By Abba Dukawa
‘The Nigerian problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders
to rise to the responsibility and to the challenge of personal example
which are the hallmarks of true leadership.’ late Prof. Chinua Achebe
The country at 59 still battling with poor leadership, nepotism,
corruption, mismanagement of resources, insecurity of life and
property, lack of basic infrastructure and social amenities with a
poverty level of 75% Nigeria Poverty is rising in Nigeria with more
than a 100 million people living on less than $1a day. While Nigeria
contemporary’s countries that gotten statehood are now developing
countries in spite of its enormous wealth, Nigeria is among
underdeveloped countries with a life expectancy of 48.8%.
Interestingly at 59 independence problem with Nigeria has been
identified by most analysts and social commentators as the absence of
true leadership. This I believe is just one aspect of the truth or
reality. The reality of the matter is simple Poor leadership in the
context of bad followership throughout the ages in every society that
has evolved successfully, social reform and change is initiated by
followership and not necessarily the leadership.
I intend to depict the generally accepted position that the problem
with Nigeria is squarely the problem of leadership but I argue that
Nigeria, like any other country, is peopled by stakeholders who are both
leaders and followers. It then behooves on every Nigerian to rise to the
occasion of saving and securing Nigeria. Every Nigerian is a major
stakeholder and therefore owes it a duty to salvage Nigeria from the
quagmire of poor leadership. The success or otherwise of leadership will
not be in isolation of followership. Both leaders and followers are
guilty in the event of failure of the state. The support given to
leaders in Nigeria, always allowing them to have their way in almost
everything is the guilt of the citizenry.
At 59 independence yet we cannot always hold our leaders accountable.
Are the leaders in Nigeria coming from mars? Even at the most basic
levels, do we demonstrate and model good followership by demanding good
governance. In the electoral process, do we ensure that individuals that
rightly won elections are supported through mass support in their
redress process? Do we participate in the legislative process or do the
followers have regard for the laws, norms customs and traditions? If we
say that we belong to a political party from where leaders emerge we
should be able to influence the leadership. It is only in Nigeria that
the followership supports a candidate for reasons other than the
It critical look at the role of followership It must be reiterated that
every Nigerian is a major stakeholder and therefore owes it a duty to
salvage Nigeria from the quagmire of poor leadership. The success or
otherwise of leadership will not be in isolation of followership. Both
leaders and followers are guilty in the event of failure of the state.
The support given to leaders in Nigeria, always allowing them to have
their way in almost everything is the guilt of the citizenry.
At 59 independence Nigerians do fully well to swallow the pills
administered to them by their leaders even when such pills are bitter.
The leaders have perfected their manipulatory skills such that even
civil society groups, professional bodies, and religious organizations
have fallen to the spell of poor leadership as if they are no more
rational beings so to speaks the guilt weighs more on the
followership, who have allowed them to be manipulated, deceived, abused,
used and dumped by the leaders who should be there to protect their
At 59 independence, we can either celebrate or sober reflections on
major problems bedeviled us as a people and nation like corruption,
Nigerians are a living witness that in any address made by all serving
and ex-presidents, they claimed to fight against corruption. “We are
committed to transparency and accountability.” But despite these
promises from the leaders, still, corruption has eaten deeply in the
To understand how this cancer has eaten deeply in our society,
honouring transparency and accountability is no longer fashionable, and
corrupt people don’t feel bad about their actions, because everybody
else is doing it anyway. Those who choose not to do it are considered
cowards and becoming a laughing stock in the society. The surge of
kidnappings and killings by bandits, especially in the easr, coupled
with the resurgence of a Boko Haram affiliated to the Islamic State
group are our greatest headaches.
For more than two and half decade Nigeria never had such serious
economy challenges like what we are now largely due to dependent on
oil as government revenues, fluctuating prices leave the Nigeria
vulnerable. The World Bank has predicted sluggish growth this year
coupled with unemployment at more than 20% and nearly half the
population living in extreme poverty. Infrastructure deficit: despite
the billions of naira being pumped into numerous building projects by
2040, Nigeria’s infrastructure deficit will hit $878bn making it hard
for businesses to prosper.
At 59 independence more than 150 million Nigerians are languishing in
poverty in the country. Nigerians have been disappointed to the greater
level with the development shape pour country in almost six decades
where every sectors is decaying due to the lack of political will of our
leaders and proactive citizenry role. Our failure’s to make concerted
effort by insisting that the right must be done and we citizen must rise
up and unite against misgovernment, corruption and nepotism if we really
want to see the country move forward we have to be courageous to imbibe
the culture of prudence, honesty and accountability.
We must ensure people with proven honesty and accountability are elected
and the citizenry to adopt effective citizens role while those within
the corridor of power must have courage to tell the leaders the truth
and not to be glorify praise singers.
Nothing will change unless the leaders and led have country at heart.
Dukawa can be reach at email@example.com