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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