How Imumolen made Nigerian youths proud at CAN parley

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How Imumolen made Nigerian youths proud at CAN parley

He did not come with a retinue of aides, nor did he have a coterie of hangers-on from state governors, senators, House of Representatives members, state House of Assembly members to even local government chairmen to flaunt.

He also could not boast of a curriculum vitae that was replete with past positions held in government nor could he claim to having had the tutelage of any political godfather.

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Infact, had this particular conference been about how well stuffed in cash a person was, he would probably not have even made the cut to speak in such an elitist gathering.
Yet, he could hold his head high. He could still stand with confidence, as if in defiance, to face the crowd and speak out boldly about his plans for Nigeria if he got the people’s mandate to become president come 2023.

He may not have had any of those intimidating credentials to flaunt. He was loaded, nevertheless.
As he opened his mouth to speak when he got his chance to, it soon became clear to the audience why he earned the right to be in the race for the country’s top job.

He may be the youngest, and probably the least heralded on account of his not having held a political office, but Professor Christopher Imumolen is by no means a stranger to the management of men, materials and resources.
In his private capacity, the academic who is reputed to hold two Ph.D degrees in separate disciplines, has had a crash course, as it were, in ministering to the needs of the people in diverse ways too numerous to mention.

Millions of the less privileged in the society have been, are still being affected, positively, by empowerment schemes he established long, long before he ventured into politics.

While his other opponents flaunt their wealth and past positions they have held in government, Professor Imumolen flaunts the millions of beneficiaries of his welfare schemes in the area of scholarship awards, health care, infrastructural development, empowerment of small scale enterprises through loans, agricultural loans/grants to farmers, etc.
These were the platforms upon which he stood, with aplomb, while reeling out his manifesto in a parley organised by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to size up candidates bidding for the nation’s highest office in Abuja on Wednesday.

Interestingly, he also had Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a fellow contestant who is flying the flag of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in next year’s race for the presidency on the bill.

With the absence of other contestants, there was an opportunity of the distinguished audience to appraise both candidates, and perhaps do some comparisms.

One was young, infact the youngest amongst the 18 aspirants vying for the office of Nigeria’s president, while the other was old.

One represents the future, while the other represents the past.
The older, Bola Ahmed Tinubu read from a prepared speech, while the younger, Christopher Imumolen spoke extempore, with a kind of lucidity that impressed the crowd.

The prepared speech looked like a script that had to be followed, with scant flexibility to accommodate questions from anyone, including a CAN leadership still at a loss as why no christian was considered good enough to be the APC candidate’s running mate.
Tinubu’s speech appeared run-of-the-mill. But Imumolen’s was engaging as he touched very critical areas of the country’s cultural, socio-economic life.

“This particular elections is different because it is coming at a time the country needs healing from the crude violations it has suffered in the hands of clueless and directionless leadership,” Professor Imumolen had said by way of an opening.

“The issues that divide us are more than the ones that unite us. This is, therefore, no time for packaging or dancing to the gallery. This is the time all hands must be on deck to ensure that Nigerians vote in the right leadership to midwife this process of healing.

“The country’s unity is of paramount importance and we would therefore need a Nigerian who has the capacity to weld together, a united, indivisible entity in order to engender the conducive atmosphere necessary for sustainable growth and development.

“Nigeria is a polygamous union of six wives. So, for us to permanently silence the never-ending agitations by some of our several ethnic nationalities for secession, the principle of fairness and equity must be adopted, pursued and imbibed in all aspects of our daily national life.

“That means, we must ensure that what is done for one region, must of necessity, be done for other regions. That way, we would have succeeded in not only giving every Nigerian a sense of belonging, we would have also succeeded in fully integrating the country and ending, for good, all cries for self-actualization now been promoted by some sections of the country.

“We shall also make sure that education is given a pride of place with increased funding and a general overhaul of the present archaic school curriculum that no longer serve the needs of the present generation.

“We intend to make education free at primary and secondary school levels, just as more premium shall be accorded the issue of digitalising our learning infrastructure,” he said as he unveiled his plans for Nigerians if he got elected as president.

But what would probably have given the one they call the “Jagaban” some real food for thought was what the young professor said to end his speech.
“We were told when we were growing up that we were the leaders of the future. Today is now the future we fantasied about then. Yet, the older generation who ran the show at that time are still here, dragging the future with us.

“So, when then are we going to realise our future?
“The president of Nigeria today, Muhammadu Buhari was Nigeria’s military head of state when I was born. Today, I am contesting for president when that head of state when I was given birth to, is the current president.

“Ironical. Isn’t it?”
It was Professor Imumolen’s parting shot. A cryptic, well veiled salvo delivered to the solar plexus of sit-tight and recycled leadership.
For the younger segment of society in the audience it was a statement deserving of a resounding applause. But for the older generation who were also in the audience, it was a sobering moment. It is certain that those words still reverberate in certain circles even now, three whole days after the event!

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