VIRUS IN NATIONAL LEADERSHIP AND INSTITUTIONALIZATION OF DEMOCRACY IN NIGERIA

By

 Emmanuel N. Nnani

When one talk about virus what comes to mind is about biological organism that is dangerous  capable and possible to making human organic system not to function properly or to be unable to carry out activities as expected. Questions may arise as to what it has to do with national leadership. Well, virus in national leadership here will come to mean bad or wrong people or group of individuals in a country that are saddled with the responsibility for controlling and deciding the affairs of a state. As this group of people lack the prerequisite to govern their people and lead them rightly, the people and the entire political system suffers as development and good things becomes a bane.

Nigeria as a nation on the making till today is a British creation and democracy is akin to some of her ethnic groups judging historically, in a phrase, Nigerians are not democrats because democracy is a culture i.e. peoples way of life. Dating from precolonial, colonial to independent Nigeria, political leadership have continually polarized around ethnic and religious sentiments as to who becomes the president, minister of one administrative ministry or the other in the country. I remember late Chuba Okadigbo who once assert that immediately after the civil war NAIRA was introduced as Nigerian currency and no one cared to know the meaning and simply put, NAIRA is Never Allow Igbo’s Rule Again. However, this might be a joke but atom of reality may also be found in it hence may fuel ethnic sentiment in the Eastern part of the country.

Democracy was once define by Lincoln as the government of the people, by the people and for the people. To me, in Nigeria it is not so, rather it have come to mean, government of elites and the influential, by the elites and the influential, and for the elites and the influential. Suffice it to mean that democracy is give and take, the individual or groups and class that gives a candidate votes during elections determines who the gives their returns when they enters government.

Institutionalization of democracy in a political system such as ours is in adopting a democratic lifestyle that allows the people of Nigeria to choose their leaders at all levels of governance that would manage the affairs of the citizenry and the entire country. Today, we have seen a lot of viruses in our national leadership and democratic institutions ranging from vote buying, electoral ballot paper snatching, writing results for a particular candidate or the other without recourse to the candidate that the people want, and bribery of judges to cover up riggings and manipulations of electoral results done during elections across the country and so on.

Notwithstanding, the resultant effect of viruses in national leadership as history has shown in Nigeria is very iniquitous judging from the removal of a competent, well-educated and articulated leadership to install or inaugurate a leadership that his secondary education Nigerians are not well guaranteed. Today, it will not be an insult to assert that our political economy drastically went back from where it was in 2015. Our country today have a lawyer as education minister and his deputy a professor of education and a former vice chancellor of two strong state universities in Nigeria, a medical doctor as a labour minister and an accountant as finance and economy minister as professional economists have finished in the country, what a level of insanity in the country’s leadership!

We made history on February 16th 2019 as Nigerian president who happens to have travelled to his village a night to the Election Day to vote only to get the shocking news that Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), have postponed the elections to February 23rd and March 9th 2019. It was Shakespeare who once asserts ‘if government lies in the hand of him who does wrong to whom shall we complain and run to’. I suffice it to say that if governance and leadership lies in the hand of an illiterate, selfish, greedy, tyrant and non-law abiding personality to whom shall the people run to and where will the people run for justice. In my early article I posited that to allow a man who reasons through the stomach and the heart to rule or govern as an injustice of the highest order.

Administratively, Nigeria celebrates tribalism, favouritism, nepotism, politicalism, familocracy against the principle of meritocracy. Practically today we have witnessed and seen our national leadership appointing people of his tribe to manage and control federal parastatals, commissions and the judiciary. Nigerians must wake up as another election is here and consciously and wisely choose candidates with the right intellectual acumen, business leadership ideas and respect for the rule of law as these are what Nigerians need to recover and transform the political economy of our dear nation and to rightly measure with the Europeans and global economic giants. Little wonder why Marx asserted ideas rule the world. We must scion vote buying or collecting money from candidates as prerequisite to vote for them, we must avoid voting based on tribal sentiment, and avoid using ballot snatching and rigging of all sorts as the parameter to winning  elections and analyzing politics in Nigeria. Well many more things to discuss here but would like to leave us here for now with this last statement asserted by Aristotle that the highest price a Wiseman will pay is in allowing the foolish to rule over him as I suffice it to say that the highest prize a political community will pay is in their wise allowing the foolish and illiterate mind rule over them and lead them in the midst of well-educated and articulated business brains and giants. A stitch in time saves nine as this is the right time for Nigerians to use their vote judiciously by voting wisely come Saturday 23rd 2019 and March 9th 2019.

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