“What counts is not the size of the dog in the fight; it is the size of the fight in the dog.” Dwight D. Eisenhower, US 34th President.
For a potpourri of reasons, the 2015 presidential election will be the most challenging as well as the most keenly contested in Nigeria.
Next only to the 1960 election when the country earned its independence from the colonial masters, it is one in which character will play an all important role in determining where victory will swing at the end of the battle.
In its preparation for the election, the fight in the All Progressives Congress (APC) seems to be pushing the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the cliff already.
Yet, the party cannot take anything for granted at the point of choice making, which its adversaries hold as an ace against it.
So many hurdles must still be crossed and these come with very serious considerations.
Already, the PDP sees this moment of selection as the hour to strike. It is waiting to see APC disintegrate at the point, having referred to it as a huge smoke that was circumstantially thrown up and would soon fade off.
This pessimistic view is premised on the fact that the emergence of APC last year could at best be regarded as a rainbow coalition.
Some of the factors that must come to play in its selection process include, but not limited to, consideration for religion, zoning and degree of sacrifice as well as display of selfless passion.
However, in all of these, APC must clinically search for one important factor that will essentially distinguish it from the ruling PDP, the party that seems to have run its full cycle already, and only waiting to be defeated at the poll.
The factor, no doubt, is integrity. This factor will not only give APC an edge over PDP, it would also come handy in running the affairs of this country.
In a recent statement credited to John Odigie-Oyegun, chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), he was quoted as saying that the party gave a deep thought for every member of the convention planning committee, but found the choice of a chairman particularly difficult and was even looking for a retired chief judge at a point. “But by flash of inspiration, it occurred to us that there is somebody in our midst who can be described virtually as white as snow.” That person came out to be Dr John Kayode Fayemi.
By this singular act, APC has shown that it is taking every step cautiously in ensuring that it throws only its best possible within the cultural, religious and moral limitations into the ring. If it does, the party will be stoking the fire of hope in the hearts of so many disillusioned people, who had been wondering about what manner of leadership the country’s mosaic political parties should nudge forward in the 2015 election.
If it would go beyond this immediate assignment and consider featuring the integrity tag-team like such that can be provided by a General Mohammadu Buhari and a Dr. John Kayode Fayemi as its presidential and vice-presidential candidates respectively, then it will not only be good to go, but be too strong to beat at the election.
Despite his relative youthfulness, Fayemi is never moved by adversity; rather he is strengthened by it. He has strong stay power as a long-distance runner, yet his level-headedness is second to none.
His credit rating is very high. He is widely seen as responsible and reliable, in the league of those who can be trusted with the state assignments and would do it creditably well, with sincerity of purpose and great humility. He is a team player who plays the followership role with the same dexterity as he plays a leadership role.
Mindless of his fraudulent denial of a second term bid at the poll, Fayemi, within 24 hours of announcement of Ayodele Fayose as the winner of the highly controversial June 21st governorship election in Ekiti State, chose a path of honour least travelled by Nigerian politicians, congratulated Fayose and moved on, leaving his party to unravel the mystery at the tribunal. This is a record in contentment noticed even by those who perpetrated the fraud.
Outside the government house, Fayemi has since been incredibly busy on very important and most times, highly visible engagements, the way a Bill Clinton would do in the United States.
He is either assigned by governments or by international agencies. National institutions, organizations groups or even communities cannot stop inviting him. He became sucked into the vortex of international diplomacy, CSO activism, party assignments, giving lectures and so on.
The 2015 election must be fought and won on such platform of integrity. It is the kind that can be fought successfully with a Buhari-Fayemi joint ticket. The reason is not far-fetched.
The 2015 Presidential election has the trappings of fastidiousness. There is disillusionment in the air already and only the credible or seemly ones may be good enough for the country, which has gathered all the negative accolades to itself for all the wrong reasons.
Hopefully, 2015 will be a bottoming-up year for Nigeria.