The leaders of tomorrow
There is hardly any direction to which one may turn that one does not find problems, a great many having to do with serious crisis of leadership. This is so self-evident in the realm of politics. A great deal of thinking has from the ancient of days gone into leadership recruitment. Philosophers have propounded theories in the course of the development of man. We once had the Age of Divine Right of Kings. Later the power of the monarch was gradually whittled down for the emergence of representative democracy by which is meant the government of the people by the people and for the people.
The term representative democracy came into being in the 1790s following the English Bill of Rights of 1689 coming after what was described as the Glorious Revolution of 1688 which saw the end of James the 2nd. This Bill spelt out the rights and liberties of the people. Britain became a democracy in 1832 in consequence of reform of Parliament. That reform gave the vote to the middle class, said to be about 400,000 people. It was not until 1928 that all men and women above the age of 21 were permitted to vote following Representative Acts of 1918. In the United States, the Bill of Rights similarly came into existence in 1789 and was amended two years later after the American founding fathers and state representatives overhauled the original constitution. The overhauling was to spell out the relationship between the Federal, state governments and the individual citizens.
The changes in rulership in the history of man became inevitable in the wake of abuse of office by the kings some would say of the Middle Ages. At the time, whatever the King said was law and final. He was the law and above the law. History records that Henry V111 typified the King of the time, misusing power and fighting wars. Several executions were said to have taken place in his time.
Practically all nations started out with rulership of a King sitting on the throne and he was sovereign. When the wind of change began to sweep through the world, Nigeria was not spared. It is such that today, our traditional rulers reign but do not rule. Although they are the closest to their people, but do not rule any more. They are custodians of the traditions and cultures of their people. In the developmental journey of man, there have been different modes of rulership and governance. In time past what often triggered revolution was taxation, and wars. Philosophers began to think out of the box: How can societies be put together to engender peace, harmony and development? With the advent of democratic order also came ideologies swinging people to the Right or to the Left. There is also plurality of parties even if there is emergence of two or three parties standing out as the main parties which periodically compete for power. In the United States for example, there are fringe parties such as Libertarian Party and the Green Party. In Britain, there is Green Party and Liberal Parties. This as we all know is the Western style of democracy built into it organs for recruitment and regeneration. Distinct from all these is theocracy, and there are one party governments as we have in China.
Whither Nigeria in terms of democratic order, it may be asked. We started out with a parliamentary system patterned, not surprisingly, after the British Parliament, the colonialists. This lasted until 1966 when soldiers drove their tanks to the corridors of power dispersing the professional politicians. We returned to a short lived representative democracy in 1979 but this time modeling it after the American system. This was interrupted again by the military, but we were back to representative democracy in 1999. The beauty of representative democracy is that it encapsulates the will of the electors who must be of age.
There is something the world has not gotten right. How do we have the true representatives who are imbued with the genuine spirit of service, who serve with love in the various Assemblies, particularly in the developing countries and with special reference to Africa? How are the representatives to be selected and eventually elected without bitterness, acrimony and push bordering on war with fatalities? These are two main problems especially in Nigeria. We copy practices in other lands, but not their grace nor their polish. It is the ugliness and shamelessness that we embrace and glorify. Nothing edifying. There is hardly any disputation over manifestoes. The manifesto is thrown out of the window as soon as a governor and president is installed by hook or crook. Hardly are thoughts spared for the interest and welfare of the led.
Watching goings-on in Edo and Ondo States, I cannot but ask myself: Why are we like this that there are no scruples whatsoever? Glittering testimonials of yesterday are torn to shreds without qualms in the contestation of today. We can make a comparison with the United States. Consider the development, indeed goings on in Edo State with what we only recently witnessed in the United States, the primaries of the Democratic Presidential candidates. From seven principal candidates, among them crowd-pulling Elizabeth Warren (71); sensational Pete Buttigieg (38) and Andrew Yang (45), the number of contestants came down to only one man—Joe Biden as the flagbearer. Several other hopefuls, about 16 of them who did not appear on primary ballots bowed out with disarming grace. Bernie Sanders (78), the old horse was the last who worked hard, and who ran really hard to breast the tape. When he dropped out he made a beautiful speech to rally his supporters behind the eventual Democratic candidate to face the incumbent President, Mr. Trump.
It also can’t but puzzle one that a sitting governor is not assumed to be his party’s automatic candidate? Even beneficiaries of the same gesture of their parties are the ones who constitute themselves the main stumbling blocks, seeing themselves as the so-called godfathers. In Ondo State, the battle line has been drawn between the governor, Rotimi Akeredolu and his deputy.
Given the chaos and confusion that go with even sifting candidates, and squabbles among parties whether in the developed or the developing countries, hardly will many a self-respecting person step forward to vie for an elective office in our land. Thinking people must no doubt be asking themselves in their reflection: Is this how human beings are supposed to carry on choosing their leaders? Must their leaders emerge from the crucibles of violence, of chaos and confusion, of defamation of character? Are these in the Will of the Creator? Did He send us down to this valley of matter without any guidance on how we are to run our societies and communities? To answer these questions will take us back to reflect on the purpose of mankind’s sojourn on earth and the lawfulness that govern all life and the entire Creation.
As it has been pointed out in this column before, man is in a school on earth, to gather knowledge about the Will of our Maker, internalize this Will which is manifested in the immutable, incorruptible and self-acting Laws of Nature, and use it. This in the end brings about refinement and maturity of the spirit preparing it for a flight to the higher realms. In this lawfulness lies standard for all human activities. Since our world is a school; it is elementary to recognise where there are students, there must be teachers.
The teachers are appointed by higher authorities; they do not appoint themselves. The teachers appear for different classes. Higher Creation Knowledge spreading on earth today we come realise that there was never a time mankind was without help and without direction. What I am getting at is that leaders are not electable; they are sent from Above. They are born, not made. In a situation societies elect their leaders, they can only throw up their own kind, their mirror; leaders who lead them going round in circles, but getting to nowhere in particular or into the ditch! A leader is one who leads his people in love from one step of development to the next higher one to joy and happiness. These leaders abound in every society. They step out on their own to serve without counting the cost, and indeed seeing to only the welfare and happiness of those they lead, turning their gaze upwards, to propriety, high societal tones and higher values. As things are today, with materialism gnawing at the hearts of mankind, we are blinded to recognise them; and so the journey is far, yet the time is nigh when all men will be brought to their knees in supplication that they be shown their true leaders. The leaders of tomorrow will be only those chosen from higher planes of existence. As Above so must it be below. Even here on earth!
Next week: Going forward in the meantime from where we are today.