Nigeria, behold thy president, By Jesutega Onokpasa

Years ago when the comedian, Bright “Basketmouth” Okpocha, was just starting out, he told this joke that made everyone laugh but made me quite reflective and rather sad.

I’m unable to reproduce the joke verbatim so will paraphrase but the gist of it is as follows:

“When God was creating the world, He began to invest different countries with various natural resources which He placed in the ground.

“Some countries got more natural resources than others, some got only one natural resource while some, like Japan, didn’t seem to get any at all!

“Then it came to the turn of Nigeria and God just kept dumping one natural resource after another into the ground.

“He put gold, iron ore, tin, columbite, coal and so on and so forth in different parts of Nigeria.

“The citizens God had created to inhabit the various countries of the world were there gathered at the time and most of them began to wonder why God seemed to be acting with partiality when it came to this particular country.

“By the time God got to the Niger Delta and began to bury humongous quantities of crude oil and even far greater amounts of natural gas into the ground, they could not hold themselves back any longer and politely approached God for clarifications.

“They said to God: ‘Please, do not be offended, our most holy Creator, but why are you favouring this particular country, Nigeria, over the ones the rest of us will belong to?’

“God turned to them and said: ‘Oh ye men of little sense, is it on account of the raw materials and what not that I am loading into this country that makes you all murmur from envy?

“They said to God: ‘Yes, Lord because we know you are the God of natural justice, even of equity and of good conscience and that you are always fair and just.’

And God said to them: ‘Do not be jealous; just wait for the kind of people I will put in the country.'”

I do not think there is anything intrinsically wrong with Nigerians but there is much merit to Mr Okpocha’s joke, and manifestly so from the perspective of what we have made of our country all these decades, in spite of its awesome potentials.

We are presently at a very challenging moment in this nation but, at least, we now have in President Bola Tinubu, a chief executive with respect to whom there is absolutely no longer any question as to his legitimacy as President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Tinubu is our undisputed President now and we would be wise, as a nation, to make the best of that reality, going forward.

Leaders are only effective to that extent to which they are invested with the support of those they lead.

Indeed, the led do well for themselves to ply their leaders with the requisite quantum of support without which it would be quite impossible to deliver good governance to them.

Given the truly onerous amount of work required to be done, fundamental changes are unavoidable, profound reform is indispensable, and a total overhaul of “our way of doing things” is inevitable.

The transformation required must be studiously and sustainably implemented even as the rent-collector cabals and thieving cartels in various sectors of our government and economy are crushed and totally dismantled if we are to make any real progress.

Whether we like our President or not, he will require our support to be able to do so and we would be wise to lend him that support, indeed, in our own best interest and for our own good.

The election cycle is now finally over and it is time to move on.

Our President’s traditional title is “Asiwaju”, the one who leads from the front.

Let us let him lead.

Onokpasa, a lawyer, was a member of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Presidential Campaign Council, and writes from Abuja

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