In about three weeks, Nigeria will mark her 62nd Independence Anniversary. There is little in our political system that suggests we are ready to practise democracy the right way.

The same parliamentary system we abandoned in 1979 for the presidential system remains rock-steady in the United Kingdom. Between 2016 and now, the UK has produced four Prime Ministers: David Cameron, Theresa May, Boris Johnson and now Liz Truss, yet the system is unshaken.

We have a lot to learn from the Nigeria Amalgamators. All their leaders in the past 12 years have been relatively young and agile, both physically and mentally. These are necessary for effective leadership. But here in Nigeria, we have been electing one “Baba” after another.

We have been giving our powerful presidential office to obviously old and sick people who have no shame in receiving treatments in foreign hospitals, even after having previously ruled the nation or a state and failing to set up an effective health system. We reinforce failure.

As our experience shows, when a leader is too old and sick, he is reduced to a mere figure head. He surrounds himself with an cabal which rules in his name but leaves the country leaderless.

In the UK, the power of the people is intact. Once a leader fails the people’s expectations, he or she goes. Cameron lost the Brexit referendum and had to quit. May failed to deliver on Brexit and had to go. Johnson was forced to quit over “partygate” – attending a party in violation of COVID-19 rules – as well as failure to deal with close friends in his government who broke the law.

Liz Truss is the third female Prime Minister after Margaret Thatcher and Theresa May. The UK electorate has discovered the joy of turning to the womenfolk for leadership when the males fail. When are we going to tap into the rich trove of our female manpower for leadership? India, Pakistan, Israel and many European countries are used to electing women as their leaders. When will Nigeria start?

The UK has also given British citizens with roots in their former colonies the chance to serve. Sadiq Khan, a Muslim whose parents hailed from Pakistan, has been the Mayor of London since 2016. Rishi Sunak, who has Indian roots, was Chancellor of the Exchequer since 2020 until he narrowly lost the PM tussle to Truss. Many Nigerians occupy various political posts in the UK, USA and Canada.

But we treat non-indigenes as scum. In some parts of Nigeria, thugs are used to disenfranchise fellow citizens because they come from a different part of the country. We lack the right mental attitude to become a developed country.

We need the right leader to reposition us psychologically and mentally.

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