More than any other time in the history of Nigeria, Nigerians, in the last few years have learnt, so I hope, that religious and ethnic colouration are some of the worst factors to consider in deciding who becomes the leader of a nation. This is important to note, even for those who are not Nigerians, in order to save themselves the agony we are now faced with.
Sometimes, the worst thing a nation can face is not to experience a natural disaster but to have or experience failed leadership. Much more than the present failure of leadership, it is important to remind everyone again that we have brought this on ourselves. This is to point out the sentiment that brought us this far. Many fell for the disadvantage story. Some fell for the academic background and longed to have a Ph.D holder as President of the nation. Others simply said this must be the hand of God on a man’s life and coupled with the good name.
When the incumbent president was going around the country and making promises, many believed the feigned sincerity and the story of coming from a poor background. At the moment there seems to be no connection between his present actions and the background he used to talk about. Let me state clearly that I have nothing against the person of this president because I believed strongly in him before now and expected so much from him. Having said that, it is important to clearly state that what we thought about and hoped for as a nation before making the choice that we made is still far away.
Not only is it far away, we have never been this disappointed as a nation in our own leader. For the first time, probably since the days of Babangida and Abacha, most of the people in the country agree that the president has fallen short of expectations in so many ways and in a ridiculous manner.
We all watch with amazement how someone with all the powers bestowed on a man like that will not take decisive actions and when he chooses to, he faces the opposition with it and takes some of the most irrational decisions.
Let us remember that it was religious and ethnicity that got us into this in the first place. For some other people, it was the peanuts that they were given that made them decide wrongly. A few others were given promises and they made wrong choices in anticipation of the promises. Their promises have not been fulfilled and coupled with that, they also have to deal with the failure of the leadership they struggled for.
If we do not learn as a nation we might suffer this fate again. When it comes to deciding who becomes the leader in a nation, it is important that we put all our sentiments aside. We must forget the religion of the person and the ethnicity of the person. When we begin to put pedigree, intelligence, leadership skills and readiness to serve with a heart for the people ahead of every other thing then we can make better choices. We should look for leaders who can think on their feet and give answers to the nation. Our leaders don’t have to be smarter than everyone but we can’t afford not to elect leaders who are truly smart and are going to make real changes.
Let us truly engage our leader’s intellectual capacity to be sure that they are not just giving us a paper manisfesto that was written by a consultant or a professional speech writer. Anybody can write a speech but it takes a man of vision to connect the people’s hearts with that speech. Amongst all the leaders we have seen in the world, I can tell that those who became great leaders were those who truly had a vision and a heart plus the understanding of leadership.
I think that for us as a nation, this is one mistake too many. It is also important to bring this up at the moment because we will soon be presented with another opportunity to right the wrongs. We will soon have another golden chance to take our fate in our hands and decide what happens to us in the next four years and consequently, in the years that follow.
Never again should we make the mistake of getting into the sentiments that brought us this far. We should not thread along ethnic or religious lines again when we are to decide who becomes the leader of a nation. We have tried it and now we have the results! I truly hope that this is really a case of once beaten, twice shy.
Fola Daniel Adelesi
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