Nigeria’s Unprepared Leaders – And Our Weakest Link

Nigeria’s Unprepared Leaders – And Our Weakest Link

Nigeria as a country has no clear strategic objectives upon which all the citizens can unite to accomplish. However, the political leaders do, from the local to the federal levels. The singular  objective for most politicians is to hold a political power. Once that politician ascends into that position, he/she has accomplished everything; the work to be done is irrelevant. This statement holds at local, state and federal levels.

After all, when debates were called, many politicians did not show up. The argument was this: being a nice speaker does not make you a better leader. Nonsense. In Secondary School, I was a school library prefect and was typically sent to moderate debates. My rule was this: you must give me at least a day notice to help me prepare; it was important I was knowledgeable on the debate topic. Certainly, you do not want the juniors to mess you up!

In Nigeria, nothing is thought out and people get elected without ever seriously thinking over the issues they will deal with, on assumption of offices.  In U.S. before you become a president, you must have met at least 50 subject matter experts as you prepare for debates on different issues. That process improves the governing system because the debate is schooling you on American kitchen table issues and beyond. There is no way you can become a president without understanding important things about the nation. That is preparation because debate forces you to look for better ways to win points: yes, strategy formulation in action. And if you win, you already know the best because they came around as you prepared! Magically, you can have your cabinet ready in days, not months.

Here in Nigeria, we once elected a senator (later became a governor) who thought that coke and fanta were “minerals” to boost state revenue. Had there been debates, someone would have prepared him to know that the minerals in context are iron and aluminum, not soda.

Yes, irrespective of the number of advisers, a leader needs awareness, observation and knowledge to make sense of all the noise from experts. Because we do not put leaders in positions to think over our issues, we have people that have NEVER thought over our problems to become our leaders! And once they take power, they will not have time to strategically  think because distractions scale. So what happens? They just keep running the government – give speeches, waive hands, smile in parades, shake hands , etc – but severely fail to transform the local government, state or the nation.

Until Nigeria can improve how it selects its leaders, the nation  cannot advance. A poor selection process remains our weakest link as we remain unable to engineer aspirational destinies of our local governments, states and the entire nation.

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8 thoughts on “Nigeria’s Unprepared Leaders – And Our Weakest Link

  1. Without robust intellectual discourse concerning leadership and governance, politicians don’t really know what do when they get elected. Forget the noise, it’s just hot air.

    When you debate issues and policy proposals, you are forced to learn and become aware of what it takes to govern, that is when you start separating illusions from realities.

    But again, when you have large chunk of your population suffering from both intellectual and moral bankruptcies, it becomes very complicated to get a conversation going; because by the time you debate for five minutes, everything degenerates to shouting match, with name calling and personal attacks, no substance.

    We have amalgam of CSOs and NGOs, with all kinds of labour unions, plus media organisations; yet we cannot mobilise and pressure the political parties, such that without series of debates, your party won’t be allowed to present a candidate. It’s not everything that requires legislation, with social pressures supported with digital platforms; we can really force the politicians to behave. These guys are very ordinary, yet the people keep elevating and honouring them as superhumans, even when they know next to nothing!

    We can ask each tribe to put their best foot forward, from there we can all see those capable of getting things done , when elected.

    Reply
    1. “We have amalgam of CSOs and NGOs, with all kinds of labour unions, plus media organisations; yet we cannot mobilise and pressure the political parties, such that without series of debates, your party won’t be allowed to present a candidate”. That is if we have credible ones. I heard some people are getting N100 billion to prevent them from killing others. Yet, that is a country pensioners have not been paid for years,

      Reply
    2. I like your contribution Francis. I observe that the quality of our elected leaders is gradually improving. Technocrats, intellectuals, entrepreneurs, academics, etc are getting elected and doing a little better. The future looks bright.

      Reply
  2. I couldn’t agree more prof as issues you raised struck a chord with me.We as a people have so much to work on beginning from our mindsets.There has to be a shift in paradigm for things to be done the way it should be done.I keep wondering how long our democracy would be referred to as nascent?I believe we can get it right sooner than later.

    Reply
  3. Literacy level in most states are pathetic and these politicians won’t want to see it improve because knowledge delivers people from stupidity. #Naija will Win

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