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The gamut of Nigerian leadership – Part 2


President Muhammadu Buhari flanked by the Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo signs the 2018 Budget. Others are Chairman Senate Committee on Appropriations, Senator Danjuma Goje, Chairman House Committee on Appropriations, Hon Mustapha Bala, SSAP on National Assembly (House) Hon Sulieman Kwau, SSAP on National Assembly (Senate) Sen Ita Enang during the Signing of the 2018 Budget at the State House in Abuja. PHOTO; SUNDAY AGHAEZE. JUNE 20 2018

Nigeria has lost her exceptionally strong leaders who clustered within the loop of good moral standing as near impeccable characters over the years. Since the loss of such intelligent and nationalistic oriented leaders, we have simply contended ourselves with available makeshift, parochial, sectional and selfish leaders who have constantly siphoned our collective resources.

Official mediocrity in Nigerian leadership has known no limit and entrenched as a license to subjugate the nation to developmental oblivion. This led the country to civil war 1967-70 in the first instance and never-ending socio-political and religious imbroglios when such nasty conditions could have been outright averted through good governance. Some past Nigerian leaders considered their bright-lucky stars under which they became presidents as a birthright to make outright caricature of governance. They debase the national unity by introducing winners-take-it-all approach, tribal dominance and sit-tight syndrome in power during which they reap off our collective national treasures. They wantonly steal the socio-political shows by deploying utopianism of power as done by age-long Roman gladiators through their bloodletting orgies. They merely share with their party allies, loyal collaborators and intellectual cohorts out of unparallel wealth from sustained looting sprees. Ironically, other political and tribal groups not positively favored look in bewilderment at the malady of rat-race perpetrated by greedy politicians at the corridors of power. Many past Nigerian leaders came to power with their looting machines until God sent president Buhari to act as the ‘political cashier’ who does not possess the usual zeal and enthusiasm for compromising with the political friends who visit in their attempt to clean-out the national treasury.

To this end, president Buhari is presently and widely perceived among some selfish Nigerian politicians, as a ‘difficult and uncompromising cashier’ who will not dip his hand in the state covers and will also not allow others so interested from doing so. Considering his pedigree as a no-nonsense former Military Head of State, the president would have absolutely unleashed far worst restrictions and punishments on public treasurer looters had it not been for his apparent aging condition and ill-health. Arche Brown described desirable qualities of a good leader as high level of intelligence, articulateness, collegiality, non-shrewdness of judgmental mind, willingness to seek differing opinions that can inform popular decisions, ability to absorb useful and developmental information, operational flexibility, good memory, courage in the face of threats and negativities, clear vision, empathy and boundless energy.” These qualities are some expected inventory of a good leader and political superman that Nigeria presently requires to lead them.

We can no longer depend on cunning politicians and theatrical pretenders as good advisers only for them to get to power and become outright enmeshed in the old administrative system of looting the treasury and sharing our collective wealth. Such politicians are commonly seen in their droves paying regular political homage and visits to Aso Rock (the seat of national government) with spurious and selfish demands that can clear their paths to the presidency. Scheming and deadly politicians often request the media to respect their privacies while they strongly strategize and spitefully hob-nob the president into taking wrong actions capable of plummeting him to premeditated failures. Such politicians are greedy, insatiable lots and shameless fellows with unquenchable lust for power. They will always attempt to pull down human obstacles on their paths deemed to be blocking their political ambitions.

Nigeria needs a charismatic, goals-oriented, dynamic and inspirational leader with effective display of innate talents that can put an end to the unnecessary killings and long suffering of innocent children, women and men and abject poverty. We need an unrepentant achiever and developmental pacesetter described by Max Weber as the “prophet and hero” of the society. Unfortunately, Nigeria has produced political leaders who arrogantly regarded themselves as above everyone and assumed that fragmented parts of the nation are their spoils of political war. In the past, ‘these Mr. Know All and adventurers in power’ greedily distributed our national wealth among their friends and cronies. We are tired of having dubious polit. We no longer need self-serving and arrogantly confessed leaders who cannot manage their private homes and personal affairs as president.

Presently, we need politicians with innate abilities and developmental substances who will “help other citizens to climb the progressive ladder of welfare and not pull them down into the state of utter neglect and despicable poverty.” We need political leaders who are capable of introducing drastic changes that can upturn the system for notable economic growth without violence and physical coercion of opponents. During the next presidential election, electorates should cast their votes for a tested leader who will honestly serve and contribute optimally to building a healthy Nigeria that we can all thumb our chests and subscribe to as the national identity.

We need to examine some wise sayings of political scientists relating to superb leadership side by side with the position of our so-called national leaders. It is interesting to note that our past presidents have shown a common passion for political affront against identified opposition members and intense blackmail others to hoodwink their ways to power. More often, some past leaders attempt to force their ideas and opinions on incumbent presidency and run the nation from their expansive bedrooms, even when they were ‘booted out’ of power shamefully for poor performance. We cannot forget the famous saying of the late Charles de Gaulle, a military leader, who said “if men were angels, no government would be necessary.” Also, a dysfunctional father, Darth Vader, sent a letter to his son, Mike Edison, in which he wrote “You are a disappointing leader, you are a failure. You are broken and need to be fixed. You aren’t as smart as you think. If you are living for tomorrow, you will always be one day behind.”

There is no doubt that those working with president Buhari are not outright capable of offering superior advise and services other than remaining as glorified honest civil servants-cum-obedient-politicians. They commonly and faithfully report at their desks for duty each morning and close very late, and most times, reading newspapers and magazines and basically doing nothing significant to show for the high level of confidence reposed in them by the president. None of them (not even an exceptional person) offered or established professionalism in their spheres of control nor desired reasonable pride in the public services that they are rendering. It is rather unfortunate that there were no recordable economic breakthroughs for over three years of their services to the present administration. Probably, they failed outright to realize that the common fate of Nigerians is reposed in their hands through the supports and advise that they offer the president. Perhaps, Nigerians have overrated their personal significance involvements while comparing them with the likes of Ben S. Bernanke, Hank Paulson and many other professionals who fought desperately to keep United States and the world economy afloat in 2006.

Recently, there was an opportunity for both the Governor of Central Bank and the Federal Minister of Finance to meet and interact with some industrialists from United States of America through the Nigerian Embassy in Washington D.C. As expected, the two key Nigerian economic players could not attend on the excuse that the IMF meeting (which was the reason for coming to United States) was holding at the same period. This is not unusual and unfortunate as it did not occur to them to request for a reschedule time mutually acceptable to all parties. I regret to say that it was quite possible if the will was there.
Okunrinboye wrote from Washington D.C.

I reasonably assume that it will help the nation if the above mentioned official players re-check with some of those industrialists that were present at similar event about two years ago to push their interests for investment options in Nigeria. Those US industrialists who seemingly gave disappointing reports about their Nigerian operations when they met president Buhari during his last visit to US should be allowed to share their practical experiences with the discerning public. This will give room for identifying tactical and credible mitigating factors or ways out to resolving their general concerns.

Fortunately some Directors who accompanied the president to US openly apologized to those concerned after their operational reports and proffered solutions that were considered helpful.There was no question of corruption involved in their open discussions and reports but mere gross inefficiency and lack of professionalism in the system However, the writer is not sure if the key players would have considered any explanation on their absence if the visiting Emir of Kano, Mallam Muhammadu Sanusi ll had not made an open remark on the issue.

There is no doubt that fighting corruption is a political battle which appears to show minimal results internally but well appreciated globally because it is a worldwide issue. However, it would appear that technocrats supporting and advising president Buhari are not adding justifiable values to the governance in terms of economic recovery and development. It is an undisputed fact that the president needs a highly committed cabinet of ‘think-tank’ professionals that can articulate and package highly orchestrated developmental plans which should include the following:

– Foreign policies, including sports.
– Internal security now worst than Boko Haram insurgency.
– Realistic economic development plans and regular social growth indices appraisal.
– Industrial/business development.
– Full/fuller employment.
– Optimum neutral stuff development.
– Protection of citizens from harmful diseases, practices and hazards.
– Protection of national borders: land, sea and air.
– High level team of think-tank professionals for the government.
– High powered technological research works.
– Research works in electronics/telecommunication, science, medicine, etc.
– Good/qualitative education for Nigerians.
– Good health-care and medical facilities for citizens.
– Infallible timely citizens’ mediation and conflicts resolution.

It is for reasons above that the president is surrounded himself with the long list of Ministers and Special Advisers expected to perform optimally and not act as mere window-dressing during theatrical shows. Nigeria is respected all over the world because of her abundant human resources capable of contributing to the nation’s development. Many notable Nigerians have contributed (and are still contributing) in globally rated developmental research works. Therefore, it is the duty of engaged Ministers and Special Advisers to the president to encourage such Nigerians at home and in Diaspora to share their worthy experiences as concerted national effort of finding lasting solutions to our developmental limbo as a serious nation that is eagerly yearning for noteworthy development. There is no reason why Nigeria cannot establish a “Silicon Valley” of ideas domiciled in the nation for tapping the repertoire of experience of her citizens who are contributing significantly to the development of other nations in the world.

The government of president Buhari owes the country more than sweeping out elements of corruption. Only on Monday June 25, 2018, Washington Post reported that 86 people were killed in central Plateau in a clash between Muslim herdsmen and Christian farmers. Similar reports appeared in the New York Times of the second day and it was the same sad news on CNN and NEWS of the week. It is not good news for the country and the citizens nor for the administration as this may be worst than Boko Haram. We can as well pattern our ‘idea-ball-cluster’ with that of United States of America where the president holds frequent meetings with his cabinet members and advisers on the clear path to resolving ensuing developmental imbroglios. US high powered developmental meetings discuss various issues of importance and report on outstanding or allocated works while systematically planning how to make collective progress. The present government of Buhari owes Nigerians much more than sweeping out the basic elements of corruption. It is expected that strong footings towards recognizable path of economic and technological developments coupled with the security of the citizens will be firmly launched before the end of his tenure.

Unfortunately, Boko Haram insurgence, which the United Nations says will take a long time to defeat, is dragging us backward into the state of anarchy. Also, several cases of motivated kidnappings, herdsmen gun running/onslaughts across the nation, wanton political killings, etc., have added to our national distress and marathon slide to lowest ebb as a security risk-prone nation. The Nigerian law enforcement agent (the police) has failed to resolve the knotty problems of various crimes and this negligence puts the nation under unsafe environment of international community for developmental operations. Unfortunately, our ministers have failed in their duties, thus making president Buhari to look unserious in bearing the whole brunt of leadership laxity. Our economy has not grown up to expectation talk-less of showing remarkable improvements in education, jobs creation, electricity supply, good road networks and other basic infrastructures.

Our ethical re-orientation, social welfare and sense of discipline appear to continue as is and presently at the lowest level of assessment. Only recently, there has been a superiority rift between the Nigerian Congress and Inspector General of police over some pertinent national issues. This is an executive disgrace that has not helped the president to execute his duties as expected. Executive relationship rifts further heighten official complacency and show clearly that the federal government has been operating a non-perfect constitution full of parity of authority and responsibilities. For example, what is the business of incorporating herdsmen and farmers palavers in the national constitution? Why did the Inspector General of Police (IGP) playing dirty politics when pressing national situation which demands for proper handling and appreciation of differences between politics and professionalism. Obviously, the IGP did not realise the gravity of national problem created by his action. Coupled with this personal laxity is the inability of the Federal Government to truncate regular herdsmen incursions and other insurgencies against the state. These social negativities have destroyed the fabric of our national unity as many Nigerians have totally been displaced to become strangers in their own homes.

Under the Constitution of United States, the Congress has the power to impeach a government official while the Senate decides on removal of an officer from office. It was disgraceful to see members of the Nigerian Congress dragging themselves to the president as an arbitrator over a minor issue of discipline. These reasons grossly influenced the statement credited sometimes ago to the vice president that four years (one term) is too early to make appreciable progress in governance. Unfortunately, our vice president did not speak as a political scientist. However, he should have realised that the present government has more problems than inherited from their predecessor.
Okunrinboye wrote from Washington D.C.

In this article:
Muhammadu Buhari‎
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