good heart is not a guarantee or a good measurement of an individual's ability to politically deliver. I was not part of the decision that convinced Umaru Yar'Adua to vie for the presidency but I believe the calculation was that Yar'Adua's simple mindedness and humility makes him viable to be our leader.
I have been following President Umaru Yar' Adua government's developmental mindset since he assumed office as President of Nigeria in May 2007. From my said observation, I have come to conclude that having good qualities as a man does not necessarily mean that one will also be a good leader. In life, every good quality has a cause direction and a good husband may not necessarily be a good politician and vice versa. A well developed mind will use this knowledge to share and allocate resources equitably among various competing needs. This is the greatest attribute that aids development in any given society. With due respect, President Yar' Adua has not shown that he has the presidential temperament needed to guide a complicated union of strange bedfellows such as Nigeria. I do not personally see any leadership charisma and/or practical intelligence in his administration so far. Being very slow and perpetually professing respect for the rule of law is not the performance we can count on; really this shouldn't be an issue to be harped on like a church choir every time and in so many forums. Respect for the rule of law should be a given basic for any responsible individual, government and or a going concern. It should not be the sole measurement for a leadership position, especially the presidency of Nigeria. If a president does not respect the law, who then would when he is supposed to be the chief law officer of the country? Please give me a break!
Yar' Adua should aggressively look into the basic infrastructural needs of the people of Nigeria and do something to fix it and immediately. Once the basic infrastructures of electricity (power), motor-able good roads and security of lives and properties are provided, at least Nigerians can and would do the rest by themselves. Nigerians are not asking for special benefits or handouts from their government but that their government should make it possible for them to thrive by levelling the playing field. Make it possible for that budding entrepreneur to be able to power his company, drive to his businesses and be assured that he is safe making these running through a good security that is put in place by the government. All that Nigerians want is simply the basics - infrastructures to jump start their economy. As a matter of fact, Nigeria government is obligated to provide these basic infrastructures to the general public because they collect taxes from them; otherwise let them stop collecting these taxes from the public and corporate organizations. Revenue from such taxes should be ploughed back to the people and organizations in the form of basic infrastructures to enable them live comfortably and operate more efficiently. In that way, it becomes a win win situation both for the government that will collect more revenue and the people that will thrive better. It baffles me when such necessities are made to become a campaign issue. Globally, every government is pursuing some form of program/policy that is in tune with effectively supporting the efforts of her citizenry to better position their economy in the global scene. Look at the emerging economies like China, India, Brazil, Ukraine, etc - these are private sector powered economies. China, according to reports has taken over the lead as the place with the highest number of emerging entrepreneurs; and America and Europe of course are worried about this development. What is so special about these emerging players that we lack as Nigerians? Nothing really! In fact they are scared of our potentials, abilities and resources and will flinch were they to be set free to thrive. Nigeria has the numbers, skills, motivations and abilities; all that is lacking a goal-directed purposeful leadership. This is the much needed solution to our myriads of problems as a country.
Mr President, I totalled up your political appointments so far and has come to the conclusion that it is unfair, unbalanced and lopsided. It continued to show a calculated and deliberate elimination of some integral part of the union - the Igbos. What we need as a president is a man or woman with a mindset of equitable distribution and allocation of resources within the Nigeria context. We do not need a man who see Nigeria as a private property of the oligarchs where the other sections of the country are treated merely like tolerable nuisance. No Nigerian citizen should feel inferior, unwanted, a second class or a total untouchable outclass in a country supposedly his and by and in the hands of fellow Nigerians. One should not be made to feel discrimination in his own country similar to all manners of discrimination we experience abroad ranging from race (remember we are black living in a whiteman's land), accent etc and in Nigeria's case, tribal! What we are seeing in the Niger Delta is a reactionary attitude of a lingering messy leadership culture in Nigeria. The Niger Delta summit will be very effective, friendly and highly productive only with greater local content, interest and participation from Nigerians of the Niger Delta region. A Nigerian from the region should be appointed to head the intended committee. Peace and reconciliation the world over is going locally and the Niger Delta situation should not be an exception. An indigene of that area who understands and speaks the language of the Niger Delta, who knows the remote causes of the conflict in the Niger Delta, one who knows who is involved, talks the language of the militants, knows the strength, weakness, threat and opportunity is highly preferable! Mr President, your earlier attempt to appoint Gambari as the chairman of the summit, would have amounted to a dangerous arrogance on your part and constituted an insult to the people of the Niger Delta; as the necessary implication would be that you think that no individual from the South-south zone is qualified enough to fly the flag as the chairman of the conference. Perhaps Professor Gambari could be appointed as a member of the commission to give the summit an international clout and recognition if the goal is to internationalize the conflict. I believe that we are seeking a lasting peace and unity in Niger Delta and not warring in a foreign land, inclusive Bakassi which you guys ceded to Cameroon free of charge! Truth is very important in that it appeals and calms every troubling heart. Mr President, your political appointments and allocation of resources should reflect your position as President of Nigeria and not a sectional or regional or tribal president. As a result they must be evenly spread among all various Nigeria's competing interests for peace, unity and love to reign supreme among Nigerians.
The sincerity and fairness of Mr President is a great part of our moral and economic solution as the public and private sector players would automatically follow suit because their objectives are dependent on government policy direction. The figures your Central Bank governor, Chukwuma Soludo are giving out about the growth or appreciation of the Nigeria economy in Abuja, which I applaud as an economist, may be theoretically correct but does not truly reflect the realities on the grounds. Until Nigerians in rural areas confirm that they could feed themselves, save, have affordable and reachable basic necessities of life such as health care, school, job, water, good roads, electricity comparable to the ones in the cities, no tangible economic growth or development should be claimed by your government. Nigerians still trek several miles just to fetch ordinary water, there is no chairs in classrooms for pupils to sit, some Nigerians still cannot afford to eat three meals per day, natural disasters such as erosion still threatens Nigerians daily and practically, life in the village is like experiencing hell on earth. These are the real indication of economic direction of any society and not government officials or politicians trying to spin facts to enable them keep their jobs. Also these public officials have unlimited access to public funds so their private economies are always flourishing; same goes dubious private sector players who continuously use the ignorance of the public to amass stupendous wealth for themselves and their families. Professor Soludo please stop releasing those figures and instead encourage the President to embark on a meet the people tour of the villages in Nigeria to see for himself how much the economy of Nigeria has "grown" since his inception into office. This will be a better thing for him and comes highly recommended instead of his current overseas junketing. Mr President, you ought to step up and raise the standard of governance after the destitute Olusegun Obasanjo's. We want you to showcase a difference between your government and other inept previous administrations. The basic tool to succeed is sincerity, fairness,working smart,working with the right people, devotion to duty and constant meditation about unity of Federal Republic of Nigeria. It is day-break and time for your government to wake up, Mr President!
Always, the proud Nigerian that I am.
Ugo Ubili writes from California.
He's the Founder/CEO of Thisdaypeople.com and Bay Area Medical Transportation Inc.