By Pastor Edewor Egedegbe,————
Leadership failure in Nigeria is borne out of poor mindset, primitive acquisition and gross corruption in the system, the talk about federal character principle and zoning in the political circle has brought high level of mediocrity, sycophancy, compromised civil service, press, judiciary, legislature etc, has led to lack of will power to handle daring issues that affects the nation. These institutional failures across board have contributed well over 80 percent of the multifaceted challenges facing our democracy today.
According to Aristotle, “Justice is given each their due”. Absence of this truth will certainly bring several challenges to any people. No thanks to the rise of public administration and the discovery of oil and gas without the right mindset are two major events seen to have led to a litany of ignoble corrupt practices and lost for materialism by power holders in the country. Over the years, the country has seen its wealth depleted with commensurate improvement in the living conditions of the average citizens.
A Nigeria political leader, Obafemi Awolowo raised a salient issue when he said, since independence; our governments have seen a matter of few holding the cow for the strongest and most gunning to milk it. Under those circumstances, everybody to make good at the expense of others; so many believe that the pervasive corruption today should be blamed on colonialism.
In my view, the nation’s colonial history may have restricted any early influence, in an ethical revolution. Throughout the colonial era, most agencies were stuck in ignorance and poverty. For instance, the use of flash cars, houses and success of the colonial masters may have influenced the poor to see the colonist as symbols of success and to emulate the colonists in different political ways.
The involvement in the agenda of colonial rule may have also inhibited idealism in the early state of the nascent nation’s development. This view was commonly held during the colonial days that the colonial property (Cars, Houses, and Farms etc) is not “Our” property. This vandalism and looting of public property was not seen as crime against society till date. This view is what has degenerated, into the more recent absent of patriotism; disregard for public goods a collective national property.
it is clear that from all indication, we were not compactable; because of our multi-ethnicity and religiosity that has caused division since the inception of our coming together.
ii. Corruption has become a way of life, in which majority of people do not see anything wrong with it, thus the unacceptable local appellation “No bi me start am and no bi me go end am”.
iii. Everyday moral decadence has taken a swoop on our lives, i.e., no respect for values, morals, professionalism, order, decency, patriotism, selflessness, rule of law etc.
There is no doubt that the ultimate result of leadership failure in the world, is total anarchy, which most often manifest in social vices such as wickedness, corruption, cultism, armed robbery, vandalism, greed, kidnapping, kidnapping of pregnant women and sales of their new born babies, ritual killings, human trafficking, hatred, religious intolerance, uncontrollable anger, adultery, bearing of false witness against one another, several agitations of today just to mention but these few. Today, these vices characterize the life of most Nigerians because of the absence of purposeful leadership in the country, since the era of slave trade through colonialism and appear to have crystallized in our present day from an average Nigerian being persuaded from any wrong. In my opinion, the root cause of leadership failure in our dear country is traceable to two main factors:
i. Lack of genuine love for God and humanity.
ii. Lack of sincere love for one another.
The two factors are interwoven, one, if you cannot love your neighbour who you see every day, then certainly you cannot love God who you do not see. Consequently, there is no more “Truth” in us. The love that Nigerians proffer for God and their neighbor, is mainly hypocritical, which is why there is total breakdown of positive social and neighbor values in our society.
Religious and social values such as justice, mercy, humility, hard work, self discipline, orderliness, honesty, mutual respect, and tolerance have been slaughtered on the altar of the twin idols, bedeviling Nigerian leaders, namely:
Quest for absolute power and insatiable love for quick wealth.
It is assumed that over seventy percent of the Nigerian leaders belong to one religion or the other, especially, Christianity and Islam. Most public and private offices, from the Presidency to the Local Governments and private business owners are occupied mostly either by Nigerian Christians or Muslims. The Christian go to church on Sundays regularly and offer “Thanksgiving” to God from time to time, why Muslims faithful take time off their duties every Friday to go to Mosque to worship regularly five times every day. But in spite of this serving outward display of piousness by must Nigerian leaders across, their hearts remains dirty that need urgent cleaning for a new lease of life for her citizenry.
These Nigeria Leaders are the Parent of our Children, they are the Teachers/Lecturers, they are the Clergy or Imams, they are the Captains of Industries, they are the Head of Political Offices, they are the Head of the different Departments and Ministries in the Civil Service, and they are the Ivies/Obas/Igwes/Emirs, President Generals and Community Leaders in our Society, for example, these Parents who will ensure that their Children and Wards, who are below average academically or drop out get certificate at all cost. It is Christian/Muslims, who is a Teacher/Lecturer that would compromise standard to Pupils/Students who have not measure up academically. It is these Nigerian Leaders, who would prefer temporary staff in an office until their Children graduate and are ready to take over.
It is the Clergy who gladly receive sumptuous donations, from Nigeria Leaders without recourse to how the donors made their money. It is the Palace of some Nigeria Rulers that are the havens for criminals and where they hide their arms and ammunition. There is no doubt therefore that moral decadence in the present day Nigeria has hit its all time Zenith.
Bribery and Corruption and all the social vices enumerated above have become the norm rather than exception in the Nigeria Society.
The way out of corruption
The main solution to leadership failure in Nigeria is general character overhaul or moral re-orientation. The aim of the general character remolding or adjustment is to inculcate and entrench positive attitude and behavior change on our people with a view to achieving two goals:
i. To love God with all our heart and with all our soul, and with our entire mind.
ii. To love our neighbors as our self (Matthew 22:37-39), the Holy Bible recorded in (Matthew 22:40) that our first goal above is the greatest commandment in the world. To love your neighbour as your self is to obey the golden rule which say that “You should do to others as you would want them to do unto you”.
iii. Until Nigerians have recourse to these laws, equity, justice and peace will continue to elude us. If we love our neighbour as ourselves, government would not formulate policies and implement programmes that are only in their favour, members of the National Assembly would not approve whopping salaries and allowances for themselves alone; a man would not sneak into a church and kill worshippers who have not offended him at all, no one would confiscate the money of a retired colleague and watch him die in his installment and so on.
iv. If peradventure, there is a genuine Nigerian with the agape love who insists on doing things in the proper way, the system will not allow him succeeds, they will rather beg him, bribe him, obstruct him, treat him or eventually kill him, if he refuses to succumb. The Nigeria Leader and Nigerians in general should turn to God, for God is love and love is from God. You cannot claim to be a child of God, when you do not love your neighbour as yourself.
A perfect example is someone whose life was carefully and entirely guided by the two goals is our Lord Jesus Christ. His thought, words and action only manifested unconditional love for God and man. One of the surest ways, therefore, of attaining our solution through moral adjustment of character remolding is to look unto Jesus Christ. Find out what kind of life He lived, what his thought process were, what kind of actions he took in different situations and what was it that guided those actions. How did he speak to people and how did he respond to aggression towards him. Finally, find out what his teachings are and how we should think, speak and act.
vi. Another simple but instructive guide to positive mind development by Apostle Paul in his letter to the Philippians (2:3-4). It stated that; “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind, let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his interests, but also for the interest of others”.
vii. Please note that verse (3) controls verse (4). In other words, a leader is looking for his interest and the interest of his followers should place the interest of his subordinates well above his own, and not the other way round.
viii. Other fundamental method that can be adopted to enhance general character overhauling in Nigeria includes but not limited to the following:
ix. Establishment of a Moral Adjustment Foundation or Rebirth: This foundation will involve well plan moral adjustment programmes, which will include talks, lectures, dialogues, quiz, presentation of gift and certificate to participants and members.
Enactment of Local Government Edicts and Moral Codes: These edicts and moral codes of conduct should be well defined to direct, order and control the behaviour of members of that locality. Rule for check and counter check should be enshrined, such that parents can check the exercises of their children and vice-versa; community head can monitor the behaviour of members of their area, while kings oversee the behaviour attitudes of individual in their domain. Appropriate sections for unethical conduct should be well defined and methods of enforcement of the violation made explicit.
xi. The Role of the School: Our second recommendation above is based on the realization that in a society, whether urban and rural, the family provides the main and initial setting where all roles germane to socialization, are learnt. The school is the next institution that takes over from the family. Parents and teachers should liaise with one another, to nip in the bud anti-social behaviours observed in children either at home or in the school. In the same vein, children should also report behaviours that go against the values of that society observed from their parents to teachers and of teachers to their parents and such indiscipline should be appropriately addressed as stipulated in local government edicts or codes.
xii. The Clergy: The church is another agent of socialization that exists within a community or society. The church should be able to observe, monitor, investigate and administer punitive measures against members who exhibit conducts that are anti-spiritual and social values. The church should, as a matter of rule, verify the sources of the income of suspicious characters and reject their lavish donations and gifts that are of evil origin.
xiii. The National Orientation Agency, NOA, should wake from slumber as it seems sleeping over its statutory roles of educating, sentisitising and enlightening the citizenry especially on policy formulation, direction and implementation. The attitudes of most citizens are caused by ignorance and if properly alive to its responsibilities to the state, that agency has all it takes to place citizens on better pedestals as against the deep seated hate that pervades the nation at the moment.
xiv. Corruption is a monster that every citizen must raise against this book therefore recommend ban for any convicted politician from holding public office at all levels of government. Such names must be in official gazette to serve as deterrent to would be corrupt ones in future.
It is appropriate to emphasize the importance of good and enforceable policies towards controlling corrupt behaviour. And policies should be review periodically to close any loophole and to catch up events in societies towards this. Robert S. Mc Namara, former President of the World Bank and Ford Motors Corporation, has argued that, for any campaign against corruption to be successful in sub-Sahara Africa. Certain Characteristics should be common in the plan against corruption. His suggestion on how to control corruption in the region includes, but not limited to the following:
i. Require direct, clear and forceful support of the highest political authority; the President or Prime Minister.
Introduce transparency and accountability in government functions, particularly in all financial transactions.
iii. Encourage a free press and electronic media to forcefully report to the public on corrupt practices in the society.
iv. Organized civil society to address the problems of corruption brought to light by the process of transparency and the activities of the media.
v. Simplify and maximize government regulations, particularly those involving the issuance of licenses, permit and preferential position thereby restricting opportunities for rent seeking by corrupt means.
vi. Inserts anti-bribery clauses into all major procurement contracts and with the assistance of both international corporations, bidding on African procurement contracts. Accept such clauses and the penalties associated with their violation.
vii. Ensure that enforcement is predictable and forceful and to communalize the acts of bribery. Prohibit the directions of bribes for tax purposes, and erect barriers to transfer to Western financial institution of financial gains derived from corrupt practices (United States Information Agency, November 17, 1997)
Please hearken to the words of John Acton who has warned that “power tends to corrupts and absolutely” He goes on to argue that “Great men are almost bad men” Anyone who is in love, or intoxicated by alcohol or power is in a state of anesthesia. The only reason why intoxication or vanity takes people up or make person feel high is to fall them. Those who know how to win are by far more numerous than those who know how to make use of victory.
Pastor Egedegbe is a Value – driven Institutions Consultant