It is exigent to first of all write something more like an apology for using this title used by Chinua Achebe. It was a temptation I couldn’t overcome seeing that it is a title we all now identify with since many Nigerians in their private spaces can offer one issue or the other as the main trouble with Nigeria.
Another point to be made really is why talk about the trouble with Nigeria. Don’t we all know what the problems are already? Our people are poor, both materially and mentally despite all the hard work that they go through everyday, we have an image problem internationally, our infrastructure deficit is so large it will take tens of years to fill the need even if we have the trillions required on ground, our housing deficit is nothing to write him about as millions of Nigerians live in places we can neither call homes or houses, corruption is our way of life, and to cap it all, our political leaders are a different specie of people withdrawn entirely from the experience of the common man. What then is there to say about what the trouble with Nigeria is? Shouldn’t we be looking for solutions to these countless ones already mentioned before considering another trouble?
As a problem solver, one of the very important activities that must be carried out if one’s problem is to be solved is Identifying the cause of the problem. In most simple problems, one then has to find an alternative to this cause and the problem would simply vanish, most times gradually, drying up from the roots like the fig tree that Jesus cursed in the scriptures. As far as Nigeria is concerned. Most of us are familiar with the symptoms of the issues facing us as a country and not the cause of those issues, so when we propose solutions, we refuse to address the root cause of those problems and then with time, the symptoms re-appear. This to a large extent explains the failed war against indiscipline that General Buhari waged some 30years ago when he was Head of State, a war he now continues when he is re-elected as a Democratic President.
Chinua Achebe has in his book titled Tue Trouble with Nigeria has identified as a core problem the issue of leadership as the main trouble with Nigeria and I don’t plan to in this article disagree with that notion. In going further, should t we ask why our main problem is leadership? Why have we had a problem of leadership? Isn’t this a problem that countries battled with in the 17th century and have overcome? Are we as a people wanting exemplary leaders who can transform our society and our institutions? Don’t we have leaders in our midst? Did God bless us with all these material resources and solid minerals and intentionally rid us of good leadership as a blessing so he could use the foolish things of this world to confound the wise? Why do we lack good leaders?
Most complex solutions don’t have complex answers, so is this one. It is evident that we don’t lack leadership as a skill, we don’t lack leadership as a blessing, we don’t lack leadership as an innate trait in fact. We have natural born leaders like other great countries. We have our own Abraham Lincolns and Lee Kuan Yews right here in our midst and not in the diaspora. We have our own miracle-born leaders who have led from the womb of their mothers and have leadership instilled on them. In fact, we have more people who have learnt the art of leadership and the science of it and have become skillful to the point of delivery. What we lack however is evidently the ability to get these leaders to occupy public offices and sit in our national assembly. What we lack is a system where our leadership as a trait can be seen to possess a higher category where it is offered for the benefit of the public selflessly. What we don’t have is the incentive to encourage our brightest minds and our most brilliant heads and our most charismatic leaders to see public duty/ electoral offices as a means to give back to society. What we do not have is an orchestrated feeling in the minds of our people to endeavour to save their society through their leadership ability.
Instead, we have put up with a system for so long that categorizes our politics as a realm of demons and we have become confortable with it. We have called our politics dirty and nick-named it an occupation for those who have so much money they can afford to invest their ill-gotten money and expect bountiful returns when they get in office. We have restricted the leaders in our midst and relegated then to the private sector only to serve as Special Advisers when we want to give a mild face to the self-seeking politics that we practice in Aso Villa.
The Trouble with Nigeria is not a lack of Leadership. It is a lack of leadership in political offices.
If this country must CHANGE, we must ensure first of all that there is a CHANGE in our political system, we must ensure that those whose bucks stop at their table in the decisions that make/mar our lives are those who more often than not do not need special advisers, we must ensure that our political system is attractive to the best of us and the slander that says our politics is dirty and meant only for the dirty and those who can play rough is eradicated. We must ensure that our political system is reformed and we can once again see people of substance vie for public office instead of the ex-convicts that occupy our National Assemblies who now have to make laws for us. What an Irony! We must ensure that we evolve a system that spits out the worst of us and isolates those who wish to continue in the stinking kind of politics in our political parties. Until we can hold ourselves highly accountable and put our standards back on the high gallows where they belong so that they are so high we all have to aspire to their ideals, we will forever be in a roundabout of change without experiencing it in our life time.
However, I choose to believe that the time has come when those who love their country will sense in themselves the courage and the power to change it and they will rise with such a strength that will only be likened to those who wait upon the Lord, for their strength will be renewed afresh; they shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint.
With such a resolve shall this country be delivered from the captives of those who we today call mighty and at the end of the day a brighter day will come.
God Bless You.
God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
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