“Your leaders have no respect for their people. They believe that their personal interests are the people’s interests. They take people’s resources and turn them into personal wealth. There is a level of poverty in Nigeria that should be unacceptable. I cannot understand why Nigerians are not angered than they are.”
This statement by Nelson Mandela, the late South Africa President, is likely to guide us as a nation from May 29, , 2015, when the new President of Nigeria is expected to be sworn-in. It was a serious observation for Mandela, who spent twenty seven years in prison, to declare that our leaders are corrupt and have no respect for the people. Has it always been so from the beginning? Where did we miss it? And if the story has been so from independence, what can we do to bring about a new nation with leaders that Nigerians need.
Every era has a termination day. However, no liberty is cheap. It comes with a cost. To free Nigeria from political and economic servitude, we must free ourselves from mental slavery. The people must be determined to confront the power that be. We must all resolve to seek and find men, who are capable of reviving our economy, create political institutions, raise moral values and national honour. Such a leader should possess the integrity of George Washington, the mental capacity of Bill Clinton, the courage of Abraham Lincoln, and the vision of John Kennedy. If we are fortunate to have a president that possess these qualities of leadership as spelt out by Sheila Murray Bethel. These leadership qualities are: mission, thinker, high ethics, master change, sensitive, risk taker, decision maker, use power wisely, communicate effectively, team builder, courageous, and committed. Leaders live under a microscope. Whatever they say or do hardly escape the scrutiny and examination of the people.
For ages, Nigerian leaders assume power without mission. That explained the trauma we are all going through from one regime to the other. It was President George Bush in the White House on June 22, 1989 that told 3, 000 students: “ Make it your mission to make a difference. “ As we approach March 28, 2015, Nigerians must make it their chief responsibility to elect any man, irrespective of his religion, ethnicity, or social persuasion that will make a difference. You cannot get to Lagos and fail to see that the governor there has made a difference. Despite the lean purse of Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, governor of the State of Osun, politics apart, you will notice the difference the man has made within four years. Even his adversaries acknowledged that changes that have taken place. Even among the Peoples Democratic Party-controlled (PDP) states, you can see the difference that has taken place in Akwa Ibom and Kaduna states .
On a critical note, it is imperative to ask what difference President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan has made in the past six years? Perharps in the agricultural sector, where more crops were planted and harvested on the television, radio and newspapers. If the PDP administration has succeeded in agriculture, there would have been cheap food stuff all over Nigeria. The over N300 billion expended on rice importation would have boosted our economy. Today, many family hadly feed twice a day, due to retrenchment of workers, a fallout of the Dr. Ngozi Okonjo Iweala’s voodoo economic policy that truncated the so-called best economy in Africa. In the history of Nigeria, our currency has never been so battered as it is today. Yet, Jonathan and his followers told the world that our economy is healthy.
The transformation they claimed they made in the aviation sector has failed to qualifiy one single airport in Nigeria to be named among the best airport in Africa. The noise of new refurbished railway are mere propaganda. Even the PDP administration has acknowledged that they cannot afford new trains with the present economic downturn. Power determines industrial growth. Sixty per cent of the industries that were operating in Nigeria when this government came into office six years ago have either relocated to some neighbouring countries, or have folded up due to power problem. The textile industries have almost gone out of existence; our leaders’ wives are the importers and exporters of foreign fabrics. They lack the vision of Mahatma Ghandi, who led the boycott of foreign textiles that made Indians to enjoy the best traditional custumes till day.
The money spent by PDP-led administration for 15 years on power generation is humongous. The late former Central Bank Governor, Ola Vincent, once alerted the nation about the wastefulness that followed the refurbishment of Nigeria hydro-transformer that were shipped to Norway in the early days of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. He disclosed how the Norwegian’s advice was rejected by the NEPA senior officials, who refused to buy new transformers, which were cheaper, new and longer lasting than the old ones that were shipped to Norway for refurbishment. After six months that the refurbished transformers lasted, the power generation collapsed till date, due to dishonesty and corruption.
Thinker: Aristotle, the great philosopher, opined that only thinkers should be permitted to lead. Leaders are thinkers. It was Robert Frost that stated: “Some men see things as they are and say why? I dream of things that never were and say why not? These are the people Nigeria needs in times like this. The All Progressives Congress ( APC ) has made known its manifestoes; promising to create jobs for the job seekers, welfare packages for the needy, build roads and feed pupils in primary schools nationwide, provide good health care services. The PDP could not think out its possibility, rather, the ruling party disparaged the challenger. Are we then going to assume that APC leaders are thinkers? That can see what others cannot see? President John Kennedy, in his short time and age, visioned the possibility of putting men into the outer space. Creativity and imagination are abilities, distinct from power to acquire knowledge. Nigeria has more professors in almost all fields than any other countries in Africa. But these egg-heads have not positively impacted on the various administrations in Nigeria. Likewise in politics, our literate politicians are more in number than the educated ones. Each time they chant “PDP” they chorus it “power.” Power without responsibility amounts to failure.
Those that colonised us claimed they were on tutelage mission to Africa. Aregbesola recently stated: “Most of the colonialists were majorly school certificate holders” and “ today our professors are more into power struggle and in-fighting in the citadel of learning, and failed to concentrate on the main objective of establishment of tertiary institutions”.
Likewise,some of our governors are either doctors of letters or medical doctors, but their performances are far below the colonial administrators. Why? Greed and impunity. The power struggle to retain political office has made some states to be governed by men who should not be councillors in a saner community. Leaders should have ethics. Ethics is to maintain life of leaders at the highest point of development. High standards of honest and honourable dealings based on our morals. If we should put President Jonathan on the same scale of moral ethics with Muhammadu Buhari, there will be a lot of differences. Buhari told the nation he is ready to declare his assets publicly. Even now that he is yet to be elected, we know he is a man not given to acquisition. On corruption, Buhari has continued to tell the nation that corruption is the destroyer of good governance that he would not spare. President Jonathan, in his academic exercise, compared what stealing is with corruption. At the end, he felt it is unnecessary to confine the thieves and the corrupt ones but to use modern equipment to block the loopholes. He promised to do that when he comes in for his second term.. Buhari’s spartan discipline made him shoulder high above Jonathan. It takes a lot of personal discipline in our country to discountenance materialism. The man has no record of allocation of public land to himself or family, as it is commonly practice by the PDP leaders. The man that can turn the tide that is about to destroy the ship of the state is Buhari.