by Okey Ifeachor

Nigerian leaders in government need to undergo patriotic orientation programme. This programme is to re-orientate their minds from pursuing self-centred gratifications that tend to balkanise the country to ensuring the enthronement of altruistic principles in the polity. This is very germane now given the state of affairs in the

country. According to my friend, Carl Zeto, “the mind of our leadership class is not what it should be.”

It is very disheartening that since Nigeria’s independence, and despite our national wealth in terms of human and natural resources, we as a country have not made enviable quantum leap that will place us on a pedestal of honour in the comity of nations. Rather, we have remained a gyrating nation taking one step forward today and three steps backward tomorrow. This chequered movement lies squarely on the type of leadership we have had, unfortunately.

Since independence, our leaders have walked on centrifugal path. They have played ignoble roles of sowing seed of ethno-tribal and religious divisions. They did this in the past and are still walking the dangerous path, not because they love their people. They fertilize the seed of vicious national diversity just for their personal gains. And many naive Nigerians follow the bandwagon of political deceit of ‘my people’ to foster selfish interests of those who truly hate them but cannot afford to leave the Nigerian masses because they climb to their exalted positions on the back of the majority of Nigerians.

The leadership class in Nigeria have over the years embarked on policies that asphyxiated enterprise, development, veritable standard of living and social political harmony. They seemly deliberately formulate policies that kill entrepreneurship and pandered to artificial western ways of life. The result is that national development became comatose and national investments went on avoidable trip abroad. Nigeria was at a loss and is still losing.

Many of those who have had the privilege of ruling us had primordial orientation of the value of Nigeria and her endowments. They valued the things of other climes more than the ones Providence has been so benevolent to bless us with. That orientation of devalued self worth, I guess, informs why many of us still feel we have not arrived if we do not have real estate abroad; do not have our children and wards in foreign schools; do not go on foreign holidays; do not wear foreign attires, and do not have our monies in foreign bank accounts etc. I think that our indigenous environment can give us those things we pride ourselves having in other climes if our environment can be made clement by our leaders.

But why are our leaders in government not creating enabling environment for our development and progress? Why are our schools not furnished with state of the art equipment? Why are hospitals still mere consulting clinics? Why are roads still death traps? Why is agriculture given lip service? Why do we have more of pernicious policies than virtuous ones? Is it inferiority complex or just wickedness? Or is it ignorance of our true value? Your guess is as good as mine. However, I think that true leadership is the ability to enlarge the coast of national development to flower and deepen citizens’ potentials and not to contrast it and engender human and capital flight to other regions of the world as we have presently.

It is common knowledge that few foreigners have real estate in Nigeria; few of them have their children and wards in our universities and colleges; few of them have their monies in our banks; few of them seek medical attention in Nigeria; few of them organise conferences and trainings in Nigeria and bring their people to attend; few of them make Nigeria tourism destination; few of their heads of state and government frequent Nigeria.

The myopic leadership example shown by our leadership class over the years culminating in their investing in other climes and elevating foreign endowments far above national gifts has given way to an inimical craving by many Nigerians. Such mindset is not doing us a world of good. It is high time the leadership class in the oil rich West African country thought again and seek ways to reverse the ugly trend of the past that had led them to leave undone the things they were supposed to do and to do those things they were not supposed to do. It is time for Patriotic Orientation Programme for the leadership class in Nigeria.