Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Is Nigeria Addicted to Bad Leadership?

Letter to Nigeria: Happy Birthday Nigeria! Wow, 48 years old!! I can't believe it. You've come a long way, but still have a longer way to go. On this 48th anniversary of your independence, i can't help but look to the future, as the present leaves so much to be desired. The Guardian article below addresses the issue of your addiction to bad leadership. Through the Babangidas, Abachas, Abdusalamis, Obasanjos, you have endured. Your people have endured but we are none the wiser.

There are certain things to rejoice over in today's Nigeria - civil peace, for one - but we are still very far from where we ought to be. As we celebrate our Independence today, let us think yet again about what values we subscribe to as a nation. Currently, I believe the value most nigerians subscribe to is the almighty dollar/naira/sterling/owo/kudi. This needs to change. Question is: How do we instill in the current generation, the value of Hard Work and Integrity? Is it too late? Do we carry on and just hope that economic reform and private sector investment will be enough to get us where we need to be, and therefore focus our efforts on that? Or do we stop in our tracks, look inwards and examine the Nigerian follower and what we have contributed to Nigeria's regression thus far, and therefore seek the solution from within?

"Yet, in the midst of this national catastrophe, declining life expectancy, insecurity of life and property, grinding poverty, destitution and hopelessness, our leaders continue to act as if things were normal; as if Nigeria will remain "one indivisible nation" whether we like it or not. Created in 1914 at the behest of British colonialists and granted independence 46 years later, the patchwork that is Nigeria has managed to survive for so long, but time is running out. The more our rulers prevaricate, the closer the country inches to implosion. " - Rethinking Nigeria By Chido Onumah

Is Nigeria addicted to bad leadership? By Tosan Okotie
BAD leadership has ensnared Nigerians to a point that, most of the leaders have no laurels on which to rest any skills. Rather, the leaders' skills are derivatives of revenue from oil/gas, cocoa and groundnut, and not of any management technique. This is a shame because there are dozens of Nigerians that have done well individually in their various professions at home and abroad. Unfortunately, these same people are unable to come together to accomplish an objective that is cohesive and coherent. Indeed, anyone is correct to say that, being progressive has eluded the country. So why the distrust among these successful individuals who are adept in management?
The great ideas of the few people with unusual idiosyncrasy are being truncated by the vast majority of evil people who parade themselves as power brokers or community leaders.

Leadership in Nigeria is as simple as understanding the differing and conflicting needs of Nigerians in creating a value-based umbrella large enough to direct the human and natural resources in pursuit of a common goal of independent and sustainable development. Nigerians are saddened with their improvident leaders who are unable to buoy the people; as such, those with historic minds are compelled to be evocative of the likes of late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, a benign person, and a scrupulous leader who brought so much progress to the West of Nigeria. If other regions had developed the way the West did, Nigeria would have been recognized in the comity of nations today. As Nigerians continue to experience bad leadership, the more people extol Awo, who has virtually become a paragon in Nigeria.

Pa Awo, was never in ambivalence. He was always focused with a clear vision to move his community forward. Most interestingly, Awo never lived nor died as a poor man despite his good leadership. Thus, he was a man with vision and foresight. Indeed, many believe that, when you embark on good leadership, you remain a poor person. That is a fallacy. Be that as it may, does it now mean that, without late Awo, Nigeria cannot progress? No, there are still dozens of Nigerians out there with good leadership skills ready to serve the nation. Retired Justice Ilori, who used his vision to improve the Lagos State judiciary and himself after retirement is a good example.

People with vision are not likely to steal or be corrupt because they are confident of their tomorrow's bread/butter and water. Furthermore, people of this nature are not lobbyists you will see parading the vicinity of Aso Rock canvassing for Ministerial positions. Therefore, to curtail persistent bad leadership, an intrepid president, should step out of Aso Rock and look for them. Sitting within the confines of Aso Rock makes the president fall prey to the "charms" of sycophants who present themselves in Abuja as potential leaders. Any occupier of Aso Rock should be worried that, with all the revenue for the past years, there is nothing meaningful to show for it due to bad leadership.

It is ignominious to note that, quality leadership was not in the lives of most of Nigeria's leaders. General Babangida's leadership style was divide and rule coupled with secret killings. His successor, General Abacha, was a dragon who combined open killings with the use of Willie Lynch's strategy of sowing seed of distrust among slaves in America. Apparently, Willie Lynch was a slave owner in America who sowed the seed of distrust among the slaves as a way to have absolute control over them. In Nigeria, Abacha adopted the same style in order to control the country. It has been reiterated severally that good leadership is facile. Confusion started in the Niger Delta in the era of gawky Abacha who sowed seeds of distrust/hatred among the Itsekiris and Ijaws. The reality is that Abacha, being an overseer of Nigeria's government succeeded in sowing the seed because the community leaders were not oblivious of the danger of hatred among the people of the entire Niger Delta region. On the other hand, the community leaders in the Niger Delta who were positioned to uncover the ugly trend sold their conscience for Abacha's deceitful token naira.

When you analyze the issues on ground, you are likely to agree that, the generation of present day active Nigeria's followership is ignorant of true leadership. They have never had a functional government because of the disconnect between the various government's agenda and the masses. To say that Nigeria is addicted to bad leadership is an illusion because it is not as if this same group of followers has experienced good leadership at a time but is tolerant of subsequent hopeless governments. Nigeria needs inspirational leaders with empathy. It is only when the leaders take advantage of the myriad of opportunities that exist to make a difference that the nation would attain her destiny.


Naapali said...

Independence Day

TheAfroBeat said...

Independence Day to you too, brother Naaps!

Unknown said...

Independence...may we have better leaders in the future...very near future. The search starts now. Are Nigerians ready for better leadership - that's the question.

Anonymous said...

i havent read this, so i should probably not write what i'm about to, but while i am aware that there seems to be only things wrong with this country, it upsets me to see how focused people are on pointing this out. every year without fail, there's an independence day rant about the negatives of the country.
but that's the special ceremonius annual epsiode - everyday there are editorials in newspapers, outraged citizens, who all know the solution to our country's errors and are hurt and appalled that the rest of the country has failed to see this.
it gets old!
you dont see the chinese harping about their poverty, do you? you see the positive, the almost inhuman effort they are taking to look toward the positive and the possible even if they have to dig thru the poverty to see it.
i'm not a political activist of any sort, but i would love to read more positive opinions. realistic people who say yes, nigeria's hurting itself but who are also willing to say well... some people are trying.
i will read this post and if i need to apologise for this i will, but a title like that, is like asking if all the country is blind, dumb and deaf; and 'can't you see how easy it is to rebuild a country?'


Hmm, it seems a few of us are thinking along the same lines re: Nigeria. You and I once spoke about Nigerian values and the possible lack thereof. I still don't think we ever came to a conclusion on that one, lol.

Nigeria needs a psychological, moral, political, social overhaul. Maybe not so drastic as one might think, but we need to start doing better as a people. Pushing ourselves to be the best through discipline and not just money. Well, let me not start rambling.

Hope all is well.