Outgoing President withdraws to the sidelines (3)

By Eric Teniola

From last week, the piece continues the argument that since government is a continuum, the Buhari government should have implemented the various Reports it inherited from past administrations 

CHIEF Obafemi Awolowo (March 6, 1909- May 9, 1987) once said government is a continuum. If President Muhammadu Buhari fails to act on these reports, a future President may act.

Regrettably, it looks as if the President Buhari-led Federal Government has closed shop and proceeded on a long vacation long before elections are held and long before a new President is sworn-in on May 29, 2023. In short the Federal Government has gone to sleep and abandoned us to our fate.

We are not likely to have an effective government before May 29, 2023. And that is if the elections are held in February and the results of the elections are accepted by both the winners and the losers. What we are witnessing is nothing but photo opportunities by the President. I think the real work is missing. 

Right now political campaigns have taken over and we are seeing less of governance. It should not be so, for the mandate of President Muhammadu Buhari ends on May 29, 2023 and not before. 

The signals we are getting shows that we are being treated like orphans. No one is attempting to rescue us. This is very sad. Our leadership does not care about what we do or what we are going through. There seems to be no compassion. He has disconnected from us. Although his poor aides tell us that it is not true but we are convinced that it is true. No tenderness. Just mere aloofness and indifference. We are just being slighted and disregarded. 

Almost eight years ago we queued under rain and sun to elect a President who will alleviate our problems. Almost four years ago we did the same. What we are getting in return now is beyond imagination. We are being ignored and our problems keep increasing and no one is coming to our aid.

A beautiful country of over 200 million people has been abandoned. The level of insecurity is mounting, poverty is on the rise, institutions have broken down, all that we get in return is for the Federal Government to slam its doors on us. The number of displaced persons is increasing day by day. 

When the floods took over Bayelsa, Anambra, Kogi, Rivers, Benue, Delta, Jigawa, Zamfara and Edo states, a simple presidential visit to those areas was missing. 

Inspite of our present tribulations, we expect a bright tomorrow. All will be well. 

From my experience, no matter how short a tenure is, a determined leader can still do something. 

General Murtala Mohammed(November 8, 1938 – February 13, 1976) who was in power between July 30, 1975 and February 13, 1976, left a lasting legacy within such a short tenure. He refused to fold his arms and faced the challenges; although he made some mistakes, but he accomplished a lot. We benefitted from his tenure. As of today, he is a reference point in terms of leadership. 

In the presidential system of government we are operating today, the Nigerian presidency is the centre of all actions. The President is the only one who can call the shots. If he or she fails to lead, no one else will. Everything rests on the President in Nigeria. If he or she fails, the country fails.

To me, the leader must lead and the leader alone must show the way. The greatest leader must mobilise others by coalescing people around a shared vision. The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men, the conviction, and the will to carry on (Walter Lippman). One of the tests of leadership is the ability to recognise a problem before it becomes an emergency (Arnold Glasow).

Leadership is about vision and responsibility, not power (Seth Berkley). Leadership is about nurturing and enhancing. The leader has to be practical, and a realist yet must talk the language of the visionary and the idealist (Eric Hoffer). Leaders think and talk about the solutions. Followers think and talk about the problems (Brian Tracy). 

Leadership is not about getting elected alone. 

In Nigeria of today, I doubt if these rules apply. It’s as if our leadership is on the sideline in the midst of numerous programmes we are encountering. The worst of these problems is poverty. If not checked, poverty poses a great danger to our political stability. And I hope it will not mar the elections. 

Poverty is one of the serious problems confronting Nigerians today. Over 85% of Nigerians have been classified as poor in a recent report by the Federal Office of Statistics. This situation is made more serious by the fact that about 83% of Nigerians who live in the rural areas are poor.

Indeed, the recent edition of Nigeria’s Human Development Report, HDR, issued by the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, ranks Nigeria among the poorest countries in the world. According to the HDR, Nigeria’s Human Poverty Index, HPI, of 0.416, places the country among the poorest members of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC. This is in spite of the fact that Nigeria is one of the leading oil producers and exporters in the world. 

The extent and magnitude of the incidence of poverty in Nigeria contradicts the country’s immense wealth, which exists in the form of extremely rich human and material resources. It also contradicts the enormous efforts and resources expended by successive regimes in the creation of Federal institutions, agencies, programmes and projects for poverty alleviation. This is made more glaring by the existence of public institutions and agencies established over the years to grapple with the issue of poverty. 

The evident failure of poverty alleviation programmes to substantively deal with the problem of poverty in Nigeria has been attributed to many factors.  

To be continued…

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