14th September, 2011
Three days ago, at the Kennedy Centre in Washington D.C., US President, Barack Obama, addressed his countrymen on the 10th anniversary of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks in which over 3,000 people were murdered in America and spoke about hope as they remembered one of the darkest days in their history. In Nigeria, who will inspire us at this depressing period of our existence as a nation?
Nigeria currently faces myriads of gargantuan challenges spanning from constant blackouts to official corruption to high level of unemployment to abject poverty and insecurity. But the worst crisis which Nigeria seems to face is that of failure of leadership.
The lack of leadership has alienated the youths who seem to have lost hope and have resorted to crime to achieve their dreams. Others now scurry to foreign embassies for a better life abroad. This is unacceptable.
All over the world, countries are transformed by leaders who can inspire ordinary people to positively dream more, achieve more, invent more and do more.
Great leaders know what the problems are and understand how the solutions can be found. More importantly, great leaders know how to communicate these ideals to their people; they know how to inspire them.
Nigeria today does not seem to suffer only from underdevelopment and looting of our funds, but also from the lack of leaders who can inspire us.
The story about how the country can extricate itself from the quagmire of poverty, underdevelopment, corruption, unemployment, illiteracy and high infant mortality rate, among others is not often told by our leaders. These leaders get carried away by the pecks of their hallowed offices and cosy confines of their homes.
Nigerian youths seem to be asking: â€œWhere is the country headed? Where are our leaders taking us?â€ But there are no answers from those they have elected to lead them.
As a result, the country seems to be tottering on the brink of disintegration.
The reasons can be varied. It is either our leaders do not know where they are taking us or they do not know how to communicate where they are taking us.
For Nigeria to move forward, our leaders must learn how to tell us stories that can inspire us in the midst of despair. Our leaders must understand that what they say or do goes a long way to influence the people they lead.
But our leaders must not just say things they do not believe in. They must set their goals, get their priorities right and tell us in clear terms where they are taking us. That is the only way they can galvanise the people to do what is right for the transformation of the country. All the talk about President Jonathanâ€™s transformation agenda wonâ€™t amount to anything if the people are not carried along.