The Failure Of Leadership

It was Chinua Achebe who said that the trouble with Nigeria is a failure of leadership. Often times, it is assumed that leadership only applies when one is an elected President or Governor. The reality is, as long as you have the power to influence even one person, you are a leader and, with leadership comes responsibility.

From the Twitter ‘overlord’ to the political activist to the ordinary voter, we are all expected to exhibit good leadership in our spheres of influence. If we don’t lead, Nigeria will continue to drift.

With regards to our current political situation, it is important to remember the context in which this all began.

Goodluck Jonathan was elected in 2011 but by January 2012, he was afflicted on all sides. There were protests against his government from all strata of leadership. The media criticised his decision to remove fuel subsidies, the Twitter ‘Overlords’ attacked his economic policies and the activists attacked corruption and his handling of the Boko-Haram war. Even when the right decisions were made, the critics would argue that he could do more. They said 7% economic growth was not enough. They said building new universities was not enough. Nothing seemed to be enough.

It is also important to note that at the time, most of the public critics said they were not being biased in their criticism. To borrow a quote, they said they were exercising their rights as ‘office of the citizen’ to put pressure on the government and demand a better Nigeria.

Fast forward to 2017, many of the voices who exercised their rights as ‘office of the citizen’ have gone quiet. They don’t seem to be outraged about corruption any more. Attacks by Boko-Haram don’t seem to generate any more outrage. Nepotism in the Government house no longer attracts condemnation. Most surprisingly, there have been no major protests about the President’s health and management of the economy.

A number of excuses have been given for the sudden calm within the storm of a governance crisis. Some have said they are ‘tired’. Others said they have given up on Nigeria and are no longer bothered. Some even pretend that nothing is going wrong.

In my view, there has been a failure of leadership.

When you use your influence to champion a cause, you have a responsibility to ensure that your candidate is behaving as promised and to challenge him if he isn’t. Journalists, activists or ‘overlords’ have numerous people who look to them for leadership in the political arena. Many of these people supported Buhari and the APC because those leaders made arguments on his behalf.

It is therefore morally irresponsible for them to wash their hands off politics and claim that they’re tired or not interested in Nigeria anymore. It’s too late for such excuses. They used their voices as leaders to campaign for him. They therefore need to use those same voices to call him to order when he’s misbehaving.

So, back to where I started. You don’t have to be an elected official to be a leader. Once you have the power to influence even one person, you are a leader and with leadership comes responsibility.

You campaigned for Buhari, now you must campaign to get him to do the right things.

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