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The leader passion we need in Nigeria



Sir: Barely two weeks ago, Christians, the world over, celebrated Easter. The passion of Christ, in despising the shame and enduring the cross, could be our passion, too. Because of the joy that was set before him, Christ embracingly, daringly, and willingly bore the brunt of the cross, the bruises of contentious crucifers, and the contusions of the thorny crown. What or who could have been more exemplary than that? What characterises Christ’s passion is humility before honour; sorrow before joy; humiliation before exaltation.

That’s, in fact, a leader-formation pattern we could appropriate in Nigeria. What is the “passion” of our leaders? The passion for wealth? The passion to embezzle public funds at the expense of communal progress and development? The passion of inflicting pain, hunger, poverty on people and inciting riot and violence? You see, in comparison, this is a perverted passion hinged on the lasciviousness of self-interest, self-care and self-gratification.


Why Nigeria is where it is today is because the leaders had (and have) no passion of purpose whatsoever before “grace found them.” Immediately they’re summoned by so-and-so to come and hold one public office; and without any experience, expertise, appropriate education and exposure, the person becomes a leader. Meanwhile, this person who has informed the other of some “vacant” position himself underwent the same process of “selection” – not “election.” That’s not leadership: Leadership is by merit, not by credit.

We should begin to see leadership as sacrifice, long-suffering, endurance of all odds and pebbles before any form of coronation. We should stop putting the cart before the horse.

To me, the issue of insecurity is increasingly dying down. Attention is now gearing towards “who will contest for 2023 presidential election.” It behooves how inhumane we are in the race for opportunism and adventurism of power. The passion for the 2023 presidential race is not that important. Banditry, because of our lackadaisical attitude and lackluster leadership, is already taking over the country. Directly or indirectly, bandits, terrorists (or whatever name you call them) are arguably in charge of the country, in that we have so relegated their threats and attacks to the background. And it is becoming the most lucrative business enterprise unemployed youths are optionlessly dabbling into.

The worst thing now is that schoolchildren are the ones being ramped up by these bandits. Such a souring thing to hear from a country at 60! This should be a period of general reflection and introspection on how far astray we have gone in our responsibility and duty. An unexamined life is not worth living; an unexamined life is not worth leading the country. It’s high time we began reprioritising our political ambitions by appropriating the passion of Christ in bearing the cross of our obligations, callings and confessions to the core.

Segun Ige is a freelance journalist in Lagos.


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