What dominates the minds of most Nigerians today as election draws near is a fervent wish for a true leader. A leader who will deliver us from imminent economic strangulation; one who could deploy all skills needed to set the nation on a steady path to safety and success is the utmost yearning for a Nigerian. This collective wish rose out of the glaring fact that Nigeria in the past three and half years had been mismanaged and thus, exacerbated the already sorry situation. Today, no one need to be informed that the ship is headed to the rocks in a full speed, and will sink everybody in one swoop gulp if a deliverer, a true leader fails to emerge urgently. But the question many have not entertained and which had unconsciously amplified the anxieties is the seemingly insurmountable burden of finding this true leader. Many who had offered themselves for the job either had a lot of disqualifying baggage or considered inexperienced to manage a complex society like Nigeria.
But is Nigeria actually complex, or the depth of degeneration we all had sank, had become a confusion that birthed the nomenclature, “complex?” No matter your vantage point, a look at Nigeria simply shows a nation naturally set to succeed. Some will disagree on this and maintain that Nigeria is a contraption, an artificial creation of British imperialist whose sole aim is the loot and not the interest of the amalgamated bodies. For these folks, here are what you should know. Nigeria couldn’t have existed if natural laws which are the expressions of divine will did not permit it. The existing diversity in the union mirrors the diversity in creation which is where beauty lies. And wherever there is beauty, there harmony also resides, for the two are inseparably one.
A glimpse in life has so much to reveal. When we look at the seas and oceans, they contain fishes but of different kinds. The forest housed animals but of different kinds. Humanity itself is of diverse race, colors, size and shape. United States is not homogenous and yet it thrives and flourishes as the envy of the world. A beautiful flower garden or a wreath doesn’t hold only a variety but different varieties, that in their interplay of colors beauty emanates. If all musical notes were only of a bass, no melody will resound. It is in the differences in notes when played together in harmony give rise to sounds pleasing to the ear.
It is this stuff diversity brings that Nigeria was naturally formed. And in the beginning, years after independence, Nigeria stood like a shinning city on a rock, towering in a triumphant allure. She was talked about amongst leagues of the nations and those who had not visited, left everything behind to pay homage to the giant of Africa. These were the time of great leaders such as Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, Sir Ahmadu Bello Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Sir Francis Akanu Ibiam, Ebitu Ukaiwe and Murtala Mohammed. These were the days of great pride; the time of abundance that smiles played on every Nigerian lip from dawn to dusk. There were plenty of jobs for the youths, and graduates were all hired even before their final exams. The regional states thrived on a healthy competition of surpluses. Commodities in the markets were so cheap that hunger was entirely banished from the land.
I remembered as a child how I screamed the national anthem with a devotion born of a pride in a nation that cared for the citizens. The national pledge was recited with a loyalty of a combatant general and the flag was not only a symbol of unity but it was unity itself. Every Independence Day on 1st October, we donned our best, pristine School uniforms for a match pass in loyalty to a nation that took care of us. In the evening we sat in front of television set to watch re-televised match pass in our national capital. It was here that our little hearts throbbed with joy and excitement as we beheld diversity of Nigeria’s cultural components. Every ethnic group donned in an ostentatious, flamboyant costumes and dresses and match-passed our great leaders in exchange of well-deserved salutes.
Nigeria of those days was Nigeria of great leaders! Men who kept the oath of their office and with devotion gave their best to build a common future despite differences of cultural, political and religious leanings. They were the men that believed in the youths and the country, and stopped at nothing to invest in education, a ground to equip their inevitable successors. It was a time of great boom in almost every aspect of Nigeria’s life that it never crossed anybody’s mind to leave the shore of the country. Those who traveled did so purely for education and experiences of a foreign land. These were the days of many glories.
It was really our sunny days where innovation and creativity found better platform to grow. Industries were sprouting here and there setting our commercial centers aglow. Nigerians were free to reside anywhere in the land, mixed, intermingle and fluently spoke the tongue of the native folks with no fear of being mowed down, bombed or slashed. Contractors executed and delivered, and bribery and corrupt were significantly inconspicuous, if not out rightly alien. The grasses were green and the sky was blue in Nigeria that was truly an abode of peace, joy and prosperity.
But overnight all disappeared, vanished like a mist before the heat of the morning sun and left Nigeria barren, stale and confused. Peace disappeared, joy took a flight and happiness gradually waned. The land full of milk and honey became unrecognizable. From out of the blues evil rose and set us against each other. Corruption became a new norm, a culture and like addiction afflicted almost everybody and hewed a path that would eventually become our ultimate demise.
A look at Nigeria today reveals indubitably a very sick nation in a hospice, gasping for the last breath and expecting a miracle. Since the first republic of Alhaji Shehu Shagari and Dr. Alex Ekwueme, the turbulence of the search of a democratic society had been a seemingly insurmountable adventure. With each succeeding dispensation the nation plummeted, leaving behind residues of shame and indignity. The common folks scavenge on the putrid of insatiable infamy, while at the same time hurl insults on those on top whom in their conviction brought the horrible fate upon them.
Not only that hunger crept into most household, disease and death followed. Disease and death because our hospitals had become dilapidated halls. Few that still holds some beds in them had no light, equipment and medications. Doctors sought refuge abroad and nurses are in constant exodus to Europe and America. The leaders whose job it is to ensure adequate healthcare system found excuses to seek help abroad, because in the first place, they never believed in Nigeria project. They stole the money budgeted for healthcare, schools, infrastructure, workers’ salaries, and the future of the people fizzled away.
Today, Nigeria for the leaders represents nothing more than a nabbed prey, swarm over by ravenous lions who carter away some chunks and headed for the bush. They eat and devour the nation, leaving nothing and cared for nothing! The youth whose future had become entirely bleak as a result of this, became desperate. And at every city, scam, fraud and lies reign, and the hunger to run from a place that was once an Eldorado grew feverish due to acute and chronic unemployment. Prostitution, rituals, cult, armed robbery and killing spread across the land.
In the North, Lucifer now employed the unemployed who kill in numbers and held the nation in a ruthless siege. In the middle belt, East and the south, the Youths revolt and threaten the existing union due to unbearable marginalization, injustice, looting and inexplicable provincialism seen from the crass incompetence among those who purported to lead.
There is total famine in the land; in the country blessed with black gold which had truly become her own bane. Most Nigerians are starving and not only for food but for a true leader. Someone that will take the nation back to the good old days where future is bright and families can raise their kids in plenty and peace. But here is the deal breaker: though pessimistic it might sound, but given the antecedent and the trajectory of our collective spirituality, we are asking for the impossibility. This is a truth that must not be dismissed with sentiment and false hope. Or a reality that will be upturned by babbling and prattling what supposed to serve as prayers in the hope to manipulate God against His adamantine laws in creation. As we have chosen a path so we have chosen where it leads.
The fact that most of us on earth don’t understand creation and the laws that govern it is quite sickening, and this explains our expression of hope and miracle in an apparent situation that naturally works against it. No one sows rice and harvests yam, or sows beans and reaps cassava. “What a man sows that he shall reap,” thus, the holy book recorded. If it were to be otherwise, God would not have existed. God is perfect and His laws are perfect and ensure balance and justice in creation even if you are ignorant of it. We claimed to be religious as is evidenced in countless number of churches and mosque all over the country; we call the name of God in virtually every single thing that pertains to our lives, and yet this God is whom we do not know. And this ignorance is out-and-out in the way we picture life and vain hopes we nurse over a Messianic Nigeria leader in the upcoming election.
That we pray so much, sleep in churches and call the name of God every single day, and yet things keep falling apart, is a tangible fact to pay attention to what you are doing. And if someone tells you that you are doing the wrong thing, pay attention and listen. Listen because we can’t be evil and adopt wrongdoings as a culture and expect to reap a good leader. Even if we have some good leaders currently who are among the contenders, they will naturally not be elected. Those to be elected are those who resemble us; those who are liars, corrupt, selfish and wicked. No matter how we try, we can’t get what we don’t deserve. Prof. Kingsley Moghalu may possess the blue print to help steer the ship of the nation to a safe shore, but because we don’t deserve him, he will never emerge. Whoever emerges both as president and other elective positions are those who resemble us spiritually.
I will leave you with this: if we Nigerians are good, good leaders will emerge, but if we are bad and corrupt human beings, bad and corrupt leaders will certainly emerge. As for the true leader, no nation on earth will have it. He belongs to true humanity, and He is already on the way. When he steps forth every crown on earth will be lowered to His feet.
May the good Lord help us to gain from this little insight. Amen!