11th February, 2015
By Idowu Peters
Be it a nation, state, society, community or any form of association, leadership position is not a bed of roses, it comes with great responsibilities and challenges. A good leader must be visionary, self confident, mentally and physically balanced, determined and courageous, and be ready to take advantage of any given opportunity in his quest to lead aright. These unique features are the necessary impetus that propel a leader to success. Such leader must also be ready to be a burden bearer for the followers. He should put in place machinery to get direct feedback from the people. This allows him to assess his performance and course acceptability.
The poor leadership that has led to the prevailing situation in our country today could get one sick every moment. The precarious security challenges in the country, indescribable level of corruption pervading all strata of the society, the collapsed economy, decaying infrastructure, high rate of unemployment and the hopelessness and bleak future for our youths, are all stories of woe that should not be the lot of this country if the nation’s resources had been managed well. It is pathetic that education, the bedrock of development in any nation, has been relegated to the background, increase in the number of universities not withstanding.
Mr. President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan seems to be enjoying the euphoria of power at the detriment of gargantuan challenges facing the nation. A leader leads and proffers solution to problems. He gives hope to the hopeless, support and succour to hapless citizens in time of trouble. The fact that Nigerians are being attacked, maimed and killed everyday should be a serious concern to the leaders who took oath to protect them. Seeing how robust the Vice President, Namadi Sambo, is, one wonders if he is ever perturbed by the precarious security situation in the North Eastern part of the country. There are times when comfort of leaders should be down-played for sober reflection on the feelings of the people. Imagine the agonies of the parents of the slain young schoolboys of Yobe State while President Jonathan took to the street the next day dancing Azonto to woo voters! The death of young job seekers at Immigration Service’s recruitment centres, and the manner this awful exercise was dismissed with wave of hand by the Minister of Interior, Abba Moro, was sad indeed. The inability of the president to be cognizant of the people’s emotion and to take positive and decisive action on boiling national issues is a serious concern.
A great leader often in his closet asks himself salient questions like, have I done the right thing or could I have done it better? Or, have I really achieved uncommon transformation in agriculture with the nation’s dependence on imported rice and other products from Asia? Everyday we read about vessels on the high seas on their way to Nigeria bringing rice and other products.
The truth must be told, the impression of most Nigerians in the past six years is that the nation is teetering on the brink of catastrophe due to the activities of political jobbers, carpet baggers, sycophants, government contractors and all the self-styled men of God or ‘god of men’ who, with their ill-gotten wealth, increase the fleet of their aircraft and also increase the number of their money spinning institutions.
Mr. President, severally, you confessed to have met yourself in positions you never aspired to. You will agree with me that these were unmerited favours from God. In other words, God spoke and the manifestation of his word came to pass in your life. To start with, in 1999, when the search for a deputy for Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, the Peoples Democratic Party governorship candidate in Bayelsa State was on, the voice of God located you and you eventually became the deputy governor. When Alamieyeseigha had problem and lost power, the mantle of leadership fell on you without struggle. This is another manifestation of God’s voice in your life. In 2007, a number of more than qualified candidates jostled for the highest job in the land but they all lost out. When Umaru Yar’Adua was picked to contest for the presidency, the voice of God manifested again, the unassuming Goodluck Jonathan became the vice president. At the demise of President Yar’Adua in May 2010, the voice of God manifested again, you got the nation’s number one job. In 2011, the issue of no shoe for thirteen years came up and the people got carried away by sentiment, assuming you’re God sent for the poor and voted for you. This is another manifestation of God’s voice again. The weapon of your warfare then was the power of God, but today you rely on warlords and propagandists. It is only God that lifts man to a limitless height; men cannot lift man beyond the length of their arms. Remember, when you did not struggle, with God on your side you got it. Unlike now that you put on the armour and struggle with all shades of characters supporting your ambition. When there is no place for the gentle voice of God, the voice leaves, and because the space cannot be empty then strange voices of opportunists take over.
Almost six years as the president, the voice of God seems to have ceased, why, the reason is that, the poor who are the delights of God have been neglected. Instead, the sycophants, carpet baggers, political jobbers, self labelled men of God took charge blocking the gentle voice of God with their strange voices and praises. They are deceitful, telling you that you are flying when you are crawling, that you are on top when you are under, that you are in full control when you have actually lost control and that you are winning when you are fast losing. They don’t hear from God, they only talk from the imagination of their deceitful hearts. They will advise you to increase your dancing steps even when they know that the drummer has long stopped drumming.
This reminds me of a short story I read many years back. It is the story of ’The Fisherman and his wife, Lape’. They were wretched couple that lived in a hut not far from a river. At dawn on daily basis, the fisherman goes to the river for fishing while Lape carries the fish to the village market for sale to eke a living for the family. One day, the fisherman toiled from morning till evening without any catch. As he was about giving up hope, he tried again and this time, he caught a golden baby Mermaid. The mermaid pleaded with the fisherman to spare her and promised to provide whatever he requested for. The fisherman obliged. He went to his hut sadly without a catch but narrated his experience to his wife, Lape. The following day, Lape urged him to go to the river and ask the Mermaid to make them rich. This request was expressly granted and as the fisherman returned, he met his wife in affluence, a beautiful house with fleet of exotic cars, so much to dine, wine and party with. Their apartment was filled with domestic servants and the rest. Few weeks after, the insatiable Lape in her quest for power, urged the husband to meet the Mermaid again, this time to ask that they may have control and rule over the land. Hence the mermaid granted their request and made them the king and queen of the kingdom. When the fisherman returned, he met his wife in a royal palace with a retinue of aides in attendance.
One morning, as they were still in bed, the rays of sun pierced through the window pane to wake them with little discomfort on their cosy bed. Dame Lape could not take any of this nonsense. She directed her husband- the king to meet the golden mermaid that they want to have control over the sun and the moon. The obedient husband left without asking questions. At the riverbank, he made his request to the golden Mermaid. The golden fish was furious, she fumed and retorted “hello fisherman, you asked for riches, I gave you, you asked to be crowned as king, you got it, and do you want to equate yourself with God? Since you have forgotten how I transformed you, I hereby transform you to how I met you” Suddenly, the king turned to his old self as a wretched fisherman in his rags. He went home dejected, and when he got home, he met his wife in rags too in their old hut. God raises the poor out of dunghill. He demotes him if he over-steps his bound. Having toyed with the fate of Nigerians for good six years in areas of unemployment, insecurity and economic mismanagement, Mr. President I think, it is dangerous to over-stretch one’s LUCK.
•Peters is a Media Consultant based in Lagos.