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Otò ge: Why Governor Abdulrahaman Abdulrazaq enjoys massive support in Kwara

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By Anjolaoluwa Folajimi

For several years, late Chief Olusola Saraki, Waziri Ilorin reigned supreme in the Kwara State politics. From the second republic down to the present democratic dispensation, his name made or marred the political fortune of many aspirants in the State.
His political clout transcend over three decades. The political legacy “Oloye” remained unrivalled until 2019 when the “Oto ge” Tsunami put an end to the political influence been enjoyed by the Sarakis in Kwara State politics.

With a change in government, courtesy of the “Oto ge” revolution, a political “greenhorn”, under the platform of All Progressives Congress (APC), Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq emerged as the Governor of the State of Harmony. The new Kwara helmsman, a consumate businessman is the son of the first lawyer from the Northern Nigeria, late A.G.F AbdulRazaq, SAN.

Though not known in the political landscape of the state and by extension, the country, Abdulrazaq was fully prepared for governance, having contested and lost the Governorship seat in 2011 under the defunct Congress of Progressive Change (CPC), he has attended to the demand of the office since May 29, 2019 with total zeal, dedication and commitment. A focused and committed leader, the 7th executive Governor of Kwara State in the less than two years on the saddle, has changed the narratives of governance in the State. A development that has endeared him to the people in the 16 local government areas of the state. Not even his political detractors and the oposition can denied the fact that the 61 year old Governor has turned the face of governance, delivered dividend of democracy, give purposeful leadership to the state and written his name on the hearts of Kwarans with indelible ink.

Despite the rot in the system and the downturn of the economy, Abdulrazaq has brought his ingenuity to bear in turning the almost comatose fortune of the state back of its heels.

In the words of Ambassador Nurudeen Mohammed, a Chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress and Nigeria’s immediate past Ambassador to Malaysia, “Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq remains a man of the people and he stands tall as a man of honour among the majority of our party members in the state, in spite of the unfair demarketing campaign launched against his administration by some party chieftains and their co-travelers in the opposition. This is not by chance. Not only has the Governor demystified the office of Governor with his uncommon humility, simplicity, and prudence, he has redefined the story of our state in many positive ways. Whether in health, education, road, or water, the Governor has touched lives in many ways never seen before. He has strategically taken governance to the people such that there is no electoral Ward in the state that cannot point to one or two things that they have benefited in just 18 months of his administration.

“A modest and humble personalty, the Governor who has driven his own private car since day one of his administration to date. Here is a Governor who lives in his own house till date. Here is a Governor who is not taking salary. Here is a Governor who is willingly opening up his government for accountability through the phenomenal social audit process. Here is a Governor who just wants to deliver his campaign promises to the people, despite the biting economic realities. Here is a Governor who gives every part of the state a fair sense of belonging by always identifying with them in time of cultural celebration or mourning, and extending government’s patronage to every segment of the state. Today, Kwara is a model state on the continent in youths and women inclusion in government.”

The retired diplomat rated the Governor high in the health sector. According to him, the health sector of the state has received about the highest priority even before the advent of Covid-19 pandemic.

Mohammed further said, “the administration has started rehabilitation works across dozens of decrepit primary healthcare facilities. Long-abandoned routine immunisation and vaccination is back. For the first time, Kwara now has isolation centres equipped with modern gadgets like ventilators, defibrillators, patient monitors, and others. Its oxygen plant has been revived. For the first time, the state now has ambulances with capacities to manage patients in critical conditions on the go. Indeed, Kwara is now listed as A-list state in healthcare sector.”

The story of education sector of the state has continue to beat the imagination of Kwarans. Priority attention was accorded the sector, which had hitherto suffered neglect by previous administrations leading to the state been blacklisted from accessing from the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) fund for more than seven years before his advent as the Governor.
It is on record that Kwara State under Abdulrazaq, has accessed a backlog of N7.1bn UBEC counterpart funds with a matching grant of N7.1bn to gradually reposition the schools. Aside from the upcoming UBEC intervention, the state on its own is carrying out renovation works in at least 43 basic schools. With the UBEC funds in the kitty, no less than 600 basic schools are to get facelifts while teachers are also to be trained.

Worthy of commendation is the transparent process of recruiting 4701 qualified and competent teachers into our public primary, junior and senior secondary schools in the State.

Abdulrazaq’s developmental efforts are not limited to public institutions. In the wake of the novel Covid-19 pandemic, he extended his hands of kindness to Proprietors of 1,119 privately cowned schools in the state. Soft loan were given to help cushion the effects of the pandemic due to shutdown on public places on their schools and teachers.

Recalling Governor Abdulrazaq intervention in the provision of portable water, Hon. Abdulmumin Katibi, a one time member of Kwara State House of Assembly said, “in May 2019, water tanker was the source of potable water in most parts of Ilorin, the capital city, even in the Government House. Today, Pipe-borne water is back and stable in the metropolis while nearly 500 boreholes have either been dug or rehabilitated across the state. No fewer than nine water works have been fixed since this Governor came on board while contracts for more have been awarded. With water situation being tackled, Kwara is keying into the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), a key component of the Sustainable Development Goal 6 to promote hygiene and end open defecation. Under this scheme, many schools and hospitals across the state would now for the first time get tap water and pour-flush toilets.”

Urban and rural road infrastructure since Governor Abdulrazaq assumed office has continued to receive attention. The administration has fixed over 100 rural and urban roads/culverts/bridges. Many agrarian communities are now getting standard roads, those hitherto cut off from civilisation are being linked, while at least 500 rural roads are to be fixed under the World Bank-enabled Rural Access and Agricultural Marketing Project (RAAMP) arrangement for which the administration had earlier paid counterpart funds. These road projects are spread across the senatorial districts, deliberately linking agrarian areas to the urban centres.

Modelled after President Buhari’s Social Investment Programme, Kwara State Social Investment Programme (KWASSIP) is the Governor’s multi-faceted and nonpartisan response to the question of extreme poverty and government’s poor attention to the vulnerable. Under the scheme, at least 21,623 petty traders have accessed soft loans to stay afloat while over 10,000 transporters who could not work during the COVID-19 lockdown were supported. Similarly, already-enumerated 10,000 vulnerable and poor senior citizens, from age 60, are now getting monthly stipends under what would be the state’s first ever institutionalised social protection scheme.

The scheme is also offering free digital training to young people to help them cope in the new economy. Over 3000 persons received training in July last year while 10,000 more are undergoing a richer version of the course in the second phase of the programme in conjunction with Wootlab Innovation and Grow With Google. A total of 30,000 young people are billed to benefit from the training within three years.

It is on record that the federal government has indeed hailed Kwara State’s version of the Owo Isowo (TraderMoni) for its innovative features, such as the inclusion of BVN of the beneficiaries. This is just a few of the many interventions Governor Abdulrazaq has made to lift our people out of purverty. The interesting thing about him is that he sees governance as an affair that transcends party loyalty, and this explains why he has become so popular with the masses, to the chagrin of his traducers!

To achieve the desired transformation in the State, Governor Abdulrazaq’s administration has positively changed the narrative of staff welfare in the state civil service. There is now regular payment of salary. No more percentage payment and promotion of staff has resumed while arrears of salaries and allowances dating back to as far back as 2012 are now being paid. Besides, pensioners now enjoy regular payment of pensions. A sustainable arrangement for payment of gratuities on monthly basis has now been put in place.

However, the unprecedented achievements recorded within this short period is now being threatened by some self serving political leaders, with dangerous sense of entitlement, greed and lust for personal gains are out to forment trouble.

It is a known Convention in the ruling All Progressives Congress that the Governor of a state is the leader of the party in the state. This explained why the likes of Minister of Information, Lai Labode, his counterpart, Minister of State Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki and Akogun Oyedepo have failed in their bid to highjack the party machinery from the Governor.

Despite a well sustained campaign of caluminy by this set of individuals, the political rating and public perception of the Governor continue to assume a constant rise.

An instructive development was the recent endorsement of Governor Abdulrazaq by the kinsmen of the Information Minister from Irepodun Local Government area of the state. Lai Mohammed kinsmen and APC leaders who publicly identified with the Governor include former Kwara State Commissioner for Information, Oloriewe Raheem Adedoyin, a member Kwara State House of Assembly, Hon. Tayo Awodiji, Deputy Chief of Staff, Government House, Princess Bukola Babalola, Prince Shuaib Olanrewaju, Barr. Teju Ogintoye, Gen. Lasisi Abidoye(rtd), Elder Agboola Adewumi, Conrade Ben Dintoye, Alhaji Raheem Olokoba, Prince Samuel Alebiosu, Mrs. Deborah Aremu, Gen. Lasisi Abidoye(rtd), Mrs Shade Omoniyi, Chief Raphael Awotunde, Mr. Yomi Adeboye, Mr. Femi Ajibade, Dr. Sule Popoola, Mr. Debo Adeleke, Hon. Azeez Yakubu and others.

Declaring their support for the Governor at a Press Conference recently in Ilorin, the Minister’s kinsmen through their spokesperson, Hon. Olabanji Olayemi, who is also the Chairman, Kwara South caretaker committee, was quick to refer the Minister to some laudable projects of the Governor in their area. The projects include, “the completion of Taiwo Road, Omu Aran-Esie Museum Road asphalt lay, renovation of court building in Omu Aran, free surgery, state government social investment programmes such as Owo Arugbo and Owo Isowo, comprehensive renovation and construction of additional facilities in Oro Grammar School, Oro.

“Renovation of block of 3 classrooms with an office and store, GSS, Omuaran, renovation of a block of 4 classrooms, CHS, Ajase-Ipo, renovation of a block of 4 classrooms and workshop building, Esie/Iludun Technical College, renovation of examination Hall, GSS, Omu Aran, renovation of a block of Laboratory, PMC, Oro-Ago, and many mores.”

In their verdict, Olayemi said, “In the light of the enumerated achievements of the governor in Irepodun LGA, it is not difficult for us to publicly declare unequivocal support for His Excellency, Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, the Governor and our party leader in Kwara State.”

The voice of people of Irepodun is on a daily basis being re-echoed from all the nooks and crannies of Kwara State. If in less than two years, Governor AbdulRazaq has recorded these milestone achievements spread across all the wards in the state, no sooner than later, he may emerge as the new political force that will dominate the political horizon of Kwara State for long.

Folajimi is a member of APC in Kara state.

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Opinion

But This Peter Obi, Can He Win?

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By Idang Alibi

Some will say: ‘’But why is the man so stingy? Our country is bad and if you don’t give Nigerians money and Atiku and Tinubu give them, they will vote for either of the two candidates’’. Why does he not want to give money to poor, hungry Nigerians? Does he not feel pity for them?’’

As an ‘Obidient’, loyal, faithful and committed follower of Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, I try to market my man at the slightest opportunity and in 4 out of 5 cases, the question they ask you is: ‘’Yes, I acknowledge that of the four main candidates, he is just the best. But this Peter Obi, man can he win?

“Is that your main problem?’’ I ask. ‘’Yes’’, some say say in response.

I quickly return to my marketing pitch as I realise that my question was too confrontational. A good marketer should not be unnecessarily argumentative especially when he encounters anyone who sounds like a potential patroniser of his ware. So I say to my potential client: ‘’The man can win if doubters like you who believe in his ability and suitability vote for him even if you believe that his geography, his tribe, his religion or anything else and any other factor can hinder him’’.

‘’Are you sure his Ibo brothers and sisters will vote for him to win?’’ some will fire back at you and continue with their tirade: ‘’I don’t trust the Ibos when it comes to politics. Have you heard what some Ibo leading lights have said about Obi’s candidacy and his chances of winning? some will add.

‘’Bros, is that your problem?’’ you ask in frustration, falling back to your bad salesmanship mode again before you quickly regain yourself and launch back into good salesmanship by adding: ’’Are you not a Nigerian and old enough to remember our recent history? We have a good example behind us. In 1998 President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Yoruba people did not vote for him. The rest of us Nigerians voted for him and he won and became our president. If we do the same for Obi, and the Ibos reject him, the man will win and become our president. And since we all agree that he is the best of the four main contenders, let us ignore what the Ibos or anyone else will do, cast our votes dutifully for him and it will be our joy to have him as president to the disappointment of his critics and haters’’.

Seeing the conviction in your pitch and person, some of them will soften up, look for a much more comfortable place to sit down

and engage you in further discussion of the Nigerian situation whereby a people who are desperately in need of a good man to lead them will see an obvious good man and begin to bring all sorts of arguments that will lead their country to ignore that good man every body sees before them.

Some will say: ‘’But why is the man so stingy? Our country is bad and if you don’t give Nigerians money and Atiku and Tinubu give them, they will vote for either of the two candidates’’. Why does he not want to give money to poor, hungry Nigerians? Does he not feel pity for them?’’

‘’But can’t you see that Peter Obi is the most compassionate of the serious candidates?’’ You fire back to retain the attention of your potential customer. ‘’I wish you can see that it is just that he does not believe that that is the way to show compassion. He believes you do not want to bribe people to vote for you. It also means that he is not desperate at all to win. His attitude shows him as the most honest and truthful among the candidates. You can’t promise to do a good thing later by doing a bad one now to please some people’’.

‘’But speaking realistically, can this our Peter Obi win? Tinubu will rely on Yoruba ‘parapo’ and party solidarity to clean the South West and the votes of committed party men from across the country, including some die-hard party men in Ibo land, Obi’s supposed strong hold. And Atiku is likely to rely on tribal, regional and zonal sentiments to harvest votes in largely the northern hemisphere of Nigeria. And for our Obi, the momentum in his favour is largely fired by the youth of Nigeria, sorry, the youth of Southern Nigeria ,which comes and stops somewhere in Kogi state and the support from the East, his strong base. But even the hoped for support based on the invocation of ‘’Igbo Kwenu’’ cannot be solidly relied upon, knowing the Igbos and their political behavior. Where is that magic wand that will deliver victory for Obi?’’ a persistent inquirer will argue.

‘’Well, the way I see things, nothing can be so clear cut as the division in the country for and against Obi. Our nation is yearning for a change and there are some who say that we should continue with the existing dysfunctional order. That is the division. To appreciate this division the more, let me clear one misconception about the support base of Obi. Right now, Obi’s appeal is not limited to the young and the young at heart. No. it cuts across all ages, regions and class. For example, I the writer of this piece, I am not young or young at heart. I will be 62 in the next one and a half months. And there are millions of persons like me in the country who support Obi either openly or in secret’’, you say in reply.

And continue: ‘’What I think of other Nigerians and me who support Obi is that we are aggrieved Nigerians. Sorry, we are very angry Nigerians. We think that our country has been misgoverned for too long and we want an end put to that right away. We think that our country can be better governed. We also think that right now, it is Peter Obi of all the serious candidates, who sound like one who has the ideas and passion about what we need to do to change our country’s circumstances. That is why we are supporting him’’.

‘’The division I am talking about in our country is between those who say there should be change and those who are already milking and hemorrhaging the country who believe we should go with Tinubu, Atiku or Kwankwaso. The trouble we have is that we are in a majority but those of them in the minority seem to be more powerful than us. They have the money which we don’t seem to have. But the contest in 2023 is not going to be decided by money but by principle and a determined stand on it; it is about our fidelity or the lack of it to that principle’’.

‘’The idea we should keep harping on is this: ‘’if millions of us already believe that Peter Obi is a good candidate but the small problem is that with the platform he has adopted and our entrenched negative political behaviour, we have doubts whether or not he can win. But what if we decide that with these doubts, we will nevertheless go ahead to vote for Obi, is it not possible that we might win?

In 1988, the charismatic USA Black leader, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, mounted a bid for the USA presidency. There was a particular enthusiastic chants that followed him everywhere urging him to run. It said: ‘’Run! Jesse, Run!, Run! Jesse, Run! Run! Jesse, Run! If you run, you may win. But if you don’t, you are guaranteed to lose’’!

What do we and our hero and hope bearer, Obi, stand to lose? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Let Obi go ahead to run with confidence and enthusiasm. And let us get ready with our PVC to vote him in. if each party plays its role, it is possible that Obi might win. And all of us shall be happy thereafter’’ you end your breathless lecture/ argument.

 

 

 

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Opinion

When PEOPLE POWER is activated, STRUCTURES crumble

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By Tony Ekata

DO YOU KNOW?

When PEOPLE POWER is activated, STRUCTURES crumble. It happened in South Africa. It happened in Pakistan. It happened in F rance. It happened in Ukraine.

Volodomyr Zelensky, a lawyer and comedian, was a political outsider before he became Ukrainian president. His political party, Servant of the People, named after a TV series in which he played the role of Ukrainian President, was formed in 2018 with no structures anywhere except on social media where he was considered the frontrunner in opinion polls after he declared his intention to run for President in December 2018.

In 2019, he contested against political juggernaut, incumbent President Petro Poroshenko, and won with 73.23 percent. Not only that, but his party also won a landslide victory in the snap legislative election held shortly after his inauguration as president. What was his trump card? He positioned himself as an anti-establishment and anti-corruption figure, a hot selling point for a people already sick and tired of corruption in high places.

Does that ring a bell? Nobody gave Zelensky, a comedian, a chance against the onslaught of Russia’s hard nut former KGB boss Vladimir Putin. He has led his people in the battle against Putin from the front, unlike some Generals, who would be bunker-bound at the threat of rag tag bandits.
Imran Khan, the renowned Pakistani cricket star had no significant political structure when he was voted Prime Minister in 2018. He rode to power on the populist approach that emphasizes the idea of juxtaposing the people against the elite.

Emmanuel Macron was a banker and civil servant before he became President. His only political experience was as a senior adviser to President Francois Hollande and later as Minister of the Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs between 2014 and 2016. In April 2016, he formed the En Marchel centrist political movement.

By May 2017, he contested and was elected President, beating serial presidential contestant and seasoned politician, Marine Le Pen, with 66.1 percent of the vote. He was only 39 years old, which made him the youngest President in the history of France.

A month later, in the June 2017 French legislative election, Macron’s party, renamed La République En Marche (LREM), secured a majority in the National Assembly. Those legislators belonged to the traditional parties with decades of structure. They saw the need to realign with progressive forces and did the needful. That is how rational human beings behave.

Now, the response of the naysayers to the above is quite predictable. They are going to say, ‘Nigeria is different!’. Exactly! Nigeria is the poverty capital of the world, courtesy the same grandfathers that will not allow their children and grandchildren with modern ideas to lead.

Those basing their 2023 permutations on stereotypical variables should hear this: What happened in Soweto in June 1976 happened at the Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, Nigeria, in October 2020. Nigerian youths dared security forces and spoke in one voice, amplified by the social media, to say enough is enough to the mindless killing of youths on flimsy grounds.

#ENDSars was born! It reverberated around the world. It rekindled separatist agitations. It may not have achieved its purpose for various reasons. But it would be foolhardy to presume that #ENDSars is dead. We can already see its reincarnation in the OBIdient Movement.

The choice for the electorate in 2023 is not between Atiku, Tinubu and Obi. It is between continuing to live in bondage and making a fresh start. It is between disgruntled Nigerians and the hegemonic predators. It is between purveyors of the oppressive status quo and hitherto apathetic youths and students bent on taking the country back from the leaders of yesterday and today, using the people’s money to pave the way for them and their children and grandchildren to remain the leaders of tomorrow.

For those saying social media cannot elect a President, they are very correct. But at the same time, they are missing the point. It’s the people that will elect a President using social media to get people to register and change the perception of registered voters. Is that not happening already? That you are in PDP or APC does not mean you must vote for those parties. Party membership cards are not demanded at polling booths before the casting of ballots. Buhari rode partly on social media hype as MR INTEGRITY to Aso Rock in 2015. It was on social media the hooey that NEPA bill is better than PhD was sold and bought. Millions of votes cast for Buhari in 2015 by registered voters were not for the APC. They were for Buhari based on the perception created that he was the long-awaited messiah. They were protest votes against PDP and GEJ and their perceived 16 wasted years and cluelessness.

The unprecedented interest in who becomes Nigeria’s next President is symbolised by the OBIdient Movement. Whether it succeeds or fails in 2023 is not the issue. For sure, Nigeria is entering a new era of political activism. If Obi fails in 2023, it is Nigeria that will fail – again! It is an unfathomable irony that Nigerians agree that there is a dire need for a redirection of the country but want to leave the reins in the hands of morally deficient operators who contributed actively to steering it into the present morass.

So, if you want Nigeria to win, help build the superstructure needed for the victory. Talk to your friends, neighbours and family members. Let them know the absurdity in taking money from politicians to make their children and grandchildren slaves to the politicians’ children and grandchildren. Nigeria is made up of families, not political structures!

(Tony Ekata is a South Africa-based Communications consultant and Public affairs analyst)

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Opinion

FROM SAK TO CHIK: AN ESSAY ON CLASSICAL LEADERSHIP FAILURE By UMAR ARDO, Ph.D

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In 2015, the campaign slogan of APC’s presidential candidate, Mohammadu Buhari, was ‘APC SAK’.

By this, Buhari was urging the electorate, especially of Northern Nigeria, to vote APC all through from top to bottom. In return, he promised that the ensuing APC government he would head will solve the teething problems of the country.

Specifically, he named economy, insecurity and corruption as priority areas. From one campaign lecture to the other, the APC presidential candidate was hard on the PDP, accusing the then governing party of destroying the fabric of the Nigerian society in its 16 years rule. Understandably, majority of the electorate believed him and, particularly the electorate of Northern Nigeria (except for the lone state of Taraba), voted ‘APC SAK’.

At the return of all election results, APC won the presidency, 24 state governors and almost 2/3 seats in the National and State Assemblies. Thus, Buhari was elected president; and by that, Nigerians had fulfilled their own side of the social contract. Having been installed to power, it is then the turn of President Buhari, as head of the APC regime, to fulfill the promises made to the Nigerian electorate.

But more than seven years in office, with less than a year to go, it is clear that the President Buhari-led APC Administration has failed to fulfill its core promises. The facts are indisputable.

To start with, the economy has not improved; rather, it virtually collapsed. The national Gross Domestic Product (GDP), representing the total value of all economic activities in the country, has nosed-dived and remained down, pushing the country into almost a state of permanent recession. With the value of the naira plummeting to an exchange rate of N610 to $1 today, and the resulting inflation sending many Nigerians below poverty line into state of deprivation and destitution, Nigeria is pronounced the poverty capital of the world.

On insecurity, the situation is no better. In fact, like the economy, things have gone from bad to worse. Not only that the dreaded Boko Haram insurgency is still rampaging, pillaging and killing like never before, thus belying government’s claims of ‘technically defeating’ the terrorist group, but also the group has grown in power and influence, transforming into what is now known as The Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP). From its main base in the Lake Chad region, ISWAP has intensified its fierce and deadly guerrilla war, carving a territory to itself, setting up governance, imposing levies and taxes, facilitating commerce and cultivating support among local inhabitants.

In addition, banditry, kidnappings, internecine communal genocides, cultism, highway robberies, militancy, and violence of unimaginable propositions have become common phenomena in virtually all states of the federation, overwhelming the country’s security system.

To all intents and purposes, nobody and nowhere is safe as there is practically no governance in all rural communities across the country. Recognizing this fact, many communities and states of the country had to establish their own local militias and security units to protect themselves. Consequently, Nigeria is ranked No.3 on the list of world’s most terrorized nations.

The same failure is as well evident in the fight against corruption. With the appointment of Ibrahim Magu, the head of the EFCC, the key anti-corruption agency, in contravention of the law, the fight against corruption started on a wrong footing.

On account of security reports accusing him of corruption, thus denting his moral integrity to prosecute the war, the senate declined to confirm his nomination as required by law. Still, the president put him in office for about five years, thus calling to question the sincerity of the administration’s commitment to fight corruption. Not surprisingly, Magu himself ended up being further accused by his supervising minister, Abubakar Malami, of re-looting recovered corruption loots and ignominiously removed from office. In effect, the twin evils of bribery and corruption continued to thrive unabated under the Buhari-led APC regime. Hence, all over the country, persons on corruption allegations and charges are roaming about free. Many have even bribed themselves back into public offices either in elective or appointive capacities.

There are also widespread outrageous opened displays of stupendous wealth by several serving public officers, the president’s family members and close associates, hitherto living from hand to mouth, suggesting corrupt enrichments within the new government. Nigeria today is ranked as world’s fourth corrupt nation on the index of Transparency International.

Aside from these core issues, there are also many other aspects of our national life that have similarly deteriorated under the Buhari administration, principal of which is ethical decay. What is morally wrong, has today become politically right. Hence, public operators, elective, appointive and bureaucratic, have become society’s nouveau rich and being celebrated for that. One needs not list instances, for they are endless!

For a regime that promised so much and delivered so little on all scores, the bloom, as botanists would say, is well off the roses in its garden.
This dismal failure to deliver, in my opinion, is as a result of six major failings in leadership.

First, there is incapacity to provide strong and decisive leadership by President Buhari himself. Even though the regime’s apologists would tend to blame these failings on the enormity of the misdeeds of past regimes, or the dislocated structures of our society, the real reason is lack of leadership’s firmness, confidence and direction from the president. Almost any problem can be successfully resolved if there is effective leadership at the top. All that is required is the force of personal leadership, and this is manifestly lacking in President Buhari.

After nearly six years on the saddle, a clearer pattern of the president’s leadership style is deducible. He can rightly be termed as a passive leader – one who allows problems to solve themselves, refusing to intervene even when it is absolutely necessary!

Given that problems don’t solve themselves, it ultimately requires direction and prodding of the leadership. Principles and practices of good leadership demand for one dominant unifying purpose – i.e. to facilitate clear decisions and enable prompt, efficient execution of those decisions!

Yes, some degree of collective decision-making of the cabinet on critical national issues is necessary, but such collective decisions still need a single leading mind that keeps close control and supervision of the overall strategic objectives and direction of government. This entails the leader taking full charge and responsibility for the act and outcome of whatever events government sets in motion. Where this is lacking then there is a problem. And this is simply absent in President Buhari’s leadership.

Second, even in organizing for collective decisions, President Buhari exhibits another serious leadership deficit. Over the years, it became all too clear that there is lack of harmony and coordination among the various segments and agencies of the executive organ headed by him. There have been conflicts and acrimony among members of the government that affected the regime’s general output.

In all these, the president prefers to let his appointees thrash out issues and settle differences and disagreements themselves, with minimum or no intervention from him. This is a wrong approach to leadership, as harmony and cooperation are bench phrases for a successful government, the role of the leader in ensuring this condition is essential.

Third, President Buhari seems to have little value for ideas and innovations. The essence of collective decision-making in a government is to aggregate various ideas from cabinet members with a view to evolving the best policy option for problems at hand. As we all know, there are plenty of good ideas out there if only they can be listened to and harnessed into use by the leadership. But the president has proven to be a non-listening leader.

This explains his rebuffing of all genuine and well-meaning calls on him to amend his ways on certain national issues. He even alienated ideas of his key appointees through his misconceived directive to his Cabinet Ministers to pass through his Chief of Staff in dealing, communicating and meeting with him. Needless to say, this is a bureaucratic process that will deliver nothing but mediocrity. A serious leader must evaluate and guide firsthand the initiatives of his appointees.

In a situation where another appointee becomes responsible for evaluating and deciding on policy initiatives of other appointees, not only an unnecessary bureaucratic bottleneck is created but the process also diminishes the zeal, confidence and energy of the appointee concerned, ultimately hindering the general policy outputs of government. Naturally, this lack of direct evaluation and guidance of the president on the initiatives of his appointees will render the government slow, weak and bankrupt in ideas, and in policy formulation and implementation. Consequently, nothing will be properly or usefully designed and decided, as all initiatives and energy are paralyzed. Under such a situation nothing much can be achieved.

Fourth, whatever efforts put forth by other members of the government are mired in confusion from the outset owing chiefly to lack of good understanding of the real issues at play, thereby resulting in poor policy options and choices. The reason being that most of the personnel appointed do not fit the offices they occupy. Sourcing the right personnel to occupy key offices of government is no doubt important, but the refinement of the personnel to fit the offices they are assigned to is even more important.

To this end, sufficient thought ought to be given in matching the character of the individual appointee with the demands of the office assigned to him or her. In this, President Buhari also failed measurably. A purposeful leadership must always have its policy makers strive to conceive and implement new initiatives so as to create and maintain positive momentum for the government. And this can only happen if the right persons hold the right offices.

The fifth failing in President Buhari’s leadership style is temporization. The president hardly takes decision on virtually every issue. In fact, it looks as if the president hates taking decisions at all until compelled to do so. We have seen that in him time and again on even the most serious issues, including the formation of his cabinet, acting on corruption allegations against his appointees, changing his Service Chiefs, injecting capable hands into government, etc. Not that long period of procrastination necessarily gives cause to taking right decisions, or decisiveness leads to taking bad decisions, but temporization is hardly a virtue in the books of leadership.

In fact, as the saying goes, the more easy it is for a leader to do nothing, the harder it is for him to achieve anything. A good leader must be decisive; he must abhor procrastination, temporization and equivocation. A critical virtue of an effective leader is ‘to ponder, then act and take full responsibility’. We have seen this virtue in President Obasanjo; for whatever may be said of Obasanjo’s leadership faults, he was undoubtedly, to his eternal credit, at least a decisive leader. President Buhari is not!

Sixth, arising from all the above, there is lack of strategic imagination on the need to and ways of breaking out of this stalemate. These latter failings are directly related to the first – leadership failure at the top!

These manifest deficiencies, other than bringing the country to a complete halt (Chik), are both unsuited to the active requirements of a country in dire need of peace, economic growth and political stability, and uninspiring, discouraging and disappointing to zealous and devoted politicians, intellectuals, bureaucrats, patriotic citizens, etc. who are eager to see Nigeria leap forward into a developed world in the 21st century.

I concede, however, that consequences of leadership failure may vary with the severity of the situation on ground. If, for example, institutions in the polity are strong and social conditions fairly stable, like in the United States, leadership failure may not be so disastrous.

We have just seen that in President Donald Trump’s leadership failures. But if the polity is weak with fragile institutions, demanding drastic changes and innovations to fix, like the Nigerian situation now and in 2015, under such circumstances, failure to provide strong, visionary and inspirational leadership to actively lead the country through the needed changes would be catastrophic.

But in both instances, leadership failure erodes a key characteristic of effective governance – trust! Good leadership creates conditions of trust by making clear mission and achieving it. Failures therefore erode people’s trust and make it impossible for the leader to succeed. Therefore, without a drastic change on the part of citizens against their condescending attitudes to such leadership failings, I am afraid will continue wobbling till it crashes to the ground.

And Buhari’s presidency will be for Nigeria just another eight years of squandered time and resources that offered no solutions for salvaging the country, redeeming and securing her future. The regime will be, as Aristotle, the great Greek philosopher, would say, “like a cloud that passes on without dropping rain”.

This is where SAK has brought us all to – CHIK!

*** Opinions expressed in this article do not represent the views of SunriseNigeria, but wholly of the writer.

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