‘There is No True Leader in Nigeria For This Generation to Emulate’- Victor Alade

On November 9th, 2017, I happen to find myself in the same room with young women and men who are prepared to get actively involved in politics in order to bringing about responsible governance to our country.


L-R: Mr Jide Akin-Thomas, Regional head Emfrica, Ahmed Buhari, 2019 President aspirant, Former President Olusegun Obasanjo at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential library, Abeokuta, Ogun State.

We were from different part of the country. There was Ahmed Buhari, a 32 year old who is going around the country soliciting for support to become President in 2019, there was Tunde Esho who is not up to 40 years (I guess) contesting for Governor in Osun State, in the room also was Tosin Ajibare (Gold), 35, who is running for Governor in Ekiti come 2018. There were others like Mr Jide Akin-Thomas who is the regional head of Emfrica, a pan-African organization set to empower Africa youths in politics, and Adeniyi Emmanuel, the youngest Chairman of a national political party in Nigeria along with many others.

When you relate with these young men, myself inclusive; you will realize that they are men who have prepared themselves very well for the task we are aspiring to. They are all seeking for an opportunity to serve the people. Correct me if I’m wrong, but as I sit in the room looking into their eyes as they all speak in turns, I cannot fault their intentions. Only their motive is what remains unsearchable for me. I know my motive but I cannot tell of others. But, our good intention, spilled from the abundance of our hearts is enough for me. Time will tell where individual’s motives stand, collectively and individually.

Then there was another man in the room, former president Olusegun Obasanjo. The meeting of the aspirants and the former president had been convened by Mr Jide Akin-Thomas. No doubt, the former president is an elder statesman, or perhaps he’s reckoned a leading politician in our country. It would have been most appropriate to call him ‘an elder statesman’ if he had always been an impartial senior male politician for most of his time. But like many others, he was not.

Call him whatever you like, the former president is a well respected politician that many people look up to for advice because of his rich well of knowledge, especially in the many intricacies of our kind of politics in this part of the world. One thing you cannot take away from him is that he knows very well the demands of this country per time and recently he has thrown his weight about the need for Nigeria to have active youth involvement in politics.

The news of his support for youthful representation in our country’s political offices had been a very welcomed one, although long expected. As a result, many youth groups were happy to see that he has once again identified with the true need and yearnings of the people for a new-age leadership which is becoming the trend around the world now, looking at France and Austria for example. His voice in support of youths in politics is very timely and instructive because truly, there is no better time for youths to become fully involved in the governance of our people than now.

As I sat in the room with these friends, who have come together as like minds, to pursue a purpose geared at making a difference in the lives of our people, I pondered if this man, Obasanjo is the right call of association for young and aspiring nation builders like us.

Like others of his calibre in and out of government, he had groomed and overseen crops of politicians who have plundered and are still plundering our people and their resources in many states of the nation till today. We are all reeling under the plague and the garment of tyranny don on us by politicians from pre-independence and up to the present dispensation, of which he is a cardinal player.

Why was I in that room?  Simple, I believe in the current youth agenda for Nigeria. I have an innate believe that leadership should be centred on policies that are truly pro-people. Because of that I believe I must associate with others who share the same belief. We have to come together to rescue our people from so much depravity that has brought them to their knees. We have to come together, not only to extricate our country and her people from its difficulties but to also raise an awareness for the creation of new set of leaders with character, competence  and empathy so that we can together make our country a better place for all. This is why you find me around these young gentlemen.

The true destiny of a nation is in the hands of her young people. As much as we are ready to take over, we must understand that the tyranny of our current leadership will not afford us any ready opportunity.  And so, you can excuse the reason why some of our upcoming politicians are keen to associate with established politicians they are trying to oust and replace. Isn’t it an irony?

Yes, the past and present politicians have done whatever they thought was best but we have seen where that got us. Their best is not just good enough. You don’t have to look further; the fact is very obvious in the welfare economy of our people.

I thought ‘we are here now, with a force of determination, a force of willfulness, a force of responsibility and a force of courage to push for what we believe is a greater good for our people: to deliver prosperity to our people through responsible governance. Why then should we pour our new wine in an old bottle?’

In other sane climes, a single picture with a statesman, say for example, Kofi Annan in Ghana or David Cameron in the UK could easily give you the right head start in their nation’s political space. Words of commendation from true leaders are a blessing for an emerging leader. So, naturally, any budding politician will like to associate with such experienced and established ones: to emulate them, to understudy them and get their patronage. Unfortunately, such leaders are hitherto the hardest thing in Nigeria to find.

As I sat there, I thought that we could be in the room with another person apart from this Baba but I pondered through and through and I realized our country lacks a total leader for this generation to emulate. The thought frightened me. I couldn’t think of any of our past leaders that truly qualify as a statesman after the Obafemi Awolowo and Nnamdi Azikiwe era. You will understand if you care to check what it truly means to be a statesman, without which no nation can boast of a worthy history.

What does this portend for an Ahmed Buhari, or a Tosin Ajibare and me? The task ahead is not only to rescue power from the hands of corrupt politicians but to set an example of true new age leaders that others can emulate. This is must be the goal for us. We must work thoroughly on ourselves. We must be truly prepared. We must study, we must think, we must observe, and we must pray.  Because we are going to be tested, like the leaders before; we cannot afford to fail when the opportunity comes. We are the kind of leaders that we get.

If you are in the youth agenda simply for the sake of the acronyms or you are looking at youths taking over politics from an opportunist view then you have no business there. You cannot run after established but biased politicians if you really want to rescue your people from their current sufferings. What you will get by so doing is rendering your arms for chains and shooting yourselves in the leg.

Yes, campaigns will require huge monies and elections are won with numbers, and so you need popularity but you cannot turn to Godfathers because of this. You must win with the people, the ordinary people. Everything you need to win starts and ends with the people. What you need to learn is to have a relationship with the people as young leaders.

How much love have you truly got for the people? Love is the greatest commandment. Love is the binding cord for all relationships including a leader-people relationship. When we have all mastered its use for our neighbour then we can begin to get involved in rescuing our nation. When you have mastered it, then the people will know and believe you. When they believe, you have earned their trust.

Everything a leader needs is truly with the people. The people only needs a voice, be their voice and you earn their loyalty. Enough of running to some ‘great’ politicians that are complicit in the age-long societal decadence you are hoping to correct.

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