Show me the heroes that the young people of a country look up to, and I will tell you the future of that country.
Not so many eminent personalities in history have influenced my life as John D. Rockefeller whose principles of wealth and spirit of enterprise was my guiding light when I started out as a young entrepreneur.
My understanding of politics was shaped by the ideas embedded in his teachings,
particularly, the fact the notion that an enterprising nation is more likely to create formidable institutions and build great people.
I have also been inspired with the philosophies of Lee Kuan Yew and the story behind how he transformed Singapore from a third-world nation, to one of the most developed nations in the 20th century.
No doubt, Nigeria needs a leadership intervention, a change in narrative such as the one inspired by Lee Kwan Yew; the kind that will see our country create strong institutions and build great entrepreneurs.
But, how do we even start when we are yet to get our acts together as a nation?
I have spent a great deal of time this year pondering on the state of our nation and how the 2023 general elections would be important for the economic direction of our country.
But I was caught up in a worrying incident days ago when I received a phone call from a strange caller.
From someone who supposedly collected my phone number from a close Associate,
requesting that we see the following day, for he needed my assistance.
What sort of assistance does this caller want that couldn’t be conveyed over the phone?
Is he in need of a job, or wants to be one of our contractors in our ongoing gigantic project at the Lucrezia?
Selectively, I had pondered these questions with a strong conviction that his request may be within those bounds.
But when he showed up the next day, his request was a kind that raised an eyebrow.
He had pleaded that I use my connections in high places according to him,
to slot his name into the delegate list of the political party he belonged to.
He thought that I could recommend him to a friend of mine who is part of the hierarchy of one of the country’s two biggest political parties.
When I asked him why he was so keen on becoming a delegate,
he responded by saying, ‘Baba dollars! Plenty of dollars!’
This simply meant his primary objective to become a delegate was to make money from the process.
I considered that a red flag as I wondered why a young man in his early thirties without a job,
who has contributed nothing to society was hell-bent on becoming a party delegate.
First, let me attempt an explanation of what the party delegate system is in a cursory glance.
The delegate system is a fundamental part of modern democracy that has to do with having a selected group of party men vote for aspirants within a party in a bid to compete for general elections.
It is a sensitive process that either makes or mars the process of quality governance in a country.
The system shares semblance to the patterns of the Electoral College and gerrymandering districts in the American electoral system.
But in Nigeria, the process of having delegates make key political decisions in choosing candidates for elections has long been abused.
These delegates find politics as a lucrative and money-spinning venture,
therefore, they end up choosing candidates who bid highest for their votes.
It turns out that the highest bidders are almost always not the best people for the job,
for it is only in African politics you’d find party delegates choose a ‘keke’ over a Rolls Royce for political office because of minted dollars.
And more fascinating is the fact that after such reoccurring bad political choices,
these delegates expect the ‘keke’ to perform like a Rolls Royce.
The greatest problem with the delegate system in Nigeria is that it might continue to present the citizens with bad choices of leaders,
considering that our politics is dominantly controlled by a two-party framework.
Nigerians may continue to deal with the case of having to choose between two evils,
two people brought to the fore through a dollarized process that mainly focuses on immediate gratification,
rather than the pursuit of value creation for a change in our national narratives.
I have always been an advocate for a better Nigeria, but given the widespread lack of competent leaders across the board,
those who are driven by a passion to change the status quo; those who put the state before self.
There is no gainsaying that we all know how progressive leadership will change the fortune of our country that is if we are as determined to reach the mark of a great nation.
I must say that, if the delegate system would be around for a long time,
then it must be reformed in such ways that it would support good governance.
This is why a peek into the Chinese political system should give Nigeria a head start.
China’s delegate structure, known as the Politburo, is made up of men with ethics, integrity, and impeccable public service records.
Some of these men are professors, captains of industries, technocrats, etc.
To the best of my knowledge, the Politburo consists of men of honor and great reputation who would not sell their votes and consciences for incompetent political aspirants.
Nigeria deserves the best in leadership, and it will only be right if we can also take a cue from a country like Dubai—a country transformed from a land of sands and camels to a land of towers and marbles because of great leadership.
I will at this point implore Nigerian lawmakers to work towards borrowing governmental ideas from the Chinese system in a bid to revamp the delegate system in our country.
Nigeria needs transparent and morally upright delegates to man its affairs by choosing the best kinds of leaders.
This is why I want to be a delegate and I would be offering my services for free.
I have built a successful business in construction and luxury real estate from scratch.
My company, Sujimoto, came from nothing to become the numero uno brand of luxury real estate in Nigeria.
This is an indication that I am willing to offer more to national development.
Hence, should lawmakers in our national assembly finds it convenient to reform the party delegate,
then I am all in to serve, pro bono considering that it will be a step towards choosing the right leader to save the soul of our country.
Sijibomi Ogundele is the Group Managing Director of Sujimoto Group,
a Luxury Real Estate Company in Nigeria and the Developer of LeonardoBySujimoto
the 24-storey luxury building, with private Cinema and full home automation; the Lucrezia, the 15-storey Residential High-rise with premium features and facilities;
the QueenAminaBySujimoto, a first-of-its-kind luxury tower located in highbrow Abuja;
and the developer of the proposed Sujimoto Tower in Downtown Dubai, Mr. Meat, Suji Water, amongst other businesses