FEATURE ARTICLE

Dr. Tolu AdemodiMonday, January 16, 2017
tolu.agapezoecares@att.net
Columbus, Ohio, USA

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AFRICAN POLITICS

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Politicians in Africa do not believe that living up to their personal, moral, and leadership ethical ideals is an important dimension of their own self-image. No wonder much was made of President Jonathan's accepting defeat in the 2015 presidential election. Jonathan was hailed so highly because he was not expected to concede defeat in our black skinned cultural environment. That an incumbent president willingly gave up power after he had clearly lost an election was an anomaly in African politics. You see, part of what is considered ethics is a matter of choosing and trying to practice a code of conduct that is morally right and acceptable. Besides one's professional or political ethical standards, individuals are guided by an internal standard of ethics that stands between the ethics of justice and altruism. When properly imbedded in our psyche to live by these standards, we tend to judge ourselves by them. So politicians have a set of different standards to live and lead by. Whichever one of the standards a leader or a politician choses should result in competence in leading which in turn should result in enhanced quality of life to all citizens. The reverse is the case in Nigeria.

The meaning of the call to public service in Nigeria is a call to amass wealth at the expense of the masses and abuse the very power that has been entrusted to them in service. Otherwise, how do we categorize the case of our recent past national security adviser? Someone who held one of the most prominent and most sensitive cabinet positions in government? I run this through my mind a million times and still can't find an answer. His case is nothing short of treason. Often times it appears that those that appoint positions of authorities do so as favors to their cronies. These cronies are expected to go to that position in which they have been appointed with one mindset. To go there and to steal as much as they possibly could while the time permits in compensation for that bureaucrat's support during campaign and things of that nature. If this was not the case how in the world could the Buhari administration have discovered so much corruption and abuse of power by bureaucrats in less than one year in office, while President Jonathan's administration did not in 7 years in power. Was President Jonathan truly concerned about the welfare of the citizens of our country?

What about the crude oil reserve of over 35 billion dollars that President Obasanjo left when he was president or the foreign reserve balance of close to 40 billion dollars. While I cannot ascertain the veracity of these claims, it will be recalled that these were what we were hearing from the camp of Obasanjo months leading to the 2015 presidential election. Bureaucrats in our country turn themselves to hedge fund managers, using the salaries of their workers as hedge funds while the workers waited for 2, 3 or sometimes more months to get paid. I heard the other day that an outgoing governor of one of the states in Nigeria promised to pay the state workers if only they would vote for his party. Promising to pay workers some three to four months of salaries he had withheld because he claimed the state couldn't afford to pay. A governor is supposed to be the state workers' biggest supporters and to try to alleviate their sufferings and to ameliorate their quality of life unconditionally. My apologies! I forgot. This is only the case in a sane society, and not an insane society as ours. Well, God De Oh.

The impact of bad leadership in Nigeria go way beyond what we ordinarily talk about in conversations regarding the state of the corrupt practices in the country. Malfeasance by bad leadership has destroyed families in Nigeria. A bureaucracy that is being run malevolently against the very people they are meant to serve. Malevolence by leadership has turned bright and promising children to hoodlums and thugs on our streets. Families are falling apart because they could not keep mind and soul together. Wives and mothers that would not under most circumstances dare to cheat on their husbands have turned themselves to objects of sex in order to put food on the table for their children. University students who otherwise would have led a clean, adorable, and stellar campus life turned to prostitution in order to pay their tuition, boarding and to feed themselves. The list of the negative impact of malfeasance in our country goes on and on. My heart bleeds for Nigeria. We have become a nation of people so cold that the feelings of empathy for one another no longer exist in our hearts. A nation where bystanders look on as a young boy was beaten unconscious, doused with gasoline, before being set ablaze with a tire around his neck only because he was said to have stolen some foodstuff. Couldn't anyone see that this boy was hungry and just needed food? I try to view the footages of the scene and couldn't look. I could not sleep for daring to look at that video. A video I barely viewed for 5 seconds before I screamed with disgust and fright. Yet young boys, 12, 13 and 14 years olds stood and watched without emotion as one of their peers was being obliterated. What is wrong with our people for God's sake? Yet I don't know of any other countries in the world with more churches and mosques than Nigeria. Neither do we know of any other country in the world with more seasoned pastors and the so called men of God. What are they teaching in these places of worship? What?

I always wondered if our leaders understood the messages President Obama, an African parent born president of America was sending as he spent 8 years in the white house and refused to visit the giant of Africa, even when he (Obama) visited Ghana our next door neighbor. Well, I am neither an astrologist nor a psychologist, but we understand how strong unspoken messages are sent in an African culture. That was a subtle, but strong message from Obama. This should be worrisome to our leaders but I don't think it matters to them.

I wasn't going to write another article in this forum again. However, I couldn't ignore it when I found out about the kid that was set ablaze some few weeks ago. It brought back to memory all the negative impact of bad leadership in the lives of Nigerians. Nigeria is a great country with great people, and I still have hope for our nation. However, we cannot move forward without leaders' uncompromising ideals and strong will; leaders with progressive and transformative minds that can internalize theirs, and other people's feelings. God is a faithful God and he would not leave his people alone. Let us not stop praying. I believe God will restore our nation because we have more than 10 righteous people in Nigeria. Remember, God promised Abraham in Genesis that he would not destroy Sodom for the evil and atrocities of the people of the city, if Abraham would find fifty, forty, and even 10 righteous people in the city of Sodom? So I believe the faithfulness of God will prevail in Nigeria and Nigeria will be great again because we have many righteous people in Nigeria.

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