NIGERIA AND BURDEN OF FAILED LEADERSHIP By Kennedy Peretei
Many Western writers are quick to dismiss Nigeria as failed State. What other indices are required other than a sharp division amongst the citizenry along ethnic and religious lines, poor or should we say lack of infrastructure, high maternal and infant mortality, unavailability of potable water, kidnapping, Boko Haram and lately Herdsmen massacre across the land. In all of these, only one question comes to the fore “where are those who took oath to protect lives and properties”?
From Alhaji Tafawa Balewa to General Olusegun Obasanjo, Alhaji Shehu Shagari to Mallam Umar Yar ‘Adua to Goodluck Jonathan, assumed leadership of the most populous black nation on earth by default. General Yakubu Gowon who became Head of State three days search for a successor after Aguiyi Ironsi’s assassination was quoted to have said Nigeria’s problem was how to spend money at the peak of the oil boom.
Even President Mohammadu Buhari whose fourth attempt at the Presidency yielded results has been dismissed by a section of the Western media as the most incompetent Nigerian leader. Is it the case that Nigeria is jinxed? Or it is the case of a people getting the kind of leaders they deserve? Whichever way, one is tempted to believe that the Nigerian people themselves must accept responsibility what has befallen our country.
We all want a corruption free society but we want our children who did not make JAMB cut off marks to be admitted into our universities. We vilify our leaders for misappropriation but Community monies in our custody never get accounted for. We lament poor electricity supply, yet many Agencies do not pay bills others device ingenious ways of by passing the metres.
I have also heard the argument that the fish begins to decay from the head, hence our leaders must take the lead to rescue our nation. But l ask the question in the nearly seventeen years of our democracy, have we had a change of attitude from the electorates? Is the cost of elections not so prohibitive making it possible for only a class of leaders to emerge? A colleague told me Buhari did not have money, and he won elections. I reminded him to go and ask in Lagos and Portharcourt. Even at the Primary Election, a lot of money exchanged hands.
My general take is that we cannot expect things to take a new turn when we ourselves have not changed. Little wonder, all those who voted change are still waiting in vain for things to change. Until we all have a re-orientation, this tragic leadership failure will continue to plague us. As a nation and also as individuals.