Thursday, April 17, 2014

Tussle of the dragons by Hannatu Musawa

Published:

Hannatu Massawa

“The people expect distinctive competence while proficiently guiding them towards a more hopeful future.”
All Nationals in a country are expected to look up to their Leaders as sources of guidance and inspiration. When there is an apparent rift in perceptions and ideals in ways to execute the mission and vision of a country’s agenda; there will be cracks in the harmony of national coexistence.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo recently in Warri at a conference when a question was asked relating to the terrorist group Boko Haram, stated clearly that it was important for President Goodluck Jonathan to be decisive in tackling insecurity, as he himself did while tackling the militancy in Odi, Bayelsa State in 1999.

After that statement was made the former Head of State, retired General Yakubu Gowon during the launch of a book, “Stay At The Top”, spoke against former President Obasanjo, saying he is “weak and highly irresponsible”.  The book was written by a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Omoniyi Komolafe.

In what seems to be a war of words, former President Obasanjo fired on Saturday, 24th November, 2012 by stating through his spokesman, Malam Garba Deen Mohammed, “When did General Gowon become the spokesman of the Jonathan administration?”

He further stated, “There’s nothing irresponsible about my comments on the insecurity in Nigeria. I was only interpreting the reality. I expressed an opinion on the way the Boko Haram crises is being handled and said if the current strategy is not working, then there has to be a change of strategy to achieve results. If the strategy were working, Boko Haram would have become a thing of the past by now.”

For a country in desperate need of a decisive and positive anchor in leadership direction, both present and former leaders are expected to have common strategic objectives of fighting crime and corruption. The people expect distinctive competence while proficiently guiding them towards a more hopeful future. A highly educated society with ideals would be forced to eliminate partiality of religion, ethnicity or regional diversity.

Our leaders in Nigerian are no doubt Nigerians themselves, therefore our leaders are a reflection of what we ourselves are. A more objective assessment of our Nation’s public affairs would be more welcome in today’s society.

The acclaimed writer, Chinua Achebe has said that Nigeria’s problems can be attributed to bad leadership. But can a country of 160 million claim to be pious and blame total corruption and insecurity on the government? The answer has to be no, for in us the people lies the solution to all our problems.

As leaders and followers we are collectively responsible for fairness, honesty and integrity. The laws of the land should be just and transparent. There should not be an encouragement of financial dictatorship by endorsing the powerful and wealthy to be even stronger; and this can be done with the imposition of an efficient tax system.

Commendably, the Federal Inland Revenue Service has done a courageous job of collecting  3.5 trillion naira in 2012 alone.

The law enforcement agencies need to be restructured. Instead of pointing accusing fingers at security forces for not doing their jobs properly, why not replace that criticism with a system that rewards officers for preventing any form of criminal activity taking place while they are on duty? Major changes and reforms should take place with a specific emphasis on economic activity while encouraging consumer demand and job creation. Essential infrastructures such as roads, ports, schools, hospitals, and information technology machinery should be prioritized. The rebranding and rebuilding of Nigeria’s seemingly lost glory should be achieved passionately, with a sense of great national pride. A solid legacy
should be left for the future generation of Nigerians to come.

After the advent of the oil boom in the 1970’s, Nigeria’s ranking in the world has declined considerably. Nigeria is faced with numerous economic problems including a serious decline in its agricultural sector and a claustrophobic external debt situation; one that seems to be mounting.

According to the World Bank Economic Review,“ While some decline in nonoil traded goods sector reflects efficient adjustment to the oil boom, policy with regards to public expenditure, exchange rates, pricing, and the trade regime could exacerbate such decline and impede readjustments as the boom subsides.”

Nigeria is the largest producer of oil in sub- Saharan Africa and a member of OPEC since 1971. Yet appallingly, Nigeria has the third highest number of poor people in the world, after China and India. We are plagued by low levels of human development (two out of five children are stunted in growth), regional, religious and social conflicts as well as environmental challenges. It has become apparent that the vast natural resources at Nigeria’s disposal have apparently not advanced human development at all.

The discovery of crude should have afforded Nigeria an advantageous opportunity to generate national income and the living standards of its people much improved.

Leadership is a continually evolving responsibility that requires creativity and positive energy; with certain principals and techniques adopted as tools to manage people and the economy. The most valuable aspect of its economy are its human resources. These human resource capability factors relate to the possession and use of human resources especially specified skills that have a bearing on the economic capacity and ability to implement productive strategies. Relevant factors include extensive manpower planning, public corporate image, quality of public office holders and public/civil servants, union managements and relations, employment, and importantly the satisfaction and moral of the people.

My fellow Nigerians should be empowered and motivated to achieve common goals for the good of the country as a whole. Transparent leadership recognizes the strengths and weaknesses of their people. They strengthen the weaknesses and build on the strengths. The society must be educated enough to share information for the sake of nation building. We want to follow and trust our leaders to lead us on the right path to follow.

Mistakes are made by all nations of the world but Nigeria desperately needs to acknowledge its short comings and highlight them in the most plausible way. The reality of the situation of Nigeria today is a far cry from the qualities listed above.

All past Heads of States and Presidents of this great nation have contributed various positive policies to build Nigeria. The passion of Nigerians should be engaged to deliver on the core values of our founding fathers. John Maxwell has defined leadership as influence. The trust in entirety of the past and present leaders by Nigerians is a burden they have to bear. There is no room for the breach of that trust, neglecting transparency or the compromise of integrity via a failure to act positively or the unwholesome practices of unethical violations.

The pride of our leaders should be ignored for innovative implementations to achieve success. We are ideally to be committed by one common goal: The security, economic strength and pride of national sovereignty of all Nigerians. But when the influential leaders of the giant of Africa are engaged in a caustic public display of accusatory words, it does little for the moral of a desperate society other than highlight the tussle of the dragons.

I invite you to follow me on *Twitter-@hanneymusawa*

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