Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Bonn, Germany

Even a moron now knows that Buhari has failed (Olusegun Obasanjo)

Satisfaction begets responsibility, just as hunger begets madness (Fongot Kini-Yen Kinni)

In the absence of wake-up calls, many of us never really confront the critical issues of life (Stephen Covey)

ot too long ago, President Muhammadu Buhari berated Nigerian youths for being lazy. Speaking during a Commonwealth business forum in Westminster, London, Buhari expressed displeasure with youths in Nigeria for being dependent on revenue from oil to survive. He wondered why the Nigerian youths, about 60 percent of the population, were waiting to get social amenities free without doing anything. Hear him:

"We have a very young population and our population is estimated conservatively to be 180 million. The 60 percent of the population is below the age of 30. A lot of them have not been to school and they are claiming that Nigeria has been an oil producing country and therefore they should sit and do nothing and get housing, healthcare and education free."

That’s the paradox we’re in Nigeria. A lazy and lying president was abusing the youths of his own country. How can Buhari, who’s leading a regime that is the worst government in the history of Nigeria be the one berating Nigerian youths? There is no way a leadership will be heading backward, and the people will, collectively, be heading forward. On individual basis, there might be few who're progressing, even some of those profiting from the leadership failure might be progressing, but on the whole, the people will be kowtowing the backward leadership. The point I want to make is that Buhari has disillusioned Nigerian youths, and should blame himself for whatever bad traits he feels the youths are exhibiting.

Lazy leadership begets lazy followship. Good leaders beget responsible citizens. Nigerian leaders are not under the effective supervision of the people -- the leaders are not responsive and responsible to the people. The poor, marginalized, unreached and oppressed have allowed the leaders to be operating the way they like, and that's why things are not moving in the right direction in the country. But, from now onward, we have reasons to be positive. Buhari could be the catalyst for a positive change; he should translate into the long awaited wake-up call we need for a major change in aspirations and lifestyles in order to save Nigeria from an impending disaster.

Electing Buhari as the president, in 2015, has been a terrible thing that has happened to Nigeria, but this should also be a kind of a great opportunity for us to reinvent ourselves and Nigeria - to rethink our position about the damage bad leadership, oil, Boko Haram, Fulani herdsmen etc have done to us. There's no doubt about the rising level of frustration in the country, but the presidency, the National Assembly and the Nigerian politicians are disconnected with all these. We need a new leadership different from this dreamless, soulless and visionless one, and we, Nigerians, must make the change, and the time is now. When one starts suffering in the midst of plenty, it’s a wakeup call for us to do something.

As Rotimi Fasan noted, there is no limit to what our glaring failure of leadership would cause Nigeria. If our youths are lazy, then know that they learned it from our leaders; if our youths tend to depend on oil money, then know that they’ve been watching what our political and economic leaders are doing. There’s a saying that when a goat chews cud, the kids watch.

Let me tell Buhari that many Nigerian youths are not lazy, and the few who are, are watching his steps. A lazy president can only create lazy youths. Rather saying that Nigerian youths are lazy, Buhari should know that he’s the lazy one. Many Nigerian youths want to engage in meaningful activities but see no leadership that can make them be all they want to be. This is the situation in which Nigeria has found itself today. As Mr. Fasan also noted, ordinary Nigerians are neither sitting nor standing by idly. Everyone is looking for a way out of our hopeless situation in which the economy is grounded, workers are not paid, jobs are not available and businesses are failing. Everyone is now in the business of survival by and through any means. The path of least resistance now seems to be that of violence. Even when there are no reliable statistics available evidence around us indicates there has been an exponential spike in violent activities across the country, and we have our lazy president to thank for that.

As Sue Miley noted, a leader has a responsibility “for” and “to” the people he leads. Buhari is not taking a proactive position on developing leadership skills, and he's not feeling responsible for providing strong leadership.Buhari's poor leadership has a crippling Impact on followers, and that's why some of the Nigerian youths are lazy. Because Buhari is a lazy president, many Nigerians, including the youths, are directionless.

As there's no strong leadership in Nigeria, many feel like failures even when they worked so hard to be good followers. Buhari's poor leadership has caused the youths to feel unimportant and uncared for, and has impacted their long-term ability to trust. Because Nigeria has no leader in Buhari, the youths feel betrayed; they're having a feeling of disrespect and anger, and this is causing internal conflict and guilt. Buhari's consistent poor leadership is causing long-term damage, and that leaves the youths emotionally and spiritually scarred. Because Buhari cannot lead, so many Nigerian youths are finding it hard to articulate the direction and goal of their respective lives. They have nothing to build upon, as the government has not provided them with the pedestal.

Even Rotimi Amaechi, as a governor of Rivers State, in 2013, when he deceived us into believing that he was on the side of the downtrodden, noted that great leaders beget great followers. On October 8, 2013, at the Quintessence Ball and Awards ceremony held in Trenton, New Jersey, Amaechi noted that the difference between followers and leaders is that followers need leaders to help them follow what leaders themselves are following. This relationship takes the form of a shared response-ability to a shared calling. Both find each other in a true fellowship to create the world responsibly.

I agree with Kingsley Azuh that one of the major problems confronting the Nigerian nation today is that of good leadership and genuine followership. People believe that good leadership begets good followership because a leader is one who sets the pace for others to follow. Andrew Philips believes that progressive successes in a successive order are as a result of the foundation laid by the first man that stepped his feet on the ladder. John Maxwell from San Diego, California, says that in a lifetime, the average person directly or indirectly influences ten thousand other people. Those who are in leadership positions influence many people. In actuality, leadership caries such an incredible responsibility of making sure the followership is heading in the right direction and that the decisions the leader makes are character-based and the route he chooses is a good one.

The world in general, and Nigeria, in particular, today needs leaders that can stand in the gap and lead their people from abject poverty to better living conditions. Leaders who are not self- centred and Leaders who would listen to the cries of the down trodden in the society. It is a statement of fact that over the years, lack of genuine and accountable political leadership has brought into clear focus the estrangement of Nigerian leaders from their societies.

Apart from the fact that the current Nigerian leadership is overtly corrupt and venal, it is precisely the fact that the present Nigerian leadership cadre is uninspiring, myopic, self-serving, irresponsible and generally incredible. This simply explains why it is difficult to connect the values and aspirations of the political elites with that of the masses. Real leadership means organizing the masses and establishing credible democratic institutions through which the aspirations and sentiments of the people can be expressed. Without such active participation and mobilization, leadership is never tested nor fully accepted. When such is lacking, who can then blame any Nigerian youth for being lazy?

Kubatana, writing about a leadership that respects followers, loves the land and upholds ethics, noted that leadership remains the missing ingredient that makes or breaks nations today. Paraphrasing him, Buhari and his cohorts see leadership as “fancy-a-title” that now only serves egos; they just aspire to lead for the sake of massaging their (usually bruised) egos as seen in their narcissist traits while serving in esteemed offices; for them leadership has become an act of self-service, a "power-magnet" that edifies corrupt activities to lure more money and manipulate the often (poor) followers. When leaders lead authentically, they practice humility and trust that makes them understand that followers and those below them in the leadership hierarchy are important for the vision. It is therefore of fundamental importance to uphold moral or legal ethics in leadership because this serves as the yardstick that prevents leaders from acting irresponsibly. Leaders ought to practice authenticity, humility, and respect as they are the chief architects and models of moral ethics that beget honor in a nation. Unfortunately, Buhari is a leadership disaster and has no right to disparage Nigerian youths.

All the points I've made above ( and will still make in subsequent parts of this article) do not mean that I'm exonerating the followers. We should all blame ourselves for the bad leadership Nigeria has been known for. We have "slept" for too long. Violence is also a symptom and effect of leadership failure. Just within three years, some of those we looked upon to lead the way for the masses disappointed us, big time; and now, they are singing new songs. Obasanjo, Danjuma, Oby Ezekwesili, Gowon, Soyinka, IBB etc, who supported Buhari in 2015, are now campaigning against his re-election. What went wrong? I warned Nigerians against electing Buhari in 2015 but they chose not to listen; but, why are so many Nigerians, including the above mentioned leaders, seeing now what I saw then?

Continued in Part 2