It is a frequently asked question and comments from people who wanted to know why I didn't opt to contest for any of the local government or state or legislative positions and why I decided to run for position of President of Nigeria.

I really do not have a specific answer to give but an explanation that suggests that running for this office is itself a strategy on its own. I do have a vision for our society that bothers on how our society can be transformed to that which justice and equity isn't farfetched. In direct terms, I also hope to help harness the human resources in Nigeria so as to eradicate poverty in our population.

Certainly, this vision doesn't need the seat of the presidency to find expression. What it needs is an avenue or platform for policy creation and execution. So while consulting, we came up with a policy execution strategy document which could be adopted at the local, state and federal governments. The hope is that we could have the opportunity to serve in any of the government capacities either as the Chief Executive or as member of the cabinets. This means, we would be ready to provide solutions in any capacity or any expanse of the society whether it is local government, state, or federal government. What we were sure about is that, the vision requires an executive capacity to fly.

Meanwhile, there are only three political capacities for the executive. It is either you are the Chairman of a Local Government or Vice Chairman or Governor/Deputy or President/VP. Of course, you may as well be appointed into the cabinet, to serve in the executive. But you may only aspire to be the chief executive.

Furthermore, while consulting, we found out the Local Government elections; especially in Oyo State is still a sham. Only one man decides who become the local government chairman and deputy in all the states. Internal democracy in the major parties is faulted in a way that we realized we may not make much of an impact in the primaries. In the states, the story is similar; but our goal is to look for a platform to showcase our capacity freely to Nigerians, whether we win or otherwise, we wish to run a good campaign and learn along the way. I do not wish to be broken by the system; we hope to make the most impact with the time and resources available - making mistakes quickly and gathering enough knowledge to mend the edges. The goal eventually is to leave Nigeria as a better nation over to our children. This is not a battle I anticipate will end in 2023.

So if there was a more precise answer  to the question, it would be that - I did my research and I found that, running for the position of President offers a better strategy to achieving our aims and objectives than any of the other aspirations. Whether this is right or wrong is not for anyone to judge other than us to look out after the whole process and see if there was anything we could have done better. I hope people will observe more and offer support where they could at this point. This is not the time to keep reminding our aspirants what they could have gone for - any serious aspirants would have done their consultations before they put both their feet in the water.  They ultimately would have asked themselves these questions and they would have been confident that what they are doing is the best for the situation they are in. In my case, we have a Think Tank that worked tirelessly over the space of 2 years to formulate the strategy we are on right now. However this turns out, my vision for Nigeria remains the same.  I currently live in a country that is tagged as the poverty capital of the world; I don't want to hand the country over to my children the same way.

I encourage everyone to run for any position they like or aspire for. The executive needs the legislatures to function; they also need the judiciary to function.  Same way the federal government needs states, the states also needs the local government. Therefore, we need visionary people to rise up to take up positions at all these levels. Those capacities and spaces have different roles they play in the society and no one is a lesser position than the other - we shouldn't cajole people to go for positions to "test ground" like this is some game. These are people's lives and future we are talking about. People need to be intentional about what they are doing - not just to graduate from legislature to judiciary to executive. Meanwhile, there is no verified playbook for this thing, I welcome ideas. I just wish to share mine with this answer: that I am intentional about using any executive platform to drive home this vision of a just Nigeria.


God bless Nigeria.

Ayoola FALOLA.

Categories: governance article