By Denrele Animasaun from London
A general is just as good or just as bad as the troops under his command make him -General Douglas MacArthur
Permit me, if you would, to start with the words of late Segun Olusola: “It is unfortunate that many people have missed opportunities to make peace.
I want to spend more time in my lifetime to convince our political leaders to change their attitude towards the poor and the society at large.
We have a problem of defining what a stranger is and what an indigene is. From Jos, Plateau State to the Bakassi, Sabo community and all over the Yoruba speaking areas, we are creating a dichotomy that can result in war between the so-called indigene of a place and the so-called strangers in that place.
You have people who regard themselves as indigenes and make life uncomfortable for those they have regarded as strangers”.
I found his words so prophetic and so relevant more today than ever. I read a lot of reactions to what is going in our country.
Should we stand back and see it fall to bits round our ears? We now live our lives on superhighway of get rich by any means possible. We send out to younger generations that is okay to embezzle and siphon the nation’s resources as long as you don’t get caught and if you do , make sure you have greased the palms of many people down the line.
The ordinary Nigerian is sick and tired of the same old things: stress day in day out, no adequate power, no essentials of life, insecurity, noise pollution, lack of adequate education, health facilities and social amenities. And the young are restless.
So they should be. We are saying you only get respect when you have as much money as possible in a little time as possible. This is morally wrong and we are required to shift our way of thinking. If I am preaching to the converted then once again, I apologise.
We have not exactly set them a good example in the way that we, as Nigerians should be living and working towards a better way of life and togetherness.
In the last couple of months, we have witnessed a series of incidents and so far, I hear that the phrases “God save Nigeria”, “let us pray for Nigeria” if there is a problem , we should seek solutions.
The trouble is Nigerians are the problem. So therefore, Nigerians will be the solution. Actually Nigeria is waiting for no one else but Me and You. We seem to look on to divine intervention and the government to lead the way. I do apologise, but we are used to complaining about what other should do for us and not what we should do for ourselves. We have lost our moral compass and professing to be devotional do not make this happen.
We need a decisive moral leader as an individual and a collective. We need the qualities of someone who governs or make decisions based on fairness and ethical guide lines. It should not be on personal, political or financial basis.
This may sound idealistic , we must be a shining example even if it comes into conflict with established laws. Rules are made to guide us, but we cannot follow them slavishly when it is not morally right. We as individuals should exude integrity, honesty, courage and confidence to do the right thing.
Yes , I may be teaching an old woman how to suck eggs, but seriously, we should search our conscience and ask ourselves when was the last time we did something for someone without asking for something in return; when we condemn our leaders, we should know we voted them in, more or less they are a reflection of how we are as a people.
In order to understand why our country is not working we have to apportion blame starting with ourselves.
You probably know what I am alluding to ; the last couple of bombings, robberies, plane crashes; the incessant extensive loss of lives ; the doddering responses of our leaders to act decisively to quell this uprising.
It took too long to act but there was the sacking of the National Security Adviser, Gen. Andrew Azazi and the Minister of Defence, Bello Haliru. Would this help the situation? I don’t think so. Never the less, it was a surprising and decisive action.
But people cannot live in a state of insecurity. We have members of the armed forces committing armed robbery; politicians looting the national coffers; teachers selling exam papers; hospital staff stealing medicines; kidnappers seeking ransom money people taking bribes for treatment, or accountant cooking the books. And the law, well don’t let us go there.
No one says the job of a leader is easy, it is not. It is a huge responsibility and one that should not be taken lightly. It seems that people go into politics to loot the coffers and not make a change in peoples’ quality of life.
We are so corrupt that when a well-meaning Nigerian comes along with a fresh broom, he is told that he is too honest to work in Nigeria.
So every day ,you grease peoples’ palm to carry out the job they are paid to do. So when you are making any costing, it’s important that you include the cost of bribery. It is endemic in our community we have seen bribery and corruption as a way of life. So how then do we tell our children that crime doesn’t pay when we are our part of the problem.
The whole world is watching while our leaders plunder our nation of its natural resources and our leaders set bad examples.
It is high time we searched our conscience that in order for us to have a nation or nationhood we should lead by examples. We need moral leadership top to bottom that does not reflect on who you know, but what you merit.
It should encourage every individual’s innate capacity to choose and act in a way that society can grow , with sets of moral values, universal principles, ethics and positive attitude.
We should as individual catalyst, transform our society. It requires vision, initiatives, patience, respect, courage and faith. More and more as our world experiences global crisis and we need leaders to join forces to battle for the greater good.
There seems to be continual uncovering of unethical behaviour in business, politics, religion and all areas of society around the world. There are no shortage of leaders making this happen as behind each one of these stories lay a leader who brought about the action and behaviour in question.
Moral leadership requires you to always look at what is right and lead others towards that. Moral choices come from a person’s character as well; they do not always come about by rational thinking leading by popularity and influence alone will not typically create a moral path and the sacrifices that must be made around moral dilemmas are often costly ones in terms of popularity, fame or wealth.
When people are apathetic, and feel powerless that they cannot change the way things are , actually they can. History has proved that people can make a change if they are determined. It is happening right now and young generation deserve better and our failure to lead by example, is robbing our young of their future.