Leadership and the Future of Nigeria

We must of course, change our ways within the family, work place, community, professional organizations, and in the public sphere by showing good leadership and sensitivity at all times.  Even in the simple things such as treating subordinates as human beings count a lot in building appropriate leadership for peace, progress and democracy.
What is the Leadership Challenge in Nigeria?
For President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, the Nigerian predicament can be put squarely on the challenge of leadership.  As he put it recently, the “concept of leadership has been bastardised in Nigeria, and people use leadership positions to show arrogance, oppress others and misappropriate resources meant for the generality of Nigerians instead of serving them as directed by God” (Leadership August 1, 2008, p. 3).  While the President is absolutely correct, the fact remains that these leaders operate within a system that encourages impunity, the abuse of office, rascality and indiscipline.
These same people work at very high and prestigious positions internationally and they never abuse their offices or misbehave.  However, once they are given opportunities within Nigeria, they begin to do all that the President has outlined and worse.  This means that we must look again at the structures and institutions of the state, the constitution, character of policy making, enforcement of laid down rules and regulations, political will, and the involvement of the people in politics and policy to fully appreciate why leadership is what it is or has turned out to be.  Will you believe that all the numerous reports on the Niger Delta since 1956 have virtually recommended the same solutions and not one has been implemented?  Is this just insensitivity, political rascality or plain wickedness: to leave communities and constituencies, fellow Nigerians whose land produce so much wealth in grinding poverty and environments that resemble worse than the Fourth World!
How do we explain the existence of thousands of abandoned projects all over the country today?  What is the explanation for thousands of dilapidated schools, hospitals and public institutions around Nigeria?  Why do our so-called leaders measure their wealth, success and importance with the degree of poverty around them?  How do we account for children hawking in dangerous traffic when they should be in school?  Why has the looting of public funds almost become institutionalised and we cant find any of the hundreds of arrested or prosecuted looters in any prison?
Because leadership is largely pedestrian, opportunistic, unpatriotic and insensitive to the plight of the people, it is still possible to see regionalized or ethnic based agendas whether it is Afenifere, Ohaneze, Arewa, Northern Union, South-South Peoples Assembly or the like.  It is the failure of elite and state hegemony that encourages primordialism.  In fact, where the state is seen as largely irrelevant to the survival of the ordinary citizen, coping or survival mechanisms are invested or routinised.  This eats away at the capacity and capability of the state to perform the basic function of government much less that of a state.  On the other hand, coping mechanisms congeal divisive political and cultural enclaves- ethnicity, region, gender, religion, professional or atavistic.  Loyalty is transferred from a state that is seen as repressive and ‘irrelevant’ to other non-repressive organisations and outlets for social expression.  This is why we have prominent ethnic or regional rather than truly national leaders today.

2 thoughts on “Leadership and the Future of Nigeria”

  1. Akemokue Lukman

    Dear Prof,
    May God give our leaders the wisdom, the will and the courage to access this treatise and practice at least a bit, if not all of the content therein. It is a wonderful piece meant for consumption, practice and for the record. Keep the flag flying. All hope is not lost. Not when one can still access this type of information from a resourceful mind.

  2. Omueti Oviebo Godfre

    Those who know your problem are far from you.i wish you know problem…

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