Opinion: Nigeria leadership deficit, revisited

Ever since human history can recall, there has always been the critical two sides to the divide in every human society i.e Leadership and Followership. So critical has this been that even the one that initiated the Human race has always been in the business of seeking an interface between Himself and the entire body of His creatures through the choice from among them to serve as a representation, through whom, issues relating to the welfare of the rest of them can be advanced and resolved where and when ever necessary. History is replete with the various systems put in place for the emergence of this representation.

Till date, mankind is still in the process of forming a consensus on the most acceptable way for the emergence of this side of the human divide. The world has had the experience, in wholly Monarchical, Feudal, Military,Democratic and an admixture of these, yet each of them keeps throwing up their peculiar challenges. Although, the stage seems to favour those commending Democracy as the most viable option, however experience particularly among Developing nations has been pointing to a lot of gaps and deficit in the leadership that have emerged in these Countries, even in those Nations where there has been a measure of success, a check at their history suggests that at some points they have had experience in other system that has given way to Democracy. All these only lend credence to the age-long adage that the ‘the hungry dog cannot be a happy companion of the well fed one’.

Situating the above to our dear Nigeria, it is rather disheartening that, after fifty years of achieving self rule, we still suffer deficiency in leadership, even with the adoption of Democracy, Military, Diarchy and now Democracy again. How can one explain the fact that, after our experience in Leadership spanning over five decades, with a Civil war, and several unrests in between and worse still over sixteen continuous years of adopting the global system of choice of governance, we still grapple with issues of appropriately representing the interest of the followership?

Was it not in this Country that we heard of monies meant for the armed forces who were engaged in war being admittedly shared by those in leadership?, contracts are awarded arbitrarily such that there was no form of monitoring their execution, and most recently there was a fight in the camp of these plunderers a la ‘Budget Padding’ and the best explanation, is that they have done nothing against the law of the land, as if telling us that, we elected them to go and represent and defend the law and not we the people who are the object of the so called Law!

More than the fact that these are very lame and silly excuses, hearing them on an international network made the impact seem like we are a doomed people, and a bundle of jokes. In this era of Economic slump, where the song of revamping it has been severally sung into our ears, sadly by this same set of people we entrusted to drive the recovery. To now find out that all we get from them is locating projects to service their whims and caprices, or to serve their pecuniary interests, yet they have the gumption of facing us to say they have broken no laws of the Land, is to say the least most unfortunate, exposing further, the level of decadence and deficit afflicting us as a nation.

When people make sweeping allegation of how fantastically corrupt we are, or that our National assembly is a den of criminals, there will arise this cacophony of defence, while those making these allegation would have sat back gloating in their submission. Now that the truth is becoming clearer to us, what is left to be done is to take the most honourable path as Followers and pay more than a perfunctory attention to the way and manners the people representing us emerge and take it a step higher. We need to develop a more robust way of engaging with them during their representation more seriously and firmly too, so that they will begin to respect our collective sensibilities and not just believe that we are merely a bunch of idiots that will swallow any of those preposterous rationalisation of their obvious deficiency.

Only then can we be talking of bridging the gaps and cover for this sorry state of our Leadership. This must, as a matter of urgency begin among the Elites collective, because they form the pool from which these puerile and delinquent leaders are fetched. This, the Elites must do by helping the larger society sift the characters that will emerge from among them. Failing which, the larger and non-enlightened portion of the followers will have no choice in responding to the needless in-your face brigands, as we currently have in the Leadership, this will result in a conflagration that will be difficult to contain.

Femi Awotunde

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