• Thursday, December 07, 2023
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A troubled country in need of good political leadership

Hubert Humphrey Fellowship alumni to raise awareness on effective leadership at anniversary

For all our human and material resources, Nigeria has not become a technologically advanced and economically prosperous country. And the country is bedevilled with infrastructural deficit and rot. So why is Nigeria, a country that is blessed with human and material resources, large arable land, and equable weather conditions, still trapped in the morass of national underdevelopment? The answer to this question is not far-fetched. We have not got it, right, politically.

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Without good and visionary political leadership, no country on earth can realize her potential. In Singapore, that country’s greatest leader, Lee Kuan Yew, formulated political, economic, and technological policies, the implementation of which leapfrogged Singapore from an underdeveloped country to a developed country. Today, Singapore, which is less-endowed than Nigeria, as to human and material resources, has outpaced Nigeria in the areas of economic and technological development.

Similarly, Malaysia, which was at par with Nigeria in many areas in 1960, when our country became a politically independent country, has achieved economic prosperity. The country owes her successes in many areas to the good political leaders that piloted the affairs of the country in the past. And Chairman, Mao Tse Tung, laid the ideological framework and groundwork for the rapid development of China. China is, now, a superpower country whose influence is felt in many countries.

But since our country’s attainment of political freedom in 1960, good and purposeful political leadership has continued to elude the country. And between 1966 and 1979; and between 1983 and 1998, our country laboured under asphyxiating military dictatorships, which halted the developmental strides of Nigeria.

Worse still, over the years, an egregious variant of political culture, which is predicated on the subversion of the people’s political will or choice, has evolved in Nigeria. Imposition of political leaders on the populace by the kingmakers through underhand means has become an intricate part of our political culture. And the president’s and governors’ use of the power of incumbency is also a despicable part of our unwholesome political culture.

While the departing British imperialists played a big role in the emergence of Alhaji Tafawa Balewa as our Prime Minister in 1960, the kingmakers assisted Alhaji Shehu Shagari to shake off the political challenge of Chief Obafemi Awolowo and Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe to become Nigeria’s first executive President in 1979. The duo of Awolowo and Azikiwe were the political superiors and betters of Alhaji Shehu Shagari, who was a political dark horse, then.

It is incumbent on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to offer us goal-oriented and purpose-driven political leadership so as to rescue Nigeria from the morass of economic strangulation, technological backwardness, infrastructural deficit, and national disunity.

And did Chief Olusegun Obasanjo become the President of Nigeria based solely on the people’s choice? The overriding need to save Nigeria from implosion by placating the indignant Yoruba people, who were denied the presidential seat in 1993, swung the pendulum of power in favour of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. And his successor in office, Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’adua, confessed to the fact that the presidential election that brought him to power was deeply flawed. The factors of the providential intervention in human affairs and happenstance propelled Dr. Goodluck Jonathan to the presidential seat following the demise of Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’adua.

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In 2015, President Muhammadu Buhari rode to power on the coattail of his popularity with the people, ascetic lifestyle, and his so-called zero tolerance for corruption. He used the power of incumbency to win his re-election bid. Based on his visionless, purposeless, inept, and corrupt political leadership of Nigeria during his first term in office, millions of Nigerians were surprised at his winning the 2019 presidential slugfest.

The incontrovertible fact is that our past successive political leaders since 1999 did not get into the saddle of power owing to the people’s choice. And those political leaders, who are our third eleven politicians, are destitute of positive morality-code, leadership qualities, political ideologies, and political vision. Rather, they’re driven by egoism, narcissism, vainglorious pursuits, and propensity for material acquisitions.

So not unexpectedly, Nigeria is mired in the mud of national underdevelopment irrespective of the fact that she is immensely blessed with human and material resources, arable large land mass, many waters, and equable weather conditions. High rate of unemployment in the country, our country’s infrastructural rot and deficit, millions of impoverished Nigerians, our dysfunctional educational system, and Nigeria’s comatose health sector are indices of Nigeria’s underdevelopment.

Here, in Nigeria, most federal roads in the southeast area of Nigeria are pockmarked with craters. The bad state of the roads, which hinders the conveyance of goods and people from one state to another, stalls the economic growth of the area. And in many states of Nigeria, we have government-owned schools and hospitals whose buildings are tumbledown with roofs blown off and walls crumbling.

Again, our health sector is in a bad state with government-owned hospitals suffering dearth of pieces of medical equipment. And a great number of health personnel who are dissatisfied with their welfare condition have left the shores of Nigeria for greener pastures in Europe, America, and Saudi Arabia. Those who still work in government-owned health institutions do down tools to press home their demand for the betterment of their welfare conditions.

More so, although our leaders are not unaware that education is the bedrock of national development, they have been treating educational matters in Nigeria in a cavalier manner. So the quality of education obtainable in Nigerian universities has nose-dived to an abysmally low-level. Are most products of our tertiary institutions not destitute of knowledge and wanting in character?

So it is incumbent on President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to offer us goal-oriented and purpose-driven political leadership so as to rescue Nigeria from the morass of economic strangulation, technological backwardness, infrastructural deficit, and national disunity. The affirmation of President Bola Tinubu’s presidential election victory by the Supreme court, although that Supreme court judgement left much to be desired, should spur President Tinubu to put his acts together and start tackling our country’s monumental and seemingly intractable problems.

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It is obvious to us that the ship of the Nigerian state is floundering with the economy being in a tailspin, the country gripped by insecurity of life and property, and disunity reigning among the people(s) of Nigeria. So President Tinubu should galvanize efforts to steady the ship of state and navigate it to the path of sustainable economic growth, technological development, and national unity.

The tense period of politicking, electioneering, and electoral litigation is over. Now is the time for President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to settle down for the leadership of Nigeria. He should lead us right so that our country can realize her potential and achieve her manifest destiny.