Not the God some of us worship with all sincerity and commitment. Not mentioned respected Prophets in our Holy Books. Not the Saints we cherish and admire. It is those, our criminally minded in leadership that are, the culprits responsible for our suffering in the midst of plenty.
One is ‘forced’ to shade tears when penciling down, an opinion on leadership in Nigeria because failed leadership is the bane of our woes. My country is abundantly blessed but still crawling at adulthood due to the bad leadership from cluelessness and the kleptomaniacs.
Some people, nations and continents have beautiful and interesting stories to share proudly with the world. Other people, other nations and some continents have tales of shame to entertain the world with tragedies and tragic-comedies are all they can offer such as the case of my beloved country.
Our dear Nigeria does not lack gold, it does not lack oil and gas, it has tantalite in abundance, bauxite, tin and iron ore, columbite, precious stones, some of the best and fascinating waterfalls and springs in the world such as the Mambila Plateau, Farin Ruwa and Kurra falls, Yankari warm spring, Obudu resort, Wase and Olumo Rocks, friendly rich soils and determined people that are willing to give their best to Nigeria for the good of the country.
Do we need to talk about brilliant souls scattered all over the world and doing wonders in their adopted nations? Is there any need to talk about a young population that understands the ins and outs of technology and can manipulate it to our economic advantage? Is there need to point attention to the fact that when our average brains go abroad for further education, they turn out in flying colors and set the pace only to return for disappointment?
As blessed as we are with these brains, these beauties and enormous resources, we are also blessed with sadistic, selfish and corrupt leaders who, at the slightest sign of headache, rush to board the next available flight to London, India, Egypt, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Dubai or the United States for medical tourism having rendered the health sector mal-functional in where they milk dry.
We are also blessed with a political class that competes in stealing from the public till with their future generation in mind; we are fortunate enough to have men and women in positions of authorities all because they want to decorate their garages and wardrobes with the latest automobiles, designer suits, shoes and jewelries; and we are blessed with leaders who will tell us to pray over national problems they consciously created or challenges we elected them to resolve. They have forgotten that they are the cause of the problems, why should we then pray for continuity and stability of clueless and inept leadership? Why should we pray for the continued stay of vagabonds, rogues and criminals in power?
Imagine if prayers can end a situation where one of three Nigerians lives in poverty, which represents thirty-two percent of the population. Imagine if prayers can stop thirty-seven percent of children from malnutrition and squalor. Has prayers stopped the escalation of insurgency, banditry, armed robbery and kidnapping? Why? Because, of our high level of insincerity, kleptomaniac tendencies and purposelessness as a pretentious people.
Imagine if prayer can make a thing of the past, half of Nigerian population who use unsafe or unimproved sanitation. What if prayers can take Nigeria away from being 43rd on the sustainable development goal index? What about praying away the fact that poverty is concentrating in fast-growing countries like Nigeria and, by 2050, more than 40 percent of Nigerians will still be under poverty’s jackboot? If only we can use prayers to get over our slot as the country with the second highest number of deaths of children under the age of five? Alas, prayers cannot solve all those artificially created problems! But self-ordained prophets, clerics, clergies and their fellow comrades in the trade, the juju priests and Babalawos are always on the bit claiming to have the spiritual power of changing oddities for the ignorant to believe.
The United Nations International Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF) says no fewer than 250,000 children born in Nigeria die on their first day of life. The figure is the second highest in the world, according to the 2017 multi-indicator cluster survey. A child born in Nigeria today, no thanks to this ugly situation, is likely to live to the year 2074, while a child born in say, Denmark is likely to live until the 22nd century! The quality of life is a different issue entirely. Most of these children regrettably die from preventable causes such as premature births, complications during delivery, infections, such as sepsis, malaria and pneumonia. Prayers from the wretched citizens as solicited from their corrupt and sadistic leaders cannot stop all these, only policies, programmes and sincerity in implementation can.
How can a citizen denied the comfort of his wealth, be sincere in offering prayers for the stability of his short changer and who is the God to accept and honor such prayer? How can the prayers of a thief and a corrupt idiot who caused hardship to the governed be answered? Not by the God we all know that accepts only what is clean and legitimate.
Nigeria needs more investment to grow its economy at a higher rate to be able to lift 100 million people out of abject poverty and starvation not mere rhetoric and sweet political talks of deceit by the thieving leaders that have replaced investment with gift of motorcycles and used automobiles to their constituents. Prayer cannot do it. Nigeria is only growing at about two percent and, if our country continues on this way, there will be more people swallowed by poverty and the multiple effects and consequences associated.
A member representing Misau/Dambam federal constituency in the House of Representatives from Bauchi State, Hon. Bappa Aliyu said: “The investment we need is almost double what we now have. Nigeria must connect with people who want to invest in it. Agriculture, manufacturing and infrastructure are areas where we need heavy investment. We should remain open for business until we must have reduced poverty to the barest minimum like in other climes
“We must have at the back of our mind that the global market for foreign direct investment is highly competitive and to tap into it, we must position ourselves strategically. We must change the perceptions that we have oil. We must let the world know and agree that Nigeria is all about technology, agriculture, services and manufacturing”.
Governor Bala Muhammed of Bauchi State who is determined to change the narrative through the implementation of a robust economic blue-print for the state said: “Believing in the agricultural potentials of Nigeria, the Goodluck Jonathan led-government established NIRSAL to primarily support agricultural growth. The Nigeria Railway was reactivated and positioned while agriculture received a boast under the Jonathan led central government, but what do we have today? We must go back to the drawing board for better blueprints and implementation”
From further investigation, NIRSAL as an organ of the Central Bank of Nigeria is allegedly a cesspit of corruption that enjoys protection from the top in the past Buhari led-government that appeared comfortable with the worrisome situation. But what is really held back the Buhari ‘anti-corruption’ crusade from probing the operations of NIRSAL? We remain patient as Tinubu has taken over with a promise to fight corruption if it is a serious government with an eagle eye to expose those hidden scandals for sanity.
As President Buhari exited on May 29, 2023, a lot of worms are now ripe for release in virtually all the ministries, departments and agencies particularly in NIRSAL, Ecological Fund, NNPC and its subsidiaries, NIMASA, NPA, UBEC, Tetfund, Federal Character Commission, NBTE etc that may shock Nigerians to the marrow. We wait to laugh and celebrate that day of reckoning!
Governor Bala Muhammed said: “We must take advantage of the fact that we are critically important as Africa’s largest economy. We must use our longstanding relationships with countries such as the United Kingdom, Egypt, Iran, United States, Russia, Turkey and several others, to net the needed assistance and support. We must correct the notion that our economy is difficult to operate in. To have the confidence of investors in us, we must respect agreements. Contracts must be sacrosanct, a situation where change of a governments leads to policy somersault must be ended”
If we fail to do the necessary things and continue to look up to God for miracles, we shall wait in eternity. God has blessed us with brains to play our part in building ourselves not to be sycophantic and boot lickers of our tormentors subjecting the majority to accepting poverty as a way of life. Prayers can only help make our efforts better. Praying without sincerity of purpose and the required effort is bloody waste of time and foolhardy.
Finally, to those of us that believe in the existence of God. He blessed us with brains to better our lives. To invent, invest and stabilize. But, most times, we fold our hands, hire prayer warriors with stolen monies and expect God to do what He has given us power and capacity to do. Why then did He bless us with brains and good health? Our leaders have failed us! We have gone off the path of progress. What we have in most leadership positions in Nigeria today are jesters, ethno-religious jingoists and the super corrupt who corrupted their ways to leadership. 2023 should be the year for the real change if we so desire. We must hold our leaders accountable for their misdeeds. We must use our franchise to chase them out and retrieve stolen goodies through conventional ways or otherwise.
Lest I forget, I overheard some town criers shouting on top of their voices calling for prayers for peace to reign in parts of Plateau State that have been under siege by beasts of the jungle and their internal collaborators that necessitated the relocation of the Jos based General Officer Commanding (GOC) of 3rd Armoured Brigade, Nigerian Army to Mangu, epicentre of the crisis for possible restoration of peace. Peace is what we all cherish and pray to always have. But it has a price.
First, what was the remote cause(s) of the crisis rocking the foundation of Plateau State since 2021? How did it start? Who ignited the eruption of the ugly situation? If peace deserves a permanent stay on the Plateau, then those brains behind the eruption of the crisis right from the beginning should be apprehended and brought to justice including those identified communities that murdered innocent souls at Kuru, Dogo Na Hauwa, Bisichi, Kabong, Dura-Du, Maitumbi, Kantoma, Ex-Land, Mararraban Jema’a etc without a genuine cause other than ethno-religious difference.
But the fire brigade approach and attempts of shielding the original trademark owners of the crisis is not helping the restoration the wanted peace. They must be exposed for the peace efforts to appreciate. They are known, as they know that they are known for their satanic roles in the crisis.
Any other attempt is just a tea party!
Muhammad is a commentator on national issues