By Stanley Maduabuchi Ofoegbu Esq,
The Nigeria of today, is that country where men are fixated to power even in the face of apparent inefficiency and colossal failure.
It is a true saying that no state can ever attain the status of perfection to be described as a utopian state. A man that is unfit to handle a position, will never deliver on that position to matter what is delivered as resources. Nigeria today, is in a state of political, religious, economic, social and constitutional conundrum and quagmire among others. Peaceful co-existence with egalitarianism, mutual respect with social justice, public policy, equity and good conscience have all been eroded and set aside and, in its place, hatred, greed and avarice, religious intolerance, economic violence, political and social injustice, breakdown of law and order amidst abuse of powers, war and terrorism amidst tribal and primordial sentiments have all been enthroned and greatly celebrated to the detriment of all and sundry. Political, Religious and Judicial leaders among others, have all thrown in the towel and played into the gallery thereby orchestrating the frivolous, callous, unmerited and wanton destructions of lives and the God sent them I have as properties even in the midst of scarce and lean economic resources scarcely made available by the government of the day. Just like Apostle Paul of the Holy Writ said “shall we continue in sin so that grace may abound? What then is the missing link? What are we not getting right? What can be done to savage the deplorable situation?
Leadership refers to the ability of individuals to influence, motivate and enable others to contribute towards the success of the organization they belong. It entails the willingness to embrace responsibilities irrespective of the possible outcome. Placing the need and interest of others above one’s own interest, it is involving the ability to strive in improving the welfare and dignity of the group being led.
According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, leadership is the capacity to lead. It is a product of organized society and hence, different from the animal kingdom where might is power.
In the words of Omolayo 2005, leadership is an essential oil that keeps the government working without any difficulty. It makes the difference between success and failure.
Peaceful co-existence is nothing but a harmonious living among members of the society. A situation where members of the public tolerates the rights of each other and government performing their statutory duties.
Will a political science student of Ebonyi State University Abakaliki who intends writing his University long thesis on a failed state and decides to use Nigeria as a case study be out of place?
Considering the present predicament and quagmire we as Nigerians found ourselves today such a student will definitely be in order and not out of place. Whether we like it or not, the truth must be told, evidentially and circumstantially, it does appear that we are all sitting on a gun powder and if no urgent measures are taken, the resultant effect will surely be dangerously colossal and difficult to explain (God forbid)
Flowing from the above, what then are the missing links?
Lopsided political appointment/ regional or ethnic and religious concentration of powers contrary to the principles of the federal character: Nigeria being a multi ethnic and religious nation, the federal character principle entails that political appointment forming the composition of the government should not be concentrated in the hands of individuals who are predominantly from few states, ethnic or sectional groups. See Section 14 (3) of the 1999 Constitution as amended. A blatant and callous neglect of this this principle as it is glaring in today’s government, negates the principles of democracy and national unity thereby giving room for agitation for self-dependence due to the feelings of being a second class and an inferior citizen.
Noncompliance with Constitutional provisions especially, the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy as enshrined in chapter 2 particularly section 14, 15, 16,17, and 18 of the Constitution of Nigeria. As it stands today, the leadership of the present government including leadership at the states level have all failed woefully. Nigerians are now living at the mercies of bandits and terrorist among other blood sucking demons amidst bad economic, social and political realities. Section 14 of the Constitution, provides that the welfare and security of the people shall be the primary purpose of the government. Unfortunately, the current government under the leader of President Mohammed Buhari of the APC, has turned this law on its head. Farmers can no longer access their farm land sue to attack by Boko Haram and bandits who finds pleasure in raping and killing them without mercy. Citizens can no longer travel by road to certain parts of Nigeria due to fear of being attacked by bandits and terrorist. Others who would have preferred travelling by rail, can no longer do so due to fear of attack and kidnap by bandits who will in turn call for ransom running into millions of naira. What about travelling by air? The price alone is beyond accessibility by an average Nigerian. What then is the way out? Shamefully, the current government is still in power and parading itself as a government. More shameful it is that no one is willing to challenge or call for its removal. In saner climes, is the present government not supposed to retire and cover her face in shame?
Talking about political objectives as enshrined in section 15 of the Constitution, the leadership of the day has and is indeed making it difficult for other political party to thrive. The incessant refusal of some sets of persons to register and obtain their permanent voters card in some locations due to some useless and misconceived fear that a political candidate will not be voted for during election is an example of constitutional abuse of the said provision. Burning and snatching of ballot boxes in broad day light during election, vote buying among others are political callousness and insensitivity of the present leadership. To make matter worst, is the fact that perpetrators of this evil are roaming the street freely and even celebrated in some quarters. The issue of the Muslim- Muslim ticket of the APC political party in clear abuse of section 15 (d) of the Constitution is nothing but an extended form of the leadership insensitivity of the current government among others.
Lack of accountability and transparency in governance. In local parlance, it is usually said that there is no smoke without a fire and that nothing happens for nothing. Cause follows events. A shift occurs because, a force propels it. A clear example is the kuje prison break. It couldn’t have happened if someone has not failed in his official duty or capacity. Who then is responsible? Who has been held accountable? How many persons lost their jobs following that ugly incidence? Nigeria today, is the only country where people are fixated to power even in the face of apparent inefficiency and colossal failure. Incompetency and inefficiency is now a custom and tradition. Maybe, we may, we should incorporate it in our constitution as part of valid requirement for holding political offices. God help us
Government insensitivity and cavalier proclivity towards the affairs and plight of the citizens. It is impossible to have good followership where leaders are callous, greedy and insensitive to the plight of people or persons being led. Examples are
The rising cost of living on daily basis. Day after day, Nigerians wake up to meet a negative change in prices of goods and services. Many are forced out of market and work places due to cost of living, many are relieved of their job due to inability of their employers to pay up their wages. Many find it difficult to feed even as the value of naira depreciates while that of dollar and other foreign currency appreciates in value. In all these, the government is still in power defending her stupidity using men and women whose relatives are living in abroad.
Asuu strike that has lingered for months now with no hope of ending any time soon is another form of insensitivity of the government. While the government claimed they have no money to meets the demands of the striking lecturers, the same government has sufficient money to buy expensive cars to another country as gifts. What a shame. Clearly, the leadership of the country is likened to a mad man who goes after a rat while his house is on fire. Other incidences of the current leadership insensitivity are to mention but a few: regular fuel scarcity especially in the FCT with no pragmatic effort to curtail same, closure of educational institution for fear of bandits attacks, hijack of palliatives during the covid era without investigations and sanctions, extravagant borrowing to service debts without corresponding returns, ban on importation when farmlands cannot be accessed due to bandits attacks, relocation of foreign investors due to security challenges, killing of endsars protesters with no sanctions on the master minders, non-enforcement and execution of judgment of courts against government agencies, poor power supply and incessant collapse of national grid, national assembly vacation amidst rising insecurity, open call for negotiation with bandits and refusal of the government to investigate and sanction spokesperson spear heading same, senseless killing following religious intolerance and failure to investigate and proffer the appropriate charge, an example of the case of Deborah Samuel where the Nigerian Police arrested the culprits and instead of charging them for murder, they were charged for breaching public peace. What a shame. Gagging of the press using senseless and stupid sanctions via the NBC instead of approaching the court of law to determine the legality or otherwise of the violation and breach. These and more are aspects of the current leadership insensitivity. Hence, the hue and cry of many.
What then is the way out?
Only accountable and responsible persons should be allowed to lead others with evidence of track records. Individuals with questionable character and persons with criminal records or allegation especially, those pending in court should not be allowed to smell leadership in any form until they are thoroughly absolved.
Leaders must understand that leadership is not a fundamental right that must be clinched unto at all cost and hence, they should be willing to resign honorably in the face of manifest incompetency and failure see the case of Boris Johnson
Nigerians must do away with primordial sentiments and consideration while electing and appointing leaders especially, as 2023 general elections draws closer. Nigeria as a country, is not a personal property and should be administered by healthy individuals who are medically fit and sound in health especially, considering the heterogeneous and the multi-ethnic nature of Nigeria
Education is light and power. If there must be change in leadership style, reasoning and understanding, our educational system must be up and doing at all level and hence, only persons with a full understanding of the relevance of Education should be allowed into leadership position especially, strategic leadership position such as the president, governor and the likes.
All agencies of government such as Inec, Efcc, the Police, Icpc and others must be efficiently manned by persons who are qualified irrespective of their tribe and religion but must reflect the principles of federal character
Leaders must provide a levelled playing ground for all irrespective of religion, tribe, state of origin and other forms of difference. Setting aside all forms of primordial sentiments, leaders must understand that their position is not made permanent and as such, not a birth right.
Leaders at all level especially, the incoming must brainstorm on best ways of creating jobs for the teeming youths. The high rate of banditry, terrorism and other forms of social vices are all traceable to the degree of unemployment. It is an abomination for a graduate to end up learning a skill from someone who himself did not pass through any form of formal education all because he or she needs to make ends meet thereby, making education look like a wasted venture
Leaders and followers must imbibe the spirit of tolerance and recognition of each other’s differences, strengths and weaknesses. We must give peace a chance and not take it for granted otherwise, just like Chief Mike Ezekhome SAN said, it will be like a mad man roaming the street if peace is not taking seriously.
The Nigerian Constitution may not be perfect. However, when strictly adhered to, will go a long way in bringing peace, justice and equity to all.
By Stanley Maduabuchi Ofoegbu Esq, 08068515340, firstname.lastname@example.org. Abuja, Nigeria.