By Sunday Eze
ERUDITE Professor, poet and world acclaimed Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe was apt and right when he proclaimed long ago that: leadership was the bane of the country’s growth and development. His honest and candid position is widely accepted across the divide of both policy and decision makers in the country and all over the world to the extent that the “problem” has become a popular aphorism in speech making, music, stand up comedy and public presentations.
It is said that a problem identified is half solved. However, the already identified affliction of the nation tends to defile all possible and proffered solutions to the embarrassment of all. How did we get here one may ask?
Nigerians especially the youth are the most politically disoriented group. People constantly complain about bad governance and lack of purposeful leadership but avoid the potent weapon to confront it. We lack the guts and hardly take up the challenge to chase away perceived political enemies as is the norm all over the world.
The yellow vest movement without a functional leadership structure has despite government’s crackdown forced Emmanuel Macron of France to rescind his elitist decision to increase the price of fuel. The protest is still ongoing and more demands are emerging. A thirty-five year old Venezuelan legislative leader ,Juan Guaido backed by the people and the international community has taken it upon himself to change an unpopular government. The once tough hardline government of Nicolas Maduro is making concessions to avoid a backlash. Most Nigerians belong to no political party but they expect miracle for positive change by simply hanging their fate in God. We are highly decorated social media warriors; always feasting on frivolities. The populace take pride in the ingenuity of abusing each other. We specialise in peddling all sorts of rumours, manufacturing lies and fake news. Thousands of Permanent Voter’s Cards, PVCs, which offer people the opportunity to take a decision in the democratic process are yet to be collected by many. Voters wait until elections are near before attempting to get their cards. This shows how politically sagacious the people are. At this time, it becomes cumbersome and the Independent National Electroral Commsision, INEC, is as usual blamed for not making the cards readily available and collection easily accesible. Get involved. Goals are not scored outside the pitch.
The issues that shaped the dynamics of politics of the previous four republics beginning from 1999 showed constant motion devoid of remarkable movement. We are one of the most industrious people yet there is no silver linning in the horizon. It has been strife devoid of expected accomplishments. Recycling of the old guards and relying on old ideas, and unworkable policies which have held us hostage for these years. Corruption, ethnicity and lack of patriotic zeal for selfless national service have become the order of the day. The power of the people to decide who governs them have been greatly undermined or rather taken away by politicians who ensure that the nation is divided along ethnic and religious lines. The people have also not realised the enormous power at their disposal to hold leaders accountable and make the desired political change and impact. It is working to the advantage of politicians as it has become extremely difficult to unite and work against them in the interest of Nigeria. The socio-economic challenges of our time do not discriminate against christians or muslims. We are all living witnesses to the stark reality on ground. This is the right time to punish those who have taken Nigerian for granted by denying them our mandate.
Nigerian politicians are a rare breed of both greedy and selfish lot. Majority of the electorate are ignorant and gullible. Both are worst of hypocrites. As usual, once the elections are lost and won, some politicians many of whom were seen eating akara and staging all sorts of drama by the road sides before the elections will hibernate. Many of course become overbearing lords, increasingly inaccessible and careless about the electorate.
Today, they have quickly forgotten the unfulfilled promises of the previous electioneering years only to shamelessly appear from nowhere to plead for our votes. This election should serve as a period for sober reflection on our future as a people. It affords us the opportunity to further appraise our journey so far: where we are coming from, where we now and where do we want to be in the next four years. In less than one week, the decision to make the best of choices of good leaders to steer the ship of the state stare all of us in the face once again. Are we going to sacrifice competence on the altar of mediocrity, ethnicity and religion? We must be circumspect and not throw this opportunity away for mundane things. The nation deserves the best and we have to to get it right this time around. Our votes must count and we must also vote wisely!
Who is that man with a clear vision to transform and wake the once acclaimed giant of Africa from slumber? Who is that man Nigerians expect at the end of the elections and the dawn of the fifth republic to turn their lives around for good? He must be a leader and one who understands what leadership entails. The person must be riding on the white horse of unity. He must be the one to provide our basic needs : food, water, shelter and the conducive environment for peaceful and harmonious co-existence. He must raise the bar of integrity and moral fibre of the society. The one who can harness our differences into potent tools for political development. This man has to protect lives and properties and defend the territorial integrity of Nigeria. He must lead Nigeria back to its pride of place in Africa and the comity of nations. That man must uphold the rule of law and the sanctity of our constitution. He must create jobs and provide enabling environment for businesses to thrive. The educational sector must be improved and rightly positioned to drive social, economic and technological advancement. He should be ready and sincere about restructuring the nation to reflect the true federalism we claim to practice. Our roads must be motorable to facilitate easy movement of people, goods and services. Hospitals must be improved and drugs provided at cheap and affordable rates for the people. There must be efficient electricity supply to power our homes and businesses. We deserve a country that works for the good of all.