28th November 2012
Tussle Of The Dragons
All nationals in a country are expected to look up to their leaders for guidance and inspiration. When there is an apparent rift in perceptions and ideals in ways to execute the mission and vision of a country’s agenda, there will be cracks in the harmony of national coexistence.
When a question was asked former President Olusegun Obasanjo at a recent conference in Warri relating to the terrorist group Boko Haram, he stated clearly that it was important for President Goodluck Jonathan to be decisive in tackling insecurity, as he himself had done while tackling the militancy in Odi, Bayelsa State in 1999. After that statement, the former Head of State, retired General Yakubu Gowon during the launch of a book, “Stay At The Top”, spoke against former President Obasanjo, saying he was “weak and highly irresponsible.” The book was written by a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Omoniyi Komolafe.
In what seems to be a war of words, Obasanjo fired back on Saturday, November 24, 2012, by stating, through his spokesman, Malam Garbadeen Mohammed: “When did General Gowon become the spokesman of the Jonathan administration?” He insisted that “there’s nothing irresponsible about my comments on the insecurity in Nigeria. I was only interpreting the reality. I expressed an opinion on the way the Boko Haram crisis is being handled and said if the current strategy is not working, then there has to be a change of strategy to achieve results. If the strategy were working, Boko Haram would have become a thing of the past by now.”
For a country in desperate need of a decisive and positive anchor in leadership direction, both present and former leaders are expected to have common strategic objectives of fighting crime and corruption. The people expect distinctive competence while proficiently guiding them towards a more hopeful future. A highly educated society with ideals would be forced to eliminate partiality of religion, ethnicity or regional diversity. Our leaders in Nigerian are no doubt Nigerians themselves; therefore; our leaders are a reflection of what we ourselves are. A more objective assessment of our nation’s public affairs would be more welcome in today’s society. The world-acclaimed writer, Chinua Achebe, identified bad leadership as Nigeria’s greatest problem. But can a country of 160 million claim to be so pious and totally blame governmernt for the prevading corruption and insecurity in the land? The answer has to be no, for in us, the people, lies the solution to all our problems.
As leaders and followers, we are collectively responsible for fairness, honesty and integrity. The laws of the land should be just and transparent. There should not be an encouragement of financial dictatorship by endorsing the powerful and wealthy to be even stronger, and this can be done with the imposition of an efficient tax system. Commendably, the Federal Inland Revenue Service has done a courageous job of collecting 3.5 trillion naira in 2012 alone. The law enforcement agencies need to be restructured. Instead of pointing fingers at security forces for not doing their jobs properly, why not replace that criticism with a system that rewards officers for preventing any form of criminal activity from taking place while they are on duty? Major changes and reforms should take place with a specific emphasis on economic activity while encouraging consumer demand and job creation. Essential infrastructure such as roads, ports, schools, hospitals, and information technology machinery should be prioritised. The rebranding and rebuilding of Nigeria’s seemingly lost glory should be achieved passionately, with a sense of great national pride. A solid legacy should be left for the future generation of Nigerians to come.
After the advent of the oil boom in the 1970’s, Nigeria’s ranking in the world has declined considerably. Nigeria is faced with numerous economic problems, including a serious decline in its agricultural sector and a claustrophobic national debt situation; one that seems to be mounting.
According to the World Bank Economic Review, “While some decline in non-oil traded goods sector reflects efficient adjustment to the oil boom, policy with regards to public expenditure, exchange rates, pricing, and the trade regime could exacerbate such decline and impede readjustments as the boom subsides.”
Nigeria is the largest producer of oil in sub-Saharan Africa and a member of OPEC since 1971. Yet, appallingly, Nigeria has the third highest number of poor people in the world, after China and India. The country is plagued by low levels of human development (two out of five children are stunted in growth), regional, religious and social conflicts as well as environmental challenges. It has become apparent that the vast natural resources at Nigeria’s disposal have apparently not advanced human development at all. The discovery of crude should have afforded Nigeria an advantageous opportunity to generate national income and improve the living standards of its people. That has not happened.
Leadership is a continually evolving responsibility that requires creativity and positive energy, and adopts certain principles and techniques as tools to manage people and the economy. The most valuable aspect of its economy is its human resources. This resource factor relates to the possession and use of human resources, especially specific skills that impact on the economic capacity and ability to implement productive strategies. Relevant factors include extensive manpower planning, public corporate image, quality of public office holders and public officials, union management and relations, employment, and, most importantly, the satisfaction and morale of the people.
My fellow Nigerians should be empowered and motivated to achieve common goals for the good of the country as a whole. Transparent leadership recognises the strengths and weaknesses of the people. It strengthens the weaknesses and builds on the strengths. The society must be educated enough to share information for the sake of nation building. We want to follow and trust our leaders to lead us on the right path to follow. Mistakes are made by all nations of the world, but Nigeria desperately needs to acknowledge its shortcomings and highlight them in the most plausible way. The reality of the situation of Nigeria today is a far cry from the qualities listed above.
All past heads of states and presidents of this great nation have contributed in various positive ways to build Nigeria. The passion of Nigerians should be engaged to deliver on the core values of our founding fathers. John Maxwell has defined leadership as influence. The trust in its entirety of the past and present leaders by Nigerians is a burden they have to bear. There is no room for a breach of that trust, neglecting transparency or the compromise of integrity via a failure to act positively or the unwholesome practices of unethical violations.
The pride of our leaders should be ignored for innovative implementations to achieve success. Ideally, we should all be committed by one common goal: the security, economic strength and pride of national sovereignty of all Nigerians. But when the influential leaders of the giant of Africa are engaged in a caustic public display of accusatory words, it does little for the morale of a desperate society other than highlight the tussle of the dragons.
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