By Teslim Oyetunji
Peter Obi is good. He speaks eloquently. He understand the issues of our time. Peter would be a good president in an ideal Nigeria, but we don’t live in an ideal Nigeria.
To begin, Peter has a very slim chance of winning, though it’s a good thing that he is trying. He won’t get the numbers. It’s the reality of the country.
Bola on the other hand is a second option that will do just fine. He will get the numbers, he will get the right people to do the Job. He has finger tips idea of how the country works. He has “situational awareness” , something Obi seriously lacks. Obi is as green as an Obama in 2004 who felt speeches and idealism can fix the problem of America. Alas he turned out to be just another ordinary president.
Idealists hardly make good leaders, they over promise because they can’t see the gulf of difference between reality and ideas.
Nigeria is a very complex country. You must first be able to do it’s politics before you can govern it successfully. This is were Buhari failed. Buhari too was an idealist. He honestly wanted to fight corruption but discovered too late that he has to first learn it’s politics. This is where Bola Ahmed Tinubu trumps them all. He knows that for ideas to work, it must be rooted firmly in realism. He learnt it the hard way though. He was part of the political movement that struggled for the return of democracy. He was hounded by the Military and he stood shoulder to shoulder with men like Frederick Fasheun and Woke Soyinka to stared down the barrels of the military guns. He is a comrade and he had paid his dues.
Listening to Obi is sweet, one gets the instant feeling that this man is what we need in this country but if you put a bag of rice on the shoulder of a 10 year old boy what happens? He will collapse. Not because the boy is not strong but simply because his shoulder is not tough enough to withstand the weight. It’s not about physical strength.
During the 2nd world war, FD Roosevelt was so physically frail that sometimes he will lie down for days in bed on bed rest but American knew that what they needed to withstand the bliezreg Storm of Hitler was not a strong man but a strong mind.
The stack difference between BAT and Obi can be seen in how they are going about their presidential ambitions. One prefers to grant interview at panel shows, quoting statistics and fantasizing without providing any nuancing details of how the problem can be fixed. His reccurrent submission is “we need to, we need to…” But we all know what the problems are.
On the other hand is another man, who is a man of few words. Whose explanation of the issues sound too simplistic but who is overly a man of action. On the ground, building alliances, consulting, planning and executing. A man who is only driven by results, who believes and has demonstrated team solution approach to complex issues.
Obi is a good man, perhaps too good and subtle for the jungle this country has become. There are political alligators, political crocodiles, political snakes and elephants lurking around the corridors of power in this country.
Politics in Nigeria today is not a game of ideas. It’s a battle of conflicting interests and you first have to know how to aggregate and manage these interests before you can govern it successfully and you can only learn this from practical hands-on experience.
It takes a Tarzan who has lived in the forest to rule the forest. He understands the language of the jungle, the crocodiles, the lions, the snakes, he knows the swamp and knows where the bobbitraps are laid.
Obi is a future president. He is unfortunately too ahead of his time. We need a tough man who can take hard decision and risk the consequences. Good men hardly make effective leaders.
Barrister Teslim Oyetunji. O