AS if  rascally behavior of the political elites  and militias were not enough for us all to be cynical many untruths were peddled . Some otherwise educated people turned facts of history up-side-down churning out falsehood without any iota of shame all for  power and ambition  For example on 21-3-2011 I watched   Femi  Fani –kayode on NTA. Words from him would be unhelpful to post election reconciliation efforts.  It calls to mind his past hostile attacks on the Ibos in Lagos and some respected Nigerians many of them  much older than himself.  It may be his way of life but as leaders we should be careful with our utterances for they could serve as basis of evaluation and assessment of the speaker.  I am thus worried more here by the many untruths and misinformation about the history of Nigeria. For the sake of tomorrow let’s do the right thing today. For the sake a better Nigeria and education of  our children let’s set the record right. They could mislead  the youth and hurt society at large severely.
Like many politicians Femi  often  talks out of context and deliberately distorts facts of history but by so doing  they hurt their cause badly and mislead some others. There is no virtue in lying. Apart from the intelligent use of his past vituperations against president  Jonathan during campaigns  by the opposition to deride his Principal, his reference to the 1980S  military era did no harm to Buhari.  Unwittingly it promoted Buhari as a tough man who was in control of the situation, knew what to do and was determined to make the best out of a bad situation in the  National interest.
Military rule is part of the Nigerian history –an era of its own-a fag that later became the faded that cannot be denied.  The coup of 1983 was a military affair and not an individual thing and it was allegedly staged to correct some abuses and injustice in the political system.  It was as popular and desirable as that of January 1966.Buhari was selected Head of State by his military mates ostensibly because of his leadership qualities. And he ruled the country in a military style which was then acceptable in the absence of democracy. At home and abroad Buhari accepted  his leadership role as head of state but now he is a democrats.   ‘No condition is permanent’ says the great Zik to OKadigbo. Saint Paul was once known as Saul the persecutor of Christians but later became  a great exponent of Christianity. So it is not strange that  Buhari  has declared himself a democrat and who knows what history holds in stock here.
Contrary to some historical accounts recently advertised it was not under Buhari but Shagari’s government  that foreigners- mostly Ghanaians were checked out  of Nigeria for economic and visa reasons  bordering on violation of immigration rules and regulation in the early 1980s. I was then a post graduate student  in England and as Chairman, Nigerian Society in Swansea I was on Radio Swansea to defend Nigerian position. Nigeria was taken to the OIC under IBB and that led to disagreement between Navy Commodore  Ukiwe and IBB leading to former’s removal from government.  Let us leave  the story of Gloria Okon  because it is too complicated but suffice to observe that she was not executed by the government of General Buhari. General Buhari’ military government was  simply strict on indiscipline, queuing for service, corruption, and drug peddling for which it made harsh edicts hopefully to curb them.
Life is not about politics alone and it certainly goes  beyond the 2015 elections. In the interest of scholarship, knowledge and development we could make our point, advance the cause of our candidates  without telling lies. Nation-states  are built on trust, truth shared vision and values. Context matters in  leadership .As military head of state Buhari was a successful, patriotic and effective leader  who brought  discipline and hope to bear on a country that was in disarray at the time.
Perhaps things were simpler for him because unlike constitutional democracy with its preset rules, check and balances, Buhari only needed the consent of  his core military colleague to function. And there were laws enacted by the military and mountains of inherited injustice and decay to check at the time. Could Kayode have forgotten how  bad those times were, the stench of corruption, how Chief Obafemi  Awolowo was rigged out of power during election- making the sage to say that the country would not know democracy for long?  Could he have forgotten that  there was the  need to clean the slate at the time and to punish evil? In a word Buhari displayed the traits of leadership which the situation demanded and only time will tell if he would be a good democratic leader if elected President.
The argument  that  old age is a barrier in leadership  is  one of the heresies of the season of political madness in Nigeria. It started to rear its ugly head during Military era especially IBB’s with its obsession with  ‘new breed politician- a concept that was never properly defined but was used to ban some politicians in its transition program. However  the idea was re- invented and sustained  by some young governors after the 2009 elections  obviously to monopolize  power.  They started  a hate-preaching against older people by calling on anyone above the age of 50 years to quit politics. Many of them ended up as failed governors and are today still in active politics long after they had crossed their 50year divide.
While it amounts to a travesty of the African values where leadership, wisdom and reverence are accorded the older segment of society, it suffices to observe that there are early risers and late starters. Leadership cuts across ages. Most of our villages are governed by a council of elders-usually the first four or seven oldest people and the Senate or Upper house of constitutional democracy  is often occupied by older people. Monarchy has no upper age limit, yet they are in leadership. Even in classical studies leadership operates irrespective of age and it would appear that the older, the better with experience and depending on the task in view.
Thus nothing could be more misleading  than  political argument based on old age as witnessed  during  the recent campaigns with its  prospect of denying the nation the opportunity of sourcing for the best hands and  weakening the basis of trust and unity of the country.  It is not a sin to be old and willing to service if one has the energy, skills and knowledge but it is a great sin and shame for anyone-both young and old to be corrupt,  morally bankrupt and to hop from one contradictory platform to another like a prostitute without noble principles in greedy chase of money  and power for self-aggrandizement.
For  a speedy reconciliation  after the elections there is need to be committed to truth.  After the rains comes sunshine. Both president Jonathan and former Head of state Buhari have strengths and weaknesses  and  each can be projected and sold on his merit without resort to  lies, historical distortions and character assassination. The choice before the voters is between Change and Continuity but  whoever wins needs a country to govern and one large Nigeria would be better than any of its fragmented part(s).
With knowledge, truth, honesty, trust, fair-play and justice, a better future can be built. We must stop the gospel of hate and falsehood in the national interest. W e must learn to do the right things always.   The campaigns created dangerous mindset and uncomfortable scenario of grudges and bitterness informed by deliberate  false hood  and misinformation.   It was song of war  all the way with dreadful prospect for our collective existence. As indicated earlier, this  is the time to commence the process of healing  by staging free , fair and credible elections as planned.