One of the buzzwords of the American Presidential sweepstakes is the notion of identifying and electing a man/woman who is prepared to lead the greatest nation ever known on the planet from day one. This is primarily where my beloved fatherland, Nigeria, has got it wrong all the time.
I dare say, without fear of contradiction, that this is the reason we suffer the patently sustained leadership deficit the nation has endured since her independence. And this has grave consequences that we continue to aggravate.
As we engage in the ultimate search for Nigeria’s next President come 2023, we should, as a people, settle for a paradigm shift and get it right. Sadly, we’re not primed for that, if the pedestrian musings of our Labour Minister, and former Governor of Anambra State, Dr Chris Ngige is the template for our leadership recruitment proceedings.
A news report on Ngige’s casual dismissal of the determined bid by Professor Kingsley Moghalu for the top job got me agitated, perhaps irritated. Hear Ngige’s argument. “…… Moghalu, rather than aspire for the president, would have launched his aspiration by first contesting for the governorship or National Assembly…that’s how the game goes… Dr. Moghalu, my very good friend who was deputy governor of the Central Bank…. He said he was going to YPP. I called him and said ‘young man. You have not carried politics bag. You have not served anybody in politics’…. So, one has to carry politics bag and learn from his master. You have to learn the art of politics”.
Ingrained with the values of respecting our elders as a grundnorm of Igbo culture, I resisted the urge to vomit. What! Is Dr Ngige serious? It couldn’t get any lower, I thought, how anyone can abase the criterion for finding Nigeria’s presidential material. Methinks Ngige’s mindset signposts the thinking of the archetypal Nigerian politician or political contractors and godfathers. Leading a nation as complex as Nigeria is not, for them, a serious business or deserving of more empirically detailed profiling.
Prof Moghalu for most progressive Nigerians, is one of the very best foot forward, if we have to proceed with the questions of both visionary and competent leadership, on the one hand, and of a Nigerian President from the Southeast on the other — an idea whose time has finally dawned on a beleaguered nation. There are a handful of Igbos from that region who deserve a look-in for endorsement for the top job. But for me, Moghalu is the big deal.
Differing from Ngige’s puerile theory of presidential leadership recruitment through “carrying politics bag”, I submit that we must weigh the capacity of anyone aspiring to be the President of Nigeria against four cardinal requirements, viz,
*Nation building capacity
* Foreign Affairs Quotient
Once anyone who aspires for the high calling of leading a nation packs his ‘punch’ with these premium vistas, we have in such an aspirant a man ready from day one. Thankfully, Professor Moghalu cuts the grade and is more than eminently qualified, just as Dr Ngige, to be fair to him, conceded.
So who is Kingsley Moghalu?
In my subsequent treatise I will dig into his very awesome and brilliant profile. For the moment, it was back in 2018, when Moghalu launched out in his bold quest for the presidency. The Young Progressive Party,YPP, was his platform. A courageous shift from the two, or three, dominant Political parties in the country. Let’s weigh up Moghalu on the four essentials I outlined earlier.
On Nation building, he recently engaged us with a tweet of his road map.”My vision of Nigeria is of the Southeast as Singapore, the North like Dubai, the South-South like Norway, and the Southwest like Germany. A new truly federal Constitution with a regional structure for our country can create the incentives for this to become reality in 40 yrs.” What Nigeria needs is a man who can manage her ethno-religious and cultural diversities. A man who can unite over 250 ethnic nationalities into a cohesive unit, with each subgroup attuned to harness their full potentialities and excel while complementing other regions and increasing the collateral strength of the nation State.
I have never seen a Nigerian leader articulate and encapsulate in such acuity and brevity, that profound vision of building a nation out of Nigeria’s disparate parts as Moghalu has.
In October 2019, he convened a non-partisan citizens movement, To Build a Nation (TBAN). From this platform, Moghalu has advocated for electoral and political reforms and engendered the campaign for a new nation. The catchword of this product of his vision, To Build a Nation, encodes and defines infinitely, albeit in summation, what Nigeria needs in a President.
Foreign Affairs is for him a familiar turf. Moghalu was born in Lagos in 1963 to Isaac Moghalu, a Nigerian Foreign Service Officer and spent his early childhood in Switzerland and Washington, DC, where his father was posted.
In an apt response to Dr Ngige, Moghalu had put up a poser, “Who, for example, can stand shoulder to shoulder with world leaders of powerful nations and be able to speak up for and negotiate Nigeria’s best interests bilaterally or multilaterally? Lifetime careers in “traditional” Nigerian politics may not automatically provide the right answers for our countrymen and women in the world of the 21st century.”
Truth is, Moghalu has attained this status. Following his dad’s footstep at a higher level, he was appointed into the United Nations in 1992 and served as her peace emissary to many nations. In 2002, Moghalu was appointed to the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, as head of global partnerships and resource mobilization at The Global Fund to Fighing AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM), a public-private international development finance organization and social investment fund with $20 billion in assets and investments in 140 developing and middle-income countries. Moghalu successfully raised billions for the Global Fund and built partners with governments,, civil society and the private sector for health investment, so he knows public health and the public policy and financing that this challenge requires in a developing country like ours.
By 2006, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed Moghalu to the high level Redesign Panel on the United Nations Internal Justice System at the UN Headquarters in New York. The Redesign Panel overhauled the transparency, internal justice and accountability system inside the world’s top global body. Justice. Transparency. Accountability. Nigeria cries out for these governance values.
Economic Management? Appointed Deputy
Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria in November 2009 by President Umaru Yar’Adua (peace on his ashes), Moghalu played decisive leadership roles in the most vital artery of our national economy. He supervised and regulated a N17 trillion banking sector, led the implementation of reforms that stabilized the sector after the global financial crisis, supervised 3,000 CBN staff (50% of the total workforce of the apex bank) and led the team that introduced innovations such as the Bank Verification Number (BVN). All of this on top of being a member of the Monetary Policy Committee that successfully brought inflation down to a single digit 8% in 2013 (inflation is 16% today).
And yes, National Security. This is the bottomline and arguably, Nigeria’s current hoodoo that has plagued us into the axis of evil.
As a UN peacekeeper, Moghalu has experience in the sophisticated approach that is required for our insecurity that is inspired from across international borders. Recently as February 1, 2021, Moghalu tweeted to Nigeria’s seemingly intractable security conundrum. Bedeviled by incessant kidnapping for ransome, mass abductions and killings, banditry, farmers- herders crisis, insurgency in the North East, IPOB, eviction orders flying from South to North among other security concerns, Nigeria is a sorry plight tottering towards a failed nation State, pampering terrorists and militias.
His tweet was a firm decrial of the sordid state of the nation. Hear him: “As communities in Nigeria resort to self-defense in response to the inability of the State to prevent banditry, kidnapping and other criminality , anarchy looms, and State collapse beckons. Our Federal Government must act decisively, based on root cause analysis. Anything else…”
That’s a bold intervention and advocacy. If given opportunity, national security which is allied to the other other aspects of state-craft mentioned above, will be guaranteed with a Moghalu Presidency. As a United Nations official, he led missions to resolve some of the world’s deadliest conflicts in Cambodia, Croatia, Angola, Somalia and Rwanda. The fault lines that trouble Nigeria are not dissimilar to those that hitherto, crippled these nations. Today, they’re stronger. Moghalu can replicate his experience rebuilding failed countries to manage Nigeria’s sociopolitical infirmities.
I shall end this very first in the series, and by no means my last , on why Professor Kingsley Chiedu Moghalu, a Nigerian political economist and lawyer, is the best, of any first eleven that the South East can rally around and bring to the table as our Presidential Candidate come 2023.
I completely agree with what I designate his analysis of what is at stake in seeking a President. Moghalu offered a higher prism to the Ñgige’s of our land, positing that
“What matters – or should matter — most in leadership selection for the Nigerian presidency is that a potential president should have demonstrated experience and a track record of leadership competence in the areas MOST RELEVANT to the responsibilities of a Nigerian President. These are mainly inclusive management of our diversity, the national economy, and international affairs. Leadership roles in international organizations where diversity is in their institutional DNA, in the management of Nigeria’s national economy, and in the fine art of international diplomacy are, among others, examples of such experience and track record”.
I come in Peace.