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Dr Anderson Uvie-Emegbo - The Gazelle or a Lion
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Wednesday, 21 January 2015 07:51

The Gazelle or a Lion Featured

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“With each new day in Africa, a gazelle wakes up knowing that he must outrun the fastest lion or perish. At the same time, a lion stirs and stretches, knowing that he must outrun the fastest gazelle or starve. It is no different for countries. Whether Nigeria considers itself a gazelle or a lion, Nigeria simply has to run faster than other nations to survive “.

I have adapted this quote from My Vision: Challenges in the Race for Excellence, the 2012 autobiography of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President of the United Arab Emirates and the Ruler of Dubai. I strongly recommend this book for all political leaders, captains of industries and everyone who strives to succeed in life.

My Vision

Nigerians need this kind of leadership! One that works and give excuses and boasts about achievements that are at best mediocre. 

It was better to read this deeply thought provoking book than to be bombarded by the many trolls pushing an unprecedented dose of very tasteless negativity around the presidential elections. Unfortunately a significant number are from the President’s camp.

How did General Muhammadu Buhari’s (GMB) educational credentials suddenly become an issue this time around? I do not recall this being an issue during his previous attempts? Our history is filled with examples of educated people who have performed consistently below par.

For years, GMB has been painted as a fundamentalist, religious bigot and an Islamist. The challenge is that as a Christian I have grown very weary of those who hide under the guise of Christian holiness to defraud and rape the Nigerian people from our commonwealth. From banner posts of GMB dressed a Boko Haram fighter; this is another cheap shot that only serves to drive neutral bystanders away from the President’s camp.

GMB has been cast as being too old and not healthy enough for the office. To drive home these points, a very distasteful full-page advert implied that he (GMB) would die in office if elected.  Lets for a moment imagine that this might happen.  President Jonathan is a beneficiary of two very unusual arrangements. First by divine arrangement when President Yar’Adua died and then a man-made arrangement, when the National Assembly invoked the doctrine of necessity. Many of my friends were on the streets demanding (like many Nigerians) that then Vice-President Jonathan should assume the mantle of leadership. By that singular act, the fairy tale romance birthed on a breath of fresh air began. But increasingly the President seemed to have forgotten how he got his mandate. Many had written off his anti-corruption/stealing crusade.

The seven or was it eight point agenda of his predecessor went into the doldrums. By the way what happened to Vision 2020? One by one the President’s followers moved on and away to GMB/APC. It is worth reflecting that it is the President and his handlers that have made GMB’s candidature popular. President Jonathan has his clear faults and failings. However he is grossly undersold.  His administration positives are being drowned by the recklessness and desperation of this negative electioneering approach. Imagine a Presidential aide saying that GMB is not as rich because he has poorly managed the resources he had to better his lot.

Now that the certificate, health, age, religious and health angle appears to be ineffective, the PDP wakes up to accuse the APC of using foreign consultants to run its campaign! The PDP has the funds to hire its own foreign consultants. If I recall it was the same PDP led government that is said to have engaged a foreign Public Relations firm to salvage the government’s reputation in the wake of the #BringBackOurGirls issue. Its opinion-editorials in first-rate western publications were badly received at home and abroad. The shameless Wendell Smilin type smear campaign against Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has became a case study on how not to conduct a smear campaign.

Given our very peculiar history of Vice Presidents becoming Presidents within the term of the President, we must also examine the Vice Presidential candidates. If GMB is a religious bigot, you have Prof Osinbajo as a tongue speaking Christian. If Namadi Sambo has a Masters in Architecture, the APC’s candidate is a Professor of Law and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN). Nigerians should not only decide on GEJ vs GMB but also on Sambo vs Osinbajo. If per chance (God forbid) that the President who wins the elections is no more, in whose hands are you more comfortable leaving Nigerians with – Sambo or Osinbajo? 

Dubai has an absolute monarchy but no ordinary one. I am struck by how insatiable Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is to do more for his land.

Mohammed_Bin_Rashid_Al_Maktoum

He keeps referring to Dubai as a city that is still in the early stages of its quest for excellence. Little wonder that today it can boast of having the airport through which most international travellers past through in 2014.

Its dynamic e-government portal (dubai.ae) is a model for e-governance.

Dubai Government Portal

The event - Dubai World Expo 2020 will provide 270,000 jobs and over $20 Billion revenues. A recent trip to Dubai will demonstrate the seriousness with which they are taking this event. That is the kind of insatiable bold vision and ruthless execution we need.

That is why when the APC states that it will “provide a free meal to every child in school” I just shake my head. We need to move our vision beyond “stomach infrastructure”.

We need bigger visions and bolder steps; less rhetoric and more substance. If the politicians will not set the right agenda, lets help them to recalibrate their visions.

It will start by running the Nigerian economy as if it is a sick patient that has a few years to live. We must forget about oil and desperately create the enabling structures that truly empower Nigerians to create jobs. A case in point, despite 2 years of high-level agreements, the Nigerian and Kenyan governments are yet to start issuing 5-year visas for businessmen from both countries.

Nigeria deserves more!

P.S: This article was also published in the 21st of January 2015 edition of the Punch Newspapers. Click to Read 

Dr Anderson Uvie-Emegbo

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