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RIGHTSView, By EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO: Our Northern ‘Naughty’ Governors

By News Express on 04/05/2016

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Since independence on October 1, 1960, one question that has continued to be asked without appropriate response is: why is Nigeria so cursed with poor leadership? Another corollary to this interrogatory is: What is the leadership recruitment process in Nigeria? These key questions are germane and hold the magic wand to the bigger question of why Nigeria is in rapid decline from all indexes of human development.

To go straight to providing answers to the above interrogatories, the beginning point is to take a cursory look at the work of the renowned writer, Prof Chinua Achebe of blessed memory, which he titled The Trouble with Nigeria. Professor Achebe summed up the trouble with Nigeria as that of poor leadership. He quickly added that poor followership is also a major issue. I agree.

 Nigeria, indeed, has a warped leadership recruitment process which emphasises the role of political godfathers and the role of illicit money, which are the combined factors that have consistently determined much of the political leadership of Nigeria since the last half a century. 

The consequence of this distorted and crime-infested leadership recruitment process is the near-state of collapse that Nigeria faces. Corruption, ineptitude, indiscipline and, above all, impunity are some of the cocktails of this poor leadership system that Nigeria is contending with. Because of the urgent need to salvage Nigeria from impending implosion and collapse, a number of patriotic but scholarly minds have often intervened intellectually by proffering pragmatic panaceas to this debilitating virus of poor and naughty political leadership.

A fine gentleman of global repute and a priest of the Catholic Church, Matthew Hassan Kukah, was so alarmed about the serious negative impacts that poor political leadership has unleashed on Nigeria that he had to write a treatise calling for a paradigm shift in the leadership recruitment process in use in Nigeria. Sadly, Nigeria keeps getting some of the most unqualified and, indeed, rogue political leadership that can be rated as the worst in modern political history. Kukah, the Bishop of Sokoto, has called for change in the leadership recruitment process of Nigeria. The country faces a severe challenge of leadership because of flawed recruitment, so argued Rev Father Kukah.

Speaking on the theme, ‘After the insurgency: Some thoughts on reconciliation in Nigeria’ as the convocation lecturer for the 43rd Convocation of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Kukah decried the current situation. His words: “Too many people, from top to bottom, are coming into public life with no preparation and no pedigree or evidence of exposure and success in any other form of endeavour beyond the patronage of politics. Too many people are, therefore, in office, but not in power. With too many key actors with limited capacity, ability and exposure, we see that our public officers are soon weighed down by raw power, leading to manufacturing of election results, tinkering with the processes and wanting to stay in power for too long.”

Of all the political leaders in our contemporary Nigeria, the governors of the 36 federating states are some of the worst species of political animals that can be found in the whole wide world. Aristotle, the Greek philosopher, had stated that man by nature is a political animal. If truth be told, Nigerian political recruits into leadership positions are, indeed, irrational political animals who must be tamed constructively. The Nigerian governors are the most disturbing agents of underdevelopment; and have constituted themselves into cogs in the wheel of economic and political progress of Nigeria. Since 1999 till date, the 36 states have had the misfortune of churning out the greediest breeds of people as their state governors, simply because of the crisis of leadership recruitment process in Nigeria as highlighted above. In terms of heists of public fund, the combined levels of theft of public funds by these governors from 1999 till date have reached a definitive calamitous stage, to a deadly extent that almost 90 per cent of these states can’t meet their respective financial obligations to their people.

To compound these crises of underdevelopment foisted on their respective states, these governors have also set up different cartels known as Governors Forum, through which they use to plot sinister ways of keeping the masses enslaved and mortally divided alongside ethno-religious lines.

This dangerous fact of governors ganging up to plot the destabilisation of Nigeria emerged last few days when a group of governors from the north met in Kaduna to deliberate on the spate of violent attacks of farming communities by armed Fulani herdsmen. The northern governors met against the backdrop of the killings of over 1,000 persons in Agatu, Benue State and Nimbo, Uzo-Uwani local government area of Enugu State. But what the northern governors say or did during and after this Kaduna meeting will shock even Satan, the king of Hell himself. 

The northern governors did not raise their voices in strong condemnation of the killer Fulani herdsmen, nor did they protest the gross security failures by all facets of national security architecture; but they defended the mass murderers and cautioned commentators on the dangers of profiling Fulani as criminals. Commonsense tells me that these governors are insensitive and naughty. This also calls for immediate psychiatric tests to be carried out on these misbehaving governors, to determine if they indeed qualify to occupy these offices, because the constitution listed out one of the disqualifications from office of governor to include section 182 (2) (a) (b) ‘if adjudged to be of unsound mind and/or one is a lunatic.’

Barely 24 four hours after these incoherent ramblings by the Northern Governors Forum, the killer-Fulani herdsmen took the bloody attacks to the host Kaduna State, with the killing of a traditional ruler and his relation in Sanga Local Government Area. These northern governors, just like their counterparts elsewhere in Southern Nigeria, have a common denominator: to map up strategy for the continuous pillaging of our commonwealth. 

Will the ordinary Nigerians bury the hatchets of artificial ethno-religious divides created by the political elites to liberate themselves from the crutches of oppression and mental slavery? Only time can tell, since time is said to be the wisest counsellor.

RIGHTSVIEW appears on Wednesdays, in addition to special appearances. The Columnist, popular activist Emmanuel Onwubiko, is a former Federal Commissioner of Nigeria’s National Human Rights Commission and presently National Coordinator of Human Rights Writers’ Association of Nigeria (HURIWA). He can be reached via 08033327672 (sms only) or via

Source News Express

Posted 04/05/2016 8:40:03 PM





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