Accepting failed leadership as a good thing is surprisingly very well-accommodated in Nigeria. “Excuses” are the most valued tools in the hands of Nigerian leaders, their clients and their supporters. There are no excuses made by politicians at election time but when the failure of elected leaders start to become very apparent and distinct, the last resort is to go to public relations professionals to cook up the next best excuse. And too many Nigerians cannot wait to embrace it unrelentingly.
Nigerians have often heard much deception and self-deception on behalf of their leaders in the form of “the leader is a good man surrounded by bad people”. Every Nigerian leader is portrayed as a saint by his followers while those around him are categorised as worse than demons. It is not wrong to presume Nigerians are very intelligent people, thus making this case utterly inexplicable.
Then there is the deception that “leaders are innocent” in matters of governance no matter how much they loot from the system or fail the people because the “followers are responsible”. Bad governance is caused by followers not leaders? It takes true genius to blame the farmers, taxi drivers, hawkers, tailors, market traders, “everyday Nigerians”, for the failures of the political leaders in Nigeria. No wonder it is said genius is so close to madness.
Now the latest deception is “everyone wants change but no one wants to change”. As appealing as it sounds it is a sign of cowardice and failure in leadership. Good and competent bring about necessary change, at the very least, to societies and great leaders transform societies altogether. Leadership positions are nothing more than sinecures in Nigeria but that is not supposed to be case. There are many Lee Kuan Yews, Thomas Jeffersons, Lulas etc. in Nigeria by arrogation but none have come anywhere close to achieving the leadership outcomes of such named personalities.
History and common sense informs us that change is something human beings instinctively resist whatever their nationality. So why has it become a big deal in Nigeria? Up to this day there are many who believe Nigeria’s woes began with the change of the national anthem. As irrational as that may sound it is concrete evidence of a continuing resistance to nationally “settled matters”.
Good leaders are what they are because they know how to manage resistance effectively and often conquer it. People even in advanced nations have resisted free health, free education and universal suffrage, things that are beneficial to society. It took good leaders to make such projects possible and successful. Leadership failure and the customarily accepted excuses that defends it is largely responsible for the eternal “underdevelopment trap” Nigeria finds itself in. Where does the buck stop?
What is the next deception being crafted to cover up further leadership failures in the land? Maybe “if you want miracles from your leaders first produce one yourself” or “change is the responsibility of every citizen” or “ask yourself what good you have done for Nigeria today”?