Leadership has been so abused that many cannot really define it. Many have taken just sitting and giving orders as leadership. Many have also taken dictatorship and the enslavement of people to mean leadership. If you say you are leading, just look back and if nobody is willingly following, then you are just taking a walk. Leadership in its true definition is not focused on the leader but the led. It comes with its responsibilities and sacrifices. It does not start and end with the one leading; in most cases the one leading sacrifices his choice, time and even his own areas of interest for the overall interest of the followers. It will then amount to abuse of position of leadership if the one leading puts his comfort, interest, choices, family and all above the ones he is leading.
Leadership is not about ME, MYSELF and I. Leadership is about service. To lead is to serve; but many think to lead is to be served. Rulership and leadership are not the same. Our nation had been through several military regimes. And many have experienced what military dictatorship is all about. It is not a thing to be treasured at all. When the military relinquished power, we had our democracy back again. But like the Afro beat king, Fela Anikulapo Kuti had described, our democracy became demonstration of craze. People who took power began to display that actually animals in human skin, wearing suits and agbadas are in positions of authority.
In the era of Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, Ahmadu Bello and the likes, national interest superceded their personal interests. All of them left legacies, which the present crops of politicians need to go and take a good, look at. The present crops of politicians are just after grabbing as much as they can and put personal interest first. They don’t want to leave the polity better than they met it. Most of them have destroyed the national values we once had. Patriotism is no longer in vogue. From their actions and words one can pick that their personal interest is just before national interest. Instead of putting our educational system in good shape, they send their children abroad to study. Instead of providing good health centers and affordable drugs, they go abroad for medical check-ups and treatment. Is it in the national interest to hire youths to destroy government property because of selfish political ambitions?
Since 1999, all national issues had become family affairs. Every wrong and disservice to the nation is seen and treated as being a PDP affair. When have national or constitutional issues become political party issues? Just because of individual interest, many things are swept under the carpet and never addressed. Just because of individual interest, the ruling party wants to turn the system into a one party system in the name of being the biggest political party in Africa. I have always said that no man will fully discover and maximize his potentials if pressure and discipline are taken out of his life. The ruling party wants to get rid of opposition and pressure and they are also gradually erasing discipline from the polity.
Most war torn countries were plunged into that state because of people whose personal interests superceded the national interest. Most politicians are so self-centered that they don’t mind pulling the entire polity down in order to have their way. The lawmakers are supposed to do us a great service. But in the name of party loyalty they have been frozen from doing their bits to better the polity. Our lawmakers are with a constitutional mandate to guard and protect issues of national interest not that of a political party. Party loyalty definitely has limits; it should not override constitutional or national issues. Every public officer’s ultimate loyalty is to our constitution, which they took an oath to defend. Pursuing issues of national interest has become acts of insubordination against the ruling party and calls for expulsion from the party. Enough of these personal selfish antics employed by the ruling party to discredit public officers and our constitution.
It is time for us to choose between pursuing and enthroning the personal interest of politicians and their parties and that of national interest. Nigeria is bigger than any party or individuals. It is time to fight for the soul of Nigeria that has been stolen. The selection we had at the polls were done because they wanted to protect their personal interest. The ruling party and the opposition parties should guard against actions, utterances that can cause chaos in the polity. As much as it is true that most have stolen mandate, means within our constitution should be sought by the aggrieved parties to retrieve their mandate. The aggrieved parties should also look beyond their personal interests in their quest to right the wrong; if you are bathing and a mad person comes and collect your clothes, coming out naked to pursue the mad person will make it difficult for an observer to decipher who actually is mad. In the interest of our only nation, let all follow the laid down constitutional means to bring everything back to order. Nigeria will be great again!
Arinze Alinnor A.
P. O. Box 17985
Ikeja – Lagos