I must confess that my reading of the Nigerian situation is mechanistic,as i believe that Nigeria’s problem is mainly down to poor mechanics.Although Nigeria claims to be a federal state,the reality is that it is in fact,as befitting a trust-fund state,long on the unitary form of government,and short on federalism.In my own view, “Nigerianess” would largely be predicted by any state subject to Nigeria’s mechanical limitations.An arbitrary colonial joinery of many and various,mutually distrustful tribes,Nigeria proved early on that it was sheer folly to take it’s cohesiveness as a country for granted,by fighting a brutal 30-month civil war to end the secession of the Eastern part of the country.The formal end of the war did not however,bring an end to the distrusts,suspicions and doubts with which the average Nigerian viewed Nigeria.You only have to look at Nigeria’s politics,where choices are driven by the short-termism of immediate gratification,to see that.Like rats on a sinking ship,people are focused on securing their “own” before the “inevitable” happens.
It is my well-considered opinion that until Nigeria is a federalism-compliant state,one that is founded on resource-control and subsidiarity,it would struggle to achieve it’s full potential.Having said that,within the limits of our current arrangements,Nigeria could be much better,if our people were driven by the dynamics of patriotism and self-esteem.Make no mistake about it,a people who suffered colonization by another race,could not have avoided developing a sense of inferiority.In Nigeria’s case,this sense of inferiority has been deepened by the decades of corruption and mis-governance that followed independence.A people who have been told by successive governments over the decades,that access to regular power,good jobs,decent health-care,standard education and social security is beyond them,have come to accept as “normal”,a life of misery and privation.This second-rate existence,has conditioned Nigerians to see themselves as second-class citizens.And second-class people must necessarily subscribe to second-class standards.
Thus,our attachment to mediocrity.Mediocrity does not only now seem normal,it has become normative; it is now our defining standard.Decades of contemptuous governance have left Nigerians bereft of any self-esteem.We have come to accept a state of ineptitude,incompetence and quackery as normal.This deeply ingrained inferiority complex has given rise to an even deeper cynicism.The average Nigerian is so cynical that he does not believe in virtue,he does not believe in it’s attainability.To him,the pursuit of excellence is something that happens in other worlds,not in Nigeria.Instead of excellence or virtue,Nigerians are in full flight,in the pursuit of vice.We pervert and corrupt every process.This aptitude for perversion,this talent for travesty or bastardization has come to be known as the “Nigeria” factor.Everywhere you look this factor is at work,no Nigerian process is safe from it’s grubby reach.No area of national life is sacred: in government,the institutionalization of impunity; in politics you see the bastardization of the electoral process; in academics,the wholesale merchandising of grades; in sports,the over-celebration of “youth” trophies,usually “won” by over-aged cheats.The list goes on.
Given our structural constraints,a transactional leadership would struggle to make a meaningful impact on Nigeria’s development.A transactional leadership is one in which the leader has a give-and-take relationship with the people.In other words,the people wait for the leader to do things for them.In contrast,transformational leadership motivates the citizenry to take greater responsibility for it’s fate.Through his vision,the transformational leader brings about positive change in the people,eventually turning them into leaders,too.President Jonathan best bet,if he really wants to succeed,would be to turn a lethargic Nigerian citizenry into one that is engaged and motivated.If he can turn the majority of about 150 million people into leaders,half his job is done.For as individuals,we can do so much more,if only we would take responsibility.Every Nigerian can make a positive independent contribution to Nigeria,every one has something positive to offer,given the necessary inspiration.
What is not fully appreciated is that Nigeria is the aggregation of our homes,offices and playgrounds.Make a positive difference in any of those,you make a difference to Nigeria.If Nigerians “decide” to dispose refuse responsibly,our streets,roads and environment would be cleaner and healthier,to our benefit; At work,people can “decide” to be more responsible by being more punctual and committed,thereby raising productivity and with it an increase in wealth for all.Even at play we can make a difference. If the president of a country club “decides” to behave more responsibly,he would not only hire coaches,but would also ensure decent pay for them,thus creating jobs.Replicate these efforts across Nigeria,and we would see a massive difference.But to “decide” to act more responsibly,Nigerians would need the inspiration of a transformational leader.A leader who will rise to the challenge of leadership by personal example.A true role model-leader,one who would always aspire,by word and deed,to the high-moral ground; one who would always strive for excellence,and would consequently challenge the people to reach that moral-zenith.
Nigeria needs a leader that would free the Nigerian psyche from the bondage of mediocrity,by “suggesting” to the Nigerian mind,by word and deed,that excellence is attainable,that mediocrity is not inevitable.It is a choice.We discount the power of suggestion at our own peril.