Leadership Crisis and Failures in Nigeria

by Emeka Esogbue - Date: 2008-10-23 - Word Count: 1242 Share This!

According to Wikipedia, Leadership may refer to "Those entities that perform one or more acts of leading," "ability to affect human behaviour so as to accomplish a mission," and "influencing a group of people to move towards its goal setting or goal achievement.

The political aspect leadership is indeed more than anything failing us not only as Nigerians but as Blacks and indeed everyone will definitely agree with me when I say this. This has continued to bother my heads as Africans do not seem to naturally posses what it takes to lead their followers or subjects. It is more than shameful for us all who are Blacks. The case of Nigeria is simply sympathetic because our leaders are not very leadership oriented. The definitions given above are viewed as tools for presenting to our so called leaders that political leadership is not mainly Caucasian owned but open to all fully interested humans wishing to lead their followers to the Promised Land. The leadership model as provided for in the annals of Nigeria has failed to promote the understanding of techniques involved in political.

It is today acknowledged that Nigeria is a potential giant of some sort of promises; the country has all it takes to rank with the rest of best world economies but the leaders crops the nation has produced have all lacked the wherewithal to position it in this avenue because of certain vices which are associated with these leaders. A look at the generality of leaders which the country has produced whether then or now clearly shows that the nation has never had good leaders but individuals only interested in their own well-beings and those of their families.

Before this time, Chinua Achebe has emphatically stated in one of his books well known to all that the problem with Nigeria squarely has to do with leadership, however I wish to state in clear terms that now added to this perhaps beyond Achebe comprehended was "corruption" which has added colours to the ways leaders roles are schemed in Nigeria.

Every system of government appears to have failed Nigeria too, Parliamentary system known then as the Westminster model which the country inherited from her colonial masters, Britain was condemned as a not too good enough model by the military men who thought they had all it took to liberate Nigerians from the bad leadership chains of the first civilians, again, this military men who ruled the country for decades proved that fraudulent acquisition of the nation's wealth was more than anything topmost in their selfish agenda.

Within decades, a new generation of khaki men with different political ideologies, agendas and personal attitudes to life such as Buhari, Babangida, Abacha, and Abdusalami had in their selfish interests taken power in different incredible circumstances wasting the lives of millions of Nigerians through hunger, protests, lack of amenities, frequent increase in the prices of petroleum products, deliberate elimination and execution of brilliant individual citizens usually through unfounded rumours of trump up coups. Lives were lost in these battles notably M. K. O. Abiola and Ken Saro Wiwa, with the whole world again starting to attach credence to democracy as the best form of governance for the nation. Political leadership has once again failed Nigerians and the nation was now a pariah in the international arena not good enough for to relate with.

Not many will easily forget how the civilians recouped again to battle these khaki men in order to wrestle power from them in the name of democracy and finally democracy returned courtesy of Abdusalami, the man who had seen beyond Buhari, Babangida and Abacha, and even the old generation of Aguiyi-Ironsi, Gowon (the one who had every opportunity to industrialize Nigeria but went on to announce to the world that how Nigeria would spend her money was the problem) Murtala/Obasanjo (the man who handed over to a democratically elected leader)

Democracy again returned with Obasanjo handed the mantle of leadership after he suddenly became a born-again. His leadership model is indescribable here as he was himself a controversy manufacturer who ironically was accused of everything he accused his opponents of. The leadership style of this man became a failure to the whole nation and opinions once again began to condemn him. Obasanjo was hurriedly made and sold by People's Democratic Party unprepared with the tag as "a saviour," a party without any agenda priding itself as the biggest political party in Africa and maybe "the entire world" With time it became clear that this man was visionless without any clear direction. The height of his own crisis of leadership was the foundation for the auctioning of Nigeria's Bakassi to Cameroon. Worse still, the man stylistically and unconstitutionally called for his term elongation to the amazement of the whole world.

Obasanjo lacked political stature and was far from activists, the result was irrational behaviour and apolitical authoritarian attitude the type required to only maintain one's family. Actions referred to as policies were only geared towards what political friends would gain and what political foes would lose, these for him were assumed sufficient to pilot the affairs of his giant nation called Nigeria supported by his political party, PDP. Obasanjo no doubt added to the political crisis of his nation such that his immediate "selected" successor, inherited innumerable problems like nation wide hunger, teachers' protests, increase in VAT and petroleum products and voluntary giving out of Nigeria's territory to an unfriendly-friend Cameroon.

Professor Rita Kiki Edozien has said that "the crisis in leadership in Africa perhaps not one of the regimes in power per se, but it is a crisis in the broader civil society which lacks vision and a strategic plan on how to put the continent back on its toes" With a development the ugly situation of Nigeria will persist.

The result of leadership failure in Nigeria today is the present 2008 Index for Accessing Governance ranking of the nation as the 39th in terms of governance out of 48 countries in the world, and the 14th out of 16 West African countries which indeed is very shameful. The criteria used are:

1. Safety and security
2. Human rights
3. Transparency
4. sustainable development
5. Human development, and
6. corruption

The result of the above is that Nigeria is only better governed and fast developing than two West African countries.

One major problem Nigeria has is that the nation is lacking in consistent policy which puts the mechanism of the political leadership of the country and achievements in inertia. Nigerian leaders engage in sorts of probes with no reports seen or even implemented such has become the identity of the present administration. The implication of these probes is that victims do not lose sleep as they go about their normal businesses in their typical manners. Perceived representatives of the people as they claim to speak for the people are in the eye of these people lacking legitimacy.

Nigeria has not learnt any lessons of history, however there is need to reposition the nation and strategic plans for attaining this must be employed in order to make progress and responsive political culture, these must be upheld if the nation is to gain success in leadership. so much monies are spent on electionsand re-elections only good enough to be called sham. The 2008 Lagos Lg election is a typical of what I mean. The moment a particular government is power, it sweeps the result of the whole election.

Related Tags: nigeria, leadership crisis, african leaders, nigerian leaders, buhari, abacha, corruption in nigeria, gowon, military rule in nigeria, politics in nigeria, bad leadership, democracy in nigeria, parliamentary rule in nigeria, babangida, abdusalami

Emeka Esogbue hails from Ibusa, Delta State, Nigeria. He is a Historian and International Relations graduate with lots of tremendous published and unpublished works.


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