By Usman Abdullahi Koli
Nigeria which is a country located on the Western coast of Africa is one of the products of British colonialism, it encompassed over 250 ethnic groups and was endowed with abundant natural and human resources. The first capital territory was created by decree in 1976 and Lagos was the former capital city of Nigeria still retains its relevance as the most commercial city; Abuja is the present capital that was carved from Niger State.
Every state in Nigeria has one or more resources that make it unique, in the past Nigeria relied heavily on farming and mining for its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) but the discovery of crude oil by Shell-BP in 1956 brought about a monopoly to the country’s economy.
Despite the existence of huge stocks of resources, the question meandering in peoples’ minds is; are those resources channelled in the best way to transform the economy and living standard of Nigerians? The answer is NO as there is a high number of Nigerians that could not afford two square meals in a day. It is obvious that Nigeria is inundated with bad leadership since 1966 when the first military intervened, they usurped legitimate government with the intention of salvaging the system but they ended up making life hard for a common man.
The enigmatic nature of Nigeria’s bad leadership has led to its diversion from the path of development; it is an attempt to achieve national development due to an invidious climate of personal interest, ethnicity, mediocrity, partisanship, sectionalism, cronyism, the corrupted process of breeding leaders contributed in making Nigeria under-developed.
Agbor (2011) argues that ‘the success or failure of any society depends largely on the mannerism of its leadership, he further adds that the results of poor leadership in Nigeria are embodied in poor governance manifested in inconsistent political crisis, insecurity, poverty of the extreme order among the citizens, a debilitating miasma of corruption and rising unemployment indices’.
Based on the above notion, Nigeria had many leaders but their abilities to continue controlling the country’s power enabled them to allocate national resources to their accounts, yet leaving citizens in abject poverty. Egocentric politicians are the major obstacles that slow developments since the return of Nigeria to democracy in 1999.
Candidates of different political parties have been using similar strategies over the years during campaigns, i.e. the challenges of inadequate water, fragile electricity, jutting unemployment, unequipped schools and hospitals just to accumulate votes and yet people are still suffering.
Unfortunately, egocentric styles of leadership start when an individual or groups of people feel that to rule only to live in luxury and accumulate wealth not to lead and salvage people from financial and unfacilitated hardships. Therefore egocentrism is caused by many factors which include greed; Majority of politicians are into politics to become richer than their fellows, budgeted funds that are set to execute projects end up being diverted for their personal gains.
They (selfish politicians) engage the services of like-minded staff in order to execute their treacherous plans of earning more than normal, and even if such leaders are dealt with, their elements in various sectors must be eliminated too. Secondly is the political system; this has been the second major factor fuelling high ego amongst politicians, even when a leader assumes office with pure intention to serve, the system is already preoccupied with corrupt office holders that easily change such new leaders.
Nigeria as a young democratic country has inherited a system built by the military, the military that intervened initially to fight corruption and mismanagement but ended up making it attractive for civilians as a lucrative way to be rich. The third cause is the absence of patriotism; both citizens and candidates of various political parties view leadership as an alternative for real defying their dreams, this makes the level of love for the country less and egocentrism high.
In the past, when a citizen mishandle any national symbols like the flag, many gathered around to lament and condemn the act but nowadays it has drastically lamed. Fourthly, unjustifiable judicial system; it happened in times without number where politicians are caught beyond reasonable evidence embezzling public funds but stereotyped as saints and ended up serving a few years behind bars. Recently, many corrupt politicians inclined to defection to the ruling party and government abated all corruption charges against them.
After due consideration, for our country to free itself from the shackles of egocentric politicians, there is a need for leaders to lead for the betterment of lives not rule for their interest; Nigerian leaders must shun selfish tendencies and promote the living standardize of the populace not eyeing benefits accorded to positions.
Policies and programmes should be free to all, citizens also have to beseech to know what their assembly representatives (in States and national assemblies) are doing and lastly what the President is also doing for the whole nation. Any corrupt politician found guilty of mismanaging public funds needs to be dealt with in a court of law even if he or she belongs to the ruling party or relatives to leaders.
It is a civic and national task for every Nigerian to vote for candidates of their choices during elections, but it is sacrosanct to elect based on past stewardships. May Our Country Be Free From Selfish Politicians. Amen.
Usman Abdullahi Koli writes from Bauchi and can be reached via: firstname.lastname@example.org