In a little over 2000 words, Mr Kingsley Moghalu laid out what he believes would be the key to a “21st century”, “visionary, purposeful, competent leadership”.
Tapping into the conventional sensibility to associate whatever that has been good about Nigeria to Sardauna, Awo and Zik, the former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria tips himself to be the person who returns the country to the path laid down by those “founding fathers”, reversing the spiral of intractable problems in the power sector, rising poverty, increasing unemployment and expanding ethno-religious divisions.
It was not surprising to hear a stand against the kidnapped girls in Dapchi, Yobe state, though he threaded lightly in prescribing any panacea for their immediate rescue. Neither did he try to seize the moment in pledging to rescue them as though Nigerians, particularly the girls’ parents, could endure having them detained till May 2019 just to be told another story of how difficult it is to negotiate with “technically defeated” terrorists.
Experience counts in leadership and Mr Moghalu will rather have young Nigerians focus on his professional achievements from the CBN to the United Nations than on how experienced he is as a politician, taking refuge in John F. Kennedy that “politics is too important to be left to the politicians”. I have not played this game until now, but I know precisely how to win the league, appears to be his message.
There will be a world class “first eleven” cabinet which would have some wondering whether he plans to downsize the Federal Executive Council to a standardized set of offices mirroring the Secretaries of the US Government. Mr Moghalu appears to recognize the swell of excitement with the Gender Parity achieved by UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres, pledging “a 50:50 gender parity policy in all political appointments”, while championing improved female presence at the National Assembly. Both are part of a number of policy items on a big-vision agenda which will rank the declaration the most progressive ever presented to Nigerians.
Moghalu’s declaration has enough in it to impress job seekers and current undergraduates as an exciting and hopeful promise of real economic empowerment, especially his “Venture Capital Fund with a minimum of N500 billion” even if experience has shown that big proclamations on financial change do not always turn out as envisaged. He will have to be more clear on tackling the “Nigerian” factors that restrict the viability of even the most inspired piece of fiscal craftsmanship.
In slamming those “who continually fall in and out of alliances with each other and care nothing for the ordinary Nigerian”, Mr Moghalu makes the call for “a REAL movement of the people, by the people and, most importantly FOR the people of Nigeria to move our country forward and break with our troubled past”. That is an alignment with the growing sentiment of Nigerians on the streets though one could make the case that he could be part of the movement without wanting to be president, and that being close to 60, he would not necessarily belong to the class of “youth who have prepared themselves with the relevant qualifications [who] must take over the mantle of leadership”.
Mr Moghalu’s declaration of intent did not contain a statement of the political party with which he hopes to make it to the ballot paper as the present electoral laws demand. This would seem to be the next phase in his consultations which apparently bore enough fruit to give him the courage to declare his intention. A quick glance through the leading political parties does not reveal any potential vacancy for a presidential aspirant of Moghalu’s credentials, particularly as it relates to considerations on the basis of ethnicity, a.k.a Zoning.
His options of a platform appear to lie among a lower cadre of parties from which a recently declared aspirant made a choice. In that case, an intention to shake up the grand two will require conscious investments into the promotion of his brand as a person of capacity despite being without the care of a major political party. On this, he relies on his colleagues, mentors, friends, and my family’ to make his case. However, seeking national acceptance and validation from Nigerians of all regions, it would seem necessary to avoid the choice of a platform whose identity and current public servants are overly associated with a particular ethnic nationality.
But Mr Moghalu would not judge himself by his ethnicity and believes only three qualities are requisite to build a nation: competence, capacity, and character. And if you asked his friends, family and mentors, he is confident they will attest to all three. There is arguably more to the presidency of the most populous black nation with its many complexities than certifications in catchy-sounding virtues, but it’s up to Nigerians to put his honours through halogen lamps, re-evaluate cold cases and make judgments on his merits.