BAD LEADERSHIP, A BANE TO NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Bad leadership, a bane to national development
Right from the beginning of human race when all that was called human beings was not more than a two-digit figure, a negative force has been militating against the development of the ‘Homo-Sapiens’. Till date, the effect and magnitude of this force brings about a clear distinction between nations of the human race. The word ‘developed’ is used to describe some nations while some other nations are referred to as ‘underdeveloped’. In the present day, the development of a nation has to do with the growth in terms of Human Capital, economy, social improvement, democracy building, national defence, and etcetera. The militant who has either being slowing down or stopping the growth of nations today is Bad Leadership .If there is a spark of leadership function at all ,it must lie in the ability to assemble a clearly articulated vision of the future that is at once ,simple ,easily understood, clearly desirable and energizing. Any leadership that lacks these abilities is bad and un-progressive.
A country that is under-developed is over-managed and under-led. This implies that the resources are fully managed but there is no visible proof of the utilization of the revenue or benefits derived from the resources. In the heart of Africa, a country is referred to as `Giant of Africa ‘. Is it an overstatement to qualify such country with that great complement, considering its current states and level of development? How far has bad leadership driven the country? If the level of development is to be attained, what are the measures? Questions like these and more are hoped to be answered.
The leadership of the nation should be truly committed to the people, and its administration, fear and evenly distributed to the benefits of all sectors and segments of the federation. A bill of rights is what the people are entitled to against every government on earth, general or particular and what no just government should refuse to rest on inference. It is the leadership of a nation; competent or incompetent that will spell the future of ‘her’ heritage for generations to come. True leadership must be for the benefits of the followers not the enrichment of the leaders.
Nigeria, a country who has ironically attained the age of a ‘grandmother’, is also piloted by bad leadership. A number of factors account for the uproar of bad leadership in virtually all political offices of the federation. Some of them are; illiteracy and corruption. It is ironic that Nigeria should have been founded by intellectuals; for throughout most of ‘her’ political history, the intellectuals have been mostly outsiders, servants, or scapegoats. Illiteracy has eaten the nation up to the marrows, and if proper care is not taken, more thrashing is to come for the whip of bad leadership and consequently the doddery economy. A study of history shows that, civilization that the abandons the quest for knowledge is doomed to integration.
If education is always to be conceived along the same antiquated lines of a mere transmission of knowledge, there is a little to be hoped from it in bettering a nation’s future. What is the use of transmitting knowledge if the nation’s total development lags behind? The 2008 estimate revealed that the populace is about a hundred and thirty eight million (138million). About 30% are illiterates with 2.38% growth rate (United States census bureau). Education has produced a vast population able to read, but unable to distinguish what is worth reading.
A very large part of middle-class education is supposed to be devoted to training servants involving the upper class servants training, such that confidence will be instilled in them to supervise and direct the lower-class servants. The education system has largely failed to adapt to the fact that the prosperity of a nation has always being dependent on the economy. This explains the fact that citizens are not well equipped with managerial skills to drive the nation to states of exquisite standards.
William Shakespeare wrote ‘’though authority be a stubborn bear, yet he is often led by the nose by gold’’. Corruption, on the other hand is the most infallible symptom of constitutional liberty. The order of the day is that the nation depends on contrabands for its economy, and the law upholding officials expect neither more nor less of their fair share. Corruption has engulfed the nation like flood waters do. It is disappointing to know that bribery is now a common act among residents of the nation. A very paramount activity amidst residents; is the illegal influencing of people in the exercise of a public duty through the payment of money or anything of value. I have often noticed that a bribe has an effect; it changes a relation. The man who offers a bribe gives away a little of his importance. The receiver of the bribe becomes inferior once it is accepted. Some unscrupulous politicians manoeuvre their way into offices by collaborating with electoral officials to rig elections. The lubricant which ensured the smooth-running of the activity is bribery. It is glaring that corruption has elected so many leaders without the Say of the citizens which as a results leads to bad leadership.
Owing to bad leadership, the nation is suffering enormously at the hands of the economic melt-down, uneven dispensation of resources, health and environmental hazards etcetera. Wealth and power are distributed unevenly in the Nigerian society. A vast majority of Nigerians struggle to earn a living. Many cannot afford a dollar per day. The economic inequality has a severe effect on health, both for children and adults. One-fifth dies before the age of five primarily from treatable disease such as malaria, measles, diahhorea and pneumonia (united state census bureau). Only 20% of rural Nigerians and 52% percent of urban Nigerians have access to safe water. One-third has no access to health care due to the distances from clinics or inability to pay bills (world health organisation).
Food, and housing, despite rudimentary quality are expensive. Primitive sewage disposal system, industry, automobile, and burning of fuel wood, further pollute air and water and consequently increases the risk of infectious diseases. As a result of unemployment, economic decline and social inequality, crime in Nigeria is increasing at an alarming rate. Thefts, burglaries, break-ins, drug-trafficking, fraud, are prominent. Although there have being periodic campaigns to root out corrupt politicians they have had little lasting effects. Nigerian politics has nothing to do with ideas, value and imagination, but everything to do with manoeuvres, intrigues, plots, paranoias, betrayals, cynicism and every kind of con game. Leaders are not able to produce probity into their private and public life. They do not serve their nation truthfully and honestly.
Liu Binyan said ‘’Smashing a mirror is no way to make an ugly person beautiful nor is it a way to make social problems evaporate’’. If we continue to mention havoc bad leadership has caused without suggesting and implementing solutions, then we are making another big mistake. The election and appointment of leaders should be done after credible analysis and consideration of merit able short-listed candidates for example, if in a political party, a minister of health should be assigned to someone from south-east. Then the presidency should interview the best three to five candidates from that region whose resumes states tangible experience in the health field. They should be asked to identify the problem then state the procedures with which the problems could be tackled. The leadership of the nation will not attain a commendable height if people of mediocrity are appointed into political offices. Leaders who will not indulge in personal rule and encourage personal glorification are needed. People who will not be driven by corruption and will discourage it in others; who will set examples in honest and decent behaviours, who will step down voluntarily when his time is up, or when it becomes evident that he is no longer needed, are those who can lead Nigeria to ‘her’ promise land. Nigerians who have done well in their various professions at home and abroad should be brought together to accomplish an objective that is cohesive not coherent. Without such committed efforts and partnership, the battle for our nation’s future is nearly lost.
It is high time Nigeria started implementing Information Technology (IT) strategies, to better the sectors of ‘her’ economy. National security can be catered for by IT. By using facilities to monitor streets, borders, seaports, etcetera, enhancing of criminal investigation, scanning of cargoes, baggage and containers coming into the country. Also, it is capable of job and wealth creation and thus complements efforts of poverty alleviation. A developed country is technologically advanced and IT is capable of making Nigeria technologically sound except that it has to be used by proper hands. With these, the youths have a reason to hope, because although they have being grossly neglected and under-developed by successive governments, a new dawn has come.
In addition, we have to develop our own new specializations that will be internationally competitive and enduring. Productivity should be increased in all sectors. Rehabilitation, modernising and widening the network of both physical and social infrastructure is needed. Rapid growth of incomes of populace in general, temporary subsidies(to enable lower income groups to have access to sufficient necessities), provision of jobs satisfaction of basic social and economic needs, and most importantly, sustainment of democratic and fully participatory society are what our leaders should focus on, if we really want to attain a commendable level of developmental heights.
To sum up, John F Kennedy was known for saying ‘’ Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country’’. It is a challenge to every Nigerian, and we must all strive to develop our motherland. Let everyone have the mentality of a good leader who will be able to make use of the available resource to turn things around. Nigeria needs inspirational leaders with empathy, but, it begins with every Nigerian. It is only when we make good leaders out of ourselves that Nigeria will attain a great height and then be rightly called ‘GIANT OF AFRICA’.
JIMOH AJIBOLA DOLAPO