By Steven Atogi

January 12, 2017

First and foremost, you must take cognizance that Nigeria is a Third World country. When you want to lend your political opinion, never forget the fact that Nigeria is a Third World country. Another thing you should reflect on when taking political decisions is whether you will truly like Nigeria to progress from underdevelopment to a developed nation as those of the West, or like the emerging Asian Tigers? If your answer deep down your heart is on the positive side then your political decisions should never be based on selfish emotions or sentiments but rather nationalistic and altruistic. 

Nigeria is indeed a Third World country and at its present national life she needs all the best minds and brains she can get from within her citizens to help drive her to prosperity. Every underdeveloped nation with dullards and unpatriotic jingoist as leaders is doomed to regress, and diminish whatever little successes. This is why people reminisce the achievements of the 60s–First Republic 1960-66, which had its own political turmoil–which are diminished today. Nigeria has had jingoists and unpatriotic leaders in the past and at present. Leaders without the intellectual strength for progressive leadership. Leaders that care less about development but interested in protecting their class interest and wealth profiteer from public service. 

If Nigeria must grow past its pitiable underdeveloped stage, the citizens must stop basing political decisions on religious affiliations and petty emotional sentiments, paranoia and ethno-phobia amongst themselves. Nigeria has all it takes to transform itself to a developed nation within two decades but there are barely leaders to drive such vision. As an underdeveloped nation, Nigeria need not settle for mediocre leaders. The private sector employs the best brains to ensure property of companies and in one or two decades you see a new company witnessing exponential growth. The private sector would not settle for a half-baked to run its affairs, else the result would be tragic. This is the irony of Nigerian leadership. 

A person that can't succeed as County (LGA) head in developed societies is what Nigerians settled for and entrusted the management of the economy of the  biggest black nation on earth with a population of 180million. Do you need a public affairs analyst to tell you we are in for the worse. I predicted from conclusions of my earlier findings on the present driver of the Nigerian state, as at 2011-2013, that giving the "tall one" the number one seat will be a huge mistake. This is why I barely expend energy in criticising this present government because it would a repetition of what I have already analyzed several times. There is no magic in governance, it's about visionary leadership and charisma to drive development.

If Nigeria will develop, we need our best manpower at the helm of affairs in our national life as a people. Unfortunately, the West is taking them all while you shout hoarse ‘brain drain!’ The best brains here are neglected, deprived opportunity to thrive, we choose to compensate and reward mediocres with the highest offices in the country. From Local government heads, State Houses of Assembly, Commissioners, Governors, National Assembly, Ministers, Departments and Agencies of government, and even Presidency, the most qualified are relegated or rendered handicap by the system when they join. Mediocre political stooges are appointed into MDAs. These are mostly persons that won't survive the private sector. Why then do we think the public sector and the national economy will see adequate improvement when such folk are at the helm of affairs? Can a farmer plant rice and harvest onion? 

If we have had genuine patriotic leaders, with the intellectual strength or manpower, Nigeria (at federal, state and LGA level) would have have witnessed tremendous sustainable development, even under the present unitary structure. There are century-old infrastructure in developed parts of the world, greatly maintained and improved on enhance durability–a great maintenance culture rooted in professional non-compromising work ethic, guided by law. That's the quality of work leaders do. Can any Nigerian elected official, boast of any infrastructure he or she has built that can stand the test of time? Their counterparts in the developed parts of the world didn't achieve it because of the colour of their skin but the product of their mind. The Nigerian leaders occupying various elective and appointed offices can't give you (electorates) what they don't have. This is our national tragedy. Some have no single clue on how to pay salaries and you see their minions justifying that failure with the silliest of excuses.

The kind of leaders Nigerians get are a product of their political decisions and political culture. If those political decisions are borne out of irrational religious, ethnocentrism, egoistic, selfish sentiments, it reproduce ripple effects that are dire to the country and the economy. It is a simple law of cause end effect. The irony is, these leaders who are part of the 1% elite and do not suffer same consequences, economically and otherwise, as the middle class and lower class of citizens do. As 2019 approach, endeavor to think twice, and take an appropriate political decision that is free of illogical sentiments, to avert cruel consequences at the aftermath.

PS: The picture attached herein is David Cameron and his family, taken after resigning as PM. It's a constant reminder to me of the kind of Nigeria I'd love to see. Which Nigerian political leader can confidently and freely walk the sidewalks with his family after leaving office? Their kids don't even show up to vote because they live abroad. The Nigerian leaders themselves know they are a huge failure to the human race, in and outside office. I hope the attached image resonate with the Nigeria of your dream, as it does for mine.

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