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Nigeria needs another Mandela


Former South African President Nelson Mandela smiles for photographers in Johannesburg

Nigeria, Africa’s largest producer of oil is endowed with enormous natural and human resources of over 180 million people – sufficient to place it among the first 20 developed countries of the world. But this is not so. Why?

Obviously, the nation has not been lucky enough to have dignified cum patriotic leaders who are committed to the needs of their citizens, besides enriching themselves, to the fullest, until their cups ‘runneth’ over at the expense of the poor suffering masses.

This has kept citizens sweltered because despite the nation’s huge resource endowment, majority of its citizenry are subjected to abject poverty while unemployment and insecurity are growing faster than the economy.

Currently under the administration of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led President Muhammadu Buhari, the nation seems to be at its worst in terms of insecurity with the increasing number of lost of lives in the North East attributable to attacks by herdsmen and terrorists.

Yet, the government claims to be doing so much in curbing the activities of the hydra headed monsters with no name brought to book.

In few months time, the nation will again be saddled with the responsibility of selecting who will lead and organise its affairs till the next four years.

It is time we looked beyond the stomach infrastructure knowing that the sales of our conscience and rights to politicians will only yield profits linkable to underdevelopment and socio-economical downturn.

We should bear in mind that the success or failure of any nation is driven by the choices its leaders make which is a resultant effect of the choice of leaders made by followers.

Thus, the befitting description of the kind of leader the nation needs right now is a Nelson Mandela who can rekindle the ‘Mandela phenomenon and spirit of reconciliation;’ a leader with the freedom of mind whose conscience is nurtured by truth, who is ready to operate without the traditional limitations that have kept us where we are today and a Mandela who is ready to look beyond religious, ethnic, party and personal interest, with the goal and vision of ensuring that Nigerians are totally free.

Mandela in one of his statements decried the poor condition of leadership in Nigeria when he said: “Your leaders have no respect for their people.

They believe that their personal interests are the interests of the people.

They take people’s resources and turn it into personal wealth. There is a level of poverty in Nigeria that should be unacceptable.

I cannot understand why Nigerians are not angrier than they are…But what about the corruption and the crimes?

Your elections are like wars. Now we hear that you cannot be president in Nigeria unless you are Muslim or Christian. Some people tell me your country may break up. Please don’t let it happen.”

Those best described the pains and thoughts of an African leader celebrated by the United Nations every 18th July; whose leadership and devotion to fighting poverty and promoting social justice for all is second to none.

We need to remind ourselves, in the words of same Mandela that “No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion.

People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

Although colonialism might have been dethroned, our dear fatherland is still terribly faced by crises of insecurity, underdevelopment, unemployment and poverty, further aggravating bitterness and hatred among our people.

This is the best time for our voices to be heard, this is the best time to select that Mandela who can take the nation to the Promised Land.

As we join the world to celebrate the 100th year of Mandela’s birth today, let’s recall the sacrifice he paid for freedom to prevail in South Africa, in putting an end to racial discrimination and ensuring reconciliation.

We need such vision-driven leaders to move Nigeria forward.

Let’s all go get our voter’s card and be ready to make the right choice by selecting the best candidates for various leadership positions in the country.

Nigerians must believe and have faith in a united country and recognise that we have the greatest powers in our Permanent Voters Card (PVC).

The Nigeria we seek are thoughts away, thoughts become dreams and dreams become reality and realities are answers and answers are priority and priorities are demands and demands lead to researches for maximization of potential hence greatness.

Nwachukwu is on the staff of The Guardian.

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