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Date Published: 12/13/09

The Nigerian Tradegy By Okwe Ogah


The problem with Nigeria which has become the Nigerian tragedy deals basically with the subject of ledadership.

Progressively over the years, we have continue to degenerate and slip further away to damnation with each successive administration so much so that today, there is a hue doubt amongst the populace when it comes to believing their leaders.

The progressive degeneration in leadership quality has being with us for as long as we can remember. It is such that our renown novelist and the author of most celebrated novel - Things Fall Apart, Professor Chinua Achebe had to crystalised it in black and white with an essay titled; The Problem with Nigeria.

In the book, he placed the problem squarely at the door steps of the leadership.

He posited and I do agre with him that it is not so much the forced marriage of the multi ethnic nationalities that we now call Nigeria; it is not tribalism or sectionalism either, it is not cultural diversity nor religious multiplicity but leadership ineptitudeness; because with a good leader, all the listed ailments that besect us today will be  non issues.

As a matter of fact, the poor quality of leadership actually contributes to the heigthen tension those things listed above generate in the nation as they are used as a platform with which these leaders sustain themselves as it pays them that we remain divided and disunited

For those of us who are old enough to remember beginning with the first republic where injustice was highly celebrated and feasted upon and which consequently led to its collapse and to an era of heigthen corruption you can begin to assess the various administrations the system produced therefrom.

For emphasis, a brief retrospect journey into the past begining with the General Yakubu Gowon  will be of importance.

To begin with, we were saddled with a man who assumed leadership by sheer reason of being the most senior military officer from the region percieved to be unfairly treated.

During his days, we saw the emergence of super Permarnent Secretaries and Military Goverors who were lords of the mayor.

Due to lack of vision (remember the holy book says ''a people perish where is no vision'') the golden opportunity that presented itself through oil boom was wasted. It was an era when the problem of the government of the day was not lack of money but how to spend the so much money available to them.

In looking for a way to spend the money, they embarked on upward review of renumeration of civil servants in the name of Udoji Awards. Since this was done without any economic foresight other than that the civil servants will have more money to spend, we witnessed new taste in the lives of the people. Thus ostenticious lifestyle became the order of the day. Of course this also created the problem of inflation as well.

Then late General Murtala Mohammed came with a mission and vision to restore order and sanity. However liked it is becoming the clearer by the day, good things never last in this part of the world. So even before you could say jack, he was assassinated.

Over night, General Olusegun Obasanjo the number two man literally assume the leadership of the country.

For a man who just came to power without preparation for it, he was too much in haste to return the power to those who thought it is their exclusive preserve to control the machinery of power in the country.


He exited with so much controversy than he met when he came to power. Remember Ali mungo (Ali Must Go), operation feed the nation (OFN) which provided the base and cover for Ota farm?Festival of African Arts and Civilisation that a a mere jamboree and a conduit for deraining of public funds; the 12 and 1/3 formula that brought about the fable and a weakling Alhaji  Aliyu Shehu Shagari governments  and many others?.

For a man whose ambition was to become a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria but later saw him as the Executive President of country, he exhibited characters that clearly proved that he was not prepared for the office he assumed. I am talking about Shehu Shagari

His era witnessed growth in graft and corruption, tighen of belts courtesy of austerity measures, presidential task forces that became corruption bazzar, essential commodities, green revolution that started and ended as mere paper theory, etc.

Through the manupulation of FEDECO we started hearing of landslide victories and a future projection of moon/space slides in the next series election or is it selection by those in power like we are currently hearing in gloating of the clawns in power that they will rule the country for the next 60 years.

The duo of Generals Muhammadu Buhari and Tunde Idiagbon then came in to arrest the rot and drift. They tried put some sanity in the choking political atmosphere filled with despair, hopelessness and despondency.

Buhari/Idiagbon started quiet well. The corrupt politicians were thrown into jail for several years, discipline and order in government and public places were giving attention. The dark spot in their time was the excution of drugs traffikers carried out under a retroactive law

But again as if it is an abomination to have good people in governance in Nigeria, they were pushed aside again by the forces of regression and darkness led by a thoroughly bad man.

This was followed by the reign of one of the most debolical man yet to govern this country - General Ibrahim Bademosi Babangida - the self confess evil genius.

IBB must have memorized

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