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OPINION: Corrupt People Cannot/Do not Make Good Leaders!

By Akintokunbo A Adejumo, akinadejum@aol.com

This statement by the late great Madiba, Nelson Mandela, a true African son and only one of its kinds is what I consider the apt title to this piece. It is an obvious and incontrovertible fact!

Why we chose to notice and acknowledge it Nigeria is beyond me, because it is also an incontrovertible fact that most, if not all, our leaders are corrupt to the core. For me, I am yet to know a Nigerian leader since Independence who is or was not corrupt; and I am not limiting myself to the top leaders alone, but right from the top to the grassroots, i.e. local government, civil service, and even the private sector and businesses. Corruption is a curse on Nigerians. So if we go by Nelson Mandela’s statement above (and we must), then we should know we are in a real mess, and any meaningful development and progress in the country, which is hinged on having good leaders, is nought. It just won’t happen. Corrupt leaders are bad leaders.

There is a very urgent need for good leaders in Nigeria. Many places in Nigeria are deprived of many simple basic amenities. Still many people are not getting equal rights. Small people are being oppressed everywhere. There is no guarantee for our present and future generation for full education, employment, good public health and medical care, entrepreneurship, technological advancement, agricultural self-sufficiency and food security, security of life and property, etc. Our leaders are just giving care towards their family and not to those who put their trust, and indeed, lives, in their hands and elected them to serve them and make their lives better. Our leaders are only interested in self-service and service to the people.

A good leader gives the worth and strengths of his great experience. Yes, Nigeria needs good leaders to move this country full of potentials forward; leaders, not rulers, who are good by nature, attitude, and are sincere about the country’s development; who have the interest of the people at heart all the time; who have conscience; who have passion for bettering lives; whose action is service first and himself/herself last, or even none at all.

We have been deluding ourselves that we can manage this corruption. If we want our country to be in the list of developed countries and progress well then it is the must for us to have good leaders. We all know the condition of our political system, many of the politicians are involved in criminal activities, they are corrupt, they just need wealth and power, bungalows, mansions, castles and cars, looting the treasury and carting the loot away to store in foreign countries; and they don’t take care of the demands of the public.

We need leaders who can look into the problems of the people and help in the solving their issues by their personal involvement, who can increase our trade with other countries, improve our foreign relations, and have a very good grasp of issues of good governance, economic improvement and technological development in a fast-moving world, international relations and all other areas of human endeavours and development.

I strongly believe we can find such leaders (the current youth? Forget it!) in our country who can use their power for the progress of our country and also influence other people in this regard to take some steps for the improvement of our society.

Yes, we need good leaders in Nigeria; that goes without saying. Corruption has dominated and warped our lives; every fabric of our society is corruption-ridden. It has affected even our psyche, thought processes, education, orientation and morals.  We need good leaders which push Nigeria in a good direction, which makes Nigeria corruption-free and bring back smiles to the faces of our impoverished and oppressed people. Leaders that will unite the peoples of this country, and not exploit religious and ethnic diversities; who will just not talk but have the ability to execute ideas.

We have potentially good and great leaders in Nigeria but they have been suppressed by the negative vibes of their bad colleagues as well as the demands and vagaries of the larger society. Nigeria is in dire need of good leaders to assume governance; to take the reins of steering this country towards its full potential as a nation of resources and opportunities. Politics plays an important role in the development of our country but our leaders are not working for the development of our country. Most of the people elected the leaders by taking some money from the parties and corrupt, desperate politicians.

To be the best leader (or at least, the good leaders we want) needs:

  1. Those who will not fear of defeat because the purpose is to serve the country not to win the election or popularity competition.
  2. High education is not mandatory but basis education to understand the country and it’s basic problems.
  3. To do good always, whatever may be the impact.
  4. To have in mind that money and power are not required, only will power.
  5.  To be very much conversant with the problems of the country and that the country is getting down, not with bad and avaricious politicians, but that good and educated people are not daring to fight.
  6. Encourage and motivate the young generation to join politics and to give a vision of a bright future to our coming generation. This can only be done by leading by example and creating genuine role models.
  7. That good and honest persons are not expecting money from the people.
  8. To let us know that our elected officials, through our votes that their present performance and our present condition are both unsatisfactory to us.

Yes! Nigeria needs good leaders, but it is increasingly looking impossible because of the desperate and evil politicians whose only focus is what they will take from government and the system, and only benefit their family and their status. They do not care about anything else, especially what they are in government for – to govern  with complete altruism and make life better for their people and the society at large.

There are three types of people in the politics.

  1. Those who work with sincerity of purpose. (very rare in the present Nigeria)
  2. Those that do not work at all and are there for the money and power only (majority of our politicians fall into this category)
  3. Those that do not work honestly and create obstacle for those who are working with sincerity or intend to work with sincerity. (Again, majority of our politicians are in this category, and they are the most dangerous to our health, wealth and well-being)

Government does have a place in society and our elected officials must remember that they are there because we elected them.  Granted there are issues that surface of which we may not know all the information when decisions are made and this is understandable.  The problem is centred on the fact that the voice of the people is not always reflected in decisions made in the National Assembly and in some cases by the Presidency.  This is one of the main contributing factors contributing to the National Assembly of Nigeria and the President having such low approval ratings.

I am not condemning all elected officials for creating the perception of people versus the government.  There are good individuals on both sides of the island who have the best interest of the country in mind when they make decisions, but there doesn’t seem to be enough of them to make a difference in the way the public perceives the government. Our government should reflect the will of the people and too often this is not the case in Nigeria. What we notice are brazen corruption, nepotism, injustice, insensitivity to the plight of the people, impunity, and inequality.

Nigerians are fond of (and seem to enjoy) embarking and wasting our energies on misplaced, unfocused priorities; waste of brains, energies, resources, efforts, intelligence, etc on mundane, futile, unworthy, and unproductive issues.

Why would we waste energy on marching on Abuja demanding to see a sick President; or a counter-march supporting a sick President? Why am I debating Olubadan issue when there doesn’t seem to be any benefit in it in terms of real and weighable development for Ibadan people on the street, and the politicians seem to have their own agenda forced down everybody’s throats? And why is the Governor who is introducing this himself embarking on such a perilous and unpopular activity?

Shouldn’t it be time to redirect the war against ignorance, poverty, diseases, and the ilk. Our energies must be redirected to match the Koreans, Japanese and Chinese of our world. Enough of these negative energies!!!

  1. The earth (like Nigeria) was created for development of the People.
  2. People were created to develop themselves and environment to have meaningful lives and existence.
  3. Leaders/governments are wise people who should understand and work towards achievement of (a) and (b) above. This is not understood by our current crop of so-called leaders yet.
  4. Equipment, environment, and resources to achieve this is primarily through education/knowledge.
  5. The best way to transfer knowledge and values is through visions, stories, articles, literature etc.
  6.  One can only transfer knowledge that is well thought out, organized, and designed for practical implementation/execution, otherwise it is useless.
  7. Since the above is missing in Nigeria, the people are unfocused and become social cannibals destroying one another through unhealthy competition. Hate, strife, and destruction become the order of the day.
  8. For progress, we need well-articulated thoughts that produce visions to give direction to our energetic masses. Directed energies will eliminate fear that comes from idle minds and bodies. This is the way to peace and positive development.

In parting, I quote from an article titled “People vs Government” written by Dennis AuBuchon and posted on February 2, 2012.

“Why do those we elect to represent us make 3-4x and upwards a yearly salary, PLUS benefits, and pensions, when the rest of us do not have anything even close to it. Why?”

Because they have convinced us over the decades that they are doing God’s work. If we want the best and the brightest, we must pay for the best and the brightest. The problem with such a statement is that if a certified moron runs against an Ivy League graduate and the moron is running for the party of choice, the above statement is moot but the perception remains.

As Murray Rothbard, Austrian economist, once remarked in a lecture,” I was told once that we need the best and the brightest in govt because it’s such an important job. I told the guy that we need the best and brightest in the private sector. What we need in govt is people who can’t even figure out how to work the doorknob to get into their offices. They do far less damage that way.”

We are getting a very raw deal in Nigeria, and we do not deserve it, even though due to ignorance and cultural immolation, the followers are also culpable and encourage all these rots.

Let the Truth be told always!”

 

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