By Obiotika Wilfred Tochukwu
The problem we have in our country Nigeria is just one. Democracy is not a problem in itself; neither practicing it. The problem lies in the thought and mindset of our political leaders. Politics and Governance have a different meaning for African leaders. There is a problem with Africans and their leaders. It is not just ordinary, like the troubles, problems and difficulties we experience daily as human beings. It is a complex issue and rather complicated.
A wise Nigerian has said, ‘No country can progress if its POLITICS is more profitable than its INDUSTRIES. In countries where those in government are richer than entrepreneurs, they manufacture poverty.” How long will it take African countries to develop? Political leaders in Africa visit Europe and America and see the level of order, development and civilization in those countries yet they could not translate what they have seen as a blueprint or map for African emancipation. It really justifies the assertion that there is something inherently wrong with the black man.
Every day in Africa, we view pictures, images of beautiful cities in Europe, America and Asia. One keep wondering when Africa and the developing countries will come to that stage of development. Most people in Africa rely on the hope of a beautiful city, decorated with gold in heaven. It is not bizarre that the Bible gave such assurance about the Four-Square City but life in Africa and developing nations could be hell and dreadful. Civilization does not just preclude infrastructural development; it involves the training of the mind and character as well. There are philosophical books on how Europe underdeveloped Africa.
We could find a glimmer of light after reading such works. But there is a sincere question we must ask ourselves: The pre-colonial era is over. The time of colonization of Africa has come and gone. Yet, we see far greater underdevelopment during the post-colonial period than it was when the colonial masters held sway.
Sometime in the past, a good number of Nigerians fought for the end of the Apartheid Regime in South Africa. However, good number of Nigerians are wishing that it would have been better for them if the white man was at the helm of affairs up to 1990s and that would equal a greater turnaround growth and development.
Anyone can recall what occupied the political space in Nigeria from 1963 – 1999. The political tension, power tussle and killings, Nigeria witnessed even the Nigerian- Biafran war may not have taken place if we were still in the hands of the colonial masters.
History books teach us that there was a scramble and partitioning of Africa by the West. This is undeniable but that is not to say that it was what held Africa and developing countries bound and stuck. Every country or nation undergoes a process of recovery and growth but the mindset, thought, habit and behaviour of African leaders is a stud. Most African leaders have turned their countries into a goldmine. It is always about them, their family, cohorts, stooges and hangers-on.
Someone would begin to consider the fact or the reality that leaders are human beings saying; leaders make mistake and leaders fall or that every power and authority come from God who in His infinite wisdom knows why it should be so.
The aim here is not to insult African leaders. Our problem in Nigeria is deep-rooted. Do we start from budget padding, inflated contracts, kick-backs, cheating and lying in sales and invoice, unjust weight and measurements in markets, admission racketeering, sex for mark scandals, sexual harassments, malpractices in internal and external examinations, short-circuiting in God’s name, leadership tussle in church administration etc.
If the No.1 citizen in a country is showing the correct footstep and living an exemplary life, shall there be more need to say; God respects authority, pray for your leaders and don’t vilify them. Corruption is the cankerworm that has eaten deep into every facet of the society in Nigeria. The mindset of most Nigerians is twisted starting from teen years. You hear on the streets that ‘Naija’ is where anything is possible and no longer with God.
Most African leaders posses stony and hardened heart. African leaders do not believe that this our flesh and heart shall fail one day. Political leaders in Africa do not yield to the fact that mortal life shall cease some day. This is why most of them empty their country’s treasury to acquire long life from overseas doctors. Nothing improves in political governance in Africa but the health of the so called Octogenarian Leaders.
They make the citizens of their countries go through pains, loss and anguish expecting to have a life of joy and peace even comfortable retirement? They imagine vain thoughts and execute alchemies. The thought process of many elites in Nigeria is twisted because it seeks for personal aggrandizement and not for the common good.
Since the inception of democracy in 1999, Nigerians are told about the recovery of former Head of State, Abacha’s loot every blessed year. Just that the head of state died a sudden, untimely death, his loot has become inexhaustible. Politicians all over the world steal a lot of money but Nigerian politicians embezzle public funds. It’s a case of milking the country dry.
Seriously, right thinking equals acting right. What any reasonable person will never do in his right senses, government officials and the political class will say it and do it; believing that everybody is corrupt. Some preachers believe that everyone in Nigeria has the same problem and no matter who comes to power or leadership, will equally turn out to be the same. Animals like snakes,rats and birds swallow millions of naira in Nigeria. This is often reported in the media as the evidence of misappropriation by government officials. May God help us!