Since Nigeria won and celebrated independence from her colonial overlords in 1960, the presidential post has been the peak of all political offices. Those who have had the opportunity of captaining Nigeria in such a capacity should attest to the fact that it is a huge responsibility, which is not suitable for the faintest of hearts. Inasmuch as almost every youth and even minors would readily affirm interest in such a post, its demands does not accommodate all and sundry.
The Nigerian presidential seat requires that anyone interested must have passed certain requirements and shunned certain misbehaviors if they are serious about contesting. These requirements are what this article discusses in detail. The primary reason for this is that most people are swayed from their desire to become president either due to misinformation about what it takes or simply complete ignorance. And I want to think it is one of the reasons Nigeria never really produces a ‘young’ president, and recycles former cum older presidents.
Here are key points to take into cognizance before making a move for the GCFR title.
This comes first and is the most important. This is so because it would make no absolute sense for a foreigner to lead the people of another land. Whoever wants to be president must be a citizen. Luckily for those who are not Nigerian citizens by birth there are other ways of pledging one’s allegiance to the country. These include through registration or parentage. Registration is self-explanatory; being a citizen through parentage includes a situation in which a person is born outside of Nigeria. If such a person’s parent or parents are Nigerian, then he or she is qualified as a citizen of Nigeria regardless of birthplace.
If you must be president then you should be considered age-worthy too. I have no idea why the age mark is 40 but it somewhat reminds me of the saying that a fool at 40 is a fool forever. Well, as a young person, with the lofty dream of leading this nation someday, you’d be contributing greatly to that vision by walking your way up the political ladder. It is expected that at that age you should have achieved quite a lot for yourself and the Nigerian people so that acquiring the people’s support won’t be a mountain too high to climb. Make your way up the hierarchy, not losing sight of the goal and not compromising; the presidency is yours to lose having done all that.
Now this is very important. Nobody becomes president without being a member of a political party. One needs the all-round support of the party to make a statement of candidacy to the Nigerian people. It’s just like in school inter-house sports, it is impossible to compete without being a member of the blue, red or green team, as the case may be. Don’t just join the party, indicate interest and show leadership. The first real task is getting your party to believe in you, so much that you are chosen as the flag bearer. It is that ticket you will need to contest for the ultimate position.
Even though the lowest acceptable educational qualification is a secondary school certificate, aspire to acquire much more than that. In fact, I doubt there is anyone with such a qualification who is interested in any high position such as this one. Get more degrees and honours for two reasons: yourself and the electorates. You need these to expand your knowledge and improve your perceptions on life generally and specifically; and such qualifications have a way of attracting the admiration of people, because they believe you are a learned man. And that is exactly what every nation needs, not some naive halfwit.
You should also have been faithful in the payment of tax as the investigative flashlight will surely be beamed at your financial records. If you are found wanting or suspected of withholding what belongs to the state, your presidential aspirations may be as good as over. Because, how can one reconcile the idea of a presidential candidate: who is supposed to prescribe and uphold the law, doing the exact opposite? It sends a clear message that you do not mean well for the Nigerian polity and if such mischief could be perpetrated without powers associated with the office of the president, then by all means it can be continued and improved upon having been elected. So begin to pay your tax.
There is a fee accrued to the different political offices in Nigeria which is required of candidates to pay. The concept is simple: when you pay you are allowed to run, you don’t and your offer is rescinded. For presidency, the fee is N100,000. Considering what you would have already achieved before running for presidency, the vibrant party hoisting your banner, and even sponsorship arrangements, this fee is more or less like a glass of water you give to welcome a visitor – it doesn’t cost much.
The choice of the vice President has nothing to do with any other individual but you running for presidency. Since it is a very tasking job, the option of a vice – who will be your right-hand man stays with you. The only thing is that you can’t decide to go to your village to choose someone or your former place of employment, the person has to be a member of the political party which you are representing. So as the electorates cast their votes for you, they automatically concur with your choice of a vice president.
No convictions of any kind, no present legal issues that may distract or truncate your drive for presidency.
You must also be nominated in writing by about 60 people from different parts of the federation whose voting capacity is not questionable. This is why it is essential for you develop your brand over the years – a brand that endears people to you and not scare them away.
The road to presidency may be rough and long but nothing makes it impossible. If you have the dream of ascending to that position, hone it and make certain your cards are right.
My salutations, your Excellency!