Posted by News Express | 6 September 2020 | 1,017 times
As Nigerians go through the pangs of the COVID-19 lockdown, with little or no palliatives in some areas and no monetary compensations all over from a President and Commander-in-Chief of Armed Forces who is widely adjudged as upright and stern when it comes to matters of corruption. In fact, his negative dispositions to corruption largely won him the sobriquet: Mai Gaskiya (Mr Integrity) among his people.
But in the face of the dwindling economy and serious hardship with a depression in the economy, which is currently facing the citizens, it becomes pertinent to ask: Would it take only integrity to rule Nigeria and get the economy working again?
In 2015, when corruption in Nigeria became so endemic and so thick that it could cut through a piece of ice, a different coalition of aggrieved politicians came up with the idea of merging. They collapsed structures to form a formidable team that could beat the best of existing political structure. Although they flew together, they were birds of different colours. It was crystal clear that, as many had predicted, things were soon going to fall apart. And fall it did, after they had gained power.
To many Nigerians, it started looking as if they had made the wrong choice in voting a septuagenarian. The General looked as if he had lost his steam to age. Above all, the cabals that surround him, power play, deals and who gets what, when, and how, watered down people’s expectations of the new government.
To many, six months without coming up with the names of his cabinet was enough to adjudge Buhari as not serious. Would we have expected him to bring down the host of heaven to rule with him? Certainly not!
To many Nigerians, the list of those who made it eventually to PMB’s cabinet, was not worth the wait. Except for just a few names who had shown brightly before and very few who could be termed technocrats, nothing was new. As a matter of fact, it was a list of names people had expected to make the list. So, why the long wait after all?
The General won his second term bid, albeit a not-too-free and fair or robust election, this time around, the integrity mantra was although played again. But it was not as captivating as it was in 2015. Nigerians wanted more than integrity, they wanted the country to work; they wanted some ease in the way things are done; which was not going to come easily anyway.
With the current in-house wrangling, power tussle and inanities, one might take a guess that aside taming corruption, the man at the helms of affairs might have nothing much doing with the economy. In actual fact, with the hustle for 2023 being played so much in the open, the fight against corruption might just be forgotten so soon.
President Goodluck Jonathan was sent out of power on the altar of the huge corrupt practices going on under him and that he was too soft and indecisive. He was also seen as leaving major decisions in the hands of the three women (two in his life and one in his cabinet), to make huge decisions. But with this niggling economy of the nation and some flashes of corruptions, does it not look as if a dog was given a bad name in other to hang it?
In truth and fairness, one could still see rays of hope through a few progressive ministers working to deliver on the mandate of the portfolios given to them. A lot of those remaining, however, are square pegs in round holes.
It is now too obvious that, although we needed an incorruptible leader who will be fair to all, we also need someone who is fairly tuned to the trappings of the present socio-economic movements and issues. Yes, Nigerians needed someone who understands the jet age language; someone who could easily sway; someone who could process information swiftly, set the balls rolling and proffer a quick response to yearnings and aspirations.
With the biting lockdown and no solution in sight as to when the economy will come up again, it is crystal clear that integrity alone will not deliver good governance, administrative savvy and a swift but bendable leader with an updated and upgradeable management capacity will do. Nigeria’s problem is not only corruption; there is a huge deficit in leadership and followership. We need a total overhaul; we need to look deeply inward. We need a leader who can manage the corrupt, the incorruptible and those at the verge of becoming corrupt
•Obafemi writes from the top of Akogba hill in Ekinrin-Adde.
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