Not many so-called elder statesmen in Nigeria today command the respect, attention and admiration of their countrymen.
But Alhaji Maitama Sule does fall into the few elders that Nigerians still look up to for guidance and wisdom. It is undoubtable that, though he rarely does, anytime Maitama Sule speaks, especially on matters of state, Nigerians do not take it with a pinch of salt. Alhaji Sule did speak recently, trying to fashion out a way from the craze for power among Nigerian political leaders.
Recently at the University of Calabar, he offered his ‘candid’ view on the best way for succession into executive public offices in Nigeria. He was quoted to have advised that for peace to reign and to avoid politics of do-or-die and for true leaders to emerge, those seeking re-election – the president and governors, among others, must quit office before the conduct of elections. He said further that after quitting office, the president/governors should hand over to an interim administration that would be non-partisan and oversee the election.
“If we want to have a free and fair election in Nigeria, few months to the exercise, let the incumbent president and governors who are seeking re-election resign and set up an interim administration that is non-partisan.” Voice of wisdom indeed, one would say.
But Alhaji Sule seemed to have taken his trust and belief on Nigerians too far or he probably is not in tune with the mentality of present-day Nigerians. Except the head of the interim government does not have control over the instruments of force and security agencies, he will surely use those to either extend his stay in office or use them for his preferred candidate.
That said, Alhaji Sule also talked of a non-partisan administrator and one wonders who really is non-partisan in the Nigerian state. If by non-partisan he meant a non-card carrying member, Alhaji Sule’s advice could sink. But that there is any one Nigerian today who would be so disinterested in who governs him/her without consideration for ethno-religious, socio-cultural considerations biases, will be hard, if not impossible, to find.
Not even religious, traditional, civil society groups or right activists could be trusted with such interim arrangement especially when control of state resources is involved.
May God bless Nigeria!