Before our interchange, I’d like to briefly define the template of this engagement. Our nation is entering a new phase of a very crucial presidential election in 2023. All kinds of aspirants are already throwing their hats into the ring.
This is the way it should be in a democratic system. Every qualified citizen has the right to aspire to any leadership position in a true, genuine democratic order. That’s the beauty of the democratic enterprise.
While it is legitimate and valid for those who are interested in governance to openly declare their aspirations, it is also incumbent upon the rest of us, as citizens of this nation to inquire, scrutinize, investigate, examine in totality the qualities of those who seek our mandate.
We must sift between jesters and pretenders. We must separate the robber barons, the brazen treasury looters from the selfless vanguard, who have come to truly serve our people.
If the democratic process must endure, if the rule of law must be protected from degenerating into nepotistic caucus or a sheer kakistocracy, which is the system of government composed of the least qualified and the most aberrant set of people, Nigerians must start asking questions about everyone who seeks our votes.
It is our inalienable right to examine the pedigree of all the aspirants. What are their antecedents? What are their educational backgrounds? What is their family provenance? Who are their friends? What do they hold as defining valuable doctrine? What is their mission and vision?
What is the source of their wealth? Are they legitimate tycoons with visible investments or they are mere mercenary buccaneers with their eyes greedily set on looting our commonwealth?
These are legitimate enquiries we must all make to ensure that well known looters, criminally minded nepotistic agents are never allowed to preside over our nation.
We know those who have blatantly looted some states. We know those who have reduced the wealth of some hapless states into an obscene private appropriation. We know the recklessly greedy who have turned governance into family affair, sharing the wealth of the people among themselves, their acolytes and their unconscionable friends.
Is it not fair and just that those who wish this nation well must speak out loud and clear before our nation is reduced to a private fiefdom of these megalomaniacs?
Is it not fair and just that we, the people, must ensure that our future and the future of unborn generations are not mortgaged by our silence in the face of injustice?
I agree with Dante Alighieri, the great Italian poet and philosopher of the Middle Ages, who said, ‘The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crisis maintain their neutrality.’
It is unconscionable to be neutral in the face of evil. This is why I speak out .
Do I have a prejudice against anyone? No. Am I biased against a particular aspirant? No. Am I waging a personal vendetta against anyone’s ambition? Again, no!
But, will I keep quiet in the face of established, observable, proven larcenous character who has gutted the treasury of my state? Never! Will I keep quiet when an individual who lies blatantly about his age, who tells us he is 69 years old, while his daughter is 60 years? Never.
Will I keep quiet when an individual is ashamed of his origin, when the same individual cannot tell us the primary school he went to, when his secondary school and university are opaque? Never. Will I keep quiet when a patently wobbly, incoherent, psychologically unfit character parades bullion vans on Election Day and openly boasted that he can do anything he wants with his money? Never!
I speak out without bias. I speak out without fear or favour. I speak out only in the interest of my nation and my dear state. And I will continue to speak out and fight for what is right and for what is just. I will be the Drum Major for justice, for truth for peace and righteousness. So help me God.
•Chief George, Atona Odua of Yorubaland, writes from Lagos.