/LEADERSHIP IN A QUAGMIRE

LEADERSHIP IN A QUAGMIRE

“It has been noted that although humankind first civilized in Africa, he has not continued to do so there. Africa lost it a long time ago. The problem with contemporary Africa and in particular Nigeria is that they are ruled in the main by people on a lower scale of evolution and civilization, specimens of the lower species of humanity, who have seized the levers of power and atrocious governance.”* Tatalo Alamu on Sunday
He went on: “Lacking in intellectual, moral, and philosophical anchor, they are fundamentally and genetically incapable of coming up with a set of noble precepts and core values for purposeful and visionary governance which will ameliorate the dire circumstances of their distressed and disoriented people. The result is the frightful noise of state collapse everywhere in Nigeria with the politically undesirable leading the ethnically gullible and electorally culpable to sure perdition.”

Deficient in vision and mission, the leaders are bereft of desired qualities that would engender any attribute that can uplift their people from their state of poverty and lethargy. They are not only corrupt, corrupted and brandless, they are an ugly mintage of human mutation.
Corruption, irresponsive, irresponsible, and incorrigible leadership are indistinguishable sides of the same coin. The irresponsible leadership is callous and spiritually debauched. It is impervious to the pains and plight of its people. It’s a greedy and avaricious leadership that wallow in gluttony.
It is a leadership that has lost all sense of direction and is bereft of the milk of human kindness. A selfish and inhuman leadership, that thinks and cares only for itself. A leadership that will impoverish its people and derive joy in their misery.

They are vain and arrogant, bordering on the ungodly even in death: Today, they build mausoleums that wow the builders of the Egyptian pyramids in both splendor and glamor: Vanity of the dead.
Reuben Abati describes our political arena as ‘a dirty space left to those who brand themselves as professional politicians, the majority of whom are in actual fact, hustlers, political parasites, national cake hunters and former henchmen and touts who managed to legitimize themselves’.
It is very sad and rather unfortunate for the Black race that the continent had been saddled with these ’locusts called men’. The Atlanta Monthly (May 20, 2010) put the net worth of all 44 American Presidents, from Washington to Obama at $2.7billion in 2010 dollars. Several of our leaders, each stole more than the net worth of all US Presidents combined. And what have they got to show for it but perishable edifices and money they cannot spend. Ravaged by poor health and terminal illness, these animals in human skin forget they came with nothing and will go back with nothing, but their evil deeds will live after them. People who have since lost their thinking faculties; they fail to learn from history. What became of Mobutu Sese Seko and all his billions? He died a miserable death far from where his clothes were. What of Saddam Hussein who was fished out from a fox hole and hanged, then we remember the ‘strong man of Libya’ and how his life ended without breakfast or lunch. Our own Abacha did not die after a sumptuous meal of tuwo chinkafa and all sorts of accompaniments. He died eating a miserable apple. We come with nothing and will go with nothing. Only our service to God and fellow men will endure. See Quran 3:14; 9:24n and Sura-Takathur, Quran 102.

True, there were ‘robber barons’ in American history too, but they used the loot to build railroads, steel mills, banks, oil companies and their enterprise drove America’s industrial age from 1861 to 1901. Not so with our ‘government robbers’ who starch their loot in coffins and burial chambers; one even invested in gold and diamond encrusted bra; Lord have mercy!
A 2011 report commissioned by the United Nations Development Fund described Nigeria as a ‘classic example of a Vampire State’; saying that most of the money accrued from oil, was ‘looted by Nigeria’s Kamikaze military bandits’- David Blair, London Telegraph, June 25,2005.
The major cause of all existing wrongdoings in our beloved and resource-rich continent is primarily poor and visionless leadership. Indeed, many people in Africa do not have trust in their leaders. This is because most often than not they tend to abuse power: Corruption, nepotism, egoism, and abuse of power are the major characteristics of African leaders.

“The current global crisis of the nation-state paradigm offers Nigerian visionary statesmen the most compelling impetus to creatively tinker with, or completely do away with, the nation-state paradigm they have inherited from their colonial overlords.” Says Professor Adebayo Williams. However, on further interrogation, the Prof went on to elucidate: “Finally when I speak to Nigerian visionary statesmen, I am not thinking of the current dismal and pedestrian in our assemblies or executive mansion. These lots cannot visualize not to talk of visioning.”
No doubt the current crop of looters are not the leadership materials that would take this resource rich country to the promised land. No Sir!!! They are too steeped in gluttony and self-aggrandizement to have time to think of the more lofty ideals such as nation-building.
These are not transforming leaders, but rascals in paradise.

How do we describe a leadership that abandon our refineries and resort to importing refined petroleum, diesel and kerosine, a resource in which we have comparative advantage. They then introduced the magic formulae of subsidy which has become a veritable avenue for outright thievery of the national treasuries. Humongous wealth has been made from this barefaced national robbery that the actual loss to the nation can never be fully quantified.
Between 2006 – 2018 Nigeria spent at least N10trillion on subsidy. One observer quantified the opportunity cost of subsidy thus: 500,000 NEW HOUSES for families through mortgage at N20m per house; 2,400 BUILD & EQUIP units of 1,000-bed hospitals across 774 LGAs; 27,000mw ADDITIONAL of solar powered electricity to the national grid. EDUCATE & SKILL UP 2,000,000 Nigerians with global standard quality tertiary education and sought-after skills. – Nigeria’s Petrol Subsidy Regime: Dilemma of the world’s most populous black nation.
A transforming leadership would do the above instead of sharing the national commonwealth. However, most politicians are not modernizers or change agents. Both constituents and leaders focus on short-term goals, but a short-term perspective is not the most effective way to lead. More statesmanlike leaders will arouse and direct a democracy toward achieving longer term goals.
This appeal to longer-term goals instead of short-term goals is found in the conceptual distinction between ‘the politician’ and the ‘statesman’. There is no doubt what we have had over the years are politicians and not statesmen. Our leaders cannot even practice democracy, in its crudest form.
Challenges of the 21st century that we already know, which are either engendered or exacerbated by failures of leadership include poverty; infrastructural underdevelopment; urban decay; economic dependency upon western nations for financial aid, loans, technical assistance, and technical expertise; external indebtedness; misappropriation of public funds; embezzlement and financial mismanagement; prebendalism; money laundering; contractocracy; cyber fraud; poor economic policies and poorly implemented social engineering programmes.
Social problems include ethnic irredentism, ethnic violence and genocide and civil wars; sectarian or religious violence; sectionalism and communal violence; widening social disequilibrium and injustices arising from escalating economic misfortunes; unemployment and underemployment crises; anti-social activities, including rape, prostitution, robbery and a creeping culture of violence among the idle or unemployed youths; declining educational quality and collapsed university system; food insecurity and general social insecurity there from. In short, a litany of woes. And we have not added kidnapping, banditry, and terrorism!
Lacking the necessary qualities of leadership of vision, courage, integrity, humility, focus, co-operation, and strategic planning, unfortunately, they are the ones we have always chosen to preside over our affairs. What a tragedy, a leadership in a quagmire!!!

Babatunde Jose.

Babatunde Jose Jnr.