Two strong men in the world today represent fillers of the potholes in leadership at the regional and global levels in recent history of the contemporary world. Both men as grand commanders of their respective nations – Recep Tayyib Erdogan of Turkey – here referred to as RTE – and Muhammad Buhari President of Nigeria – here referred to as PMB – are two refined leaders the world has ever known.
TRE and PMB are great signs that the old system of governance of democratic authoritarian ship teleguided by economic theorisation and instrumentation of the West have come to the crossroads. The boiling pot is the coincidence of their times in office with the first ever US reckless, sadist, bias, autocratic and racist President.
The American system has always been what it is: selfish, cruel and motivated. But thanks to the ascension of Donald the Trump which has made my two heroes under review classical leaders the world ever needs.
They are fine gentlemen in their respective societies refined by their pure Islamic faith and quintessential nationalism and mindful of their people. They were squeezed out of world political economic anomalies, from forces of historical materialism and into power of the people for the ultimate reason of saving men, their dignity and honour of who they are and whither they came.
They represent the trajectory of the world personal contrasts and socioeconomic and political styles of leading their respective nations over which they preside. They represent everything the international system needs in leadership and direction for common interest.
They represent the dual pillars the world needs in defining the resents from the past and to look into the future with hope and optimism. So far, both men have made enough footprints in different respects in their respective countries, regions and now stepping out of their regional shadows and into the limelight of a world in dire need of leadership or directors of a leadership that will be responsible to all nations.
TRE and PMB are the pairs that were created for our current international system. The world itself is created in pairs of two in everything fixed in it: the earth is paired with the sky and white with black, short with long and good with bad. The pairing of all things and all issues are amazing evidences in God’s wisdom that there are two sides to everything, every issue.
And we must always see both pairs in order to reach decisions and make conclusions. This is why justice and journalism hinge on the principle of balancing. There must be deliberate, purposeful hearing from both or all contending parties in every judgement or argument.
TRE and PMB make the inevitable pairs that must contrast each other in order to make the two sides of the world’s needs for leadership. It takes two to tango always. And the two from both men is the Stick and the Carrot. Normally the carrot precedes the stick but forgive this order because we have mention TRE first and who is the Stick.
The irony about them is that the civilian have been steeled by experience into a hard, strong and dogged, determined politician, while the Carrot was a soldier in the past who has been transformed into a refined democrat. He is calm, silent, focused, wise and finds his ways wherever he heads.
TRE was born in 1964, February, 26 – he is younger. PMB was born 1942, December, 17 – 76 years old. He is older. Both married to a wife but TRE has four children; PMB has more – five. TRE has a balance of two boys, two girls. PMB has only a son –Yusuf. All the remaining four are girls. While it is not certain with TRE, PMB lost a number of children in the past – one recently – a married woman who gave up to cancer.
TRE has been a civilian, a sharp contrast to a military man that PMB has been. Both held public offices previously. TRE was a mayor then Prime Minister, then President. PMB was a governor, then a minister, then a Head of State (military) then President. Both are products of democratic processes.
Their parties are three-worded – Justice and Development Party and the All Progressive Congress – and both parties share the common synonyms – development and progressive – which made both leaders aggressive progressives themselves, desperate to make their footprints on their nations, not just to fulfill campaign promises but also change the face of development to one with a human face.
TRE in contrast is the right, equal force to match the trumping Trumpian brutality: brave, vocal, assertive and forceful. While TRE is a hard, open fighter as exemplified by the attacks on the Syria’s harbour of the enemy, PMB has been fighting insurgency with cold water and gradually making huge success in the elimination and crushing.
There is also the spatial contrast which puts the duo far apart but connected in spirit. They are separated by a distance of thousands miles – one at the Middle East’s edge of Europe and the other at the bottom of the upper half of Africa’s map. Turkey and Nigeria are both giants of their continents.
TRE’s Turkey’s might drives from its place in history prided in the rule of the Ottoman Empire over the world and with strong Islamic traditions and values. That is what, partly, gives TRE the impetus of confidence at the world stage for he can easily brandish his pride over any issue and can give an ‘Ottoman slap’ anytime to any daring force.
PMB is a product of a long nationalist struggle, fought a civil war to keep his country united, and has been irked over the years by reckless and inept leadership spanning across both military and civilian regimes, which milked the nation to the last drop of substance. His own military intervention in to redeem the economy and the discipline of the country back to its traditional tenets of its nationalists lasted only twenty months – December 1984 – August 1985.
He was imprisoned after his topple and out of prison he lived a private life to witness the gradual and systematic deterioration of the nation he loves so much. He read newspapers/magazines, listened to radio, watched television and paid visits. When he could not bear the atrocities of leadership any more, he leaped up to the only option left if he has amend it himself – to enter politics – even when he knows he had little or no tolerance for the indiscipline of politics.
He run three times to be president until the fourth time in 2015 – a year after TRE converted from Prime Minister to President of Turkey in 2014. All through to date, PMB has kept his disciplined, corrupt-less life and personal principles of ignoring the unnecessary and the negligible so far as it is an issue or an individual, except if it is a political minority – no group is minor in democracy.
Now both men are nationalists who hold with care the values of their histories but doing everything possible to make sure the average and the poor live a decent life. In many developing nations, this commitment has been undermined by national leadership weaknesses which were docile to the external factors against development.
Of course the other contrast is that TRE’s national challenge in leadership was beyond the provision of amenities but the safeguarding of national and social security and the revival and of ancient values of Islam, even within the compromises of joining Europe. But TRE would not compromise Turkey’s values for European conditionality.
Both leaders had faced serious challenges – local and international. In their respective redefinition of their political economies, forces against changes either open as political opposition or hidden as remote undermines of national policies were ready to frustrate their pace of work.
TRE managed the open political opposition with mastery until an orchestrated revolt from within but with foreign hands including that of an exiled political opponent – Fethu Gulen – who is older than PMB by a year and expected to be wiser but sold his mind to the west – all set him against the opposition with all might of the President and the constitution.
Here was an European or a Gulf country with all the indices but politics haunts it because of its past. And TRE would not take it lightly. In stepping out to world stage, all deprived, harassed and intimidated parts of the world looked up to him as the daring force equal to check the excesses of the US.
PMB had to start from the scratch because here was a developing country set back severally by irresponsible leadership and was picked on the edge of statelessness. He inherited an economy that was sick and reliant on foreign imports of everything, including tooth picks.
Domestic production was killed with the topple of PMB’s military regime in 1985 to date with the conspiracy of corrupt indigenes and the implementation of cruel World Bank and IMF policies. The economy was crippled the more by the reckless and callous ineptitude of the leadership that preceded him under Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GEJ).
Importation had killed both the minds and hearts of citizens and coupled with lack of political will had worsened the situation. The economy was plucked to nonentity with zero foreign reserve. He had to set in values of love for the country and passion for its development and progress, unity and integration of its society as the driving forces setting him blind against every challenge.
And it had to be an all restart from the scratch – back to production through farming. The idea was that Nigerians should produce what they eat at the least. The policy worked well but to the grimace of neglected IMF, World Bank and the different strokes of sabotage internal stooges – the cohorts of the international economic system – breakage of oil pipelines by vandals and threat of secession by the movement for Biafra.
There was the game of oil price crises informed by politics over removal of subsidy and the perpetuation of the Boko Haram insurgency which he inherited and which politicians took advantage of to get at government.
There was also the revival of the Middle Belt idea – a group of states with mainly Christian population in the North is used as national threat over and again having been introduced by Babangida’s military regime which suspended PMB’s military leadership, and which used the regional divide to demean and split the vast North as part of his dubious divide and rule style of leadership.
There were many other conferences and summits of different ethnic, tribal, interest and myopic groups which were used to disrupt the smooth running of government. All along, PMB has kept his words and only watched and listened. One by one, his government tested every bit of the corrupts’ agenda of conspiracy. Ideally under TRE, such cannot be taken lightly. They will be crushed and dealt decisively and heavens will not fall.
For PMB that was a new democrat, any forceful suppression of revolts would amount to the other political play of the human rights abuse agenda, which can easily gather international momentum and would lead to cut of ties and the tarnish of his image and government something that may smudge his notable policies and infrastructural investments in roads, rails, to easy transportation and connect every part of the country to national routes for the transportation of farm produce which the government also made huge investments.
There were also cries of ‘Christianisation of Nigeria’ over the social media, and PMB’s appointment of northerners in some key defence position and the government’s use of SUKUK in the construction of more roads were cited as examples.
Ethnicity and religion have been the two sensitive issues that held the nation to ransom. But large number of supporters can see the exemplary patience, endurance and bravery – even after a lucky survival of elimination attempt through poisoning.
There were also ethnic skirmishes and killing politicised in the name of the President’s tribe – Fulani. It is one of the funny plays of politics that with the ascension of a Fulani man reputed for ‘no nonsense’ Fulanis suddenly started attacking farmers.
TRE’s post July 15, Coup restrategies which included massive sacking of workers, arrests and detentions, and jails, is the sharp response to any opposition. It contrasts with PMB’s ignorance of the hidden hands and overlooking their spoils.
Of course TRE’s nationalism and defence of Turkish traditional values had since set him up against the US, the NATO alliance, the European Union and even the secular regimes of the Middle East’s countries. So his neighbours on every side were antagonistic towards his government, which made all the boarders possible conduits for sabotage, attacks and sources of national insecurity.
Long before then, Turkey has been managing the Kurds’ rebellion which started from within and later shifted to a proclaimed entity of Kurdistan. The long conflict also attracted interests from across the world but with the traditional enemies giving all the backing to help Abdullah Golan’s RDK group relevant in the fight. They present remarkable contrasts at the beginning; each born on different, extreme dates.
The unipolar world led by the United States since the collapses of the Soviet Union in 1989 and the eventual collapse of the Berlin Wall, was a serious negation of the principles of bipolarity the world should obey. And we have seen the implications of that negation. The US overused its powers. The experiences in the Middle East – Iraq in particular – had opened the eyes of the world to the consequences of the US excesses of the abuse of unchallenged power.
But thanks to the Russian Federation, and to the leadership of Vladimir Putin over the years, which has been awake to the US excesses with the believe that on virtually every global issue, American governments are likely to put overriding interests and will defy the United Nations and every rule in international affairs to change the tides of things in its interest. To a good extent, Putin had checked the excesses of America and had tamed the temperament of its leadership irrespective who or which party was in power.
With the surprising triumph of Donald the Trump in the last campaign, the American society was split into two – forced response to the principle of pairing – those who liked him and those who did not. His change of many standing US national and international policies and the gravity of the weight of his reckless words, responses, actions and inactions, the world woke up yet to a new world challenge.
Ever since, the world saw contradictions, controversies and counteractions from all faces of the international system. The last stroke was the declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, against all interest and odds.
For the first times, the Arab countries changed the diplomacy of its relations with the US and condemned the action even if it was just by the expression of dismay by words. At least that was unprecedented. And Palestinian Mahmud Abbas has apparently taken clues from TRE that whatever you do, America and Israel will always negate on their promises. It is the fact expressed by God in the scriptures.
There was nothing left among evil things that have not been introduced in the Gulf. All the vices TRE is running away from for Turkey have been inculcated into the minds and hearts of the Arabs. In the past, the Gulf was sold to the US which used it as war theatre and tests of policies, using it to regulate and balance its dominance over the world, usurping its oil and the selling of its weapons to countries in the region.
The result of these was diplomatic disruption, political tension, turmoil, conflicts and wars between and among sister nations in the Gulf, currently exemplified by the dire consequent in the unabated war in Syria and the atrocities of Saudi Arabia in Yemen.
All these political and diplomatic problems, stirred and fuelled by the single factor of Trump’s Presidency of America, have redefined many other relations among different countries, regions and international organisations – bring neighbours, sister nations and the tribal groups in different countries in, particularly the Gulf, the gateway of Europe to the east that is Turkey, Africa, Latin America and Asia.
So far, every reckless action and inaction of the Trumpian order has met sharp response from TRE and even threat of forceful reaction. The hypocrisy the Saudi Visit cooked to pinch the four Arab sisters against Qatar was met with an ‘Ottoman brandish’. I wrote then that TRE’s mission to reconcile the sisters at that time was remarkable statement of the expressed Turkish force to reckon with in world politics.
Debate has just reignited on the issue of gun control. The Florida School shooting has raised the dust when Trump, in a statement refused to link the shooting to lack of regulation of weapons but said the man was suffering from mental health.
One of the characteristics of his presidency is the evasion of the truth, something that cannot go well with a wall that is already shaken by hurts from the White House. And no matter the time it takes to protect the NRA – the National Rifle Association – Trump’s future and the next campaign will tell a lot of stories about the world.
PMB’s focus is domestic now, with limited responses to key international developments but he has never minced words as to where the stand of Nigeria is on any critical issue such as the unilateral declaration of Jerusalem as capital of Israel.
But his thought goes out with leaders of goodwill that Trump, the US and Israel need some fingerpoints at their wrongs, and I see that capacity only in the bravery of TRE and the resilience of PMB, whose influence over Africa is waging stronger and will soon revolutionise a sweep of corruption in all countries of the continent.
Already, the world has been alerted to his remarkable bank of integrity. In a world that is bankrupt in character, the weapon of engagement is integrity that can frighten the Trumpian moral bankruptcy. Many more leaders will soon follow in their footsteps and a coalition will rally the world against any bully.
TRE had visited Nigeria. The contrast is that PMB still owes a visit. But even without the exchange of visits the world has two men whose minds work alike, not just for their people, but also for the healing of the wounds of many across the world.
And like Rex Tillerson has just visited for talks, the US world needs to be careful with TRE and PMB because of their strong moral obligations, popular mandate and capacity to lead with reason and rationale. They need to be courted in order to calm their anger against America’s misleading of the world.