What Does it Take to Become a Political Leader in Nigeria?

Opinion

We have seen the elders fail. Freedom didn’t come cheap, yet in six years of independence we were already taken by military rule and a year later by an unforgettable war that the Igbos are still seething from. The system is warped, wieldy and unsustainable. Our democracy has been a charade, producing a government of liars by liars for liars.

Share

Share
Text size
+

In a deteriorating clime like ours, you can’t afford to place hope on tomorrow because, because – unlike Sydney Sheldon’s best seller “If Tomorrow Comes” – tomorrow may never come.

The emergence of the new national order of youth clamouring for power is alarming. Before millennials became teenagers, the goal was corporate jobs and practical courses, but corruption has changed this. I do not belong to the school of thought that there are born leaders. I believe only the test of fire make fine steel. A leader is judged, just as all good men, by his antecedents. No baby is born and called a leader unless he was born a prince, or the eyes of the gods are clairvoyant enough to make us peep into an unknown future.

So, how did millennials develop the leadership dream all at once to take Nigeria across the red sea? The corruption of the system by the elders offers hint of the truth. When political offices become so enticing as to be the fastest route to financial liberty, all hope is lost. It can’t get worse than asking asking a seven year old kid what he would like to be in future and the reply is “A senator!”

Here is the catch: I am not against people aspiring to political offices. Somebody must be there. The problem lies in the fact that today’s youths whom the federation bank on to lead us out of Egypt know little or nothing about the political landscape of the system. The extinction of history from the curriculum of our secondary schools has caused irreparable damage.

However, there is nothing worse than leaders or aspiring leaders who don’t read. It saddening that our history is berserk with unpleasant memories. I have studied youths who aspire for the big seats and I’m shocked to realise most of them know little of the consequences of the civil war in retrospect, the military era in comparison with our overhyped democracy, and Nigeria’s relationship with the West and her fellow African nations. They cannot list Nigeria’s problems and offer solutions extempore (a country you live in and wants to govern).

We have seen the elders fail. Freedom didn’t come cheap, yet in six years of independence we were already taken by military rule and a year later by an unforgettable war that the Igbos are still seething from. The system is warped, wieldy and unsustainable. Our democracy has been a charade, producing a government of liars by liars for liars. We have seen it all. It can’t get worse. From the hills of Enugu to the bustle of Lagos, from the desert of Kebbi to the spring of Ondo, from the beauty of Cross-River to the dirts of Oyo, from the brains of Anambra to the brawns of Edo, from the peace of Osun to the violence in Borno, we have seen it all. We want better.

Politics is more than passing budgets and embezzling funds. If you have the dream of leadership, common sense demands you study the world political system, understand the political and economic principles of the successful nations whose history compares with our stagnant, third world existence.

We need leaders who think, leaders who read, leaders who are willing to lay down their lives (literally and figuratively). The 3rd and 4th line of our National Anthem should not be forgotten in office. Whether you canvas for secession of Biafra or a united Nigeria, the most important thing is: are you ready to uphold that freedom with heart and soul?

In 198, Ronald Reagan said “The price at times, for this freedom has been high, but we have never been unwilling to pay that price.” We don’t have to march from Selma to Montgomery. We were slaughtered in the North and buried in the South. We have been oppressed by the West, oppressed by our fathers (those who governed), sent in ships to slavery and death, died in internal wars, raped and murdered on home soil, fought for independence, yet we are still in dependence. We asked for a state but made to lie in state – all prices of freedom.

When you aspire for powers, go back to history to find depth and study better political climes to find knowledge.

I am not here to rule anyone out of politics. I am only asking for introspection. In the words of Albert Einstein: “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” I don’t know about you but the blood of our fallen soldiers, the victims of the civil war, the massacred brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers in Jos and Borno, the fathers who died in chains and padlocked lips, mothers kept in zoos as playmate to monkeys and objects for white pleasure – should not be forgotten.

Abraham Lincoln said, “Nobody is good enough to be the President but somebody must be the President.” But the question still remains: are you willing to pay the price of freedom? Because only then will tomorrow come.

Responses

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

+