- Post 12 April 2008
- Last Updated on 23 April 2008
- By Prince Charles Dickson
"A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don't necessarily want to go but ought to be." - Rosalynn Carter:
By sheer grace we saw, we experienced and though with plenty scars we managed the likes of IBB, we went the whole nine yards with the goggled man and his five leprous fingers, then we are contending with the realities that was the Obasanjo years.
All through these men and all those that surround them,
While some of us say that our lack of cohesion is largely based on an institutional failure in providing leadership because of structural and institutional failure and this is further worsened by personal failure in leadership.
Essentially we have not been able to produce leadership that has vision, we have not had men or women, with all the camouflage of Obasanjo, he could not leave men or women that had the commitment to pursue what he believed him, this is not far fetching because very many of us can say that he pursued state looting, he had cronies not disciples.
An argument may also be that the failure of leadership stems from the following symphony, personal failure, political inexperience, intellectual incapacity and a synergy between our socio-political, institutional and psychological environment. So whether it is military, cilimcy, democracy, what we have succeeded in building is largely an ethnic cum tribal and quasi religious driven conundrum.
Interestingly until this point we have had the misfortune of a largely unintelligent class of leaders and leadership, before now excepting Shagari and Ekeume, we have been saddled with leadership that lacked formal intellectual training, and most were on the job learners and claimed they new all and had answers. When indeed they were as naïve as they come, and bad enough is the fact that the structures upon which they operated were deficient of character, integrity and purpose.
In the beginning it was structurally and constitutionally an accident, an aberration, in concept and praxis, there was political imbalance, even more absurd was an opposition that was almost stronger than the ruling party. The end product was excessive regionalism, tribalism, nepotism; all cultivated by a parochial leadership with a leadership that made the Prime Minister look like a shopkeeper to the Northern Premier a shop owner.
We continued in the same light and we produced in the
With the AD, it is important to note that in the past it was not any different as FEDECO registered tribal unions giving rise to a fillip of party activity that gave rise to a riot of micronationalism, even when June 12 1993 came, we could see the signs again.
During the military era, the search for leadership was no different, especially with the ‘parapoitic’ dance that the men and officers had chosen to play. We have yet to recover from the ethnic patricide, economic ecstasy at the height of the oil boom. And an equally heavy reliance on an incompetent bureaucracy. The military gave rise to a bunch of sermonizing and frenzied moralizing men that could not translate their gusto into action.
From Ironsi to Abdulsalami, what was obvious was that one way or the other the fuelled the ogre of tribalism, they allowed for the vacillating of the main issues and in the end. It was a case of the military not knowing whether to stay in power and how to stay in or out of power when it decides either way and finally what to do with power. They simply could not lead.
So it is pertinent to state that a lack in political decision gives rise to the spectre of political in-and-mis-direction, the lack of this giving impetus to a lack of economic policy, this will always be the ban of political instability, a chaotic polity, which even if we get the best in leadership, we may never be able to confront, how much more if we have bad leaders and leadership.
So leadership remains largely a group that lacks vision, and that is compounded by the absence of an ideology, there is misplaced loyalty or a misdirected 100% loyalty either to an individual, party or to lootocracy.
And the led too, should take a bulk of the blame because when citizens almost rather than ask how wealth is acquired, care more about where the wealth comes from and give honors, awards, ‘thieftancy’ titles to the leaders on ‘how much stolen’ basis, there is problem.
The above premise is hinged on the fact that the atmosphere for a political robbery of state economy has been met. In a horizontal and vertical manner the phenomenon is likened to a Robin Hood Syndrome of stealing from the center and share small at the periphery.
So the thieves in cases become the victims in classic cases of abuse of office, unjust enrichment, because it is all part of a wild goose chase of elusive targets. If we get the kind of leadership that we deserve it is because…
You bribe the messenger, if you may see his boss. Bribe the clerk, if your file may move up. Bribe the chief clerk, if you want the form. Bribe the executive, if you want to be considered for the job. Bribe the permsec, if you must get short listed for the contract. Bribe the Minister when you get the award and pay some advance bribe before you get the contract. Bribe the customs man, if you goods must be cleared. Bribe the gateman, if you cleared goods must get out of the wharf.
Bribe the policeman, if you are to drive on the streets with your ware. Bribe the manager of the warehouse, if you may store your goods. Bribe the guard, if not your goods would get stolen. Bribe the investigator, should the goods get stolen and he must investigate. Bribe the prosecutor to facilitate the trial of the thief. Bribe the Prisons to make sure he stays in jail.
Bribe your wife to take care of the kids and so on. The fact is that you and I are all guilty; we are leadership in one way or the other. The corrupt man is everywhere, the man on the street, the next door neighbour, in church and mosque, the policeman, husband and wife, this is the profile of leadership, till we get beyond this we cannot go far.
Our leaders have failed to distinguish between leading us,
and hitting us in the head, the latter being assault.
Yar’adua a fine gentleman, schooled and maybe good enough
for the office but off course, you cannot lead a
Rather than turn their backs to us, like a man that wants to lead an orchestra and get an ovation for a virtuoso performance, our leaders look us in the eye and steal us dry and dare us.
We are looking for leadership that will not promise to put greatness into Nigerians, but to elicit it, for the greatness is with us already.
I will end in two swift statements, each representing yesterday and today and leave us to reflect on the concept of leadership. Are our leaders wolves clothed in wool? Abraham Lincoln said that no man is good enough to govern another without the other’s consent. Despite the election tribunal ruling by Ogebe and co. we consented to Yar’Adua and by extension his actions or inaction. Until we say otherwise we are only joking.
And secondly just a year ago, we had an Obasanjo who from everyday revelations, I recall a Latin proverb that says Absurdum est ut alios regat, qui seipsum regere nescit, meaning that ‘It is absurd that a man should rule others, who cannot rule himself’.
Till we become capable leaders in our own right, till we become who we can, we are doomed to roam in the dark, and I beg to remind us that you do not make face at a man in the dark. This problem of leadership is ours, and only us can solve it.
Prince Charles Dickson