Do you think Nigerians have been getting the kind of leaders they deserve (at least, to a large extent)? You most likely have heard that Nigeria is blessed with enormous human and material resources. Do we have "enormous material resources"? – YES. Do we have enough "enormous, productive human resources that have succeeded in delivering tangible results enjoyed by the masses"? – One may beg to differ!
When we talk of the nation-space called Nigeria, we have to bear in mind, "everybody" – the total number of people in rural and urban areas. Please, don't just focus on urban dwellers alone. Focus on everybody: men, women, and children. Don’t be carried away by the few enlightened people in your small circle of friends. Zoom out to the whole nation: North, South, East, West - everywhere.
What is the percentage of Nigerians that are really self-conscious of their dignity and worth? What percentage truly taps into their God-given creative imagination? What percentage of Nigerians are willing to discipline themselves, to persevere, to humble themselves and patiently obtain true and real education, progressive orientation, emancipation from mental slavery? What are the prevailing VALUE SYSTEMS? And how many corrupt-free, hard working, smart working, disciplined Nigerians are willing to actively engage in the political process? “For how long would you stand aloof and point accusing fingers from afar? How long??”
Let us take a close and sober look at our administrative and organizational structures. Before casting all the blame on the Government/state or national leaders, let us ponder in our hearts the behavior of the workers who are the employees. As we reflect, we should consider both the public and private sectors. Key questions should be asked. What viable systems and structures have they put in place to ensure that they have administrations that work, that produce quantifiable results? What does the average worker know about sustainability? What role do our workers really play to promote a successful maintenance culture? Or is everybody folding his/her hands and waiting for ABUJA to perform some form of magic?
What really is the productive level of cooperation, team spirit and unity amongst the employees (amongst those in the public sector and private sector as well)? For the most part, these individuals are from different tribes. How united and cooperative are they (even those who may have B.Sc’s and PhD’s) as they attempt to carry out their work duties? How clearly do they understand the vision of their respective domains or parastatal?
Agreeably, the Government leaders – Local, State and Federal have their roles and responsibilities. But we would be deceiving ourselves if, as individuals we do not understand and address the inner working dynamics and sub-cultures of our various departments or ministries.
As Nigerians, we should seek to tackle our problems from the root! “If the head is corrupt, the body would be corrupt as well”, is a very common saying in our beloved country. However, it may be better to look at it this way, “The stem, the branches and the leaves are corrupt because the root is corrupt.” The head is corrupt and the body is corrupt because the feet are corrupt. (By “corrupt”, I mean shameful value systems, work ethic that is below par, fraud, greed, dishonesty, selfishness, etc.) There is corruption right from our homes, our churches, our mosques, our little voluntary organizations, etc. The popular, accepted values of our communities have been tainted with corruption.
When a father or mother always trash-talks other tribes to his/her children, he/she sows seeds of distrust and disunity in them. Bare in mind, it is these same children who would inevitably go out there in a few years’ time to work with people from these other tribes – tribes that have come under such an absurd and unproductive diatribe, bitter onslaught from their dear, well-meaning but misguided father or mother! “Don’t you have anything good to say about other tribes?”
It is important to note that there is a multiplier effect here. Imagine, in your mind’s eye, mothers and fathers doing such damage in the thousands upon thousands of communities all over the country. Then you may get a good grasp of the consequences nationwide. With deep-seated fears, hatred and distrust sown in little minds, it becomes more difficult for these minds (in adulthood) to work together sincerely, humbly and faithfully with others. This is just one example. There are others we can look at.
Nigerians can excel, shine and thrive in all kinds of work groups globally. Testimonies abound of Nigerians who are shining stars, inventors, innovators, and trailblazers in different walks of life in different countries, internationally. However, bring these same individuals together under a committee or ministry. Interestingly, we may begin to notice all kinds of problems cropping up: nepotism, delays in execution of programs, inefficiency, poor accountability, useless bottlenecks, in-fightings, poor maintenance culture, etc. But was it not the same Nigerians, who, individually in various fields and in various countries performed so brilliantly? Are these not our supposed enlightened professionals? Of what good to Nigeria, are these intellectuals, these professionals if they cannot work together amicably? Hmmm… food for thought. Food for thought indeed!
Dark forces from the Western world have found it easier to come in to plunder because they noticed the distrust, disunity, greed and pretentious quest for self-actualization amongst the various entities that make up the geographic space that have come to be known as “Nigeria”. They did not have to learn rocket science in order to invade our space. They did not have to “crack” their heads in order to divide and rule. When are we going to learn our lessons? What would it take for us to learn? “A city divided against itself cannot stand.”
And if you are thinking that the splitting of Nigeria into 7 or 10 different countries is the solution, please think again. The root problems of Nigeria also exist in her respective tribes or geo-political zones. They will simply continue. Let it be a common practice for Nigerians to engage in the progressive venture of having a better understanding of their brothers and sisters of other tribes/regions. Understanding is a good breeding ground for tolerance and then love to grow and thrive. Cooperation, unity, teamwork and prosperity are products of tolerance and a common unifying vision. We need some form of inter-tribal dialogue. We need cohesion to move forward as a people.
Nigeria, a country where it is not difficult to find people bowing before politicians! Nigeria, a country where it is common to hear people say to their leaders: "CARRY GO!" You tell am to carry go! Now, he is obeying your orders. So why are you complaining! A country where selfless, progressive SERVICE is barely celebrated! A country where so many are struck by the, "get rich quickly" syndrome! A country where members of a family or village will hold a meeting, call their son/daughter who has been elected to public service (did someone say PUBLIC SERVICE?) and say to him/her: "naw fock upoo. na our turn to chop! wen Aproko Thomas be governor e build 4 housing estates, e buy 1 plane jet, e build 9 petrol stations.... If you fock up, we go disown uoo..."
So much pressure on this young public servant!!! All of a sudden, everybody is his uncle, cousin, auntie, or younger brother's wife's 3rd nephew from the paternal side!!!! All of a sudden, he gets a thousand and one invitations to “Launching Ceremonies”. And there is this dubious, unstated expectation that is communicated non-verbally from mind to mind – that he must donate nothing less that N100, 000 (Naira). This is not enlightening. Wetin, na public servant. You wan make e go thief??
Please, don't get me wrong. We all do not act that way. But here's the 'trick': the percentage of Nigerians that are progressive, that are not backward, that are truly enlightened and well-informed and matured in their thinking, and forward-looking, etc, etc, HAS NOT REACHED THAT MUCH NEEDED CRITICAL MASS! This is my position on the matter. Not until we attain this "critical mass", our beloved country will always be in one quagmire or another! The tipping point occurs, at the critical mass. The unstoppable change blossoms, at the critical mass.
Is the Nigeria we have today, not the fruit of our own making? These leaders did not come from another planet. They grew up in our families, in our communities. They are a product of the over-arching value systems – the prevailing mindset(s). The failings of Nigeria are not only on the heads of the leaders. These failures are also on the heads of millions of so-called common men and women. The populace also has a share of the blame... There's ignorance everywhere. I like the way Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) puts it: "I think it's that "ignorance is bliss" part, until the bliss leaves and then you just feel stupid."
And fear reigns supreme in many quarters! Fear of being ostracized. Fear of losing one’s life. Fear of being branded: “Unfaithful or unpatriotic to one’s tribe”. But Nigerians must realize that everything becomes possible when the fear falls away. The ending of fear, like the ending of some great pain, is paradise enough!
When more and more Nigerians begin to, in truth and in deed - embrace LOVE, unity, great values of service, be creative and innovative, place a greater value on their character, shun tribal superiority complex, tribalism and nepotism, embrace boldness and refuse to be brainwashed by dark forces from the western world... then we will see a developed and success-filled Nigeria.
My wish for Nigeria is the greatest good, for the greatest number, for the greatest length of time…
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"Coming In From The Cold" In California, U.S.A. December 21, 2009
Thanks to the writer for his critical thinking and analysis. This is the type of article that really gets my attention as it is meant to challenge each one of us.
However, it is hard for me to admit that Nigerians are getting the leaders they deserve. Nobody deserves this kind of leadership at all. It is like saying that an undiscipline child deserves the parents that did little or nothing about discipline when the child was growing up. The undiscipline behavior of the child is the result of the parents not disciplining the child; not the reverse.
Don't get me wrong; we all have predispositions, even as a child, as a result of our chemical and genetic makeups but behaviors can be modified.
Webster's New World Dictionary defines "behavior modification" as a technique that seeks to modify animal and human behavior through application of the principles of conditioning, in which rewards and reinforcements, or punishments are used to establish desired habits or patterns of behavior. The application of the principles of conditioning, as stated, means the application of rule of law.
Seriously, and predominantly, leadership is our main problem. There is a saying that no matter how thin you slice something, there will always be two parts to it. Our people are just dancing to the tune of their leaders. People say that if you can't beat them, you join them. I know not everybody will join them but majority will.
It is like the chicken-and-egg situation in which the first-cause relationship is unclear and people ask which one came first. Don't laugh, but my critical thinking and knowledge of science both tell me the egg came first. That's my position; take it or leave it.
As far as I am concerned, behavior is not congenital; it is learned. Corrupt behavior is learned and practised where opportunity presents itself; like where there is no rule of law or where rule of law is not enforced, or where you can get away with it.
To draw an analogy here, when you see a snake crawling, its tail always follows the head; and chicks always follow their mother; children always follow their parents; most people follow their leaders, if that's the one they voted for and not the one forced on them through rigging. So, don't blame the people, blame the leader. Don't blame the sport; blame the player.
In fact, the writer has probably unknowingly given a clue to where majority of the problem is, in the paragraph starting with "Nigerians can excel, shine and thrive...
If these Nigerians can do all of this under a different leadership, then our own leadership is to blame. Then Nigerians are NOT getting the leadership they deserve, period. Nigerians don't deserve barawo, ole and onyeosi leadership.
Nnamdi Enugu, Nigeria December 20, 2009
I totally agree with you Kari...I have always had that idea but anytime I try to explain it to people I know, I'll always get blown off. The fact is that Nigerians do get the kind of leaders they deserve. I was at a service center in my school and instead of the officer in charge of the place rendering his services to me with adequate efficiency and accuracy, he decided to use the time to chat with his friends and I had to wait for hours unending.
Its unfortunate but most Nigerians are not just patriotic, the aren't dedicated to anything good, they are not concerned with creativity and efficient productivity...and that's why 9ja isn't progressing like its supposed to
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