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THE LEADERSHIP CURSE OF SOUTH EAST

BY EMMANUEL ONWUBIKO

The coming of democracy or civil rule in Nigeria in 1999 has thrown open a can of worms and indeed exposed the varying degrees of rapid deterioration of political leadership.

The above assertion is not to invalidate the rich literature that speaks about spectacular leadership failures in all facets of Nigeria since after the colonial rulers left for their United Kingdom’s homeland.

For instance, in the second Republic, a globally acclaimed Novelist and writer Professor Chinua Achebe had authored a book “The trouble with Nigeria” in which he rightly argued that Nigeria is accursed with poor and bad leadership.

Professor Achebe of the blessed memories stated that the Nigerian geography or climate is not the source of worry but that leadership failure presents the worst kind of problems occasioning the crippling of development of the country.

Again, long before the book aforementioned, Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka and a host of other excellent writers had also written lots of books on how messy Nigeria’s leadership profile had assumed even in the first Republic or soon after the political independence in 1960.

In all of these scenarios, the military which frequently seized political power have contributed in the deterioration of leadership qualities at play in the polity.

So it can safely be argued that Nigeria’s leadership troubles predates the advent of civil rule in 1999.

This is because the processes that characterized the introduction of the extant grund norm(1999 Constitution) were shrouded in lots of conspiratorial manipulations suggesting that the military rulers handpicked the writers of that constitution to insert and import lots of provisions that completely favours a particular zone of the country which is the North from where most of the top military rulers originated in the over 30 years of military interventions in politics.

For instance the sharing formular of federally generated revenues is in such a distorted status that some states from where the crude oil resources are derived aren’t adequately compensated.

But the birth of elective government in 1999 also delivered the unforeseen issues of electoral manipulations by godfathers who have consistently imposed their surrogates in offices in the different levels both at the state and Federal level.

The worst affected region or geopolitical zone of the Nigerian state is the South East of Nigeria whereby these rash of impositions of bad politicians as office holders, have progressively denied majority of the people living in the South East of Nigeria, of the benefits that usually comes from good governance, accountability and sustainable development.

There seems to be a peculiar kind of leadership curse in such places as Imo , Abia, Ebonyi, Enugu most especially.

Anambra may have escaped some of these adversarial leadership curses because evidence abounds to demonstrate that in the last 16 years, Anambra state has been lucky to have elected quality political statesmen to steer their ship of state.

Although the good people of Anambra state still complain of certain manifestations by the Political leadership such as lack of proper accountability as a big challenge.

For instance, Peter Obi was governor for eight years and handed over to his successor Mr Willy Obiano and left lots of cash to the credit of the state treasury.

Soon after the transition of power, stories started trending of alleged misapplication of these huge amounts left behind by Peter Obi and the pace of infrastructural development can not justify the uses to which these massive resources saved for Anambra state by Peter Obi was put into by his successor.

The poor quality of governance in the entirety of South East of Nigeria was the fundamental reason for the growth of youth restiveness and agitations for self determination. The larger issue of marginalization of the South East of Nigeria is also very fundamental in giving rise to overwhelming agitation for self determination. But since charity begins at home, there is a general perception that the bad state of governance in the entirety of South East of Nigeria is the single largest factor that instigates youth restiveness and the clamour for independence since there is a general perception that even from the center the sharing formula of the national cake doesn’t favour the South East which has fewer number of local government areas and states unlike the other two equally dominant Ethnicities of Yoruba and Hausa. The Constitution which was written by the Sani Abacha’s military dictatorship made local government areas as the basis for sharing of allocations generated federally notwithstanding the level of endowments found in the states with fewer local area councils created by successive military dictators. Then again, even the allocations coming into South East of Nigeria in trillions are simply pocketed by the Political class and taken away to other countries for private safe keepings of the politicians whilst the millions of ordinary citizens of South East of Nigeria wallow in want, poverty and lack of development.

Because the millions of young persons from the SouthEast of Nigeria who graduate from schools and can’t easily find jobs in either the public or private sectors, these restive and alienated young persons then chose to demand accountability.

Some of them also lost hope in the ability of the existing political structures and persons to be able to steer the South East of Nigeria away from failed infrastructures and lack of good governance. Mind you, the old Eastern region suffered devastations from the bombing campaign waged for 30 months by the federal forces and their allies from the West against the then Biafra Republic. The end of the war in 1970 did not lead to reconstruction and rebuilding of the destroyed privately built assets and public infrastructures.

AmarSim Associations Development Consultants

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