One can safely contend that the after independence leadership that gave birth to and engineered our economy through the famous groundnut pyramids in Kano, developed the cocoa industry in the west and energized the nation with coal in Eastern Nigeria, is long gone, creating a leadership vacuum which all forms of charlatans now fill by default. why is this so? Well, the reasons are not far fetched.
In our motherland, leadership is attained without long periods of tutelage. For years now, we have failed to school leaders identified in the traditions of the people, the culture that they must uphold, the religions and moral ethos that are implicated by social existence.
We have not taken great care to nurture leadership. Even where leaders were determined by heredity and lineage, care is not taken to ensure that the final product that inherits the mantel at the transition of the incumbent is well prepared for the challenge of leadership and commitment to society and the proper representation of the ancestors.This helped swelled the rank of misfits in the corridors of power. The important point being made is that save for a handful of individuals, strong effort was clearly not made to identify and develop leadership at all levels of our polity at a young age. It is no wonder then to locate why the contemporary Nigerian state is decadent, innately corrupt, morally bankrupt, spiritually retrograde and culturally retrogressive.
Over time, shortsightedness of the political class has differentiated us on grounds of ethnic identities and state of origin, religious affiliations and political party lines. Today too, the clan system is tribally polarized and erupts into warfare periodically and this has become a daily occurrence with deadly violence breaking out even in regions hitherto seen to be peaceful – more frequent as the resources for pillaging becomes more scarce and limited. This leadership crisis has within the last fifty-two years of Nigeria’s statehood successfully cloned two monstrous couple into its political and social life namely, contradiction and absurdity, which in turn gave birth to two sets of twins; indiscipline and lawlessness, as well as greed and corruption with its step children; graft, embezzlement, bribery, lack of accountability, inflation of contracts, gangsterism, political thuggery, advanced free fraud (419), armed robbery, ritual killing, political immaturity, religious bigotry,economic slavery and intellectual parochialism have completely taken over and governed the Nigerian State.
It is no contradiction to say then that the outlook for a honest, welfarist political leadership of any kind in Nigeria is poor. One recalls here the words of the celebrated Nigerian singer and political critic, Fela Anikulapo Kuti who, in one of his songs denouncing the perpetual interference by the military in civil affairs, said that in Nigeria a soldier goes and a soldier comes. What a sad reality.
What is indicated from the above is the fact that it takes an intellectual leap of faith for the oppressed to correctly diagnose the origin of their oppression. This accounts for why aggression and anger of the larger segments of the populations are wrongly targeted. This is because the rulers have contrived to keep the populations under a “veil of ignorance” both educationally and psychologically. While persons who steal a goat would be jailed for three years, other more “privileged” persons who steal hundreds of millions of public money or who cause the collapse of state institutions are given state honours at elaborate functions. Quoting a concerned author in a Blackberry discussion forum recently, ”Our present political leaders pee on their conscience the moment they come into office”.
But all hope is not lost. we have a duty as citizens of this great underdeveloped and undermined people to effect the change we want. We deserve Change. It can only happen if we start to say NO loudly enough. Collectively.