. They could be brutal but compassionate, focused and brilliant. Nigeria’s unique case could be likened to a dozing elephant whipped into slumber by years of misuse and needing an emergency and urgent lift into the doctor’s consultation room. This appears a onerous task but the elephant doesn’t care , you must get it up by whatever legal means possible. The dreams are over Your Excellency, you must wake up and wake up everybody in the room with you. You must be guided Sir, by the golden words of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, one of Africa’s Greatest leaders, : “those who are sleeping must wake up, those awake must walk, those walking must run. There is no need to fear except fear itself”. I dare add however, that those running, including you, Your Excellency, must fly, because the sky is only the beginning of your journey.
You begin your date with destiny today knowing fully well that it’s not a tea party, knowing fully well that this is no longer time for the long flowing starched regalia of your predecessors. No serious worker appears in the office in a party mood or dress. This is the time to roll up the sleeves in the true sense of it and grab the working tools because there is no time for merriment. Anything short of this Sir, will be a mockery of our collective trusts and expectations.
Some say the country needs prayers. Sir, leave that to the clerics, they know what to do and how to ask GOD for guidance. That today has come to pass, that you have become the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria through thick and thin, is a testimony of GOD’s doing. HE knows what needs to be done and who or how to do them, that’s why HE chose you. Don’t disturb or harass HIM with prayers, if HE needed that from you, HE would have made you a prayer warrior. So please make HIS choice of you count so we can Glorify HIM at the end of your reign.
Today marks the beginning of a New Nigeria, wether you like it or not Sir. A New Nigeria that portends the possibility of a make or break. We are already broken and that is the truth, any further break will indeed be a crush and that, is also true. You are therefore here, Your Excellency, to make it happen. To deliver the greatness that we have and have long eluded us. It’s a must.
They say, “uneasy lies the head that wears the crown”, now you have the crown Sir, let your head be uneasy but unbowed. For those who know you, they assure the rest of us that you can never be intimidated, not by tasks nor persons and that only you can intimidate you. Let your achievements be intimidating so that when the name Nigeria is mentioned in the hereafter, it will be intimidating. This journey Sir, is your real test as a man, not the Lagos experience, which some have said was an achievement made by the advantages of youthful vigour. Prove them wrong, Your Excellency. Age is not a deterrence, it cannot be. In the Nigerian case, it is a bonus because “what the old sees standing, is invisible to the young even when they climb the tallest trees”. Please, Your Excellency, show us what you see standing, show us that dreams do come true and that the Nigerian Dream has come to fruition with you. We don’t expect anything less, we cannot and must not because, Your Excellency, this time, we must not fail or falter.
Like they say in your City of Lagos, “I believe in you die”.
Enuf Said Your Excellency.
Abdul Okwechime is a journalist and a researcher.