Journalism of Courage

2019 presidency, Moghalu and prebendal politics

  By Sufuyan Ojeifo
I received a verbal invitation on February 22, 2018 to attend a world press conference by former deputy governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Professor Kingsley Moghalu, scheduled for February 28, 2018 at the Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja. Moghalu would use the occasion to declare his interest in Nigeria’s presidency in 2019 and speak to the philosophical underpinnings of his aspiration.
Two days to the event, a formal invitation was sent to me via e-mail and about twenty-four hours to the event, the organisers still put a telephone call through to gently remind me of the event. With what happened in a space of about a week around a simple declaration of interest, it was not difficult for me to form a perception of how organised Moghalu and those handling his engagements are.
Well, Moghalu must have played a central role in the creation of that character that I strongly believe our disoriented nation needs to be properly organised.  Our nation would also require the acumen of Moghalu and his likes to rejig its administrative infrastructure and refocus governance for positive and tangible results.  
Without a doubt, the administration of the nation’s political economy can no longer be run in the characteristic slipshod manner that we have witnessed over the years. It is time Nigeria embraced a digital leadership that is knowledge-driven in order to build a robust economy from the ferment of the 21st century such that would transform Nigeria into a strong nation.
Nigeria urgently needs to take its rightful place in the comity of well-administered nations of the world.  It requires the right kind of leadership to do so.  Moghalu believes he has what it takes to engineer the distinction that is needed.  From his presentation at the world press conference, it was clear that he is intellectually prepared to engage the task of leadership- providing direction to a nation of 180 million along critical directions and indicators.
Apparently well-rounded and well-grounded in the understanding of governance, Moghalu’s presidency should not be caught taking the wrong foot in matters of the economy. He has also indicated that the administration would be on top of its game in socio-political, religious and security matters.  He has more offerings: internal affairs of the nation would be run with a clear focus and very strong commitment to build, innovate and grow Nigeria.
On the international scene, Nigeria needs to positively attract global attention that will be salutary to the reception of respect from the comity of nations.  Moghalu said he could do it and I have no reason to doubt his capacity. With his enormous governance ideas and the power of articulation of the same to any audience anywhere under the sun, Moghalu will be a new face from Africa of a new generation of intellectual leaders defining robust governance ethos in their climes within the global context of politics.
His extempore address at the press conference in which he captured the nuances of the corpus of problems confronting the nation, as well as proffered likely solutions to them, presented the portrait of a man who is ready to take head-on the challenges of leadership. 
Moghalu has shown the stuff he is made of in terms of deep understanding and analyses of the issues of governance.  Therefore, having been very clear about the destination he is heading for, he should not have problems getting there with the setting of necessary milestones that he wants to achieve, guided, of course, by reasonable timelines.
He has begun a political journey from idealism to realism where he will be mentally exerted.  The founder of the Institute of Governance and Economic Transformation appears well prepared for the job he seeks: to govern and transform the Nigerian economy.  That is the kernel of the entire gamut of promises he makes.  He has promised to address ethnic and religious divisions that have made Nigeria a nation of ethnic nationalities where ethnic interests are emphasised over and above national interests.
Moghalu’s claim that Nigerians are collectively exhausted by politicians who keep falling in and out of alliances, a development which aggravates fears as well as existential failure to address the needs of the ordinary citizens is common knowledge.  How he navigates the landmine of this endemic and historical failure by the crop of the old guards remains to be seen.


But, if there is any real problem that may stymie the realisation of a Moghalu presidency, it is the conquered followership of entrenched political gladiators whose loyalty feeds on prebendal politics-wherein those in power use the structures of the state to share our commonwealth to their loyalists. 
This is an age-long political tradition that thrives on leadership-followership constructions.  Therefore, dismantling the culture of predendal politics with mere verbal exhortations and intellectual exertions as has been promised by Moghalu may not be an easy enterprise. 
The political structures of the old guards are pervasive.  They are in the nooks and crannies of the country.  They are expansive, deep-rooted and expensive to service. But they provide the votes needed to win.  To upstage their applecart would require the right kind of political education that is geared towards achieving a new Nigeria.  At the secondary level, mega bucks would be required for necessary logistical support.
And, this is the fundamental problem that Moghalu will encounter.  There is lack of quality education of the citizenry to be able to appreciate the essence of quality, sharply-focused and accountable political leadership which should replace the rapacious band of leadership that has, over the years, plundered our commonwealth and entrenched the impoverishing canteen-baazar economic model.
Due to deliberate underfunding of education by successive federal governments, Nigeria is plagued by a horde of half-baked graduates who indulge mostly in inanities rather than in critical enterprises that conduce to robust enlightenment about the political destiny of the nation.
The old guards have created a mindset of poverty for all, while promoting the idea of prosperity for the privileged few who get into political and public offices in continuous lack of fidelity to the social contract.  This and the crude politics of prebendalism are the regressive structures that Moghalu should be poised to dismantle with his intellectual politics that is rooted in pragmatic socio-political and economic ideals.
Without a doubt, there is a red sea to cross if Moghalu must take Nigeria to the Promised Land of economic prosperity and political greatness.  In that process, failed politicians who still want to hold onto the reins of government would have to be drowned as a matter of deliberate decision.
Thereafter, from the ashes of their immolation will arise, through the ideal kind of guidance, a new generation of leadership comprising competent and experienced young men and women.  I cannot but concur with Moghalu that in order to modernise Nigeria, there is the need for competence, capacity and character.  He has a remarkable antecedent that sustains the competence narrative, having worked as deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, where he played leadership role in stabilising the banking system after the global financial crisis. He was a member of the bank’s monetary policy committee that brought inflation down to single digits.
His capacity and character are also not in doubt. It is settled that Moghalu has thrown his hat in the ring for the 2019 presidential contest.  But what is not settled yet is the political platform on which he wants to actualise his aspiration.  He, however, assured that the decision on the platform of choice would be based on commonality of vision and importance of a generational shift in political leadership.
I am understandably excited at the form and content of intellectual politics that Moghalu will bring to presidential electioneering in 2019.  I am eager to see the mobilisation, the political conversation and a presidential debate series that will be made robust by his scholarly exertions.


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