The world is endowed with countless leaders; Nigeria is sharing in this abundance. Leadership in all spheres is exemplified in the character and values we share in our homes, society and the country at large which ignites a process of social influence in which a person can enlist the aid and support of people in the accomplishment of a common desire. As a nation, our common desire since independence is to see Nigeria advance with strong institutions, Justice for all citizens, Respect for rule of law and socio-economic wellbeing of all. The foregoing is a function of a responsible and people oriented Political leadership which Nigeria craves.
Nigeria’s political history if chronicled, was blessed with political leaders who were seen as sources of inspiration and aspiration to its followers. At that time, political leaders were teachers to their followers. This developed a wave of political consciousness among the divers ethnic groups in Nigeria. We were awakened by the charisma, philosophy and style of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Alh. Tafawa Balewa, Amino Kano and many others. Their foundation and dreams have been battered over the years under the military Jackboots, putting a stop to the period of service delivery where equity and fairness were the hallmarks.
For a greater part of that History, the Nigerian public was radicalized, which is evident in the militancy being faced at the different regions of the country today; protesting injustice, corruption and marginalization which is the failure of political leadership in the Nigerian project. Blame it on the military rule; blame it on whatever or whoever. The truth must be said, for we have not channeled this radicalism and political hard-line on our leaders by exploring all democratic tools of political activism which should be the way to go. It is only the legitimate means, under a democratic system, to jolt and awaken the slumbering political leadership and make it accountable to the people.
As a nation, our political leaders (politicians) are concerned in extolling lofty policies that are targeted to manipulate hypocrites than issues which would impose deep sense of seriousness and patriotism. To assume public office in Nigeria, for many, is a call to loot our resource and neglect the yearnings of the electorate. While to a few, political office is a ticket to serve and meet the aspirations of Nigerians; though of course will be shown the way out for not championing the course of “Business as usual”.
The politicians will pay us siren visit after every four years to locations relatively unknown to them, bringing with them items such as T-shirts, bags of rice, etc. to woo the electorate, promising good roads, improved economy, electricity, quality education and quality health-care facilities. This has become a creed in the country’s electioneering process; this scenario is evident in the falling standard of all institutions of government where Corruption, Injustice and Poor service delivery thrives. In recent times, effort have been put to correct these ills which are envisaged in the setting of policies targeted to build institutions of high standard that will be accountable to Nigerians by rendering quality services.
The challenge is still enormous due to the fact that public office holders think more of enriching themselves rather than serving. There is virtually no confidence in the political leadership of the country; this is where the question must be asked: Where is the missing link?
THE MISSING LINK:
The missing link is a disconnect between the leadership and the followership. People are isolated by some invisible wall from their leaders, thus denying the leadership vital input and contribution from the people that are prerequisites to the performance and success of any leadership. This missing link is consequent upon the level of the following:
Nigerians don’t see themselves as part of the government of the day or any political leadership but complete outsiders waiting for the government to bestow on them some material benefits rather than demand it. The leadership requires political input to formulate and execute public polices and programs that will benefit the masses. Lack of political awareness is responsible for the willingness of the leadership to ignore the people outrightly rather than provide us with avenues for participation in governance. I make bold to say; that if the government fails to engage Nigerians, we must not fail to engage the government for we have the power over our elected representatives. We should know that the quality of leadership we desire will be determined by the level of political education (awareness) and quality of fellowership.
Justice and Honesty:
The failure of leadership can be sighted from the standpoint of scarcity of justice for the non-elite class who can not influence the judicial system and processes to favour themselves. Over the years the independence of the judiciary is still Questionable due to long delays experienced in the dispensing of justice in the country. Honesty on the other hand, has become a stolen virtue; with politicians parading themselves with it. This explains the undying urge by politicians to loot our resources and relegate the electorate to unbearable conditions. Having an unjust and dishonest political class has made the people disillusioned and disenchanted with poverty being deep rooted in the country. Are Nigerians willing to address this missing link?
Nigeria is blessed with many leaders without vision and value, what vision and value? You would ask; Value and vision for the Nigerian society. Leadership should be seen not just in Nigeria but everywhere as the ultimate call to contribute in making something extraordinary happen in any society. Nigerians should set standards for political leaders to posses good vision for the people, unquestionable personality and having the merit and experience to sail the ship of this nation to greatness. A good leadership style should be a consultative approach toward formulating policies and decisions making for his people. What leadership style have we identified in our political leaders?
This involves more than casting of votes and going home to sleep. Our democracy must not begin and end with voting and protesting results of elections thereafter. It is a continuous process; it involves constant monitoring of performance of elected public office holders as well as their policies and programs through political actions such as protest, petitions and enlightenment campaigns, demonstrations and monitoring group which are the available democratic tools. Political apathy on the part of Nigerians is a total disservice to democracy and its tenets and finally to the people themselves.
It is also a huge defeat to the values that binds leadership to the people. If democracy is truly a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, it is odd for us as Nigerians to have voted to sit on the sidelines, watching as though we can’t do anything; our leaders denying us our basic services, but engage in a free for all looting of public treasury without rising up to make them accountable.
Conclusively, it is our duty as Nigerians to make our political leaders listen to our cry by compelling them to perform their duties. For they were elected to do that or we will show them the way out! At this juncture we must re-establish for the good, the missing link that has been disconnected. As we enter into a new electioneering journey, the missing link must be established wherever it does not presently exist, and re-established wherever it once existed but had been disconnected.
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