What is wrong with the Nigerian leadership system – Abdullahi Malumfashi

So many things are wrong with the leadership style in Nigeria, and if they are not properly addressed urgently, I don’t see the country moving forward. From corruption and nepotism, to incompetency, poor party system and so many more.

Corruption deserve to be on the top of the list, considering how corruption is rampant in our society and is almost considered a norm. Corruption can be found in all the sectors, but unfortunately it is most demonstrated by our political elites and public office holders, and it is being carried out shamlessly. Recently, a former public servant filed an application at court to prevent the EFCC from forfeiting his Ill gotten wealth of $9.8 million retrieved from his residence. Though he lost the bid, it is still a slap on our face. But then, this is Nigeria. The level of corruption in the country, most especially among the political class is simply amazing. To reduce this effect, the immunity for public officers should be reconsidered. Just recently, in the far away Asian country of South Korea, a President was impeached and trialed for corruption charges. The country should take a cue from this. Speaking of Asia, the country should consider adopting China’s policy on corruption. You steal, you die, period.

Incompetent individuals always seem to find their ways into the system. In Nigeria you just can’t desert friends or relatives after getting power, you must simply reward them. It does not matter whether they are competent or not. In America, immediately after elections you hear words like ‘ We are all Americans’ or ‘ Democratic or Republicans, it is time to build the nation’. They would then start the rigorous exercise of setting up a competent cabinet. It doesn’t matter whether someone of the other political party is appointed, as long as they are fit for the role. Same can not be said of Nigeria. It is only in Nigeria that you find a Governor with 600 aides! As long as we continue letting distributive appointments and godfatherism influence our appointments and not based on merit, the leadership system is bound to fail. We should consider switching from such kind of appointments to a more meritocratic approach. Only people competent enough and have the necessary experience should be appointed into key and sensitive government positions. Some other roles can be reserved for the political class.

In Nigeria, terms like social conservatism, neoliberalism and others associated with our political parties are just on paper. It is safe to say our political parties don’t have party beliefs nor any ideologies. In the US, the parties are known for their political beliefs and ideologies. Either one believes in conversatism in which case they subscribe to the Republican party , or they believe in modern liberalism and progressivism in which case one belong to the Democratic party. Those who don’t belong to any of the above contest as independent or some other minor parties. In Nigeria, this is not the case. Politicians are known for changing political parties when the party no longer favours their political ambitions with total disregard to party beliefs, if there is any. To solve this, the political parties should have party beliefs and ideologies and should stick firmly to that. Any person found operating outside the belief of a party should be expelled.

Another problem is the issue of delegates. There is no specific requirement for selection of delegates. Favoritism and godfatherism overrides the whole process. In turn, the delegates chosen are largely corrupt, selfish whose votes can be easily procured using few cash. The delegates vote not based on competency, but for their own selfish personal interest, or that of their boss. To redeem this, the delegates should be elected by the people with strict requirements. The whole process of delegate selection should be made transparent and should not be controlled by some selected individuals. The party internal politics, source of funds, campaign funds and others should be closely monitored. If all these shall fail, maybe we should consider adopting independent candidature as recommended by the Uwais led committee on electoral reform. If all the above and many other lapses found in the leadership system in Nigeria are fixed, then maybe the country would be better.

Written by Abdullahi Malumfashi
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