Corruption and misgovernance: Which is worse? (7)
This is the 7th and final tranche of our discourse on how world leaders turned their bad economies and recession around.
Way forward for Nigeria: My panacea (continuation)
The Nigerian governments must not take for granted, the various macro-economic indices, which once portrayed us as having the biggest African economy with a robust growth rate of 6-7%. For instance, General Electric Company of the United States, recently sealed a $1 billion investment deal on the establishment of a new manufacturing and assembly facility in Calabar. More of such should be encouraged.
7. Strengthening democracy and rule of law: Rule of law is expected to be the guiding principle of governance, since it is the foundation of good governance. Rule of law presupposes that the state is subject to the law, that the government should respect the rights of individual citizens and that the judiciary, as an institution, is assigned the role of determining all disputes between persons, governments or authorities. Investors, as a general rule, avoid a system plagued by arbitrariness, capriciousness and whimsicality associated with governments and governance. Investors want to be sure that their investment is safe and that where disputes arise from any relationship, such will be resolved according to predictable laws and procedures. Nigeria needs to improve and deliver on good governance, with the rule of law, as a focal point if its progress and economic growth is not to be stymied.
Why this historical survey
We have gone the whole hog to reproduce these brilliant histories of major and prospering economies of the world today so we can draw from their experiences and make the most of ours.
One thing that can be distilled from the histories stated above is that all of these great men and women had a clear vision of how they wanted to transform their economies and society for the better. Although they may not have gotten it right at the first attempt, yet many of these economies owe their successes to the foundation so laid by their progenitors.
Today, the British are celebrated for being the most organised society because of the successes recorded during the Victorian era of Queen Victoria. China started their economic boom during the days of Mao Zedong, who is revered in China today as a transformational leader. Gorbachev gave voice to the voiceless in the Soviet Union, and Roosevelt ruled America for 12 years, the highest any leader has in contemporary time, thanks to his huge success with “The New Deal. Joseph Stalin is still worshiped, as a deity in Russia today for transforming Russia into an industrialised nation.
Drawing the curtains on “corruption and misgovernance: Which is worse?”
With Joseph Stalin still being worshiped today as a deity in Russia for his transformational wizardry, what foundation is this PMB administration laying for future Nigerians to rely upon and build a better Nigeria?
The question is: What foundation is this PMB administration laying for future Nigerians to rely upon and build a better Nigeria?
Nigerians are prided as a people with strong resilience. Many foreigners say, if they live under the same conditions as majority of Nigerians, it will be sorrow to no end for them. Yet, Nigerians are reported to be one of the happiest people on earth. Survival seems to be in the DNA of the average Nigerian. But how long are we going to be “suffering and smiling,” in the midst of plenty as Afro beat musician Fela Anikuhpo kuti once put it? Why do we live by the river bank and wash our hands with sputum?
V. A. Rosewarne (1916 – 1940) British pilot, once said:
“The universe is so vast and so ageless that the life of one man can only be justified by the measure of his sacrifice.”
Nigerians have always been ready to make the necessary sacrifice that would leap this nation forward, with the hope of a better tomorrow in sight. However, if the current hunger, starvation, abject penury and that Nigerians have been subdued to in the guise of national sacrifice, is empirically propelled by ignorance, ineptitude and incompetence on the part of the leadership, then it would amount to a travesty of national sacrifice; and where we remain silent in the face of fear and intimidation, history will record us as a spineless, clueless, gutless and thoughtless generation, as British Biologist, T. H. Huxley (1825 – 1895), put it:
“Logical consequences are the scarecrows of fools and the beacons of wise men.”
History is beckoning on our leaders: Do they want to be remembered as king Richard 111 in William’s Shakespeare’s play, who, in an attempt to save a horse, killed everyone and everything in his kingdom? Or do they want to be remembered as great leaders who took the responsibility to lay a holistic foundation for the economic, social and political transformation of their people? As history provides, the greats approached the development of their people in a way that was all-embracing. Leaders ,such as Mao Zedong, Gorbachev, Stalin, and Queen Vitoria, to mention but a few, left no stone unturned and no turn unstoned in an attempt to develop their people. They did not blame predecessors or lack of money. Indeed, a good leader’s business is to create wealth from lack, happiness from sadness, deflation from inflation, energy from depression.
History records that economic and social development naturally roots outs corruption in every society. Truth be told, corruption is rife and prevalent in Nigeria because we are still under-developed as a society. As a people, our psyche has been corrupted by poverty, ignorance, ethno-religious bigotry, hate and stupidity. First cure the root cause of these aliments and the body regains wellness.
The position of most Nigerians to PMB is simple: By all means, fight corruption. However, with the wisdom of the ages, as provided by the history of other nations, pay more attention to the plight of Nigerians; have a roadmap, clear cut plan on how you intend to get us out of this economic mess that we find ourselves in. All successful economies had a clear plan. Tell Nigerians what you are doing or intend to do, giving facts and figures, not mere rhetorics, as we are inundated with. Nigerians are sick and tired of highfalutin and grandiloquent sermons with no effect on the quality of their lives. Seek the wisdom of intelligent and smart Nigerians within and outside the country (that was what President Roosevelt did during the New Deal), that can help us get out of this maze. Encourage open discussion and dialogue with diverse groups (as did Gorbachev in Glasnost). Successful leaders are not known to be prima donna. They work with others for the collective growth of their nations. Nobody is an island unto himself. Nigeria belongs to us all. You cannot be the only angel amongst lucifers and demons. You cannot demarket Nigeria by labeling Nigerians as “fantastically corrupt”. No investor will come to sow his money in a society, which its number one citizen terms corrupt.
As Carl Sagan (1934 – 1996), U.S. astronomer and writer, put it, “there are laws of nature, rules that summarise conveniently – not just qualitatively but quantitatively – how the world works.” One such law that summarises how the world works is that a “kingdom” is more valuable than a “horse.” The survival of Nigerians and Nigeria is more important than any abstract concept of fighting corruption. Human beings are more important than items. Integrity? Fine! But, Nigerians cannot live by one man’s integrity alone.
If Shakespeare were alive today, he would say, “Corruption, corruption! Our country for corruption!”
Accord concondiale: The continous search for Nigeria’s elusive unity and indivisibility (1)
I heartily guffaw at times when I hear Nigerian leaders mouth moral platitudes and national liberal disquisitions about the indivisibility and indissolubility of Nigeria. Even the 1999 Constitution makes that same historical mistake in section 2 (1), when it imperiously declares that “Nigeria shall be one indivisible and indissoluble sovereign State to be known by the name of the Federal Republic of Nigeria”. Is that why successive leaderships take the unity, indivisibility and indisolubility of Nigeria for granted? I roar with laughter because old Russia made the same historical mistake. It was forced to dissolve on December 26, 1991, by Declaration No. 142 – H of the Soviet of the Republics of the Supreme Soviet. Fifteen independent States sprouted from the once unified behemoth and elephantine Republic, which, at a time, famously engaged powerful America in the cold war.
Ask Yugoslavia that broke up into six countries. Ask Sudan that broke up into Sudan and South Sudan on July 9, 2011. Check out the “nine nations” of a seemingly monolithic 1.3 billion China, and you will understand my worries about Nigeria. But, the good news is that Nigeria has not always been in this sorry state of nadir, of bottomless quagmire.
Once upon a time in Nigeria, there was, cutting across of political parties, the chief motivating force of “Nigeria first”, which implies, unity and indivisibility of Nigeria. Nigerian leaders of old, consciously made a decision against nepotism, tribalism and ethnicity, for the progress of Nigeria. Remember also the agreement reached by the National Party of Nigeria (NPN), Nigerian Peoples Party (NPP), Great Nigeria Peoples Party (GNPP), Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN) and Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), came together and made an accord to work for the good and survival of Nigeria. This agreement was later known as the “Accord Concondiale” (apologies, K.O. Mbadiwe, the man of timber and calibre, caterpillar, Iroko and Obeche).
Renowned African writer, Professor Chinua Achebe, epically wrote this about Nigeria in 1983: “The trouble with Nigeria is simply and squarely a failure of leadership…The Nigeria problem is the unwillingness or inability of its leaders to rise to the responsibility, to the challenge of personal example, which are the hallmark of true leadership.”
Hardly would any right thinking Nigeria fault this notion. I have always maintained that there are three problems besetting Nigeria. The first problem is leadership. The second problem is leadership. And the third problem is leadership. Other problems and challenges are mere off-shoots.
Till next week, God bless Nigeria and Nigerians.