There are few good men on the Nigerian political terrain and two of those men appear to be heading against an uphill task to make good what seems a lost battle. It started with Nuhu Ribadu then Patrick Utomi joined in, unfortunately these men may never attain what they have in mind—be the next president of the Nigerian republic for one simple reason: they are politically naive.
No doubt, Nuhu and Patrick are decent men, with a clear visions of where and what Nigeria should be. They are decent, but the task of winning elections in their motherland requires way more than that.
The successful, election-winning, Nigerian politician must be shrewd and have the control of grassroots electorate. He must be able to build coalitions across board, tough, and well tutored in the nitty-gritty of the cut-throat business of Nigerian politics. These men are not, unfortunately.
Neither has any significant record building coalitions or dealing at the grassroots, nationally. They are unknown qualities politically; I have to say, unfortunately. To make the matter worse, the political pedestals they hope to stand on for the elections are weak—Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and Social Democratic Mega Party (SDMP) lack national coverage and not tightly fused.
Nigeria history tells us no ‘newbie’—what Ribadu and Utomi are, politically—has been able to move against the odds and wrestle political power from, or contest successfully against, formidable foes in the presidential elections. At the state level there are two instances in recent time: Adam Oshiomole (Edo State) and Segun Mimiko (Ondo State); and both men have strong political grassroots connections. Oshiomole was a national labor leader and an astute organizer. Mimiko has 15 years of politicking under his belt before he became governor and he’s the quintessential grassroots politician.
Ribadu or Utomi have none of these attributes. Ribadu is not even a card-carrying member of the ACN yet!
I would love to see either Ribadu or Utomi become president one day, but what they are doing is trying to score a knock-out victory without throwing a punch! They must earn their slots, politically. They need to roll up their sleeves and get their hands dirty by learning to operate from within the political system, even if they so much hate it. This is the only way they would understand and appreciate the magnitude of the problem of governance—or lack thereof.
Ribadu and Utomi can showcase their brilliance and impeccable qualities to other politicians and the electorate at the grassroots, if they would operate in a capacity less glamorous as the presidency. This would offer them the opportunity of political baptism and credibility, which they lack but need to win elections.
The Nigerian political water is murky and filled with sharks and barracudas that could disorganize the best agenda of any decent but politically naive man. That is why Nigeria needs politically sophisticated men—with the qualities of Ribadu and Utomi—who would step up and build a well-oiled political machine on which the greatness of our nation would manifest.