Nigeria And The Need For Effective Leadership

October 21, 2014.


By: Sulaiman Badamasi (Mahir)

In every aspect of life or a movement, there is need for effective leadership. It is historically proven that leadership is what makes people organized, protected, developed and civilized, and in case of communities like Nigeria; united, tolerant and patriotic, a bounty without which folks would remain scattered and unorganized.

An effective leadership can be witnessed if it is accompanied with justice and fairness towards the populace while employing total avoidance of/abstinence from self-centeredness by the leader. It can also be proven when the leader prioritizes the needs of the followers over his.

“A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be” (Rosalynn Carter)

John Kenneth Galbraith says: “All the great leaders have had one thing in common; it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This and not much else is the essence of leadership”

“A leader of a people is a servant of the people” Ali Ibn Abi Talib

What actually prompted me to write this piece is the way Nigeria is perpetually sinking into deadliest quagmire which I guess, may lead to backwardness in development, redirection in direction, retrogression in poverty, shrinking in economy, fragility in togetherness, vulnerability in tolerance and segregation based on regional, tribal, religious and political backgrounds amongst others, which may even lead to disunity and/or disintegration – God forbid!

To overcome these threats, there is a need for visionary leaders which would overlook all the differences on ground, treat inhabitants with equality and share bounties with equity and selflessness.

Scholars and analysts have rolled ball-pens suggesting the possible causes and solutions to the problems listed above, out of which there are so many things which if employed, would bring an end to the problems. In my comprehension of the many solutions which have been brought forward by experts, I found that they are sub-components of effective leadership.

Therefore, I declare that the way out, if not the only one to the Nigeria’s tremendous problems is having an effective leadership that will be accompanied with discipline, because of the following case studies;

In 1994 the East African country, Rwanda almost fall apart due to occurrence of the world’s deadliest, most unfortunate “genocidal mass slaughter of Tutsi and Hutu by members of the Hutu majority. During the approximate 100-day period from April 7 to mid-July an estimated 500,000 to 1,000,000 Rwandans were killed.” (Wikipedia, 2013)

Despite all that, the country, due to effective leadership, accompanied with discipline and patriotism, has been put back to the path of righteousness by her first elected leader since genocide till date, General Paul Kagame.

Now in Rwanda, it is almost a crime to refer one’s self to any tribal group (Tutsi or Hutu). This has undoubtedly; help the country to regain unity and patriotism in the populace, justice and fairness in leadership and righteousness in direction.

The United States of America had fallen in a four year long civil war from 1861 to 1865 during President James Buchanan’s end of tenure election in which there was approximately 365,000 deaths and 275,200 wounds within the four year span.

While still in the civil war, Abraham Lincoln was able to preside over the country with effectiveness. In 1865 after his assassination was Andrew Johnson followed by General Ulysses S. Grant in 1869 under whose watch the country came back to full state of normalcy and regained development.

Iran has gone through two different revolutions; the first in 1905 up to 1911 and the second was in 1979 after both of which there was peace whose roots was effectiveness in leadership.

Therefore, if a good leadership can return a country into stability after a civil war or revolution which is considered the highest level of fragility that a country may stumble in, what of Nigeria whose problem is still not beyond control?

To my understanding, Nigeria’s problem started to worsen in late 2009 during the period of President Umaru Musa Yar adua’s illness. After showing some signs of incapability to lead the country due to his ever increasing ill-fate, many folks began to advocate for the then Vice President, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to be sworn in as the president due to provision of section 146 of the 1999 constitution of the federal republic of Nigeria which states that;

146 (1) The Vice –President shall hold the office of President if the Office of President becomes vacant by reason of resignation, impeachment, permanent incapacity or the removal of the President from office for any other reason in accordance with section 143 of this constitution.

The injunction above triggered a disquiet between pro Yar Aduans whose main argument remained that “the president’s incapacity was not permanent, therefore should not be disengaged from the burden” while on the other hand, Jonathan’s advocators argued that he (GEJ) was not given the chance to lead because he came from the minority, an argument that many; including journalists, activists amongst others have falsified, saying that the allegation was only made in order to generate sympathy for GEJ. Since then, the poison began to deteriorate higher and higher until it reached to where we are today.

In my opinion, it’s high time we think beyond tribal, regional, religious and whatever differences, and think of rescuing the country from being a sinking ship, as my friend, Tijjani Ahmad called it (Tijjani, 2014). We need leadership in order to have a good system that suits Nigeria and the Nigerians.

Some people argued that; it is impossible for Nigeria to be put in the same path with other developed/developing countries because her citizens are spoilt, corrupt and disorganized, therefore there is no hope of having a better Nigeria in a near future. I say NO! To that and considered it baseless. If leadership and a system can change people in other parts of the world, Nigeria should not be exempted.

I passionately assert that; “our problem is not from the people but the system in which the people are led”. To prove that; when a Nigerian goes to countries like England, China, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, even neighboring Niger and Cameroun amongst others, would be law abiding and disciplined because of the system, and that; when the law abiding, disciplined citizen of the named countries comes to Nigeria, we find them not abiding the laws and orders. Why? Because there is negligence in the system, thus the leadership lacks effectiveness.

Sulaiman Badamasi (Mahir)
[email protected]
Student: Msc. Health Informatics
Cavendish University Uganda