By Emma Nwosu
Mr. Reno Omokri, who talks from both sides of the mouth, in a recent television interview, claimed that the same Peter Obi (whom he used to profusely eulogize and widely celebrate as the most qualified, in all ramifications, to lead Nigeria at this time) is the least-educated of the frontrunners to the presidency.
What is the true relationship between education and leadership? Then, between Bola Tinubu, Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, who is truly better educated for the Nigerian presidency?
Education is the continuous and progressive process of making someone a beneficial member of the society, capitalizing on his endowments. It can also be said that education is the process of refining someone’s character and endowments to make him a net contributor to the prosperity of the society.
There is the cultural aspect (omoluabi) and there is the technical or skill aspect. Thus, the true measure of education is in the recipient’s quality of character and service to the society and not strictly in the class or level of degree. A man with a B. A. could contribute much more than another with a PhD.
Underline “continuous and progressive process”, “cultural aspect”, “technical aspect” and “quality of character and service”, as the principal basis of comparison between the education of one and that of another. Education is so important that the family, community, state, school and other social institutions must collaborate in the project and it is injurious for any of the parties to be missing in action.
Those whose education reflects these underlined attributes always make the greatest positive cultural or spiritual or material impact on their group or society and emerge as leaders, by popular demand, as is the case for professional bodies, religious organizations, community associations and social clubs.
Such leaders are philosophical about life, knowledgeable, visionary and utterly committed to a way. They are men of integrity, humble, prudent, selfless and sacrificial, who would render exceptional service for little or no compensation. They know the needs and challenges of the group or society and what to do and they are fulfilled just by the opportunity to serve and make impact.
The education of the leader that will perform must have these attributes, which are coterminous with selfless service, currency on the issues and competitive track record which, inevitably, endear people to follow him fanatically.
You cannot point to estates or fat bank accounts owned by such leaders from the treasury, because, to them, primitive accumulation is animalistic. We have such leaders in Martin Luther King Jr, Nelson Mandela and some of the founding fathers of Nigeria.
Anyone, who sees leadership as a means of amassing wealth cannot be said to be educated, in the first place. Unfortunately, Nigeria has since been led mostly by predators ruled by primitive accumulation and ulterior motives rather than selfless service.
Thus, contextually, only Peter Obi meets the gold standard of truly educated leadership among the top contenders for the 2023 Nigerian presidency. The primary evidence is in the manner all well-meaning Nigerians fanatically follow him and in the cultural revolution and paradigm shift he has brought to bear on Nigerian politics by his template of civic duty against that of cash-and-carry, arrogant and profligate politicians, who had, seemingly, conquered and rendered the people hopeless and resigned to fate.
There is the evidence in his Spartan, prudent, humble and selfless lifestyle and his identification with the distress of the people. You can see it in his exemplary records, both as a businessman and as governor of Anambra State (where he retired without taking any severance benefit unlike the other candidates.
Everything about Obi – from family history to education and wealth – is known to the public, in contrast to Tinubu and Atiku, whose backgrounds remain shrouded in controversy.
Peter Obi has a degree in philosophy, which is the foundation of thought, contemplation and learning for all phenomena. The highest degree in any field is denominated by philosophy – the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), which is awarded when the recipient is deemed to have come of age by adding a new insight to the field.
But while the PhD is always in a narrow field, the first degree in Philosophy develops, in the recipient, the broad philosophical perspectives for figuring things throughout life.
No one may claim to be learned without some training in philosophy, even if it is only in Logic – the science of exact thought. (The reasoning of our leaders betrays the fact that, despite the degrees, many of them are not really educated). Maybe, it is by reason of the insights from this quintessential discipline that Obi’s perspectives on life, politics and service are totally different from those of competitors.
Peter Obi’s education has also been continuous and progressive, unlike the frozen and fragmented ones of Bola Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar. After the University of Nigeria, he has attended some of the best schools in the world (including Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Columbia and Northwestern universities) for progressively selected courses and is far more up-to-date on governance theory, politics, management, finance, economics and global affairs, e. t. c., than they are.
The only other Nigerian leader, who understands the imperative of continuous and progressive education and intellectual exercise is Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. And his difference from our other so-called leaders is clear.
Obi is so prodigious in data and can address any matter succinctly on the spur, ex tempore, that his competitors – who always read speeches prepared by aides – are mortally afraid to encounter him in live debates.
Bola Tinubu, in particular, has dodged every occasion to debate with Obi. Tinubu’s effort to sell himself outside Nigeria has backfired as he could not answer any question after managing to read a prepared speech from the teleprompter, at Chatham House in London but assigned them to his aides in the glare of the whole world.
Omokri knows in his heart that Atiku Abubakar and Bola Tinubu lack the intellect and the presence of mind and body to be president. Those packaging them for the presidency, by hook and by crook have no love for Nigeria. Reno also knows that Tinubu’s accounting degree – regardless of class – must have frozen to death by now, for lack of progression.
As for his principal, everyone knows that Atiku Abubakar has only a diploma in law. If Reno claims that he has earned a master’s degree with distinction, of recent, he should let us know the awarding university and how he managed to make it or who stood in for him.
Without any doubt, Mr. Peter Obi is head and shoulders above his competitors on education and leadership for the 2023 Nigerian presidency.
The people have seen it and are denouncing Bola Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar and their iniquitous parties (the APC and the PDP) which can only return to power by compromising the election process with tribe, religion, vote-buying and other pecuniary considerations. But the people will stop them in order to arrest the vicious cycle of poverty, insecurity and general backwardness of Nigeria.