Japheth Omojuwa: Nigeria’s number one problem remains the same (YNaija FrontPage)

Pay attention to the history of nations and corporations, wherever there was a monumental leap in the fortunes of a people, there was a leap in the class of leadership.

In a country like Nigeria where everywhere you look you find problems resulting from problems of yesteryears, one is tempted to think these problems in themselves are the challenges of this country but they are only the shoot of a root problem that has bedeviled the country for the better part of its existence.

When I was in Junior Secondary School, you would be hard pressed to see anyone use car seat belts. An average kid during that period in Lagos would find it hard to name seat belts amongst the things found inside a car. Years later a leader came and said it would amount to a traffic offence to be found not wearing the car seat belts. It was a herculean task getting Lagosians to wear this life saving appurtenance of cars. In the early days, most would rather quickly run the belt across their body when almost reaching police or traffic officers’ check points. The story has since changed. Lagosians now wear seat belts impulsively as soon as they get in their cars. The people of Lagos were not removed for new people to come in, only the leadership changed.

Have you been to Oshodi in Lagos lately? The last time I was there I was wowed! I said, “This is what transformation is about.” And I meant that with the most applicable literal meaning of the word “transformation.” Oshodi is not just about the park and the garden; it is about the whole atmosphere and sense of understanding that “something extraordinary happened here.” Only those who saw the old Oshodi will be in good stead to understand what these words mean. Now tell me, did we have to move new people to Oshodi to have this transformation or we had to change leadership? Leadership changed everything! It is easier to have one leader say “this is what my vision for this country is and this is what I want my people to do to achieve that vision” than it is for people to even commit to a vision. The people have no vision without leadership. It is leadership that defines the vision and any system without a vision is a system without a purpose of existence.

Pay attention to the history of nations and corporations, wherever there was a monumental leap in the fortunes of a people, there was a leap in the class of leadership. Empires rise and fall on the kind of leadership in place at any point in time. In the United States of America, shareholders are almost obsessed about who the Chief Operating Officer of their corporation is. Steve Jobs went all the way to Pepsi to headhunt for a CEO for Apple until he had to move Apple forward himself. Jim Collins in his book “Good to Great” emphasized the crucial essence of team members in building a lasting legacy but someone has to get these team members together.

I am absolutely certain that whatever makes Nigerians look like bad citizens, who only see things through the lens of religion and ethnicity will change given the right kind of leadership. The current holders of top offices in Nigeria especially the President have played the ethnic card so much you have to expect a largely illiterate population to follow suit. If we had a leader who is really and truly about service delivery and does same with the best of hands the nation has got to offer, few will care about where s/he comes from. When Nigerian rulers like Goodluck Jonathan fail, they feed the propaganda machine tales of ethnic colourations and excuses. So when a leader fails to fight corruption and deliver on other necessities of governance, he throws the ethnic card at you before you ask for his performance card.

We cannot change the behaviour of followers until we change the composition and character of leadership. The body will always go in the direction of the head.  A nation will always go in the direction of its leaders. Nigerians are not the ones to prosecute all the men and women milking the nation dry, it takes a leader who understands that every incentive to steal from the nation will always lead to more of same. You could accuse Obasanjo’s EFCC of many things but you certainly would not say it was useless. The EFCC today is worse than useless! That uselessness is derived directly from the uselessness of leadership the current boss of Aso Rock provides. If we fix leadership we fix Nigeria. This I submit to you is remains our number one problem.

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Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

Comments (6)

  1. Excellent beat ! I would like to apprentice whilst you amend your site, how could i subscribe for a blog site? The account helped me a applicable deal. I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered vibrant clear idea

  2. I have always said this omojuwa is a fool and a skinny waif looking Acn/Cpc apologist! So leadership comes from turning oshodi around? Really! Has the idiot passed Oshodi of recent to see that it has returned to its worst state since the violent and forced evcuation of hapless citizens? Guess your cherished Fashola has failed here and I don't see you talk about useless he is.

    The dumb douchebag also claims EFCC is useless! You see how 2 sided and double mouthed this twig is. When Obasanjo was busy hounding people and violating their human rights through extra judicial rights and using el rufai and ribadu to detain people without trials, this foolish crackhead spoke about obasnjo and efcc's high handedness and at the end of the day, efcc under ribadu didn't get one sensible conviction because the court threw them all out! Now efcc is going through the proper court process and this irritant is angry that they aren't violating human rights anymore so therefore they are useless. Stupid asswipe!

    Your just a jobless noise maker looking for attention and your stupid brain dead twitter followers are just as idiotic as you! Animal! Keep abusing Gej while you wallow in stupidity! Foolish ipad 3 beggar!

    1. @Javeh, you don't have to be insultive to air your views. If you don't support Japheth's school of thoughts you simply criticize constructively not by insulting his personality. You can take a cue from Oseiwe Ibhagui.

    2. @ Javeh, you really do not have to berate the writer…since he does not make sense to you and appears hypocritical to you, just comment about his write-ups and leave it at that…let's be respectful to each other's thoughts, this is how we can all pool ideas together and move Nigeria forward.

  3. Let me ask some questions: was Buhari's government not headed by good leadership? What became of it? How come we have had 13 governments and they all managed to be bad? A leadership comes from same society as the followership and if it is so different from the followership, there will be an effort to modify, sanction or destroy it.

    So my friend, I hope you enjoy Oshodi as much as you can, but real change in a wrong society must come from the change in their values which requires leadership and moral courage, but not necessarily from the man at the very top

    @OIbhagui

  4. It is difficult to say Omojuwa is wrong here! A rotten heads begets a rotten body… comment…

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