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Moral leadership

By Kola Animashuan
You’re not to be so blind with patriotism that you can’t face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it.  Malcolm X

On the 17th of December, Lekki Toll gate protest generated a lot of reels of comments and reactions from the local residents and beyond, mainly due to the fact that the public in the environs were concerns about the amount that they have to pay on a daily basis to ply the route when going about their daily lives, in particular those who live within the area are mainly irked that they have to pay toll to get to their homes.

Placard-bearing protesters had stormed the plaza, blocking the Lekki-Epe highway, all to protest the collection of toll which commenced last Sunday.

These protesters were not merely trouble stirrers the protesters are stalwarts ,respected members of society, women and children i what would have been a peaceful protest within their right as a citizen of a democratic society.

There were talks that the protest that the protest was politically motivated and that gave rise to the heavy handedness of the Nigerian police. The brutality of the police and the aftermath cannot be justified by any means of a throw away comment . Shots were fired and tear gas fire directly into the crowd and a man died , scores were man handed and arrested. This cannot and should not happen in a civilised society.

If we failed to act we all become complicit to such acts and we are no better than any other lawless society or dictatorship where the authority charged to serve and protect its people are acting in a way that is contrary to the principle of democracy.

It is therefore , up to the people that gave the orders that lawful citizens are denied the right to protest should be made to explain

themselves and everything should be done to bring the culprits to book.

Although the Governor has despatched an order for a panel to investigate and discharge a detailed report of what went on and recommendations within a set time is a start, but does not explain why a peaceful protest degenerated in a free for all for the Nigerian police to take the law into their hands and brutally behaved in the way they that they did.

Who gave the order and were these police acting within the parameters of the law or were they were not properly briefed to carry out a public protest; either way it is quite disturbing.

The governor stated that that the Police had to discharge their duty to uphold the law and order and conceded that it did not permit the police to use excessive use of force and worse.

Fashola said that giving this order “is intended only to improve the internal management of the state government and is not intended to, and does not create any rights or benefits, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by a party against Lagos State, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employers or agents, or any other persons”.

what the Panel will not be able to prove is that ; is it morally right that ordinary citizens of a democratic nation were subjected to such wanton violence by the police and where was the leadership when these people were attacked .

someone should be made responsible for the debacle and who was leading and influencing the police . We need a leader to act, follow and call others to a higher standard. A standard that is good and right by common standards. We are experiencing more and more crisis and we need leaders to join together for the greater good.

There seems to be a continual uncovering of unethical and immoral behaviour in business, politics, religion and all areas of society in this country. Most of our leaders chase money and let greed bring them into a position often seen as heroic leadership where ruthless actions, self centred decisions and environmentally disconnected standards allow them to feel what they are doing is acceptable and unfortunately, their followers, many of society’s success criteria and the media encourage this kind of destructive leadership.

Our leaders should toe a moral high ground one that ,may not always please the most people and so it is often counter to what people think a leader ought to do. Leading by popularity and influence alone will not typically create a moral path in terms of popularity, fame or wealth.

Let me suggest that those in the position of power should start with considering their own moral ground. What went on at Lekki can happen anywhere , our leaders would be

seen to be doing the right thing by ensuring that they are acting morally and that there is no other agenda in place to deny people their fundamental right to protect and serve.


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