As the presidential election in Nigeria approaches, the Citizen Forum 2019, led by Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, has explained why it endorsed the candidate of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), Kingsley Moghalu.
It said the former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has the knowledge and skill to govern Nigeria.
The forum, in a statement signed by Soyinka, said Moghalu was chosen by the forum after months of consultations and interactions with Nigerians, especially opposition contenders for the presidency.
The endorsement came days after Soyinka said neither President Muhammadu Buhari nor former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, would get his vote.
The statement added: “Over the past few months, we studied the careers, experiences and track records of most of the presidential aspirants, and most intensely those actually short-listed by the opposition parties themselves.
“Like millions of Nigerians, we watched the debates. I physically interacted with some of the acknowledged top contenders, in some cases several times. We participated in HANDSHAKE ACROSS NIGERIA, where some candidates presented their briefs. Among others, I delivered a keynote address. We watched television interviews. We have exchanged notes with highly respected international Civil Servants.
“The drive towards Consensus among these dedicated groups sometimes took the form of test questionnaires to the aspirants, including items such as: ‘Who among the contestants would you choose, if you did not emerge as the ultimate preference?’
“There was nothing complicated about assessment parameters: mental preparedness, analytical aptitude, response to the nation’s security challenges, economic grounding, grasp of socio-political actualities, including a remedial concern with the Nigerian image in foreign perception etc. etc. not forgetting a convincing commitment to governance and resource decentralization – commonly referred to as Restructuring. “
It rejected the idea that the electorate had only two realistic choices at polls.
“Let me reiterate: there is over-abundant, but stifled leadership material, and there can be no excuse, now that that potential of high quality is being manifested, for constricting the political space in a population that is nudging two hundred million.
“And that statement is of course specially addressed to those who took part in this exercise, those who deliberated opted out of it, some of whom were assessed anyway. Such potential compelled us to exercise utmost rigour in what proved to be a most daunting exercise. The final determination however is – the flag-bearer of the Young Progressive Party – KINGSLEY MOGHALU.”
“I shall conclude with a somewhat interesting aside. I met Moghalu again on Monday morning, February 4th, and informed him of the Forum’s decision. During our discussion, I happened to ask him – what is the meaning of Moghalu. I was curious, because it had taken quite some time along the way for me to know to which ethnic group the name belonged. He replied, it means – “Evil Spirit, Leave me Be!” Then I asked him for his other names and he spelt them out: “Actually my full names are Kingsley Chiedu Ayodele Moghalu”. Eyebrows raised, I asked, How come, Ayodele? A piquant revelation resulted: “Oh, that came from Mrs. Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti. She was friends with my father. Mrs. Kuti was my godmother, and she gave me the name Ayodele”.
“I was learning this for the first time. Moghalu’s CV is however in the public domain – his publications, record, and vision. The above is just a side-note that contains its own mild, thought provoking instruction, for those who care to examine the distractions of ethnic equivocations, and the rigid mind-sets and stereotypes imposed on products of circumstance.