Thursday, September 17, 2009

Everything Cries out for Leadership in Nigeria

"One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem before it becomes an emergency."-Arnold Glasgow

The dearth of leadership in every facet of the Nigerian life is approaching an epidemic proportion. It is like an entrenched cancerous growth, the more you sliced it, the more gangeranous it gets. The saddest truth is Nigerian of all hue knows what ails their country, but like the proverbial elephant in the room, no one is talking about it; or rather those that should talk are benefitting from the status quo, so they stay mum.

The truth is even if more people talk about the rudderlessness of our nation, what are we going to do about it? Nothing! We are currently being held hostage by a government we had no hand in electing or selecting. The People's Democratic Party (Nigeria's nemesis party) consist of men who like their forbears of the 1980s, do not need our legitimacy before they rule us. We are a nation in bondage, tormented by impostors in Abuja who had only their self interest as guiding principle.

This week, I took out my pen and did a checklist on every sector of the Nigerian life, to see the type of leadership we have in place, and I must tell you, it is quite embarrassing. On the economy, we have the head of our stock exchange deeply involved in the Transcorp mess. And by her own account she had no idea how the corporation she ran as the CEO wasted over 2 billion investor's fund. Not too long ago, the doctors in our teaching hospital went on strike; they were quickly followed by University professors and academic staff of Nigerian university. Our attorney general spend his time defending corrupt ex-governors, than he does standing up for the constitution. Our press, the singular light we had during the dark days of Shagari's misrule is currently comatose. Journalist are 3 pence per diem and they will sing your praise if the price is right.

Our judiciary which had always stand up for the masses are so overburdened with backlog of cases that an electoral petition against a sitting governor recently took 4 years before a final decision removing the "election rigger" was handed down by the Supreme court.

One area of the Nigerian life that had always been a beacon of hope and light is the Nigerian national team-the Super Eagle of Nigeria. Sadly, the leadership here too is wanting. We have all but lost world cup slot to Tunisia due largely to lack of visionary planning by competent leaders; even though we spend large amount of money on presidensitial task force on world cup qualifier. We have a football federation tasked with managing soccer in Nigeria, supervised by the ministry of sports, with the House and Senate oversight in tow; and our president thought it fit again to assemble a money wasting task force whose only contribution is to junket abroad on national dimes. And yet we still can't qualify for the mundial in South Africa! Sadly, no one is asking any questions, it is just business as usual in Abuja.

As long as money is changing hands nothing gets done. The ship of state in Nigeria is tottering on the verge of collapse and our Nero fiddles whilst Abuja burns. Afterall, who will tell "oga teacher" that he just lost his father. Election, that tested mode of accountability for politicians the world over, means nothing to current politicians stalking our lands. Like one of them campaigned recently in Ekiti, "if you vote or not, PDP will still win."

It was the Late Chief Ganiyu Oyesola Fawehinmi who in his letter of rejection of Yar'adua's Greek gift reminded us of the sorry state of Nigeria in these immortal words:

Furthermore, since the President came to power on May 29, 2007, the masses of
our country have been groaning in unprecedented poverty as a result of lack of
direction, The directionlessness of the Federal Government has been
characterised by the following, amongst others: collapsed infrastructure, total
paralysis of the health sector at all levels, constant nationwide power failure
and the attendant negative effects on all sectors of the economy; pervasive
unemployment, thereby generating increased armed robbery cutting across all ages
of our people; debilitating homelessness, retrogressive educational programmes
and policies, which have made no Nigerian university to be ranked within the
first 500 universities in the world, and no effort is being made by the regime
to improve on the humiliating situation.Put simply, the Federal Government is a
total failure, worsened by lack of direction and leadership

We are indeed a nation in perpetual turmoil, bereft of visionary leaders, so join me in my prayer for leadership for our dear country:

GOD, give us men!
A time like this demands
Strong minds, great hearts,
true faith and ready hands;
Men whom the lust of office does not kill;
Men whom the spoils of office can not buy;
Men who possess opinions and a will;
Men who have honor;
men who will not lie;
Men who can stand before a demagogue
And damn his treacherous flatteries without winking!
Tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog
In public duty, and in private thinking;
For while the rabble, with their thumb-worn creeds,
Their large professions and their little deeds,
Mingle in selfish strife, lo! Freedom weeps,
Wrong rules the land and waiting Justice sleeps.
-Josiah Gilbert Holland