Nigerian can Change But Constrained by Limitations of LeadershipArticles/Opinion, Featured Contributors/Columnists, Latest News Monday, July 13th, 2015
By Prof R. A. Ipinyomi, University of Ilorin, Nigeria – In order to get a project done within some time, cost or space constraints, we must finish it within the expected set resources. Nigerians have been thus living in euphoria after the emergence of Buhari and Osibanjo in the presidency, and believing that the job can be done. We have never considered the limitations in them or those from other components of leadership. It is now coming to the fore that leadership consists of many components such as party leaders, National Assembly (NASS) leaders, Judiciary, State leaders, and many others. Unless we find the right combination all our expectations that President Buhari alone can achieve a meaningful change will be based on false pillars, ending in disappointment. General Muhammad Buhari may have many limitations on his own, leading Nigeria at a modern 21st century era. He probably has the political will, had been here before, loves Nigeria, etc; but he doesn’t know how the sun brings energy to the earth or why the moon gives less light than the sun. He hasn’t got the APC to work in one direction but leaving it’s three main factions to use human punches at each other hoping for a miracle, we are not even talking of modernisation of the entire system yet but just getting APC to agree. They think they have a whole day to has do a simple job of selecting NASS leaders. If there is a job that must not take a whole day then we must finish it within the day, not six months.
May be there is a need to sound the bell and beat the drum, again and again, just to reawaken the slumbering Nigerian politicians who always think that everything is all about them and that they could do the job, (forthen which they personally fix the pay), when they like. But what is the job? Their job is simply to build a 21st World Class society here in Nigeria using all the natural and human resources available to them both within and outside Nigeria. They are to make Nigeria a home place for humanity, free from discrimination, prejudices, and where everyone has a level playing field, rich or poor, Christian or Muslim, or whatever faith. They have already charged a high fee for the job they are yet to do. Already this year they collected wardrobe allowance because they couldn’t clothe self, collecting newspaper allowance, etc, and they weren’t denied. We are already in doubt if they have the slightest insight of the job before them. All they care seems to be who occupies which office, not “who can do what“ or “where do we get the resources”. This in itself is a major limitation to the possibility of developing Nigeria or improving the quality of life of people living in Nigeria.
At the centre are the limitations of perception, limitations idea, limitations of priority setting and limitations of information gathering and management. When we take steps based only on our previous experience we limit the choices and risk getting only the same previous results. We must give room for visionary and even risks in decision taking, only attempting to minimize the risk of wrong decisions. The emerging leadership in Nigeria is becoming less than it used to be and therefore causing many game players corking their guns. We must allow the system to correct itself. Many so called political godfather would henceforth fail out and whereas individuals self made young and vibrant politicians will emerge to confirm the change we yearn. Similarly President Buhari may on his own unable to crush Boko Haram but someone much smaller than one of the Chibok girls will wipe out that dreaded insurgents from the map. Boko Haram must choose to live and fighting another day by surrendering now. By the continuous occurrences of suicide bombing we are to guess that Boko Haram insurgents live with us in the cities and only a few of their agents are in the Sambisa Forests.
Meanwhile, the ruling party, APC is running on a slogan of change but which does not include “an about turning” in its calculations. Change also means that if you were going left before you should change and go right now. It is not enough that the President slashes his salary, (or our own), by half and call that a change. Nigeria can pay a president it freely elects but they must do their job. Nigeria can pay it’s elected officials who are ready to work and be accountable. What Nigeria needs is justification for such pays and that what is good for the president, good for the Senators, good for all others is also good for the civil servants. Our salaries must be fixed but by the rightful authorities. NASS members cannot fix salary for self, ASUU cannot fix salary for self, judges should not fix salary for self, and so on. Such a system is immoral and that is part of the needed change to be made. Hence neither the President, the Vice President or any person should take an arbitrary approach on the issue. Let us fix all the wages once and for all. Governments must also always honour agreements they freely reach with labour unions henceforth.
We also notice the lukewarm approach the PDP is playing, being neither the opposition party nor the ruling party. By accepting to be a Deputy Senate President, a Minister, Commissioners, etc, connotes a coalition government of some sort. Coalition governments are done only after two or more parties must have done some horse trading. Therefore being a Deputy Senate President under PDP and same under APC without prior inputs from either the APC ruling party leadership is a misnomer. The office holder is unnecessarily placing his own life and career on the line. He cannot function or earn required respect. Let the party who won the elections run the house but the opposition party must work to ensure a balanced house, and that no constituency is disadvantaged. Always running to occupy an office without adequate horse trading can pose a major challenge as we shall continue to witness.
The world society is witnessing a most turbulent time in its history with the advent of ISIS, Boko Haram, extremely dangerous secularism with undisclosed agenda coming from America and the West, more violence in the Middle East led by Egypt, Syria and the usual Israel – Palestine internal wars. This represents several classes of violence, violence against norms and ideology, violence against freedom and human rights, violence again the mind, violence against morality, and violence against natural orders. What we have seen here in Nigeria as simply Boko Haram insurgent could be deeper than we can presently imagine. However we know that many people fighting on the side of these classes of insurgents are themselves victims, ignorant of the underlying problem and people who may need our prayers and understanding. Only on few occasions do people understand their own ways or inner motives. People are kind because of the pleasures they get from it, they become defiant and brutal because there is unknown fire burning inside them. Government however has a duty to be determined, less sentimental or less emotional but firm and rigid, while religious leaders need to educate their members not to compromise or cooperate with evil movements.
Therefore on a scale of 0 to 10 if the PDP pushed away by Nigerians scored 2 we may not expect APC to push Nigeria beyond 4 in spite of all their change slogan. Nigeria needs to be on scale 7 or more, although right now no country is higher than point 7 on that scale. The world economy is a paradox where the most indebted country in the is rated triple A while a country like Nigeria with foreign debt below $50 billon is not within the 20 best economies. At home politicians are still playing the game as if all depends on them, and not that they have to do their best to survive with the system. Hence the best of Nigerian politicians are like the 5 foolish virgins described in the Bible; people who went out with empty lamps or cars with no fuel, companies without energy to run them, uncharged handsets or handsets without credits.
The zeal of an individual Buhari can change little because the development of a society is not a thing of the zeal of the lions but the wisdom of the serpents, not the swiftest runners but the cooperation and competence of the steady athletes. We have therefore unreasonably raised expectations and pushed up the pole line for APC simply because of a President Buhari. Those who built the United States of America were ordinary men not angels. More recently we have witnessed the Chinese coming from behind to become a first world, or even the Malaysia model. The point we are making is that we have already seen enough of the limitations with the Nigeria system and it’s political operators to demand a caution from the people in their expectations. or
Prof R. A. Ipinyomi
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