Fela Durotoye: You Cannot Fly Into Flying (Part 2)

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Olusola Adeyoose

Below is the continuation of an interesting whatsapp conversation, on the presidential aspiration of Fela Durotoye. Keep calm. Take a sit. And join the ride.

Sola: “Sir, I have read the document. Durotoye’s manifesto is rather simplistic and uninspiring. It provides no realistic solution to many of our problems. The document is largely a compilation of goals and promises, without highlight of ways to accomplish them. It generally lacks concrete political ideology.

For example, an issue as germane to our polity like true federalism was only glossed over. Though Fela claimed he would ensure resource control for the federating units, he failed to state what revenue sharing formula he would advocate, and how many federating units he would suggest.

Knowing that many of the current 36 states are redundant, will Fela advocate merger of some States? Will he advocate return to the previous 3 regions or he would convert the current 6 geopolitical zones to regions? What will make up the federating units in the federal state proposed by Fela? These issues need to be addressed by whoever seeks to be president.

Also, I grinned when I saw the 30% budgetary allocation to Education. Knowing that the current allocation is only about 7%, which ministries will Fela cut allocations to, to fund education? Is it Defence? Is it Power? Or how will the increase in government revenue be that drastic within 4 or even 8 years of his government?

The manifesto on security did not even address the incessant farmers’ herders’ crises. If the lives of thousands of Nigerians that have been so far butchered mean a thing to Fela, how can we excuse such omission!

The document reeks of poor editing. There are too many mistakes. Will it be wrong to assume such mediocrity and disregard for details will equally be transferred to governance?

This manifesto offers nothing new. It’s the same unrealistic promises.  In fact, while the previous lies may qualify as rhetoric, Fela’s manifesto was written in bland language, and it wouldn’t even pass as a good bed time read.

If indeed Fela has good intentions, he obviously has a lot of learning to do. He needs to be patient. He should first seek knowledge. He needs to innovate. He needs to think out solutions to Nigeria. And he needs to start small. Fela should remember Nietzsche, and not fly into flying.

It’s been nice discussing with you Sir. Thank you for your time”

Gold: “I understand your points clearly. I doubt a European political analyst could have done better. If I’m right you’re asking for an experienced candidate; one with the “know how” of the political system and not the desire to “change” the country.

I’m seeing it from another side of the coin. I see Durotoye as a prototype of the ideal presidential candidate this country should be having. Young, business savvy, conversant with the ideologies of the current technological age, ignorant of the prearranged political godfatherism.

The manifesto is lacking in detail yes – a fault largely from a country where the internal workings of the government and its actual state of affairs is either heavily edited or hidden all together. I see a young man who seriously intends to try his possible best for his country. Ignorance is a characteristic of youth especially from an elder’s perspective. But what the youth lacks in ‘know how” he makes up for in daring and stubbornness.

I want a daring and stubborn president. Fela has a track record, a track record that will be extremely unwise of him to tarnish with just four years at the helm of the country’s political affairs. Perhaps I’m emotionally tied to him already. However even my skeptical side sees the noose he threatens to hang upon his career, should he fail to keep his promises.

Perhaps he doesn’t even care for the country as I’d like to believe. But I’m comfortable with a candidate who has as much to lose as the country he poorly governs. Because he is an intellectual, he will be forced to give a proper analysis of his goals and the country’s situation at any given time.

He will be critiqued by newspapers he will read himself. He will respond to his situations actively. Not necessarily because he is a ‘good’ man, but because he has a lot to prove. Every man’s pride is boosted by the thought of a revolution and I speculate his entire tenure will be about highlighting that point.

My point is this: The experienced hands you’re demanding are soaked in blood. These people are uneducated and care not for the big changes occurring around the world. They desire power, plain and simple. While Buhari’s natural dislike for corruption is noted. Even he knows the powers that be. I mean the very foundation of his party is laughable.

These people are scary, dangerous people with roots gnaw deep into our country’s veins. Durotoye’s cabinet will be revolutionary, rude, desperate young men who want to be remembered. This may not be the best reason to run for the presidency, but it works.

A better candidate may still arise. One that fits better into this ‘knowledgeable yet ignorant, desperate yet calculated’ persona I feel my country needs. Once he does show up, I’ll switch boats. But I firmly disagree that we need yet another “tested and trusted” politician in Nigeria”

Sola: “Smiles. You assume wrongly Sir. I want an experienced candidate, one with both the knowhow and desire to change the country. The two are not mutually exclusive. Durotoye may represent the new age, but what he lacks in experience he won’t make up for in knowhow. I in fact challenge Durotoye that he does not know how this country works. He has never been in the political space. Theory is different from practical Sir. Nobody wins elections in the world, without godfathers, stakeholders, or whatever name they’re called. But I can relate when you use ‘godfather’ in our context.

Your excuse as to the lack of depth in Durotoye’s manifesto is not acceptable. Durotoye could have offered something new, something more, since he is promising change. The hidden internal workings of government are not the reason Durotoye didn’t highlight how he will achieve his plans. We even have more information now. Thanks to organisations like BudgIT and social media.

I agree some daring is needed in governance, but you need experience too. Are you for example aware that though the Child Rights Act frowns at child marriage, many states in the North have failed to ratify it? And it’s completely under the jurisdiction of the State House of Assembly. What will Durotoye do in that kind of situation? Kill them? Please Nigeria doesn’t work that way.

I don’t mean to be condescending, but Fela’s track record can’t serve as collateral for Nigeria. Fela is not at all as significant as you make him seem. You’re just being emotional. This man offers nothing new. No innovation. No realistic solutions. At least I have studied his manifesto. Remove the sentiments Sir. Durotoye does not have as much to lose as Nigeria. If he successfully loots the treasury, that’s so much wealth for his generation.

An experienced hand will not necessarily be soaked in blood. Durotoye can even be that experienced hand. All I’m saying is start small. For example, go to the Senate, become governor, then maybe president. How did Obama become American President? Didn’t he work his way up?  How did Emmanuel Macron become the President of France? Or you think Durotoye offers more promise? Please don’t be sentimental.

Fela’s party is equally laughable. Fela’s party lacks national coverage, yet he wants to be president. We need tested and trusted as president. If Dora Akunyili was alive and she wants to run for elective office, will I be wrong to say she has been tested and she can be trusted? Being tested and trusted doesn’t mean you’re corrupt.

Your debate is fuelled by the usual optimism and vigour of youth. The world does not work that way my friend. It has been a robust discussion. Thank you for your time”


Adeyoose wrote from Ibadan.

He can be reached via [email protected]



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