Open letter to ambitious governors
Do not seek to prime anyone to succeed you. That is seeking to hang on when you should let go. Seeking to hang on means you still want to be in control, rule by proxy. Most people are ambitious and intelligent.
They also want their hands on the levers of power. That may be even why they decided to play along with you.
Once on the seat of power, like children on a swing, they will not like to sit with their hands folded on their laps, but on the chain so as to have all the thrills of the swing that holding the chain gives.
Nothing is more grieving and hurting that someone you put in power turning his back on you. You are a lot happier when you allow a free contest. Whoever wins will be full of respect for you and that’s what you need and can have while out of office. Power, forget it. It is gone when you are out of office. All you can depend on out of office is influence and influence depends on respect.
Always let go when you should. Standing on is not same thing as hanging on. Standing on you risk no fall. Hanging on you can be thrown off any moment by the speeding train. When you step out while standing, you step out with dignity. When you are thrown off while hanging on, you fall with all the indignities of being thrown off.
With what dignity does a banana peel thrown away fall on the road?
But why do politicians want to hang to power? Greed and misuse of power.
One thing leads to another. Greed for wealth makes people misuse power. One thing leads to another. When you misuse power, you are forced to want to hang on to cover your tracks and perhaps continue to misuse power. You pick a successor to sit over your mess and cover your tracks for you. You put someone you think is a skunk and so will live with the stench of your fart and will not turn up his nose? Mind you, a skunk is known to be a traitor. Once he seizes the rein of power, he would tell you he is not a robot to be controlled and it would hurt you so badly. When in power, live by the simple rules of power: do the right thing and no fear of the known or the unknown will besiege you into wanting to hang on when your time is done.
People elect you. You betray their trust and misuse the power they gave you to serve them.
The people are bitter and resentful. Haunted by fear of what will happen to you out of power, you elect another person to succeed you. This is a second act of ingratitude, betrayal and contempt for the people. You weren’t elected to elect others but to serve the people. Why would you leave what you were supposed to do and did another? The person you elected out of your betrayal, ingratitude and contempt for the people can only be treacherous, ungrateful and contemptuous of you. The offspring of a snake can only be a snake. The person you elected will become ungrateful to you and will heed not your bidding. A child of ungratefulness can only be ungrateful. The situation feeds on itself.
If you allow the people to elect the one that will succeed you, you are grateful to the people and the people will be grateful and respectful of you. A word is enough for the wise.
Shafysofy writes from Ahmadu Bello University
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