Nigerian leaders, stand up for us or step aside!
It was A
chebe who said, in his well-thought-out article, ‘The Trouble With Nigeria,’ that the problem with Nigeria is not the land, climate, water, air or anything else but leadership. A critical look at Achebe’s position shows that, we are where we are now as a people or nation politically, socially, morally, technologically and economically because we have experienced a plethora of failed and directionless leadership. Undeniably, bad leadership in Nigeria since independence has made a mess of good developmental dreams, visions, innovations, strategies. It has also kept development at its ebb, heightened crisis of nationhood, hardship, economic absurdity and erected a bellicose humanity.
In governance and leadership globally, nothing distorts progress and growth more than an enthronement of feckless leaders and blurred visionaries. Arguably, good and purposeful leadership is synonymous with great and steady growth and development in all spheres. However, good leadership begins with a discovery of the best minds that can trigger togetherness, build bridges, initiate workable ideas, formulate policies and engender strategies to fix existing mess, limitations and challenges impeding growth and development in the country. At the moment, Nigeria is amongst a host of countries going through the most unproductive era and dispensation ever, since the history of its existence.
The most shocking and disheartening fact about the unfolding reality is that, those within the corridors of power are those who have unrelentlessly mocked the policies, activities and approaches of the former crop of leaders to governance. Suffice it to say that, we were filled with great ecstasy when they emerged, thinking that change and better life has come to stay in our nation. Not too long after they settled down, they released the list of people who we felt had an indepth knowledge of the Nigerian problem, but their performance so far, has proven to us that they have little or no knowledge of our problem, and can be better described as ‘mere blabbers’ and ‘vain chanters’. Unfolding realities in virtually all sectors of our national life have left us with portraiture of gross ineptitude, partisan prejudices and injustices, inefficiency, unbridled abuse and misuse of power for self aggrandizement and parochial interest, mutual animosity and unbridled corrupt practices.
In Nigeria, precisely in the ‘60s and ‘70s, leadership has acted as a symbol of unity. It has constantly reminded us of the fact that though our tongues regionally differ, Nigeria is one and as such, we must collectively work together to protect it. Even though there were traces of leadership dissatisfaction, their tasks were to front a common course and initiate unequal development across the length and breadth of the nation. They vehemently combated all forms of discrimination and segregation; today, the reverse is the case. Leaders see Nigeria from their ethnic or tribal, religious and geo-political inclination. They are now flag bearers of faction, beaters of the drums of war, rebellion and hate, frontiers of man’s inhumanity to fellow man through their misleading notions of oppression; perpetrators of fettered tyranny and marginalization, recruiters and sponsors of ethnic militia for spillage of blood and disruption of economic growths. These unethical practices are manifested across the various regions in variegated forms. In the South, leaders have capitalised on various forms of advocacies from the clutches of exploitation the yearning to liberate the region toemasse ill-gotten wealth, while the commoners are left to wallow in the cesspool of abject poverty and become more miserable. They (leaders) receive negative approbation for negligence of their civic responsibilities because of allegiance and loyalty to ‘Godfathers and Kingmakers’ and ‘party affiliation’; the situation is not different in the North. Popular leaders have become frontier of slaughtering of fellow men in the guise of religious hypocrisy and extremism. They have clandestinely faulted every government that is not theirs and given all support to their own, even when it is glaringly a colossal failure. They lay blames on leaders from other regions as the cause of their woes and underdevelopment, when their lackadaisical disposition and nefarious agenda to the suffering of their people are the singular cause. When I ponder on these unfolding scripts of shame and bourgeoisies’ inhumanity to the helpless in society, I wonder what has made leaders in Nigeria price their conscience to a point that life, oneness, togetherness, development, progress, change, unity, and love no longer matter to them. What has really bewitched our leaders that their eyes are blinded from following that which is progressive? That their concerns have dovetailed into self-schemes and programmes, ethnic and religious sentiment at the detriment of our collective will.
On this note, I dare to say, it is high time the national, regional, state, local government and community leaders took responsibility to lead the people well. Enough of the unending blame game and accusations of past governments and leaders! I feel we can begin a rewriting of our history and a restructuring of our nation. We can only achieve this by our leaders bracing up to confront the challenges plaguing us as a people and as a nation. The principles of good and democratic governance must be fully implemented; i.e., accountability, equal distribution of wealth, transparency, independence of the judiciary must be wholly entrenched. We want to see improvement, positive change in the system and life of the people (masses). Enough of the excuses! Enough of the vain words that add nothing to us as a people. It is time to act, rub minds together and collectively tackle the problems that are holding us on a standstill. Ifeel the focus for all Nigerians irrespective of religious and ethnic affiliation should be, ‘if you cannot think development, initiate improvement in the system, proffer solutions to problems ravaging society, tackle crime, peculation and injustices, initiate a workable road map to greater heights- the list goes on and on, step aside’. The issues we are faced with today as a nation requires skilled personnel and leaders to fix them. Thus, if you do not have what it takes, step aside.
Confessedly, the Nigerian problem, which is daily becoming more pathetic, should be a source of worry to all and sundry. The singular reason is not far from the obvious- those we have deemed competent from outside the domain of governance as able and capable have turned out to be misfits, plunders, looters and robbers with pen guns. When speaking outside the coffers of authority, they gave us a clear analysis of the problem ravaging us as a people.
They do this with all clarity, passion, enthusiasm and concrete roadmap to achieving a viable self-reliant nation. But more troubling is that those attributes and unholy sermons of change are surreptitious attempts to win the heart and trust of the people with the sole aim to sap them dry and worsen their situation.
Today, some have exhausted all arsenals of blame game, accusation and lies; now, they have resorted to cajoling the people into believing in a more unrealistic future. Each time I hear this from their mouth, I wonder if they are the people that talk or a voice is speaking through them. Will they be bold for once to kowtow to the obvious that the Nigerian problem is bigger than them and as such they are not in a best position to fix it? The road to changing Nigeria, as we are now made to believe, lies and begins with us. This is quite true, but we voted them to spearhead and champion it. They owe us an obligation to lead us well by stabilizing the economy, and sensitizing the citizens to discard all forms of hostility and unaccommodating attitudes that are inimical to progress, oneness and growth. They should make concerted efforts to institute a self-sustaining economy to improve the quality of the people’s lives. The bottom line is that, they should either live up to their responsibility of spearheading visible change and creating a conducive climate for all-round growth or step aside as this is the only way we can ensure peace, development and embrace the future and nation we seek.
• Ogheneruemu is a public affairs analyst.