Nigeria: The Anaemia of a Bleeding Nation

Nigeria: The Anaemia of a Bleeding Nation is a vivisection of the problem with Nigeria by Dr. Anthony Ohanyere N. mni. It offers a penetrating insight into the failure of leadership in Nigeria and the performances of the Nigerian leaders, past and present which Daily Mandate has offered to serialize.

In his reflection of what he captioned “Leadership Question,” the author has no kind words for Nigerian leaders. Enjoy the excerpts:

It is not contestable that those who struggled and secured our national independence did great job and are deserving of honour. However, they were the ones that threw the nation into chaos and uncertainty soon after independence. They could be likened to people who fetched precious fire from the land of the spirits, at great cost only to negligently quench same in the land of the living. Nigeria had produced nine heads of states in 11 regimes, namely Alhaji Tafawa Balewa, 1960-1966; General Aguiyi Ironsi, 1966 (six months); General Yakubu Gowon, 1966-1967; General Murtala Muhammed, 1976 (six months); General Olusegun Obasanjo, 1976-1979; 1999-2007 (twice); Alhaji Shehu Shagari, 1979-1983; General Muhammadu Buhari, 1983-1985; 2015 to date (twice); General Ibrahim Badamosi Babaginda 1985-1993; Chief Ernest Shonekan, 1993 (Interim Government (three months); General Sani Abacha, 1993-1999; General Abdulsalami Abubakar, 1999; President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, 2007-2009; Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, 2009-2015.

None of these men distinguished themselves in office; neither did any of them bring economic and industrial growth to the nation.  The various administrations were also characterized by hunger, unemployment, poverty, infrastructural decay, corruption and instability. Nigerians have lacked basic necessities which none of the leaders could fix since independence. The most unfortunate is that though some of these men emerged by elections, none of them proved himself to be a true national leader. Tribalism, apathy, ineptitude, nepotism and religious bias continued to dent most of the rulers. Some people have argued however that some of them could have made the difference if they had opportunity. For instance, General Murtala Muhammed had always been credited with a lot of goodwill. It is true his regime showed some promises but it was too short-lived to be assessed properly. Chief Obafemi Awolowo was correctly revered for the progress and development strides when he was the premier of Western Nigeria. His achievements in Western Nigeria is still a land mark and the Ikemba of Nnewi, Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu described his as “the best president Nigeria never had”. Although Chief Awolowo excelled as Premier, we should not forget that Western Region was only a microcosm of Nigeria.

Secondly, every objective observer of Chief Awolowo knew he had tribal inclinations. It left much to be desired how much of a national leader he would have been if he ruled Nigeria. As Vice-Chairman of National Economic Council, he initiated policies which were obviously controversial. The policies were not only a blight in his record but they largely contributed in frustrating his political career and the ambition to rule Nigeria in his later years. Great leaders are nationalistic, pragmatic and they carry the people along with them.

Another person some people had thought was to be the national hero is General Buhari. Even though he was faulted and removed during his first time in office, his profile continued to rise particularlyin the North, until he was elected in 2015. My analysis of President Buhari is that he was a greater hero out of office than in office. Many people would have continued to believe he had answers to the problems of Nigeria. Unfortunately his second coming demystified him as his performances in office have fallen below expectations. Except something extra-ordinary and dramatic happens to change the narratives, he is already going down on record as one of the worst, inept and controversial rulers Nigeria has had. His nepotism and indifference to complaints of the people of Nigeria is unequaled. Great leaders are those achievers and they strive to provide the greatest good to the greatest majority. Great leaders are those that identify and utilize great talents to achieve success, not those that covet office and misdirect commonwealth to the undue advantage of their immediate constituents.

Leadership challenge has become an African pathological problem. Across the continent, people struggle for power not because of opportunity it offers them to serve the people and bring progress to humanity but because of the glamour of office and personal glory. It is for this reason that most African leaders go to the extreme attempting to perpetuate themselves in office. With the present culture of impunity and disregard for core values prevailing in the country, it seems to me that the search for these ideal leaders will be prolonged. The structures that will produce them are also not in place either.

By Dr. Anthony Ohanyere N. mni

For copy of Nigeria: Anaemia of a Bleeding Nation, call: 08033466150

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