By Chiedu Uche Okoye
Only an honest,visionary, patriotic political leader with leadership qualities can make a country great. Great political leaders, who possess probity, vision, fealty,and leadership qualities, can imagine the types of countries they want and work assiduously and conscientiously to achieve their lofty dreams. And, such political leaders, as I have mentioned, will subsume their primordial sentiments and selfish interests beneath the common good and national aspirations. Sadly,since our attainment of political sovereignty in 1960, good and purposeful political leadership has continued to elude us. That’s the reason Singapore,Malaysia, Brazil, Indian, and Japan have surpassed Nigeria in the areas of economic and technological advancement, although our country has more natural and human endowments than they’ve.
The monstrous culture of imposition of leaders on us, which is our heritage from our colonial master(Britain), and the ineffectiveness of our electoral body, are the chief reasons behind the emergence of third rate political leaders at all tiers of government in Nigeria. In today’s Nigeria, our current political leaders cannot hold a candle to such political avatars of yore such as Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Tafawa Balewa, Nwafor Orizu, J.S Tarka, and others in the area of political leadership. A political leader without probity, intellectual acuity,political ideologies, fealty, and leadership qualities will be overwhelmed bythe pressures, demands, and challenges of that exalted office. And he cannot navigate his country to greatness owing to his intellectual and moral vacuity.
However, before Muhammadu Buhari became our executive President in 2015, the mere mention of his name would inspire hope in our hearts because he evinced the characteristic traits of a patriotic leader when he was Nigeria’s head of state between December 31,1983 and August 27, 1983. The stories about his legendary probity and incorruptibility were retailed with relish by a majority of Nigerians. And,then, we believed him to be the political Messiah that would right the wrongs in our political polity, entrench national unity in our country, and set Nigeria on the path of irreversible greatness.
Sadly, President Buhari’s ascension to the loft of political power in Nigeria in 2015 has led to his demystification. And, the mystique of infallibility woven around him has beenpunctured owing to his inactions, misdeeds, and indiscretions. So,not unexpectedly, not a few Nigerians are disillusioned and disenchanted with his political maladministration of Nigeria.
It is regrettable and sadthat President Buhari has not weaned himself of provincialism, ethnic jingoism,and religious bigotry. For example, ethnicity, party affiliation, and religionare factors he used for the recruitment of people into his government. So,then, in his first term in office, some of his ministers were square pegs in round holes. The ministers of sports, Mr. Solomon Daulung and that of finance,Ms Adeosun readily come to mind. Can a minister perform higher than his abilities?
And, President Buhari formed an economic team whose inability to formulate and implement pragmatic economic policies caused Nigeria to slip into recession. Happily, Nigeria got out of that recession soon after it slipped into it. Now, in his second term in office, President Buhari’s economic team has not been able to fashion out economic policies, the implementation of which will lead to the diversification of our economy and acceleration of its growth. Our contracting economy is the reason why millions of young Nigerian graduates are unemployed. Those young unemployed Nigerians have been reduced to sub humans, which was occasioned by their impecunious state.
More so, even those who are employed by various state governments are paid paltry sums of money each month. What they earn monthly cannot be called a living wage. That’s why the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) had a long-drawn battle with the federal government over proposed increment in workers’ wages. Today, they have reached a consensus or agreement on the issue. However, some state governments have defaulted in the implementation of the new minimum wage bill while some state governments have reneged completely on it.
Nobody is unconscious of the stark fact that the civil service is the fulcrum and engine room of governments at different levels. Not only to do they formulate policies for government, they also help to implement them. But, while civil servants have been rendered impecunious owing to their poor remunerations by government, lawmakers in the national assembly earn mind-boggling jumbo wages. This inequity,which has existed in Nigeria for a long while, is very irksome and unacceptable to the generality of Nigerians. It is a tinderbox that can ignite anarchic situation in Nigeria.
But, is Nigeria not nearing an anarchic situation now, what with the festival of blood-letting and mindless killings, which are being executed by the Boko haram insurgents? The Boko Haram insurgents, who want to enthrone Islamic theocracy in Nigeria, roam freely in the northeast, from Yobe to Borno, and to Adamawa. The more the federal government tells us that the Boko Haram group has been decapitated, the higher the number of victims of Boko Haram insurgency will become. Recently,one of the leaders of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Kaduna state,Mr. Lawan Andimi, was murdered. His killing has the potential of pitting Muslims against Christians , and throwing Nigeria into a sectarian violence. Against this background of ceaseless orgies of murders, which are being executed by the Boko Haram group, the members of the House of Representatives passed a resolution calling for the sack of the Service Chiefs.
More so, the federal government’s helplessness and inability to secure Nigeria propelled the governors of the southwest to form AMOTEKUM for the protection of that region.At present,their lawmakers are working hard to domesticate a bill that will make AMOTEKUM legal. If Nigeria is a true federation, what the Southwest governors did could not have generated uproar.
So, it is incumbent on President Buhari to speedily set up a committee that will be charged with the onerous duty to restructure Nigeria and enthrone the true practice of federalism here. It will be a panacea to our national ills, and open up Nigeria for rapid economic and technological development.
Again, I would like President Buhari to know that Nigeria is trapped in the abyss of under development. He should up his game, and use the remainder of his days in office to offer us qualitative leadership, which will improve our living conditions, and take Nigeria to a great economic and technological height. Let him know that posterity will judge him based on his performance in office.
Chiedu Uche Okoye
Okoye is a poet.