The burden of leadership
By Adisa Adeleye
RECENT events in the country, especially the security situation, have put heavy burden on leadership at every stage, and especially on national leadership.
Every problem of the country, even if minor, is blamed on poor leadership at any time that many good people are scared of being called leaders or to be invited to become leaders in their various communities.
This is so because in the past communities invited their leaders as opposed to the present situation where ‘leaders‘ impose themselves on the community.
Some analysts, not political clowns, have diagnosed the country‘s leadership problems as product of deficient political structure and the deep-rooted ethnic and religious fears of each other by many nations that are forced to live together as one nation nicknamed, Nigeria.
There is that common agreement that every Nigerian is at best a tribalist as distinct from a patriot. Infact, the word patriotism seems uncommon in the Nigerian political dictionary.
Any appointment today is weighed on the scale of tribe and religion and any action seems to be viewed through the dark glass of ethnic and religious sentiment. The fears of Fulani/Hausa, Ibo and Yoruba (three Nigerian major tribes) domination are still rife.
The argument runs thus: the Hausa/Fulani have ruled the country (either military or civilian) many times; the Yoruba have had their turn also; while the Ibo are still waiting in the wings for their chance. Thus, ‘Ibo Presidency‘ has become a war cry or political jargon to rouse the Ibo nation to a sort of frenzy.
Afterall, what is the magic in Hausa/Fulani or Yoruba Presidency to conjure the passion for Ibo Presidency? The good number of Hausa/Fulani Presidents, Prime Minister and Heads of State had hardly touched positively the life of the average Northerner; many parts of the North still remain poor and some areas parade a lot of destitutes.
Also, the Yoruba Presidency could hardly be cited as a glorious era of Yoruba ascendancy. In fact, many Yorubas continue to lapse into nostalgic feelings about ‘Awo Days‘ of free education, free medical services and integrated rural and urban developments.
The complete routing of the Nigeria‘s ruling party (PDP) in the South-West, is a clear indication of the failure of ‘Yoruba Presidency‘. Attempts to reverse the trends might constitute one of the fears of the dreaded 2015.
The election of the current President from a tiny minority tribe (Ijaw) which was believed would douse ethnic fervor for power has, as things are at the moment, complicated political issues. President Goodluck Jonathan is blamed by some as being responsible for many of today‘s ills, which could not be fairly placed at his door steps.
Corruption (Mr. Nigeria) has existed before President Jonathan was born; murderous gangs existed before he became President and armed robbers have roamed dangerously all over the country before his adventure into national politics.
The dilemma of the present leadership predicament seems to lie in the failure to differentiate between the principle of politics and the strategy of statesmanship and the inability to reconcile them in a plural society. Is the President the leader of a political party or the father of the nation after his election? In an unstable political atmosphere pervaded by deadly insurgency and economic uncertainties, continuous application of wrong methods does not portray positive thinking or rational behavior.
If your governors after leaving office are under probe for financial mismanagement and your legislators are knee deep in corruption, then, something seems basically wrong or abnormal.
In a civilized environment, or in economically advanced countries, it would be irrational for a political party which could not guarantee uninterrupted supply of electricity to fuel industrial growth, a party which would not bring unemployment and inflation rate to less than 10 per cent, a party which is torn by internal crisis in a country threatened by internal security and where individual lives and property are subjects to the perils of bombs to ask for peoples votes in any election.
The argument of retired Major General Mohammad Buhari comes to light that it should be impossible for any party with those credentials to win any clean election. But what the former Head of State seems to have forgotten is that the country’s structure is deficient and people, morally bankrupt and therefore, anything is possible.
The answers lie in looking into the mirror to see the image of a talented man who is awkward and wayward and therefore, needs correction and reformation. Therefore, it is naïve to think any other leader could succeed in Nigeria unless the country‘s foundation is re-examined and the structure adjusted.
It is not a bad idea if the present leadership realizes its limitations in terms of the effectiveness of its teams – mediocre, howbeit conscientious. The present team has proved incapable of providing full employment by its economic policy of harsh monetary policy and sometimes unfavorable fiscal stance.
The pursuit of high exchange rate (which has caused devaluation of the country’s currency against the dollar) would rob the country of ability to import cheaply those required imports to accelerate the necessary economic infrastructural development.
In the recent stride to clean the oil industry, the hierarchy of the NNPC has been sacked and replaced from within. This is a surprise move if viewed against the government‘s policy of deregulating the downstream sector of the oil industry.
The government should have nothing to do with the supply of petroleum products and fixing of their prices. It is sabotage by the government itself against proper management of the country‘s oil resources.
If existing refineries cannot meet domestic needs; they should at best utilize neighboring refineries or allow local marketers to have their allocations in form of crude oil. That should be a neater arrangement than asking marketers to import single product at world‘s market price.
It is in the interest of the government and the people of the country to scrap the body responsible for the importation of selected petroleum products and replace it with another saddled with the export of refined petroleum products and petrochemicals.
The government should either sell the existing refineries or lease them out to the existing reliable oil marketers and their international affiliates. The business of government is to provide infrastructure for the smooth flow of petroleum products.
The question of political stability is connected with the policy of all inclusive government to combat the insurgency of Boko Haram at the moment and unforeseen bloody revolution of the future. There is nothing wrong with a National Discourse.