The Yar'adua Regime And The Hand Over Notes Excuse


Francis Adewale


Champions aren't made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them: A desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill.
-Muhammad Alli

Former World Boxing Champion


Today, we learnt new facts from impeccable sources at Aso rock as reported by This Day Newspapers of May 29, 2008, that the reasons why Nigeria is currently in doldrums is due largely to the fact that the previous regime of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, never gave the new regime he handpicked an hand over notes.


According to This Day Newspapers, “365 days after the change of government, Yar'Adua has still not received any formal handover note around which his plans and actions can be anchored. The President has had to rely on the institutional memory of his Chief of Staff, Major General Muhammed Abdullahi (rtd) and Permanent Secretary, Aso Rock, Dr. Steve Oron-sanye, both of who also served under Obasanjo.” (emphasis mine).

My first reaction is to try and pull my grey hairs out of my head. What is going on? Are we still leaving in the middle ages? Whatever happens to vision? I had written elsewhere, that the behaviors and dictates of the present regime in Aso rock closely mirror that of the Second Republic under former President Shehu Shagari. We all know that Shagari was equally foisted on Nigeria and he even admitted that he was ill-prepared for the job. Sadly the same characters that foisted Shagari on our dear nation are also involved with the selection and installation of the Yaradua’s regime. But that is a discussion for some other day.

 Now, when you combine the “handover notes excuse” with the recent news item wherein Alhaji Attahiru Bafarawa, former governor of Sokoto State and presidential candidate of the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) in the 2007 elections, stated unequivocally that President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua is not ready for the office he is occupying.

In an interview with Daily Sun, (reported online by Bafarawa held that Yar’Adua has no vision or plan for the country. "Yar’Adua wasn’t ready for the presidency. He had no vision, and that is why he has found himself in a fix," he declared.

That got me worried. I think it was Theodore Hesburgh who stated that “The very essence of leadership is that you have to have vision. You can't blow an uncertain trumpet.” One needs not to look far to see the impending implosive mess that the Yar’adua’s regime had made of our geo-politic. The entire power sector is comatose; the petroleum and energy sector is in doldrums, no thanks to the unrequited wars going on at the Niger Delta. The impressive gains of the private sector epitomized by the Nigeria stock Exchange good indexes of the past few years is gradually been eroded. The consumer confidence is at an all time low. A regime that will dish out capital allocations without any budgets clearly has a visionless and directionless leadership. The fight against corruption is now a mere pawn in the chest board of Yar’adua’s directionless regime.

Some of my friends are often perplexed at my unceasing umbrage directed at the present regime and I usually told them that to whom much is given much are expected. You can explain away the past poor leadership of Nigeria as being largely due to ignorance and lack of education. We all know that Abacha, Babangida, Obasanjo, Murtala, Gowon and Balewa barely graduated with a High School Leaving Certificate. None of them can boast of being within the four walls of a higher institution other than cadet academy. But how do you explain a visionless leadership headed by a graduate of Chemistry, with a Bachelor of Science in Education and Chemistry, and Master of Science Degree in Analytical Chemistry.

And of course a vice president, Jonathan Goodluck, who holds a Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) Honours in Zoology with a second class (HONS) upper division, an M.Sc. in Hydrobiology/Fisheries biology, and a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Zoology from the University of Port Harcourt .

To me these impressive degrees will count for nothing if their regime remains as rudderless as it is. It is also a serious indictment on Nigerian educational system. How did we get to this point, where 365 days after inauguration, a sitting regime will explain its inaction away with a claim that it has not received hand over notes. What correlation has a hand over notes has to do with visionary leadership. Did Late General Murtala Muhammed regime receive any hand over notes from General Yakubu Gowon. whom he violently overthrew, before embarking on a platform of achievements that still remains a golden standard till today?

We need to start calling out this regime, we had endured the darkness for more than 365 days, and it seems our silence is being wrongly interpreted as acquiescence to their inertia. We cannot take it anymore. Here is an example of how democracy is expected to work: “In the small town each citizen had done something in his own way to build the community. The town booster had a vision of the future which he tried to fulfill. The suburb dweller by contrast started with the future—with a shopping center for twice the population, with a school building already built, with churches constructed, with parks and playgrounds and swimming pools. These were as essential to building a suburb as the prematurely grand hotel had been to building a city in the wilderness.

In large developments where the developer had a plan, and even in the smaller developments, there was a new kind of paternalism: not the quasi-feudal paternalism of the company town, nor the paternalism of the utopian ideologue. This new kind of paternalism was fostered by the American talent for organization, by the rising twentieth century American standard of living, and by the American genius for mass production. It was the paternalism of the market place. The suburban developer, unlike the small-town booster, seldom intended to live in the community he was building. For him community was a commodity, a product to be sold at a profit. Daniel J. Boorstin, The Democratic Experience, Random House (1973).

My intent is to start a letter writing campaign calling on this regime to start explaining how it intends to solve our power outage problems. How it intends to address the Niger Delta problem. Etc. Even though we do not have a say on how they were selected to rule Nigeria, we are the ruled and without our legitimacy they will not remain in power.  Join in!

Francis Adewale