Elections are the bedrock of every democracy. The prosperity of every nation hinges on the quality of her governance; once the democratic process is gotten right, the first hurdle towards good governance has been crossed.
Nigeria has not been fortunate with good leadership, and this has led to a crop of political leaders who have repeatedly failed the test of leadership. Much attention has been paid to the leadership half of the cycle without equally criticizing the governed, who wields the ultimate power in a democracy.
The art of choosing who becomes the next governor of the state is a conscious decision, one not to be left to fate or a few Bayelsans. Every job comes with expectations and requirements, and the office of the governor is not left out.
There are Five distinct criteria I strongly believe anyone seeking to occupy the number one office in the land must possess – Character, Competence, Compassion, Courage, and Capacity.
Character: The governor serves not only as the state’s Chief Executive Officer but is also the number one citizen in the state (so to speak) who will have access to enormous resources and responsibility. Such responsibility must only be vested upon a man/woman with an impeccable character. The governor must be disciplined and committed to the Bayelsa project. Over time, the characters of our leaders have been questioned by national and international communities and this has steered investment away from the Glory of all Lands – trust me, we are (or at least we ought to be).
Competence: Our governor must be a person with a proven track record, experience, and expertise the task is enormous, the challenge is tasking, and as such our next governor must of necessity be the most competent of all candidates vetted and presented before the electorate. We need to grow our internally generated revenue, fix our education and our roads, mediocrity is not an option on the table.
Capacity: The next governor of our state must not only have character and be competent, he/she must also be capable. In the last sixteen years, we have had competent governors, but their respective capacities have been in serious doubt. And by capacity, we mean not only the technical knowledge as to how to do the job but also the skill set necessary. In other words, we do not need a man who only knows how to read a map but one who also knows how to navigate the terrain.
Courage: Courage as a force is very sacrosanct in whomever we decided to make our number one citizen. The courage to successfully execute projects his predecessor has run form, courage to not depend solely on the Federal Government for funds but to look inwards, the courage to face-off oppressive cabals and even say no to over-bearing godfathers, courage to ignore unfounded criticisms and to just be the man that his people needs. This is no easy thing to ask of our leader, but it is something he/she must offer the people.
Compassion: Last but in no way the least is compassion. Character, competence, capacity, and courage are all not as important as compassion. Only with compassion would we elect a governor that would not embezzle our funds. Compassion will prevent our governor from inflating the price of projects, compassion will make the governor do the will of the people, compassion will make the governor treat citizens of his state with love and respect. This way, they will not just be ‘the governed’, they will be his family – ‘the beloved’. And with this disposition, what could possibly go wrong?
Fellow citizens as we approach the ballot box on November 16th, let us keep these criteria right before us. This time we must make the right choice.
God bless you.
God bless Bayelsa state.
By Adewumi Adedeji.