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Kayode Fayemi.

 Last week I served you with the first dose of my article on "Why Fayemi Should Be Nigeria's Next President". I have read the views and reactions of a cross section of Nigerians and received telephone calls, WhatsApp and text messages from so many concerned Nigerians, some expressing their support, others exhibiting reservations. But generally speaking, the article has received commendations from many Nigerians.


In a country like ours, where education is widespread, I am not surprised at the deluge of comments and reviews that trailed the article, which was published majorly on social media. I would expect more of this, on a subject matter as sensitive as this as the weeks roll by.

Let me say this, this article is not a means in itself, but a means to and end.  The end is that desire for a better and great Nigeria, where we can all achieve our full potentials at our own pace without discrimination. The end is our commitment to the quest to  solve the leadership problem that has bedevilled this country for so long. We all agree to the fact that, if we get the leadership issue right, we would get other things right. That is the focus of this exercise.

So this article is not about Fayemi but about what he stands for, what he represents. It's about letting Nigerians know why we should rally supports for him to become the next president of the country.

Many Nigerians have come to realise that Fayemi repsents today, and the future. It is clear, based on the principles and ideologies that he stands for, that JKF  symbolises a just, better, equitable and  egalitarian society; a society that will hold a brighter future  and posperity for our children and children's children.

In the second edition of this series, I will focus on the second factor why Fayemi should be Nigeria's next president.

Fayemi: Patriotic,  Audacious Leader

Patriotism or being patriotic is to show pride, love, devotion and a sense of attachment to a homeland. So a patriot is that individual who, in the course of his work, dealings and lifetime engagements,  has shown love and concern for his country and the leaders. Such a person must have served the country without  political bias and demonstrated a deep sense of alliance with other citizens.

There is no doubt fact that Nigeria parades many patriotic leaders from the pre-colonial period, through the independence era, and up to the present day. The sense of patriotism of our leaders prior to  independence can be attributed to the rapid progress that was achieved during independence and decades thereafter.

But today, the reverse is the case. The decadence that  occurred in Nigeria, particularly starting from 1979 after the general election that ushered in the Second Republic, has eroded the sense of patriotism and nationalism in a large number of our leaders and followers. Thus, a sense of  attachment to a common course and sentiment to one-indivisible Nigeria has been replaced by a deep-seated parochial, narrow-minded attitude our people;  which invariably has fuelled the  attachment to ethnic, religious and monolithic political ideologies. This has  been responsible for most of the political divisions, ethnic crises and the rise in the clamour for regional political freedom and self-determination in recent times.

At this juncture, the indivisibility and survival of Nigeria as a nation is under threat. This has been exacerbated by the recurring armed conflicts, Boko Haram, banditory and herdmen crises which have now engulfed the nation. The indivisibility of the Nigerian state under one single authority of governance requires deep thinking and rapid steps to avoid the looming calamity which stares us in the face. 

What Nigeria needs in 2023 is  a new lease of life, an inspiring  leadership that inherently believes in the principle of one Nigeria, built on the prisms of justice, equality, fairness and above all, patrotism. 

Many of Nigeria's past leaders have done the best they could do to preserve the ideal of one nation in diversity. They have done all the best they could do to keep Nigeria together as a nation. To preserve what the founding fathers fought for, the Nigeria Project requires urgent and decisive decision and steps.

We have seen the upsurge in the clamour for change, a call for a review and reappraisal of where we are as a nation. Today, it seems that the call for a clear-cut and true federalism or regional arrangement has overturned any other measure to keep Nigeria together as one.

With the extreme position of some self-determination and ethnic groups calling for a break up of the Nigerian entity, there is urgent demand for a leader whose antecedents, deeds and actions will rekindle our hope and fate in one single Nigeria; a leader who is committed to help in allaying the despondence, fear, anguish and frustrations, which have provoked the incessant calls for the  disintegration of the country; a leader who will be guided by a sense of national pride, a sense of justice, equality and fairness in the management of the affairs of Nigeria, her peoples and resources without  any fear or favour. 

With a cursory look at the gladiators being paraded in the build-up to the 2023 presidential election, one can see that one person in the current political firnacle that fits the bill of a patriotic, just and destabilised leader, who can inspire a new thinking and help build back our enthusiasm about the Nigerian project is no other than Dr Kayode Fayemi.

Since stepping into the political foray,  Fayemi has become a colossus, helping to reshape and rebuild a new political order where justice, equality and fairness are the building blocks.

Like I wrote last week, one of the huge qualities that people know about Fayemi is that he is courageous. JKF speaks truth to power. He is audacious. His courage coupled with his knowledge have contributed to his daring-do. Those who know him as a young university undergraduate can attest to this. This perhaps motivated his choice of career.

Many political analysts would not have expected a man whose profile has risen rapidly in recent times, a man who many Nigerians have been urging to throw his hat into the ring for the coveted position of the president of Nigeria come 2023 to be audacious in speaking out the truth whenever it is necessary. It is uncharacteristic of a politician in this clime who is being tauted as replacement for President Buhari to speak daringly on sensitive national issues.

So many of his adversaries were miffled last year when Fayemi, as the Keynote Speaker at an Arewa Leadership lecture in Kaduna, spoke loudly in support restructuring Nigeria. In alliance with other liberal northern leaders, including Governor Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State, former Vice President Namadi Sambo and the Sultan of Sokoto, Fayemi advocated for restructuring as the panacea for peace, progress and equity in Nigeria under the present situation.

Honestly speaking, Fayemi blew my heart, and, I am sure, those of many Nigerians. This is vintage JKF. This is a reflection of his patriotism, love and devotion to the course of Nigeria. For a long time, Fayemi's speech at the Arewa public lecture became the fulcrum of public debates, media reviews and analyses, with many seeing  that he is indeed a strong character.

Fayemi is truthful and has a profound character of a leader who will guide the national conversation in such a way and manner that all the diverse groups and ethnic nationalities will feel safe, secured and have level playing ground to achieve their fullest potentials. He is a nationalist, who believes the federating units should  be given the opportunity to develop according to their potentials and pace. That is what Nigeria is lacking, that is the solution  Nigeria needs.

But unfortunately, many of our leaders whose desperation to become Nigeria president is legendary, are not bold enough to speak the truth. They will rather speak  from both sides of their mouths.

A new Nigerian leader must be assertive and engaging without being combative. That is the realm in which Fayemi operates. He has the ears of the key influencers, the critical mass of the Nigerian people. He has earned  the trust of his brother-Governors, the youth segment and all others that can help shape the glorious future we all desire. He knows how to make his points without offending the people on the other side of the divides. He is as intelligent as he is audacious.

Nigerians need to realise that the country is a big African power house, and no single section or group can do it alone without the agreement and concurrence of the other groups. Nigeria needs a leader that cannot be swayed by the allure of office, greed, money or overbloted ego which has brought  Nigeria to where it has found herself.

Today, many of the northern elders who hitherto would not support restructuring have now come to realise that the only alternative to Nigeria's survival as a nation is restructuring. They are gradually coming to terms with the position of people like Fayemi, that restructuring will improve and foster progress not only for the south but also the north.

As a war and conflict resolution scholar, Fayemi has deep training and experience in crisis resolution. He has tremendous skills in peoples management, in negotiation and persuasion. This has been partly attributed to his success as a manager of people.

What more can we say about JFK's  audacity and sincerity of purpose. This is his edge. Patriotism and nationalism are the key leadership elements that have distinguished him from other contenders. No one can attribute to him any vestige of ethnic, religious or sectional card. He is one of the few leaders that believe in the spirit of one, indivisible Nigeria built  on the basis of justice, equity and progress in diversity. These have remained  the creed  of Nigeria's founding fathers.

If there is anything that Fayemi is loved for by the common man, it is his courage and audacity. This may have been misconstrued by his detractors anytime they attempt to pin him down against his candid and frank opinions on national issues. And this is not because he has not said the right thing, but because they are not comfortable with the leverage that his audacity has earned him in recent times. 

Fayemi has emerged a leading presidential hopeful for 2023, particularly from the southwest. Take it or leave it, by the time he indicates his interest in running for the presidency, I doubt if any other candidate would be able to run against him. JKF has distinguished himself with his brand of politics.

Watch out!

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