LEADERSHIP RECRUITMENT IS THE BANE OF NIGERIA’S NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
The journey of a thousand miles, I heard, begins with the first step forward. A journey usually leads to a destination no matter the number of miles it covers. But it is entirely a different situation when embarking on a journey you realise you have no idea of your destination, and cannot estimate the miles you would cover. With destination and distance ascertained, all that would matter in any journey would be the direction to follow; with a good map/mapping application on your mobile device, getting to your destination will be the matter of time and speed. While distance is a constant in this analogy, time is a factor of the speed engaged during the journey. Therefore, getting to a destination, which is the essence of every journey factors in distance, time and speed, otherwise, a journey would be in circles, almost not leaving the starting point. It is therefore a very terrible situation to begin a journey which destination is not known, which speed of movement cannot be factored because the distance, which is the constant, is not determined.
In the case of the journey of building a virile nation, leadership recruitment is a very vital condiment for a safe, successful peoples-driven journey. It is common to reference renown world leaders who became world leaders through their service of transformation for their people. Marcus Garvey, Nelson Mandela, Lee Kwan Yew, Martin Luther King Jnr; and at the Nigerian national level, Ken Saro Wiwa, are some of the very few leaders in the selfless-armless-class of statesmen. Leadership recruitment in Nigeria until the election of President Muhammadu Buhari has been handled by a very insignificant number of persons, on behalf of the people.
Examples of this situation was during the Sani Abacha regime when Sunmi Dagogo-Jack was Chairman of the National Electoral Commission of Nigeria (NECON). In Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Minister would call the FCT office of the NECON and issue the name of a beautiful Igbo lady as Chairman of the Abuja Municipal Area Council, to be so announced by the Commission. She was Chairman until Sani Abacha died in his sleep. Another instance of this franchise deficit was during the Olusegun Obasanjo regime when Maurice Iwu was Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), during that regime, elections were christened a “do or die affair”, the beneficiary of that confessed to the faults in the election that produced him as President. The Ibrahim Babangida, Humphrey Nwosu’s National Electoral Commission (NEC) and the June 12 1993 political debacle is yet another instance. Olusegun Obasanjo and Michael Ani’s Federal Electoral Commission (FEDECO) that produced President Shehu Shagari in 1979 was geared to clearly blocked Obafemi Awolowo from emerging President. It was a “12 two-third” magic that flushed the need to go before the Electoral College.
From the pre-independence period, the Nigeria’s leadership class has never at any time seen the need to break off the shackles of ethnicity, religion, money-driven greed and political manipulations around the necks of the people. They enjoy the sight of ordinary people suffering as slaves in their fatherland. This is the reason why some political derelicts would seek to shut me up by a strange media law, which even the heavens have cursed. It is the manipulation of our electoral processes that produced lawmakers in the characters of Senators Dino Melaye and Bala Ibn Na’Allah. The bill sponsored and supported by these men against Nigeria’s press freedom was essentially wrongfully timed. This bill came at a time when Sahara Reporters published bank receipts of a foreign account operated by Dino Melaye. A Facebook report also linked Bala Na’Allah to misdemeanor when he served as a Commandant of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in Apapa. How could they shamelessly and publicly showcase their insensitivity for, and intolerance of the people they claim to represent? What happened to our laws that permit an offender to be punished for guilts of libel and defamation? This is the kind of leadership we have been burdened with since independence. Unfortunately, they all presently wear the badge of the All Progressive Congress (APC) but stink of the sweats of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Nigeria suffered some successive periods of military incursion into political leadership; years of devastating rape of the people, which culminated in the mistake of worshipping Sani Abacha as a Nigerian god. If God was gracious and granted Nigeria and Nigerians deliverance during that period when Nigerians lived under intense uncertainty, we will overcome all the Dino Melayes and Bala Ibn Na’Allahs of this country. Dino Melaye has quickly forgotten his activities as the owner of the NGO Anti Corruption Network which he used to churn out embarrassing documents to belittle Jonathan’s financial administration. He now gives himself to using the hallowed Senate chamber to seek the enactment of Personal Protective Laws (PPL) to protect their life-images from structural damage, as construction professionals require Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect them against bodily injuries that can result to loss of life. If Senators Melaye and Na’Allah could so cleverly ignite a bill which is personal-protective in nature, why would they make it class-distinctive? What does our laws say about the equality of all Nigerians, and why would we not have Nigerian-natured bills initiated for Nigerians as laws, making them vehicles to deliver governance to every Nigerian home?
At this time when Mr President is asking Nigerians for patience and perseverance, we can only all realise that, devoid of any sentiment, a call for all to unite in prayers for our country cannot be simplified. This was the reason Nigerians felt disappointed that in the face of the protracting Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), the yesterday anti social media bill has passed second reading in the Senate. It was unbelievable and a very big shame. Thank God President Buhari has distanced his government from any kind of press muzzling.
It is the draught of a Nigerian Statesman in the calibre of Nelson Mandela that made majority of Nigerians who felt that our political direction must change for the better to support the emergence of Mohammadu Buhari as President. The PDP has had its chances and have wasted them on their arrogance. Majority of Nigerians who voted for Buhari did so out of the conviction that he would reenact his 1984/85 toughness. For me, the man has become too mild and weak. I expected that by now he would have directed the National Orientation Agency to upgrade his 1984/85 War Against Indiscipline (WAI) initiatives, and would by now have demanded the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to change the outlook of the Nigerian Naira. Nevertheless, my understanding of his 2015 “go slow” administration makes it mandatory for me to call Nigerians to begin from now to assess the Buhari presidency according to his 2016 budgetary projections.
God has bestowed it on President Buhari to come clean with Nigerians and to harness our national potentials in order to actualise our national glory. Let us not deceive ourselves when we hear politicians say they want to restore “our lost glory”. In all honesty Nigeria has never at any time had any glory. Every glory must transform from its militant stage to its triumphant stage before its life cycle is complete. For Nigeria, that stage of glory-militant is what our incompetent, shallow-brained leaders say they would restore. Whoever restores what has not began? It was not enough that Yakubu Gowon in 1972, as Head of State, said that “Nigeria’s problem is not money [earned] but how to spend [the money earned]”, that statement would have conveyed definitive truth if Mr President can still say the same thing Gowon said today; if he cannot, then it is clear how we have had serious issues with our leadership recruitment style through the years. President Buhari must quickly realise that the difference in what Yakubu Gowon said in 1972 and his reality today is our lack of national investments initiatives, no maintenance culture and the people have cultivated a greedy drive towards loving money more than honour, and leaders love been served more than serving, yet they are called “civil servants”, and no one can find civility in the services these people offer.
This is the reason I keep asking Nigerians to trust the present leadership. We took the risk to ensure the emergence of President Buhari, we should risk some trust on him. For those who are in the opposition, I ask for moderation in their expectations. Nigeria was near economic collapse before Buhari’s emergence. To execute a good structural adjustment to our political and economic fabric we must appreciate the present times and measure of progress made by it. The kind of repair Nigeria needed at the emergence of President Buhari’s administration required the total demolishing of the entire structures of our political economy and economic polity. For President Buhari to continue with the 2015 annual budget was impossible; it was therefore in his wisdom to permit time to wear out the 2015 projections. Even with this suspension of the economy and his endeavour to safely guide the 2015 budget to its close Mr President was still confronted with an over N500bn supplementary budget to terminate the present biting fuel scarcity. This points to only one fact: that monetary allocations to fund fuel subsidy in the 2015 budget was exhausted in the 3rd quarter of the year. And we call to mind the mindless spraying of Dollars bribes by the presidency before the 2015 presidential election.
As it stands today, we have the 2016 annual budget before the National Assembly. As interesting as I wish to see how President Buhari’s response would be to the usual monetary paddings members of the National Assembly add to each annual budget when the appropriations are returned to him for his endorsement. However, I am also expecting that the legislators would respect themselves by realising that the present times demands austere considerations for the budget, especially as its possibility is not predicated on our free flowing oil revenue but on waned and abandoned strategies: unless something is tried, nothing would be done. We now have a direction – to grow our capital expenditure by 10% annually – this is a plus-mark goal. In the last budget, capital expenditure took a paltry 17% of budgetary projections. This was why President Buhari delayed nominating his cabinet: he just could not continue with predicating an 83% recurrent projections based on a budget deficit of about 20%.
So we thank God that Mohammadu Buhari is President today. So far, we have not heard of the executive arm trying to bribe the legislators for anything since Buhari’s take over. That unnecessary pampering of aged men has stopped for good. The opportunity at starting governance afresh and on a clean slate was first dropped on the laps of Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999 under the flag of the PDP but he showed to be overwhelmed by the vibrance and opulence of executive powers under a democracy. He first acted “Ajala travel all over the world” during his first term in office and he became Idi Amin Dada during his second term. He entered into unnecessary warfare in his second term, making our elections a “do or die” thing. He childishly frittered away our divine benevolence and imposed a devious political party and the worst sets of leadership over us.
Nigerians who have been suffering before now would quickly see the pains in this “change” surgery as “some light at the end of the tunnel”, meaning there is hope for change. There is a sudden change in class “poverty” in Nigeria…those who have been suffering before now find solace in the fact that the suffering this time is all embracing. Even rich people are no longer comfortable with their riches, they now live under the shadow of poverty…believe me people, the greatest fear of a rich man is finding the source of his wealth closed up. For me, things have changed and in the present suffering, I can only pray that President Buhari should enjoy good health, access divine wisdom and protection. Our first democratic change was the ousting of the military from political power since 1999. Presently, we have also succeeded a second time in ousting the PDP, a militarized political party that oppressed Nigerians since 1999. Let all Nigerians embrace this new movement following after the APC government, welding our carrots and sticks behind President Buhari; we must not allow him to fail.
Nigeria, as a nation, has been a structural failure since 1986 when Ibrahim Babangida sold us up to economic scavengers. We would have all been exterminated by political poisoning if we had mistakenly tolerated another act of PDP “government magic” with Goodluck Ebele Jonathan – We thank God for the present political and economic direction initiated. For the very first time, Nigerians have recruited their leader. That the underage voted in the North is a defeatists conjecture against President Buhari: those children could as well have been the recruits of the PDP, from whom they got the competitive votes they scored in the North in that election. Nevertheless all thanks be to God for the new Nigerian advance – Alhamdulillah!