No country can rise above the quality and capacity of its leaders, particularly political leaders.
History has shown us the level of damage this country has been and is being put through by a few groups of people who call themselves leaders “The ruling elites” whereas they are, in the real sense, managers “Visionless”.
So far, it has been the misfortune of having “managers” that is responsible for the mismanagement of our nation’s resources and diversity, as well as the rising socio-economic and political decadence in the country. A nation that earned a revenue of about 400 billion dollars in less than ten years from only one source and nothing to show for it. Sad and unfortunate.
The crop of managers disguised as leaders we have has greatly militated against our progress and development as a nation. Consequently, we have become a laughing stock in the comity of nations. For instance, the US Embassy’s description of Nigeria on its website, in a piece of information meant for Americans intending to visit Nigeria.
The Embassy focuses on two major albatrosses: crude infrastructure and poor security. Every Nigerian knows that the country’s performance in these two areas is horrendously low. The overhyping of performance of the present administration in the areas of infrastructure and security notwithstanding, the bitter truth is that no good road, no network of railways. Nothing is working, except for the overfed selfish privileged few.
The US Embassy warning potential tourists, the Embassy stressed that Nigeria has well-trained health professionals but lacks good health facilities. It advises that medicine should be purchased with utmost caution because counterfeit pharmaceuticals are a common problem and distinguishing them from genuine medications may prove difficult. It notes, quite sadly, that “ambulance services are not present throughout the country or are unreliable in most areas”, among other things.
The embassy didn’t stop there. It also berates the public transport system, describing it as unsafe throughout the country. According to it, “public transportation vehicles such as buses and motorbikes are unsafe due to poor maintenance, high speed and overcrowding.” It also went further to comment on the water supply in Nigeria. As it notes, “no areas (in Nigeria) have safe tap water.”
The health sector and infrastructural facilities – public transportation and water supply – as emphasized by the US Embassy are not the only areas that have been crippled due to bad leadership. The leadership problem reflects in the military, judiciary, education, etc. sectors of Nigerian society. It even goes further than that to affect the artisans on the street, public transport drivers, among others. That is how bad it is.
Given that governance in Nigeria has been held in abeyance over the years, Nigeria needs a transformational leader who will champion a positive response from the citizens. Nigeria needs a visionary leader, strategist and a sound mind.
There is certainly a dearth and drought of true leadership in Nigeria. Our resources in Nigeria are being wasted because of lack of true leaders. Squandering of riches and plundering of resources over the years. This is no longer acceptable, it must stop.
Nigeria is no longer in need of managers but leaders. There are important distinctions between managing and leading people. The main difference between leaders and managers is that leaders have people follow them while managers have people who work for them. Also, managers always try to maintain fixed systems, processes and status While leaders always try to create towards adding value. When you are promoted into a role where you are managing people, you don’t automatically become a leader.
Every fibre of our national life is crying out for true leaders, leaders who are genuine; leaders who are willing to take responsibility for the present situation and conditions we have found ourselves in Nigeria; leaders who are willing to accept the challenge of nation-building — to face it head-on with the integrity of heart and skillfulness.
It is time for our national debate to shift from religion and ethnicity to equity, fairness, lawfulness, innovation, creativity and an emphasis on the high quality of life. Only leaders can affect this.
In 2023, Nigerians would have the opportunity to change the arrowhead of our promising country. And whoever Nigerians choose come 2023 will definitely have consequences. The person is either going to move us forward as a people or drive us farther into the woods.
Nigerians should not expect much from political leaders in Nigeria until there is major change and corrections in the leadership recruitment process, as well as the qualities of people that occupy political offices. For Nigeria to truly become peaceful and prosperous, we would need to first get the issue of leadership right.
However, one thing is clear: if our current set of leaders are retained come next year; then no prayer is going to cause Nigeria to truly move forward as other serious nations are moving forward.
Conclusively, for those who would like to run the country from 2023, this is what Dwight D. Eisenhower has to say: “: A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.”
ARISE ‘O COMPATRIOTS.
Richard Odusanya is a Social Reform Crusader and the convener of AFRICA COVENANT RESCUE INITIATIVE ACRI