SIR: With 2023 firmly around the corner, a gale of defection sweeps through Nigeria`s political circles, battering the consciences of politicians – those who have left, anyway – while serving as the wind in the sails of those for whom politics begins and stops at bread and butter with everything put down to the next naira that can find its way into their pockets.
As Nigeria continues to stagger and stutter on what has proven a forbiddingly treacherous road to nationhood, bad leadership and complicit followership have emerged as intractable problems. Simply put, Nigeria is not blessed with good leaders. Since independence over 60 years ago, Nigeria has had the misfortune of military incursions into government. On a positive note, democracy has been in place since 1999. As grateful as Nigerians are for the gift of democracy, there is a certain ruefulness that the country has not been blessed with leaders who are able to maximize the enormous potentials of democracy to engender economic prosperity for Nigerians.
All kinds of people form the leadership of the country at various levels. There are the consummate liars whose ageless ability to describe white as black has retained their relevance in the corridors of power; there are the career sycophants whose lack of revulsion at licking any kind of boot as long as it is worn by a powerbroker keeps them gainfully employed; there are the perennial underachievers who though inept at everything else are adept at manipulating the levers of power to perpetuate themselves in office; there are the serial opportunists for whom survival is the name of the game no matter who has what baggage; then there are the heinous hypocrites who say one thing and do another while putting the system under crushing pressure. Such is the crop of leaders Nigeria is currently cursed with.
Because they lack vision, discretion and wisdom, they put the country under enormous pressure. The result has been a chilling destruction of the core values of the country which now threaten to cause the disintegration of the country.
But they are not alone in shoving the country towards the precipice. They are gleefully assisted by their extremely gullible followers. The more daring of followers reinvent themselves as thugs and tools during elections. For pittances, they allow themselves to be used for whatever hatchet job is available. The more cowardly of the followers sit back. They attend rallies, they cheer, they reinvent outlandish tales of illusory achievements with which they regale their rapt audiences about whichever politician it is they are marketing. When election day comes, they are first to sell their votes for peanuts. Nigerian politics is marked by a startling absence of ideology. For a lot of participants in the politics of the country, the way to go is whichever way the wind of opportunism blows.
The deductions are easy: if those who always put themselves out to take up public office are so utterly bereft of character and the courage of conviction, what will be the fate of those public offices when they eventually get in?
Kene Obiezu, firstname.lastname@example.org.