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Heading towards a dilemma

By Matthew Agboma Ozah
06 April 2022   |   2:09 am
The question that Nigeria has a leadership problem can no longer be overemphasized going by the realities on ground. The nation has in recent times been plagued by harsh realities over a combination of several factors ...

An eldery woman stands amid rubbles near a damaged apartment building at a front line discrict of Kharkiv on March 27, 2022, amid Russian invasion of Ukraine. (Photo by Aris Messinis / AFP)

The question that Nigeria has a leadership problem can no longer be overemphasized going by the realities on ground. The nation has in recent times been plagued by harsh realities over a combination of several factors from internal to external. Frankly, without an iota of doubt, it has been a season of unpleasant surprises for the masses as basic consumer prices are rising uncomfortably fast. In many ways there are enough reason to be in acute despair as the lives of the masses are nothing but miserable.

Something has gone very wrong with this generation of political leaders. The country is bedeviled with unabashed pretenders to the position of leadership. Their only aim is to acquire more material wealth for themselves and family. Their hearts do not throb with the question of how to improve the lot of the masses living condition. The political class chose to place themselves well above the people as the country is likened to a tale of two cities. On the one hand is a world dominated by an empire without a king on which the sun proverbially never set. On the other, an amorphous blob in which people have dissolved into areas of darkness and are not remembered until election period. Indeed, the masses suffer from all angles, is it geopolitical instability or slow economic growth even the far away Russian/Ukraine war has become a problem to worry about in Nigeria and across some African countries. For too long Nigeria’s political leaders have consistently failed to improve the living standard of the people.

We cannot continue with leadership insensitiveness that has left the people so impoverished for decades, as they endure unemployment and directionless government policies. Over these years, the surprising thing is that good intentions or good plans have never been in short supply in government circles. Yet insensitivity to the plight of the people persists, causing one of the major problems hampering the pursuit of development in the country. There has been a crying need from well-meaning Nigerians for government to pursue economic growth as it makes other problems easier to deal with. At the moment, the outbreak of war in Ukraine is causing the nation a lot of discomfort knowing that the country depends heavily on importation of basic needs from Ukraine. It is shameful that the political class hardly believe in itself and look inward for home grown solution. This is the reason anything that happens in the global family, affects Nigeria so severely than the intended people.

Of course, the on-going Russian Ukraine war did not only reveal Nigeria’s poor leadership decimal but raises questions about the country’s continued reliance on external factor to survive. Even with the high price of crude oil in the international market, Nigeria is still groaning and not benefiting as much. Did I hear you say why? We still import fuel because all four refineries in the country remain docile and dormant. Yet huge amount of money is spent on them as turn-around maintenance annually. At the moment, the government is cap in hand waiting for the windfall from Dangote refinery in the near future having invested 20 per cent to its progress.

It is not difficult to see reasons the nation has in recent times been plagued by hunger over the scarcity of basic human needs as regards the war. Indeed, the masses must be surprised to learn that the Russian/Ukraine war is now hampering the baking of bread and the production of pure water, two items the masses can easily afford to quench hunger. On a good day, the masses staple food is bread and beans, washed down with a sachet or two of pure water and keeps hunger away for several hours of the day. Therefore, the wake of the disheartening news of the sharp increase in bread price and strike action of pure water operators is one too many for the masses to bear. The bakers under the aegis of the Premium Bread-Makers Association of Nigeria (PBAN) through their president, Emmanuel Onuorah has indicated that harsh business environment is responsible for the increase in price of bread. According to PBAN president, “companies are shutting down their businesses as a result of the increase in the price of diesel…as we speak operators of the sachet water business are on strike in protest of operation cost…”

Indeed, President Buhari’s government seems to be worse than some of his predecessors. From the on-set, the government is hardly inspiring. He promised change but poor leadership has distorted the process to achieve positive change. Instead, insecurity, economic stagnation and shoddy public services have become the order of the day. Institutions that ought to uphold the rule of law, such as the courts have been corrupted, thereby allowing injustice and misrule to reign. Few ordinary folks in the country who think they can change things through elections or protests are frustrated as the system reveal its draconian nature hidden under the wings of democracy. Currently, many think their only option is to flee the country. But, this understates the solution to the problem. Nigeria’s woes and whatever frustration we face is a reminder that we must strive, salvage it together and vote wisely in the forth coming elections. This would enable us to have good political leaders that would bring good government to the people. 

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