Essay from Adelayok Adeleye

The Paternal GAP

Fathers are wonderful people: caring, providing, and responsible. We
need more of them in governance. Yet we need more than them. As good
as fathers are, responsible and all, they rarely make good political
officers. Fathers, by their nature, are good providers, and rulers,
but are rarely good leaders as they are seldom good talkers: Fathers
direct and guide, but do not see reason to sit you down and explain,
and convince, why what they want for you is really what is best for
you; the very essence of leadership. Hence the paternal gap: Fathers
only demand trust, trust that they rarely give.

Fathers, by nature, know best. Or not quite, since times change; and,
as my people say, Ajá ìwòyí la fíí s’ode ìwòyì, modern times are best
secured by modern measures. So that instead of the politician’s
perpetual plea for blind trust, what Nigerians deserve is uncommon
honesty; instead of rehearsed speeches and recycled manifestos, what
we should have are untainted explanations on why things are as bad as
they are and the way out; instead of the Change! mantra, and the
Transformation Agenda, what we really want is accountability.

We have had enough of paternity stints and stunts, of accusation and
counter-accusation, of paint-him-bad and draw-him-down; now we just
want our sovereignty to be recognised and respected; power, after all,
belongs to the people and is vested in us, since democracy is the
governance of the people, by the people, and for the people, and yet
remains so, even in Nigeria…

Since what we have had so far are people who humiliate themselves in
the bid to appear humble, and suitable for political office, only to
be sworn in and show their true selves: over-lording bigots. Akin to
the way the average (African) father is only nice to outsiders, and
only nice on outings; only to become a terror on entering his own

What we have had so far are people who refuse to disclose WHY the
projects they choose to commence are necessary, or any better than
their alternatives; who refuse to show us HOW they are not enriching
their pockets in the bidding process; who will not tell us exactly
WHAT their take-home pay is, Freedom of Information nonetheless!

Yes, Nigerians want to know why power supply is increasing so close to
the elections; why the reduction in the pump price of petrol is only
so much, or so little; why BH is losing only so recently, what
changed?; what really went wrong with the Naira; what really went down
in South Africa; why you deserve a second term, which, the untold
truth is, a lot of us are yet willing to consider, even support!

Nigerians do not want you to score cheap points with promises that are
just as cheap: midday meals, free education, anti-corruption in spite
of glaringly corrupt allies, the vanquishment of BH. We want to know
how these will be, if even they are realistic, especially if they are
possible. We want worst-case scenarios. We want the truth.

We got here on the wings of promises, and we know better now: how will
you go about this Change without crossing the boundaries that
safeguard democracy, or breaching the Constitution? How will you stop
BH if you are not their godfather in the first place? How will you
implement the Resolutions of the National Conference that your party
denounced? How (un)healthy are you? honestly!

Nigerians want media chats and (exclusive) interviews that priorities
us and are not merely avenues to attack the opposition, or defend your
mistakes. We do not need perfect father-figures, contrary to what your
sycophant-advisers tell you. We want the truth, for once, and after
all the hide-and-seek of yesteryears, we deserve it!

We do not want a Father of the Nation; we do not need to be treated as
children. Enough of propaganda! Enough of televised membership-card
shredding! Enough of cover-ups! We deserve to be treated as equals,
taken seriously, and carried along every step of the way; and we
hereby demand it! Now!

Ayokunle Ayk Fowosire,


Yet, my generation is not spared. They will send representatives to
their own manifestos, since they are vying unopposed. Put them in a
Committee and they assume you have signed over to them the right to
make every imaginable decision for you, even the mundane; you are only
needed to fill seats, and clap. Put them in charge of money and you
don’t get change, not even a statement of expenditure. You are only as
important as your votes, and those are so ephemeral.

And when you disagree, they are quick to tell you how they are in
charge, how you put them there to represent you, how you must trust
them; that is if they don’t remind you of how you can no longer change
them. They are ever quick to forget that they are only to represent
our presence, and not replace our sense; that putting them in charge
is stewardship, and not lordship; that the joke is on them so long
they are bound to come again, play innocent fools, and canvass for
votes we now know they do not deserve, nor ever will…

Yes, it is that bad!