By Donu Kogbara
THE average Nigerian is not fussy or demanding. There are, of course, exceptions to every rule…and citizens who are allergic to toxic rubbish and would love every tier of government to be run by honest, unmaterialistic, smart, hard-working, humane, enlightened, world-class politicians, technocrats, jurists, etc.
But most folks in this country display no interest in acquiring quality leaders and prefer to support or tolerate aspirants, candidates and incumbents who are greedy or selfish or evil or clueless or bush or lazy or crooked or just too old or sick to perform satisfactorily.
Sometimes, Nigerians even cheerfully embrace (or shrug and settle for) known killers, cultists, kidnappers, oil bunkerers et cetera. I don’t understand this ‘Anything Goes’ mindset because when voters don’t insist on high standards, they are cutting their own throats.
Mediocre or downright useless councillors, state/federal legislators, governors and presidents cannot take care of us properly. Bad leaders cannot secure our lives and property. Bad leaders cannot control crime or prevent our children from being abducted, murdered and raped by terrorists and bandits.
Bad leaders don’t sincerely care about the poor, deliberately fail to eradicate corruption and only pursue looters they don’t like. Bad leaders are not willing or able to deliver thriving economies that will enable the majority to prosper and enjoy three meals a day, round-the-clock electricity, sound education and decent medical care.
Bad leaders favour window-dressing grandstanding over real reforms. Bad leaders think that we should congratulate them for doing their jobs on a basic level (hence the endless boastful noise to which we are subjected when they build a few roads or bridges!).
Bad leaders cannot help us build the kind of society in which most Nigerians will feel relaxed, fulfilled, upwardly mobile and safe.
We definitely get the leaders we deserve. And I fervently pray that Nigerians will soon start to ditch their daft masochistic tendencies and learn how to think straight and believe that they deserve a better deal from those who seek or claim to represent them.
In other parts of the world, the oppressed fight back relentlessly; and Nigerians really need to summon up the commonsense, courage and self-love to reject obviously terrible candidates during election seasons and get rid (via impeachment or sustained protest) of anyone who messes up after s/he has been elected.
Short-changed ethnic groups
For the past couple of weeks, I have highlighted the plight of Igbos(my mother’s people)…who have been (and are still being) short-changed politically by those who think that an Igbo presidency should be out of the question.
I am an Ogoni (my father’s people) from Rivers State; and my ethnic group is profoundly aggrieved because despite being substantial population-wise, it has never produced a Governor, Deputy Governor, Chief Judge or State House of Assembly Speaker. Meanwhile, the past three governors of Rivers State have been from the Ikwerre tribe.
Benue State is another place where there has been plenty of ethnic injustice. There, the governor is always Tiv, despite the existence of several Idoma personalities who are qualified to be governors.
Meanwhile, friends who hail from the Northeast bitterly grumble about the fact that no Northern presidency has been headed by one of their own. And I’m sure that there are many other locations in Nigeria where various ethnic groups are being short-changed.
The sixty-four million dollar 21st-century questions are as follows: Should zoning matter? Should we take the view that activists should not rest until a member of every single ethnic group has been President or Governor?
Should we not be more concerned about credentials than ethnic origins in this day and age?
What do Vanguard readers think?
Wike and the de-sootification of Rivers State
I HAVE a cousin called Martins Kpabari. He often makes comments I regard as very intelligent and thought-provoking. Let me share a slightly paraphrased post I picked up from his Facebook page: Wike initially threw his hands up in the air, proclaiming that there was nothing he could do about the soot problem.
He put the solution at the doorsteps of the Federal Government. But we would hear none of that, for some of us knew he could do something.
After all, he is the Governor of Rivers State. And environment and security are on the Concurrent Legislative List of the Nigerian Constitution. Then he suddenly woke up to it.
Lesson: There is much more than governors can do in their states, without waiting on the Federal Government. Today, many can confirm that the air quality in the state has improved greatly in the past few days.
We are beginning to see the deSOOTification of the State. Should Wike succeed, as we all expect him to, in our collective interest, the deSOOTification of the state, may well be his most enduring legacy. I am APC but applaud him. In the same vein, one would expect those who see no good, say no good, and acknowledge no good, whether in PDP or APC et al, to imbibe the enlightened culture of applauding when and where necessary, and criticise also when and where necessary.
We expect the governor, with the support of all Rivers people, to win this battle. SOOT does not belong to a political party.