One does not show the squirrel the way to the river. (Telling someone what he or she already knows is silly.)
I will start my weekly admonishment, with this stereotype question in Nigerian local parlance-Where do you come from? Are you from Adamawa, Lagos, Abia or Sokoto, Enugu or Katsina, Benue or Oyo, from the remotest ward to local government, why do you hail from?
I am asking a question, one question that has been at the heart of many of Nigeria's problems. While, you answer the question, ask yourself this next one question and let us chat in the next few paragraphs. Who is your leader, do we have leaders today or there is a vacuum, are we are just lost on character?
Jonathan is president of Nigeria, he can rule from anywhere except Borno and Yobe off course, many for obvious reasons would refer to him as the 'Nigerian leader' whether we agree or not, despite the debate of 'if' he has lived up to it.
He is also assumedly leader of his party PDP, but with the likes of Tony Anineh, Bode George, Atiku, and Baba Sege, and all the local warlords, you may not want to take a bet.
Statesmen and men of states but very little substance, in recent times we have been treated to the fight for leadership by Tinubu pitching him against the Awolowo family and historians.
All sorts of face-off, various socio-political and multi-cultural groups all fighting variants of leadership tussle.
In the east, the argument is that they are an independent lot. So, the issue of a feudal or hierarchical leadership structure is one they have battled for. That nature has not enabled them settle their leadership palaver. All playing discordant tunes producing no rhythm.
Who is a leader, who leads the east, in Abia who is their leader, Mazi Dim Ojukwu was more of a leader in death and revered in death than in life. The region has produced great men, but lacking in a unified voice.
From Zik to Achebe, Ekueme to Anyaokwu...endless list of political, socio and economic giants. Sadly, very little purpose and direction.
The noise of monolithic North has been nakedly exposed by the insecurity, a once-strong and seemingly focused traditional institution and more is just barren and disvirgined by fear. But at the core of the problem in the North is a leadership vacumm.
Atiku is usually talking, Namadi just a figure head flat vice president, the likes of Adamu Ciroma siddon looking and barking and not any bite of purpose. There are the Danjumas in a journey-man stage, IBB in retired retreat, Abdulsalam and host of others simply playing talk-shop.
In my home state, Plateau, there is Shagayi, Useni, Solomon Lar, Tapgun, Jang, Kwande, Mantu...all great men in their rights but none has been able to curb the Jos crisis. And I did not forget Yakubu Gowon, who has prayed his way around but still leadership is lacking.
If there is any state that has had its fair share of crisis, controversies and more, it should be Ogun state, home of two former presidents, Nobel laureate, afrobeat king and an endless list of accomplishments. Yet it’s a pot pourri of instruments played without accompanying notes. Ogun state provides a miniature picture of a bigger nation called Nigeria, it is not the personnel that we lack, but people or persons with purpose.
Those that can carry a nation on their should, pay the price and provide direction. Yet this is one of earth’s most religious domain…
My friend Dominic Ogbonna says "Me, I am very proud to be IGBO. As a quintessential IGBO man, I believe in Hard Work; I believe in Economic Adventurousness; I believe in Thriftiness and Fiscal Prudence; I believe in Capitalism and Enterprise; I believe in Community; I believe in Democracy and Collective Decision-making; I believe in the unconditional Equality of all men, and I especially believe in Personal Responsibility.".
What does the Yoruba man believe in, the Fulani man, Hausa man, what drives the Ibiobio man, how has leadership been provided by these ethnic nationalities filled leadership? Is the Idoma man like David Mark a Senate President and yet the access road to his home remains in a terrible shape or like a certain leader who tarred the road to his village only after his mom died.
Many wished his dad died afterwards, so they could get water or electricity. Who really are we, why is it that our problems of corruption do not have a leadership vacuum rather it shines through like rainbow colors. When corruption, ethnic, religious differences are in the front burner, it shines through as so-called leader ventilate their foolishness on our collective anmesia.
Have we always been like this, without a sense of direction, a dream and drive—the answer is NO! It may not have not been perfect, but it was not this bad, with dearth of leadership.
A friend narrated Swedish experience. When he was studying in Sweden, it happened to be an election year. On the Election Day he asked his Swedish friend if he wasn't going to vote.
The Swedish friend told him he had voted by sending it through the postage to the electoral body two days before.
"Who owns the postage?" He asked the man. "The government", the man told him.
Two days later the incumbent President lost election and congratulated the opposition.
My friend said when Nigeria get to the level of Sweden, Swedish people will be dinning with God.—A function of purpose and direction by a people and her leaders.
One does not show the squirrel the way to the river, I need not tell us that the fact of the matter remains that, the current crop of leaders whether Christian, Muslim, Niger Delta, or Northern Delta is a lack of Hard Work; good at lazying, at best working hard in the wrong direction. No economic adventurousness; just policy somersaults and inconsistencies. Lost on thriftiness and fiscal prudence, especially when it concerns them.
Their capitalism and enterprise bothers on criminality, primitive accumulation bothering on the absurd, democracy and collective decision-making ala PDP, ACN and CPC style; at the sum of it an inequality of citizenry, and crass personal irresponsibility when in power and authority.
So we remain a people still searching to fill that vacuum, because we can be ‘ruled’ from anywhere…only time will tell.