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Opinion

The Empowerment Post

PROBLEM WITH NIGERIA? - LEADERSHIP By Sylvester Uyigue

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igeria is one of the very few countries in the world that is blessed with most things, human, mineral and natural resources that it needs to be one of the most developed in the world. Fifty years after independence she's still struggling to have the basic necessities that human beings need to function properly. The general masses still yearn for constant supply of electricity in the places where it does exist, fighting to get water, living with wide open sewage, sniffing a heavy dose of toxic and polluted air, a bare minimum income just to keep them from starving and many still do. The governments, you can say, have failed the people that “elected” them to represent and lead. The sad part is that the so called “leaders” don't give a rat's ass about what the people think by making a public spectacle of that fact. They have successfully turned the masses into servants when in fact it ought to be the other way around. They are the public servants. They have hijacked the democracy. Democracy is not for the politicians, it belongs to the people. Hellooo!!!! Democracy is the government of the people, for the people and by the people. Ever heard of that before? You are not a leader if you never went through a primary process. Simply put, if you are an “imposed candidate” that were afraid to go fight it out in a primary process, you are not a leader. Just because a handful of persons decided in the backrooms that you would serve their personal and selfish interests the most instead of the interests of the general masses does not make you a leader. In such a case, you are only answerable to the handful of individuals that imposed you on the other aspirants against the will of the people. You no longer feel you are representing the masses, do you? What we now get in you is a “leader” that is not held accountable and simply feels free to misuse the public funds as you wish, with complete impunity. You become a “leader” without a vision because you never had a real one and the only one you had was to enrich yourself at the expense of the masses that didn't have a say about how you got there in the first place. That's why you treat them as your servants instead of the other way around. The masses have their own share of these excesses as well. The most powerful weapon a citizen has is his or her vote. But a great majority of them sell it for almost nothing to a political candidate. Let's face it, if a politician buys your vote for say N10,000 if you are lucky, that's about all you are going to get out of it until the next four years when he needs your vote again. If you have sold your vote for cheap, you really do not have a reason to complain that there's no light, food, water, salary, good air and all because these are the opportunity cost. When you sell your vote you've sold your rights. It's unclear if the voters really understand the implications of their actions. Your vote is sacred and really supposed to be priceless and no politician is supposed to be able to buy it from you no matter your economic situation. You are not only selling your rights but also those of your children including those yet unborn. You become part of the problem instead of the solution. You're 19

encouraging a system that does not respect accountability. You are encouraging the very corrupt practices that you decry so vehemently. The same corruption that has eaten into every fabric of the society that deprives you of constant electricity, lack of running water, bad sewage that has become the breeding grounds for bacteria and viruses that could lead to serious diseases that kill millions every year – prematurely. Why in the world would you want to settle for about ten thousand naira or less to cause you and your family deadly consequences? One wonders just how long a voter needs to figure this out. Every four years you sell your vote for less than ten thousand naira which comes out to about two thousand five hundred naira a year and then you think you have any reason to complain about what the government isn't doing for you. Just so that you know, you cannot complain because you've sold your right for about two thousand, five hundred naira or less a year. Period. At the very least, for your vote, you need to demand from your politicians the need to have a primary exercise just as the constitution requires. It is during the primaries that the aspirants would lay out their programs. You can send a message of these demands only if they are convinced that they can't buy your vote. If the so-called “Godfathers” send in an “imposed candidate” you greet them with a stunning defeat. With your vote, you have the power to contribute your part in changing the system for the better, but if you sell your vote, you become a part of the problem. So when your grandsons or daughters ask you years from now how you voted for such and such candidate you won't look like a fool. Visionless “leaders” ought not to be allowed to seat in any public office. The real question is, how long can the country, state and local governments afford to have these crops of people directing the state of affairs and still expect growth and development. Vision, is a way of spelling out for the masses the big picture to help understand the effort in which they are engaged and win their cooperation. Properly crafted, vision is indispensable to serious leadership. The difference between a bad and good leadership is simply the presence or absence of vision. Today, humans are making trips to the moon. It took a truly great leader to craft that vision and challenge a nation to land a man on the moon and return him safely back to earth within a decade. Every person that finds his or herself in the position of leadership posses the opportunity to challenge himself and herself to become great by setting forth some vision the people can buy into and leave behind some powerful lessons and legacies for those who come after them. The legacies that are left behind by our “imposed leaders” these days are to steal some much for themselves and leave the people in perpetual poverty. It has become a vicious circle. Together, we must break this circle. June 2013

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