Events recently unfolding in one of the world’s oldest and unarguably, most stable democratic nation drive home the fundamental leadership roles in evolutional development of any country. It calls for critical evaluation of individual persona with recourse to a given task. For the first time in history, United States’ post-election turmoil almost imperiled its democracy save for the well- entrenched institutions and a healthy dose of ideologically-oriented and nationalistically-inclined actors. A commentator, Angela Rye in an interview concluded that, a prejudiced consideration fueled rabid determination to annihilate any affiliation to the Obama presidency that political actors and agents overlooked requisite background checks and available records of his replacement. This discretional inability bequeathed Donald Trump to America and with him, the consequences of Trumpism on American Presidency, America’s global rank and America’s unity and coercion.
The kind of 2016 election incaution which ushered Trump into the white house is an inflexible bane across some other countries of the world, especially Nigeria. As a country, Nigeria has been unlucky with transformational leadership at the topmost echelon and for this reason, most Presidents and administrations barely settle to work before their incompetence, vague vision and inadequate strategy manifests. Since ever, the natural reaction has been to seek replacements without due thought for the quality of such replacement. At best, replacements are mostly considered in ethnic and religious stead to the detriment of records, competence, character and capacity- the central thrust of this piece.
Meanwhile, the question as to the attributes and expectations from the next President of Nigeria is beyond necessitation, an imperative determinant factor sin-qua-non to economic emancipation, social etiquette and political reform. It inadvertently bears a strategic template critical to resonating the country’s decaying system.
For decades, Nigeria continued to see the rise and fall of hope for a country of our dreams and one impoverished by sheer lack of leadership capacity and disadvantaged by the declining inability of the public to set standards for its onboarded and onboarding leaders. This state-of- affairs portray and portend fundamental challenges to upsetting our current inertia, unlocking our enterprise spirits and setting the country on the path to impacting the world economically and socio-politically.
Nigeria is a household name. As the largest in Africa and regrettably the 30th largest economy in the world, its potentially gigantic economy is widely recognized along a line of great significances that only an excellent leadership can unlock. Yet, a trait of declining economy and social instability undermining developments has been Nigeria’s common feature, a situation which is not limited to particular tenurial leadership or regime but resonates around and along our faulty or non-existent recruitment process.
It was bad leadership that shifted Nigeria’s focus to oil revenue from being agriculture-dependent nation. Consequently, the fluctuating crude oil prices in the market among other factors consistently flops visioning efforts at stabilizing the country’s economic mainstream, thereby portending it as victims of monolithic economy. Analysts had for umpteenth time forecast downturns, and there seems to be no end in sight. According to the United state Aid for International development- USAID (September 22, 2020), Nigeria’s economic potential is constrained by ‘structural issues’ such as, inadequate infrastructure, tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade, obstacles to investment, lack of confidence in currency evaluation, and limited foreign exchange capacity. Financial Times UK in a December 22, 2020 editorial also described Nigeria as “close to becoming a failed state” sighting an economy plagued with terrorism, illiteracy, poverty, banditry, and kidnapping.
Evolving thesis from assertions therein, Nigeria’s extant challenges are apparently caused by ineffective leadership. Other attributable factors include unemployment, inflation, government/monetary policies, etc. Apparently, a replete of cluelessness, parochial, uninspiring, attitudinal debauchery and selfishness forms the kernel to which ineffective leadership marred development in Nigeria. Lack of transparency to critical financial and other information key to economic development, accountability, absence of political will, overbearing political interest, looting and diversion of public funds, and lack of projectable economic foresights, gave rise to corruption and corrupt practices in the country, leaving behind infrastructural decay, insecurity, low power supply and investment drive. However, the mendacious effect of the country’s security upheavals is so manifesting. It left many believing the country is too big to be governed by one man, putting the thresholds at the mercy of diverse ethnic interests. Nigeria’s slacked security architecture is because of bad governance, unemployment, poverty, inequitable distribution of national wealth and illiteracy.
At the moment, Nigeria harbors the world’s second most deadly terrorist groups-Boko-Haram insurgency (global terrorism index 2019), among its variables such as Bandits and kidnappers. As a matter of fact, the rising insecurity poises emergent threats to National continuity, unless crucial checkmate measures are put in place. And while billions of Naira is lost daily to Boko-haram attacks, the perplexing tension of bandits and kidnappers held the economy to ransom. Moreover, it transcends beyond crime, hunger holds sway. The cost of living is high due to inflationary measures and demand compendium. Statistics shows a very high percentage of Nigerian populations living below minimum of dietary energy consumption (amount of food that should be taken in order to sustain energy). But then, this piece does not dwell on these challenges or the causes, it focuses only on an ambience of revival remedy which is sacrosanct, as stipulated by financial time UK.
Remember, Singapore as we know it today was not like this. In the 1960s, there was racial tension that led to several destructions and countless fatalities; the economy was in comatose and unstable and without natural resources, high unemployment and huge housing deficit. In the midst of all these, Singapore had to decide its own fate and today, it sits in the comity of the most developed countries in the world. Leadership made all the differences.
There is this anecdote in the British Navy that says, “Anyone can captain a ship when it is sitting safe in the harbor but out at sea, where things get dangerous, you need a real leader”. Nigeria is currently at sea and things are dangerous and requiring a leadership that can plough through the prevailing realities to make something useful out of almost nothing. Having said this, we must look forward to the leadership that can overcome Nigeria’s lingering socioeconomic and political hiccups from what they know, what they do and what they are. To bring to a halt, a starring and glaring security upheaval in the country, true leadership serves right. We need true leadership to strengthen institutions and rejig relevant anti-graft agencies so as to wind down the menacing corruption and its practices.
To move from where we are to where we want to be, we need a leader who will stay and act true to a course; a leader chosen by the people, from the people, and for the people as inscribed in the concept of democracy. True leader who will act with integrity and in doing so, establish public trust. True leader who will genuinely value the people by transitioning power to authority. A leader infatuated with assisting the citizenry realize their full potentials by inspiring excellence and rewarding creativity.
As the next election cycle beckons, it is time to rise from the boredom vicinity of perpetual complaints, bitterness, and dislocations and confront head on, the numerous cankerworms eating deep into our National socioeconomic and political fabrics. It is time to collectively sieve-out strategic templates that cushions developmental quagmires plunging the entire nation to the abyss. We must unite to collectively saddle Nigeria’s next proclivity on a pathfinder literarily certified on character, competent and capacity to contextualize necessary pathways of National prosperity. And to achieve this, we must be religiously committed to setting a template for the next Nigerian President from both personal attribute and the strategic planning ends.
One is unsure if the emerging reality will be patterned in a manner that will accommodate the required attributes considering that the various political platforms are visibly hesitant to leave their unproductive “comfort zones”. Nonetheless, one must take-on the power of the plebiscite’s presumed destiny and find the defiance required to initiate and sustain the gradations necessary to bring about the required leader and leadership. Of course, there is the problem of lack of ideology as has been seen with the ease with which major beneficiaries of erstwhile political marriages abruptly switch beds based on projection that do not regard quality and which do not see beyond one electoral cycle; such alliances and partnerships have brought us this low and we cannot continue this way and expect a change of fortune as a people and as a country.
We must, irrespective of position of engagement, social status or religious affiliation, properly situate our desires to the extent our interest must be subordinate to the far-reaching nationalistic and futuristic interest. This way, we would have unlearned our false realities and accepted the facts of the status quo with a view to not resist change owing to the fear of the unknown.
In the words of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, “Africa is not poor, it is poorly managed” and it follows logically to conclude that for Nigeria to shed the toga of the world’s poverty capital, it is incumbent that the next president must be one who knows the way, goes the way and who has the emotional intelligence, acuity and acumen to show others the way
Unfortunately, we have all reduced the choosing our leaders especially, the President to a political party, and lately, ethnoreligious contest which are an antithesis to the realization of the Nigeria we seek. Not a few talk about availing support based on verifiable achievements, track- record, and other grounded and tested leadership rubrics including a roadmap or an audacious but implementable manifesto. We must be concerned about the existing realities of our country, the origin of the decay we see everywhere, the palpable poverty in our societies, the system that produces and sustains the status-quo as well as the philosophy that sustains the entire ecosystem.
Put differently, there is seemingly a major way to achieve the desired turnaround, a shift or a complete change in trajectory that will make us fall in love with the flower as well as the roots so that when autumn comes, we shall not be bereft of the ideas of what is required. Nothing resonates more than the reality of those that fail to recognize this hiatus which is destroying value through ego or dogmatic dispositions that foist charlatans and sustains the impending disaster.
Never has the Nigerian State seen such a chasm between and amongst its citizens, a disparity amplified by poverty and the explosive and unexplained wealth of certain individuals who a few months ago belonged to the class of the extremely impoverished. And the fallout has been the oppressed loathing themselves and amazingly comfortable attacking, denigrating and tyrannizing the oppressed like themselves and in the process disparaging any prime attribute professed and promoted with a view to getting our leadership enlistment parameters correctly.
In the final analysis, it does not matter what the path is, the key to success is adapting to the needs of the future and making the necessary change to survive chaperoned by someone who knows the what, the why, the how and the why not. The alternative is that Nigeria will become a mantle in a museum that will talk about the wasted past akin to that of the “dinosaurs that were left behind.”
–––John Paul (Believer of a New Nigeria) Pauljohnk5@gmail.com.
QUOTE: Remember, Singapore as we know it today was not like this. In the 1960s, there was racial tension that led to several destructions and countless fatalities; the economy was in comatose and unstable and without natural resources, high unemployment and huge housing deficit. In the midst of all these, Singapore had to decide its own fate and today, it sits in the comity of the most developed countries in the world. Leadership made all the differences