Date Published: 10/21/09
NIGERIA’S NEW ‘POWER ELITE’ ARE HERE! By Jude Egbas
I read Reverend Matthew Hassan Kukah’s insightful piece titled Preparing for Nigeria’s coming power elite which was published in The Guardian of October 1, 2009, with so much relish. Coming from one of the most respected voices on the Nigerian discourse, Rev Kukah’s treatise on the shape of things to come as it regards the country’s political space, very well makes for an interesting read.
Rev Kukah surmises that in about half a century from now, a new band of leaders who are about now honing their political skills and tailoring their brinkmanship in some of the best schools around the globe, will return home to seize the mantle of leadership from their thieving and corrupt parents who presently run the show and who would have become too old to be involved in the physicality of election rigging. The writer believes that the shift in the ideological base of the country would have become so pronounced that our present crop of politicians would suddenly find themselves out of a job and out of fashion. He points to the election of Barack Obama as America’s first Black President as the new direction most countries will begin to follow—a path were young and urbane leaders with newer ideas will become the new ‘ power elite’.
I could not agree less, because I see the new ‘power elite’ everywhere I go in the country. They may not be studying abroad in Kukah’s prototype, but they are beginning to bare their fangs, nonetheless. I meet them in offices, I see them at cyber cafes; I bump into them in Beer Parlours and stare into their eyes at church pews. I interact with them on Facebook and receive their tweets on twitter. Hear me Rev Kukah wherever you are at this moment: Nigeria’s new power elite are not just coming, they are right here with us! We may not need to wait for another fifty years, Rev, because beginning from the next polls in 2011, that ‘power elite’ you went philosophical about would be ready to stare down the political barrel in swashbuckling fashion—thanking their fathers for making such a bad job of steering the ship of state thus far and taking their rightful place on the stage.
So long, IBB; self confessed ‘evil genius’ whose word used to become law and who picked corrupt leaders from a mansion nestled in the Minna Hills. Take an undeserved bow, Olusegun Obasanjo, three time ruler of a country you left worse than you met it. Run for cover, Tony Anenih, one time Mr Fix It who could not Fix a kilometre of Road in your south west base. Your time is up, guys! Move over, Njan Ekara, Ken Egbas, Odo Awukam, Prince David, Tope Templar, Henry Eguridu, Akinbode Oguntuyi, Brown Owoh, Tricia Ikponmwonba, Kennedy Nsan. Come on Steve Ovat, RMD, Kalu Idika, Nnamdi Okosieme, Olamipo Bello, Genevieve Nnaji, Barbara Onah, Joy Ayuk, Godwin Ebughe, Friday Abeng, Audu Maikori.
One of my most ‘hands-on’ medium of passing my message across to most young Nigerians has been through online social networking sites. I have stirred the minds of the young and the young at heart; preaching that inaction could be fatal. The first thing I do when I meet a young Nigerian who is sick of the present state of our dear country is to challenge them to action. And by God, it is bearing fruit. Njan Ekara; a young man who is set to take Ikom 1 constituency by storm as he angles for a Cross River State senatorial seat, has given me much to cheer about. For years, he has been nursing a political ambition with an uncanny zeal. In his mid 30s and just fresh out of University where he bagged a degree in Sociology, Mr Ekara and I would sit down to groan about the several injustices in the political landscape, long into the night. At some other time, he would come to tears as year after year of misrule threatened to pull his Senatorial district of Ikom apart. Two days ago, I left my office a happier man when he called to say he was throwing his hat into the ring in Ikom LGA as he takes a shot at a Representative seat in the state.
Akinbode Oguntuyi, a seasoned sports journalist in Lagos, has threatened ‘fire and brimstone’ should the next general elections be rigged. Ken Egbas, another young man with fire in his bones is getting ready to take active part in the nation’s political process, beginning at state level. Thousands of young men and women are also bracing up across the country as they stake a claim to a complete overhaul of the jaded politics of our nation. Few young men would facilitate the snatching of ballot boxes in the next general elections and fewer would pander to the whims and caprices of the present day so called ‘Godfathers’. A new set of Godfathers is gradually unfurling before our very eyes.
It would be no mean task changing the power dynamics, but more than ever before, it looks quite achievable. Just look around you: the next Governor, Local Government Chairman or Senator may just be the young man sharing a drink with a friend from across the bar, or the young Lady hitting at her laptop keypads next door. They are the new ‘power elite’ Kukah was referring to.
Egbas is a Company Executive based in