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Where Are The True Leaders?

Escalating insecurity and public fear…sporadic policy creation…the glaring and widening gulf between the governing and governed… the appalling hurl of money at pressing national issues…the suspected lack of foresight…the near-death of hope…the trial of the resolute…the cry of the Nigerian heart…longing for a solution…a call for true national leadership.

52 years after independence, how can it be that the nation still clamors for true leaders?  With an eventful history – 8 military heads of state, 4 civilian presidents, it beats the intellect to imagine that people still seek the ones who will provide exemplary leadership, giving heed to the voice of the people, creating an enabling and virile atmosphere for economic growth, eschewing the entanglements of corruption, nepotism and self aggrandizement.

Over the past 12 years and via the ballot box or otherwise, majority of Nigeria’s national and state leaders have been direct products of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Within the same time-frame, the nation has battled all forms of struggles and challenges, from near-perennial ethnic clashes in the middle belt to the era of militancy in the Niger-Delta creeks. Corruption had its fill as many party stalwarts evidently lived on the flamboyant lane, reveling in inexplicable riches, perhaps their rewards for actively demonstrating loyalty to the party…the ballot box knows the story.

Juxtaposing the innate cry for true national leadership, against the 12 year history of the ruling party, it seems almost logical to infer that PDP has not generated that semblance of leadership which the people seek. Will it be erroneous to then postulate that the party is incapable of producing such leaders? Are there not a few good men within? One of the going debates that characterized the 2011 elections was the concept of voting for the candidate and not the party – the political paradox of imagining the exclusivity of both entities. History seems to disprove. The over-arching practices and characteristics that have so far been evident in this party are strong enough to choke a good enough man. As we approach 2015 gradually, if the cry of the Nigerian heart will be heard, the country will require a political shift – the end of a 16 year PDP reign.

The mere thought of this creates shivers in the national spine. The remoteness of its possibility further justifies. For an organization with such successful demonstrations of organic growth, its tentacles stretched far across the nation and its machinery oiled with pockets as deep as the national treasury, the end of its era seems a big wish. Nonetheless, the ruling party’s entry point was the ballot box. If there will be an exit, it will be via the same.

The biggest and most prominent political rival/opposition is the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), and perhaps followed by the  emerging Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). These parties were simply unable to defeat the PDP in the 2011 polls. They lacked the national spread, financial backbone and advantage of the incumbent. This has not changed or has it? The ACN has achieved a good deal of organic growth but is nowhere near the PDP. CPC is still in its budding phase. Will these rival parties again rely on organic growth to achieve a 3 year feat posing them as individual threats to the incumbent in 2015? Failure is almost a guaranteed result.

Even in the marketplace, where a company cannot successfully compete by organic growth, it begins to seek mergers and possible acquisitions as a strategy for inorganic growth. To guarantee an end to the PDP era in 2015, and possibly, the emergence of true leadership, the rivals must meet at the square of discussion, to establish a merger of sorts. A similar attempt was made prior to the 2011 presidential elections with the parties having to answer the age-old question – Compete or Cooperate? Continuously choosing to compete, pits both parties against each other, leaving them with little individual gain. Where they chose to cooperate, the consolidated gain surpasses the individual payoffs from competition.

While the rival parties are not void of corruption and their peculiarities, they provide certainly less tainted platforms for the rise and emergence of that representation of true leadership which the nation yearns for. With CPC’s strength of integrity, and ACN’s substantial national reach, a bigger umbrella is birthed for other smaller political units to join forces. In the process, egos will have to step aside for credibility, age for accountability and favoritism for the people’s will. Mergers are typically accompanied by a restructuring of top management positions. True leadership surpasses personalities.

True leadership is exemplary, honest, credible and just. True leadership is resolute and thorough, doggedly challenging the status quo, creating innovative paths to a better future. True leadership does not deny issues but focuses rather on providing solutions.True leadership surrounds itself with a pool of applicable knowledge. It eschews cluelessness.  True leadership is prudent and accountable in both financial and non-financial dealings. True leadership is not fixated on the past nor devotedly consumed in the present. True leadership creates a future for its own.

Where are the true leaders?