It is no longer news that Nigeria is heavily burdened with the challenge of leadership. The problem of leadership has long been identified by Nigeria’s legendary prolific writer late Prof Chinua Achebe in one of his books entitled, ‘The trouble with Nigeria’. It is also worthy of note to remark that the quality of leadership in the country has continued to dwindle from one administration to another.
This is manifest in the fact that no government has better records of performance than the one it succeeded. Taking a retrospective look, it would be revealed that the leadership of the past was more visionary, people oriented, development conscious and humane. This contrasts sharply with what obtains in recent times.
Moving from East to West, North to South the post independent leaders who took over from the colonialists achieved so much in terms of development. It would be recalled that it was in that era that the present South East then known as eastern region was rated as one of the fastest growing economies of the world.
The economy then was anchored on agro related products. Similar feats were achieved in the West and North. Looking at what obtains presently questions arise as to why the present crop of leaders especially Nigerian governors have lacked the vision to improve on the attainments of the first generation leaders.
Nigerian governors are expected to delight their people with impressive performance that improves the quality of those led. But the lot of the people has remained increasing suffering, underdevelopment and increased poverty in the midst of plenty as well as alienation from governance.
Nigerian governors have turned themselves enemies of the people given the manner they have weakened the practice of democracy by their refusal to adhere to democratic ethos and values. Most of the efforts required of them to strengthen our democratic institutions and add value to the quality of life of the people are observed in breach. Here are few examples.
Local government autonomy was one of those actions designed to bring development closer to the grass roots. The governors have never allowed this to thrive because on monthly basis they hijack the proceeds of the federal allocations due to the Councils leaving the local government areas undeveloped.
Again, since the minimum wages was negotiated not all the governors have keyed into it. This has further worsened the plight of Nigerian workers. It cannot be explained why the governments are dragging foot yet they are all involved in frivolous spending that has no value to the people.
As part of the process to entrench democratic practices and ensure the independence of the three arms of government, legislative autonomy was also granted to extricate the legislature from the stranglehold of the executive. But this appears to hold only on paper and not in practice. State legislatures are still going cap in hand to ask for their emoluments.
Today Nigerian courts have been shut for nearly two months as a result of the strike of Judicial Services Union of Nigeria (JUSUN). It also bothers on issues concerning the independence of the judiciary. There are clear indications that the governors are not in a hurry to fund judicial services adequately.
News Echo frowns at these ugly developments some of which provisions are made very clear in our rule books. We align ourselves to any process designed to ensure that the rights and welfare of the people are guaranteed. It amounts to executive rascality to see governors trample on institutions that will improve the lots of the people.
We condemn in its entirety all acts of corruption perpetrated by public officers, past and present, and advise that the regulatory and security agencies be strengthened to bring them to book. There is no reason the country cannot get better with huge natural and human endowments if they are properly managed.