By Chris Agbiti

Of all the multiple failings of the Nigerian leaders, especially the political class, their refusal to bind themselves to the dictates of the social forces that underpin their commitments to the leadership cause, sticks out like a sore thumb.

And so, whenever the chips are down, rather than coming to terms with the dictates of leadership challenges usually thrown up by the inherent social forces, our leaders are wont to do either of two things: first, when they successfully surmount the challenge, they go ahead to acquire for themselves air of false omniscience that predisposes them to think of themselves as indispensable to the system.

Second, otherwise, they resorts to blame game and scapegoatism when leadership failure stares them in the face in an atmosphere of leadership challenge.

It is usually a far cry from our leaders to take responsibility for leadership failure, learn from the experience and move on. And, like a chip off the old block, Governor Jonah Jang of Plateau state behaved true to type, following his utterances in the wake of the recent successive gruesome massacre of the Berom tribe as a result of primordial quest for political dominance between the Hausa-Fulani pastoralists and the sedentary Berom tribe of plateau state, an attack that has turned the once peaceful serenity of plateau state to a Golgotha with its own peculiar peace: the graveyard peace.

As the gory tales and video footage of the brutal massacre of predominantly helpless children and old people dominated the global air waves, particularly, the bloodcurdling jeremiad of the woman who helplessly watched from afar as the invaders axed and butchered her husband, and ripped open, with gruesome glee, the intestines of her three under-aged kids, one lost all appetite ( no pun intended) for Governor Jang’s bland blame game of putting the entire blame squarely at the door step of the GOC, 3 rd Amoured Division, Jos, Major General Maina whose negligence and bias, Jang would insinuate, gave the invaders advantage over their victims.

More disgusting is the Governor’s statement that at about 9 pm of the fateful day of the attack, he received a text message from someone in the village intimating him of the suspicious movement of armed persons around the village, and all the Governor could do in the circumstance was to cavalierly call the said GOC (who has even denied receiving any such call from the Governor) and thereafter, by the Governor’s own admission, went back to sleep, snoring away till at about 3pm when he was woken up by the cracking sound of firearms, signaling the commencement of the massacre.

Now, pray, in a volatile state as Plateau State that has been bedeviled by religious and ethnic violence for close to fifteen years, does it not border on crass naivety or sheer irresponsibility for a Governor to prefer the comfort and palatial deluxe of the Government House and doing no more than making off-handed calls while the blood of his people, whose mandate and taxes gave him the authority and comfort he has ensconced himself with, gush out in ceaseless agonizing flow in the hands of their assailants.

I have refused to be taken in, like others, by the usual excuse being bandied about by the Governor and shared by many of his counter-parts, that they are chief Security officers in their states merely by name as no security agency is responsible to them. One only gets to hear such excuses when there is leadership failure, if not, from whom do the security agencies, especially the police, take orders from to help rig elections in favour of an incumbent Governor, as our experience has shown?

What is the guarantee that if the security apparatus in a state were to be under the control of the Governors, the security will fare better and not become like any other institutions under the Governors suffering from systemic decay?

The bottom line, Mr. Governor, is charismatic leadership, the type that makes a good leader think proactively and not necessarily relying on the obviously unworkable existing structures to power his visions. If Governor Jang had exhibited a modicum of such charisma he would have been able to take advantage of his position to sensitize and influence his people to form vigilante groups (which is lawful in the eye of law) with which he could easily have exchanged useful information when he received the first text message informing him of the presence of armed persons earlier in the day but who later turned out to be the murderous invaders.

With that, whoever that was in charge of the state security but looked the other way when the invaders came would have been beaten to his own game. I believe it is high time our leaders were made to face the law for such criminal negligence.


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