A week ago, popular motivational speaker and management consultant, Fela Durotoye celebrated his 46th birthday, and he put up a post on his Facebook page where he talked about the passion and love he has for Nigeria that was put in his heart by God.
It did not take long before commentators started encouraging him to run for the Office of the President in next election cycle in 2019. Few of them posited that he was the right person to lead the nation based on his youth (he will still be under 50 by 2019 – not exactly young but younger than most likely contenders) and his charisma and appeal.
But how feasible is a Fela Durotoye presidency?
To start with, Durotoye has never identified with any political party, or even indeed, publicly supported any political candidate. While this is not to say he cannot join a party and make efforts to be its presidential candidate in the next year and a half, it will be a herculean task for someone who has no political experience or structure whatsoever.
Not just that, it is not known where Mr. Durotoye stands on numerous issues. What does he think about the debate for Nigeria’s restructuring? Does he believe that the naira should be devalued or floated? What ideas does he have for diversifying our economy? The list goes on and on.
So far, his popularity comes from being a passionate motivational speaker, able to inject passion and love for the country into his listeners. He is also popular for being one-half of the power couple he has formed with his wife, Tara Durotoye who is famous for her House of Tara cosmetics and beauty products brand.
If he has to succeed in a presidential bid, he will have to commence selling not just himself but his ideas to the Nigerian electorate.
While Durotoye has not declared an interest in any political office so far, it does appear that some of his admirers are jumping the gun and encouraging him to run for not just any office but the highest office in the land.
It is understandable: there are not many candidates hinting at a possible 2019 presidential run that do not come with baggage – as such, he will stand out as a squeaky clean contender, a rarity in Nigerian politics.
However, it seems that his post seems to be saying that he is doubling down on what he believes to be his calling, which is to encourage Nigerians to be in love with their country and do something for her as opposed to having to the country always doing something for them.