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How poor leadership has kept Nigerians in poverty

jonathan_obasanjo_yar_aduaobasanjo and buhari

Achebe was right when
one considers how the leadership has wasted the opportunities. Today,
because of mediocrity and lack of vision, our country still struggles to
provide the basic things that are taken for granted in other climes.
All the indices of development are looking grim. Nigeria’s leadership
dilemma was again brought into focus with the release of the 2016 Mo
Ibrahim Index of African Governance recently. The 2016 index ranked our
country 36th out of 54 countries.

While the foundation’s report on the state of governance on the
continent is disturbing, the ranking of Nigeria was not surprising. The
foundation noted that after 56 years of independence and 17 years of
uninterrupted democratic rule, Nigeria is yet to register impressive
growth in many critical sectors. In general almost two-thirds of
African peoples live in countries in which safety and rule of law have
deteriorated in the past ten years, while bad governance is stalling the
continent’s progress. The Ibrahim Index assesses African countries
based on the quality of their governance. Countries are graded on
factors, which fall into democratically elected former African heads of
state who have delivered; Security, health, education, rights, rule of
law and economic; who have democratically transferred power to their
successors in the last three years; good governance is crucial,
Participation and human Rights and sustainable Economic opportunity and
human development.
Read more: https://www.naij.com/1030281-poor-leadership-kept-nigerians-poverty-since-independence.html

That speech, which was
made fifty years ago, is still reflective of all the ills that are the
root of Nigeria’s leadership challenges today. The collapse of the First
Republic was the purveyor of leadership misadventures that peaked with
the corrupt Second Republic. The inept leadership of the brief former
President Shehu Shagari years and the brigandage of military regimes
have been well-documented. Nonetheless, it was in those years that
billions in oil revenue was stolen. Needless to say that our country
lost several years to visionless leadership; but it was also in those
years that leaders in the countries now categorized as Asian Tigers kept
their nose to the grindstone to pull their people out of poverty. The
story of Singapore and its leader Lew Kwan Yew show how visionary and
honest leadership is critical to a nation’s development. It is indeed a
paradox that a country with abundant resources cannot deploy such
endowments to the benefit of its people.
Read more: https://www.naij.com/1030281-poor-leadership-kept-nigerians-poverty-since-independence.html

Editor’s note: On
October 1, 2016, Nigerians marked 56 years of independence from the
colonial rule. Nigeria has made significant progress in the development
of Africa. However, the country is still facing so many problems.

NAIJ.com Editor-in-Chief, Mr Bayo Olupohunda, in this opinion piece
explores how the poor leadership has kept Nigerians in poverty.

     

Fifty-six years ago when
Nigeria became an independent nation after a century of British
colonialism, the euphoria of that era symbolically suggested the birth
of a new nation on the verge of greatness. The indices had pointed to a
country with huge potential waiting to be harnessed. Indeed, there was
every reason to hope in a nation blessed with abundant human and
material resources. The intellectual power houses of that epoch of
Nigeria’s political development consist of its first generation leaders,
strong educational institutions and an effective civil service that had
executed some of the best regional policies and programmes ever
witnessed till date.

In the south west with Ibadan as its capital, Chief Obafemi Awolowo
provided the leadership and vision that made the region a talking-point
of development years after independence. The late politician did not
have the benefit of oil which though discovered in Oloibiri in 1953 did
not have commercial value. All major infrastructures were built with the
agricultural resources of cocoa and other products. In the South east,
Nnamdi Azikiwe, Michael Okpara, Akanu Ibiam, visionary leadership
developed the eastern part of Nigeria with the resources accrued from
the vast coal mines of Enugu and the oil palms in what is now Imo state
which was complemented with drive of the Igbos for business and
industry.

In the northern part of Nigeria the legendary tales of the now extinct
groundnut pyramids in Kano and the irrigated agricultural lands that
made the region the food basket of the nation evokes the nostalgia of a
paradise lost. Now we can only imagine the lost opportunities in a
country where the promise of greatness disappeared even before it could
materialize. The brief period of Eldorado after independence had since
disappeared like a candle in the wind.
Read more: https://www.naij.com/1030281-poor-leadership-kept-nigerians-poverty-since-independence.html

Editor’s note: On
October 1, 2016, Nigerians marked 56 years of independence from the
colonial rule. Nigeria has made significant progress in the development
of Africa. However, the country is still facing so many problems. BRAINIAC AKINZ  in this opinion piece
explores how the poor leadership has kept Nigerians in poverty.
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