y1WlEjNAYV3-K1WpS3N1_iK3Azo TaJuLa's Blog: Former South African President Blames Nigerians For Bad Leaders. Do You Agree?

Monday, 25 November 2013

Former South African President Blames Nigerians For Bad Leaders. Do You Agree?

Thabo Mbeki
Thabo Mbeki.
FORMER South African President, Thabo Mbeki’s contention that ordinary Nigerians deserve as much blame as the politicians for the leadership failure in the country provides a valid platform for the re-evaluation of citizens’ role in governance in Nigeria. According to the man who took over the mantle of leadership from the great Nelson Mandela, it is only the citizens themselves that can put a stop to bad leadership. Democracy’s efficacy and legitimacy are predicated on an informed citizenry; without active and knowledgeable citizens, democratic representation remains empty; without vigilant, informed citizens, there is no check on potential tyranny. This point has been made even more pointedly in Egypt where, after three decades of authoritarian rule, the government of Hosni Mubarak was unceremoniously brought to an end. Unfortunately, here in Nigeria, nobody wants to put his life on the line. Apathy by the civil populace has meekly handed politicians and political office holders the freedom to steal the country blind and squander its resources in a manner, perhaps, unheard of in the annals of the country. It is difficult to think of a country where over N2 trillion spent in the name of subsidy has not been properly accounted for; yet, nobody is behind bars two years after. It is unimaginable that in a country that professes the rule of law, billions of naira belonging to pensioners could vanish into thin air and nobody is made to account for it. Indeed, it is still difficult to fathom how over 100 security agents could be murdered in cold blood while on official duty and the killers still prance around unmolested. It is perhaps only in Nigeria that a minister would authorise the purchase of two extra cars, apart from her other official vehicles, for N255 million.
To think that this is happening at a time when a minister was given the boot in Ghana for merely expressing her desire to acquire up to $1 million through politics only reinforces the extent to which Nigerians are docile and satisfied with the kind of government that they have. The Nigerian minister in question is still in office. It is not just under the current government, governments in Nigeria have always acted as if they exist in a different planet and owe the electorate neither explanations for their actions, nor effective service delivery. Yet, when the time comes to make a change through the ballot box, it is either the same villains are returned to power or they rig themselves back, regardless of what the ballot says. In Nigeria, it appears nothing can provoke the people into demanding accountability from political office holders. Things that would jolt a government in any other clime go unnoticed in the country. For instance, how does one explain the continued deterioration in the quality of infrastructure amidst an endless flow of money from the sale of crude oil? How can the decline in the quality of education and health care delivery be explained in view of the amount that accrues to the country from the crude oil sale? It is in this same country that a government came to office when the price of oil was $18 per barrel was able to pay off the country’s debt of over $30 billion and saved over $50 billion in foreign reserves and more than $20 billion in Excess Crude Account. But the country is now accumulating debts, even when the price of oil in the international market has remained largely above $100 pb in the past six years. Yet, Nigerians are not asking questions and are so enfeebled that their views, when expressed, don’t count.  I 100% agree.
Punch Nig.

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