Fubara: The Fallacy of Succession: Lessons from Nigeria’s Political Landscape by Dele Sobowale



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In the realm of Nigerian politics, the attempt to impose a successor often reveals more about the incumbent’s legacy than their intentions for the future. It becomes a desperate bid to shield oneself from accountability, rather than a genuine concern for governance continuity or public welfare. Yet, history has shown that such maneuvers seldom lead to harmonious transitions or improved governance outcomes.

The notion of a handpicked successor is often rooted in self-preservation rather than genuine leadership. Those with vested interests seek to ensure that their chosen protege will safeguard their interests, even at the expense of broader societal needs. This pattern has played out repeatedly in Nigeria’s political landscape, with varying degrees of success and failure.

Former President Obasanjo’s attempt to engineer the succession process set a troubling precedent. By anointing Umaru Yar’Adua as his successor, despite glaring health challenges and lack of popular mandate, Obasanjo undermined the democratic principles of free and fair elections. The consequences were dire, as Yar’Adua’s truncated tenure and subsequent succession by an ill-prepared successor highlighted the folly of such political machinations.

Similarly, state governors have followed suit, viewing the selection of their successor as a personal prerogative rather than a democratic process. This top-down approach has often resulted in political turmoil and internal strife within parties, with chosen successors failing to live up to expectations or asserting their independence once in power.

The aftermath of such succession struggles is marked by lingering enmity and political discord, as exemplified by historic rivalries between Awolowo and Akintola in the old Western Region. These conflicts, fueled by personal ambitions and power struggles, leave lasting scars on the political landscape and hinder progress.

In the face of such challenges, it is incumbent upon citizens to reclaim their power and assert their right to choose their leaders through democratic means. The struggle for democracy is ongoing and requires vigilance and active participation from the populace. The recent showdown between Fubara and Wike serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of defending democratic principles against entrenched interests and political manipulation.

As citizens, we must reject attempts by political godfathers to subvert the will of the people and entrench their control over the political process. By standing up for our right to choose and holding leaders accountable, we can ensure a more equitable and democratic future for Nigeria.

The fight for democracy is not easy, but it is essential for the advancement of our nation. Let us seize every opportunity to defend our power and uphold the principles of democracy for the betterment of all Nigerians.

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