Japheth Omojuwa: “Give me a good head…” (YNaija Frontpage)

You want to turn around a nation? Fix the head.

Any man with a good enough head will argue universal principles with you and turn them on their head. It takes a good head to argue that action does not equal reaction.

You need a great head to successfully argue that Zambia did not really win the last African football Nations’ Cup. A great head sometimes makes a man do great things. This means a lot. What does one need to argue that the head is not as important to the body as the body is to the head? You need the head for that argument!

This happens to be my first column under the “Behind The Cloud Series” and I have decided to start from the head. There is the whole and there is the part of the whole. There is the part of the whole that sets the whole about its course without which the whole would be lost. When you see prosperous people, it is because there is a good leadership. There was no Apple before Steve Jobs and I mean this in the figurative sense of his second coming to Apple even though it is also right literally by virtue of him being the founder. Steve Jobs came back and Apple became one of the world’s most loved brands.

Change the head and you change almost everything. Who succeeded Winston Churchill as Prime Minister of Britain? Most readers will not know the answer. Did the body of Britain – i.e. the people – change after Winston Churchill left? No. Who succeeded Harry Lee Kuan Yew as Prime Minister of Singapore? So how come few of us know him? Is it because Lee Kuan Yew had a different set of people to lead or because his successor lived in his towering shadow? The same type of citizens lived in Singapore before and after Lee Kuan Yew but we know what the better head – Lee Kwan Yew – did. America has had many periods and seasons in its global dominance. More than anything else, America’s fortunes have always been a function of its leadership at any point in time. Go and ask Google and you can guess what Google would tell you: The fortunes of nations have more often than not been a function of the people in leadership especially the person at the very top.

The body does not lead the head, the head leads the body. Nothing will ever change that principle. No matter how deformed a man is, as long as he has his head in the right place, he is bound to achieve extraordinary things able-bodied empty heads will never dream of because no one dreams without a head. That is the essential problem with Nigeria and it is why as a nation we are in the captivity of poverty and perpetual crisis.

You want to turn around a nation? fix the head. History abounds with corporations whose fortunes markedly changed by virtue of a change in leadership either for better or for worse. If the head were not important, why would every country in the world be bothered about spending trillions of dollars every year just to elect/select the right leaders? Why would boards of companies scout the world just to get the right CEO?  

Do not be deceived by anyone with a seemingly good enough head to argue white as black, the reason Nigeria is where it is today is because of its many unfortunate turns of having very bad heads. It is even more saddening when you know that the latest part of our history has provided about the worst possible disaster of a head to be unleashed on a people.

If it looks like the body is yielding to corruption, it is because the head has made it the norm. Is it a good head that’d make a President overlook the mismanagement of over N1.7 trillion for the same thing that cost us N640 billion at its former highest? A good head? When a father dances naked on the street and the son says to him “daddy, your head no correct,” he is telling him at least two things; that he has lost it in his head and that he had lost the moral right to tell him not to do same if tomorrow comes. Give me a good head and I will give you a great country.


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Comments (18)

  1. Oh J-a-p-h-e-t! When shall I see thou?

    This is just precise and concise…..

  2. 'Give me a good head and I'll give you a great country'. Nice one Japh. Can always count on you to tell it like it is.

  3. Well said.

    It takes a good head (informed, intelligent, passionate citizens, electoral process, etc) to replace a bad head with a good one and while at it deal with the corruption that creeps up on the head from the body and the environment. In other words, we need good heads to fix "the head" and sanitize the body. In this case, both need to happen.

    In the example of Apple, the body was not cancerous, it was just not moving as it should. The cancer in this head is from the body and people with good heads still die of cancer (meaning the head follows the lead of the body by succumbing to cancer/corruption/death) so we need solutions that can address cancer – several good heads working together.

  4. If the head was not so important, I am sure God would not have made it a home for the brain. The head cant be right and the whole body will be wrong….Nigeria needs a good head. We have had too many bad ones. God bless you Omojuwa

  5. Absolutely awesome!

    Get a 13mm spanner to help do the work of rearranging the loose knots in the head of the Head.

  6. This is one reason Nigeria needs to get its electoral process right so the correct heads can be chosen. The wishy-washy head (which we've always had) only results in an anti-climax.

  7. I'm sorry, but I think it takes a lunatic to contradict this! Lagos is the best example of how just a good head can transform worst circumstances into enviable ones. Of course, while the body also matters, the head is supreme to the eventual fate of the body. Nothing matters much more than the head. Omojuwa, God bless you. To YNaija, thanks for this timely move. Lets continue on Twitter; Follow @SoarNaija. Believe it or not, change is coming.

  8. The head cannot do anything about the mismanagement because it is among the people causing and benefiting from the problem. Omojuwa, sometimes i feel like crying cause i wonder if my younger brothers future in this country will be brigth. it pains.

  9. Thanks for writing Omojuwa. Interesting, but I must say, the 'unfortunate turns of having very bad heads' has come from the people. For even if there is a good head, he needs effective eyes, ears, a mouth, then the body, hands and feet to do the work. The Jonathan administration came from within is, they didn't drop from heaven. I don't want to put the blame solely on Mr. President. Same with a CEO, one can have a great visionary CEO as in Steve Jobs, however if the body is not in agreement or even responsive the head is rendered ineffective.

    Essentially since our leaders have come from within our society, has something been fundamentally wrong with our society for so long? For producing ill heads of banks, religious institutions, governments (from the president to the local government (if these still exist))…

    Brighter days ahead. The Nigerian body is awakening to what it can do to steer the head into greatness. Awareness, accountability, civic participation, effective followership and leadership…

  10. I am glad not all of us asleep in this nation. When the head of a fish bad the whole fish is bad. Well said Japh.

  11. otooro! Just like a fish with a bad head, you know what happens to the rest of it!

    The head just as we have it on our bodies, is the control room of our beings. Where else is the brain lodged if not in the head?!

    Apt title though 🙂

  12. Brilliant writing. The most noteworthy example of the head transforming the body is Lagos. Who would have thought that Lagosians could ever queue to board a bus? But with the right kind of leadership, even the most unruly of people will respond positively.

    Nigerians of all shades and tendencies must now resist leadership by cotton heads and begin to demand for good heads; because a good head will always give pleasure.

  13. Omojuwa has gone mad again!!! Nice one and insightful

  14. Very Well said Japh. I always use Lateness to work as an example, If your boss arrives everyday to work 30mins before resumption time, his subordinates dare not show up late, in fact they will naturally strive to be in 45mins before time, its just natural psychology.

  15. Chop of the "bad head" already. This is thoroughly insightful.

    1. And replace it with what?

      1. With a better head of couz

cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail