The leadership style of President Olusegun Obasanjo is something that is worth looking at, as this has had some impacts on Nigeria and Nigerians since 1999. The way and manner the president comports himself since he assumed the mantle leadership to say the very least is very undemocratic.
This is because, he was a former army general and does not seem to have imbibed democratic ethos in anyway. He is used to the military high command structure, he is at home with “obey before complain” that is why he conducts the affairs of the country in a Zombie-like fashion.
This is also, why he has refused to obey the Supreme Court ruling in respect of local government council funds in Lagos State. It is because of this that, he has not been able to have a firm decision on the recurring and never-ending political crisis in Anambra State was instrumental to the removal of the state governor through unconstitutional means.
Similarly, he was the unseen hand in the illegal removal of the governors of Bayelsa, Plateau, Ekiti, Oyo, and Anambra States. The president and his gang of garrison commanders are responsible for the on-going crisis rocking Oyo and Anambra state as they have bluntly refuse to obey court orders, they see themselves as above the law.
It is as a result of his high-handedness that he single-handedly and unconstitutionally suspended the Governor of Plateau State, Chief Joshua Dariye for six months against the provision of the constitution, it is because of this, he imposed a paramount ruler on his own people against their wish, it is as result of this that he gave loans to Ghana as well as Sao Tome and Principe without legislative authorization, it is a result of this he sent soldiers to kill people in Odi and Zaki Biam.
He talks down on journalists during the presidential media chat, he has always refused to implement the national budget as passed by the National Assembly. It is because of this that, he is always at loggerhead with the leadership of the National Assembly. It is because of this that, there is frequent changes of National chairmen in the People Democratic Party (PDP) and the list of these misdeeds are endless.
He feels he understands or knows Nigeria’s problems more than anybody else knows. He feels he loves Nigeria better than anyone does, and that he is more patriotic and nationalistic than any other Nigerian, this has made the governance of the Nigerian state very cumbersome, not issues-based, and counter-productive, as he has personalized the office.
Some say that, it is his military background that has impacted strongly on his person, since he spent all his adult life in the force. For instance, during one of the many strikes organized by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) to protect the increase in the price of petroleum products, the president said, in a very unpresidential manner that, “government will over the selfishness of the Nigeria Labour Congress as it overcame the selfishness of ASUU” not weighing the import or gravity of his statement or even feeling the pulse of the nation.
He has also been accused of making unguarded statements that are not expected of a person of his age and experience in life. For example, when he visited, the Ikeja Cantonment in the aftermath of the bomb wreckage, as soon as he got to the scene, the victims disturbed his speech and urged him to move in to readily see things for himself, pronto, he became furious and said, it is not compulsory for him to be at the scene of the bomb blast.
Hence, people are of the view that he is very unfeeling and very rigid; adhere strictly to whatever he believes in, whether right or wrong. He also sees any issue as a war situation and it can never be that way. In addition, having fixated ideas cannot help to move this country forward.
For example, when he, not too long ago addressed the National Assembly joint session, he said, the workout by the delegates of the south south to the National Political Reform Conference was unfortunate and indicative of the fact, they were being manipulated. Why would a leader of a country utter that kind of reckless statement? Atimes, it seems the president talks before he thinks of what he had said.
Before the president assumed the mantle of leadership in 1999, he was in prison for three years, three months and three days. He was the head of state in 1976. He became president in 1999 and was re-elected in 2003. The point is that, the combination of all of these should have mellowed him down.
However, curiously, he has refused to change. He is not amendable to correction, and he is impervious to reason. Thinking most often than not that he is the messiah, no wonder that some people have argued that, he is suffering from “messiah complex”. However, Socrates at the apogee of his intellectual attainment humbly submits that, “all that I know is that I know nothing”.
Moreover, a philosopher once said that, he who does not know, and does not know that he does not know, is a fool. These are food for thought for those who want to know from the fountain of knowledge, wisdom, and understanding.
Again, the president must be told that, the reason why he has advisers is for them to advise him in the overall interest of the country. He told the advisers in 2003 that he would not tolerate any form of disloyalty and that it was not compulsory for him to take their advice. It means, he will always be told what he wants to hear, whether or not it is true or not, or whether or not it is good for the country or not.
This means that, the quality of work and advice that goes into policy formulation will be meretricious and superfluous. Furthermore, the president lacks the intellectual ability and the administration acumen to see many programmes and policies of the state through. This is coupled with the fact that, he clearly has not learnt the basic tenets of democracy and he does not understand and appreciate the value of democracy.
Thus, many perspective Nigerian thinkers have said, Nigeria has moved from bad to worse since 1999 with visible economic downturn, misanthropic economic policies, political and religious unrest, and what have you. In fact, the tension and friction between the legislative and executive arms of government have been attributed to the over-bearing and domineering leadership style of the president, who more or less treats the members of the National Assembly with contempt and disdain.
The president always feels that he is above the law, and that, he is always right. Again, the fact that one is a president of a country presupposes that, the person is the servant of all and not the other way round as the president thinks. If the president thinks he alone has all the solutions to all the problems confronting the country and he alone can address them squarely, then he must be told that he is living in Fantasy Island.
In the seven and the half years, he has increased the prices of petroleum products 11 times against the tide of public opinion, the exchange rate has hit the roof-top, many local industries have closed shop, poverty is rampant, unemployment is pervasive, roads are bad, NEPA is epileptic, water is not available, housing policy is nil, the cost of living is very high, inflation is spiral, so, what is the value of democracy?
Evidently, he does not know where he is coming from and where he is going or even how to get there. What the president has succeeded in doing, by this adherence to his obnoxious and draconian leadership style has brought Nigeria to the present sorry and nadir state.
The situation of things in the country is so horrendous that people rate military government better than this civilian government. Again, unless there is a change in the present’s style, which should entail tolerance, accommodation, consolidation, respect for the rule of law, fairplay, justice, and equity, and respect for other people’s view, Nigeria will undoubtedly get to the very abyss of the nadir state in no distant future.
Therefore, he should be more sober, serious, and reflective.
For instance, how will one explain a situation where the president collects a stick from a security detail trying to ward-off people that forcefully trudging to get president and gave him a beating of his life. May God help Nigeria.
19, Gongola Street
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