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OPINION: A COUNTRY WITHOUT LEADERS

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Can you imagine a football team without a captain, an aeroplane without a pilot, a boat or ship without a captain? That is the state Nigeria found itself in the last seven years. Those were seven years of slanderous, sacrilegious, sanguinary and satanic savagery. They were seven years of lawlessness, loathsome looting, total economic ruination, unprecedented impropriety, reckless impunity, myopic and Stone-Age nepotism.

What else could have been expected under such clueless and rudderless atmosphere?

For starters, the Aso Rock Villa, which is supposed to serve as the seat of government and presidential lodge, was devoid of both. The President was nowhere to be found. There was no government in place except some nameless, faceless, insidious cabal of power-mongers damned by the brilliant and outspoken Mrs Aisha Buhari. Major-General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), who was awarded the tenancy of the Villa by dollar-guzzling media hype, had to be searched for. He was later to be found by a powerful searchlight on a hospital bed in the United Kingdom.

For most of the first three years of Buhari’s presidency, if ever there was one indeed, he had what was supposed to be a government tucked away underneath his hospital bed abroad. We were deceived that routine consultations were carried out by members of the cabal, which had a penchant for overturning whatever actions that was intrepidly taken by a figure-head Vice President.

For over seven months into the life of the non-existent ‘government’, there were no ministers and no constituted authority, as it were, to run the affairs of the country. This vacuum, therefore, led to all sorts of power blocks starting with the cabal aforementioned and closely followed by a ruthless group of cow-followers who obviously emerged from the ashes of the plundering barbarous Vikings of ancient Europe. They called themselves Myetti Allah and were all over the place, a noisy, cantankerous, meddlesome and murderous group notorious for countering the legitimate laws of our notoriously cowardly state governors. So seemingly powerful and untouchable were members of this organisation that observers and visitors to the country would think they were the government of the land.

Then came on board hordes of the unelected. These were individuals handpicked by members of the faceless cabal and given to spokespersons to announce to the public as trusted allies of the elected President. Such appointees had the same qualification; kinship, religion, ethnicity and a record of fanaticism. Length of beard and heaviness of turban counted in some instances as additional qualification advantages.

In the obvious absence of government, the country has been in the ‘who will touch me?’ hands of the beneficiaries of nepotism running the vital agencies of the government. Name it: Immigration, Customs and Excise, Ports, Banks and related financial institutions and countless others. The unelected boss of Immigration dishes out orders. The man at Customs belches orders and decrees policies. Every unelected boss in each and every government establishment constitutes themselves into laws above the Law. There is no coordination, no supervising authority and no checks and balances. Imagine yourself on a flight without a Pilot and your life is left in the hands of the stewards and stewardesses!

The current abysmal state of Nigeria should not surprise anybody and no one should delude themselves that the about-to-collapse edifice can be patched up in any shape or form by any angel or devil. A country without a government for 7 long years cannot wake up from deadly slumber and expect a miracle.

Leaders build institutions, which sustain societies governed by law and order. Law and order breed accountability and transparency, which engender good governance, development and progress.

Unfortunately, a country deficit in good leadership got worsened by the culture of ‘anything goes,’ which in turn ruined traces of whatever was left of those good days.

As of now, Nigerian politicians have failed woefully and tragically. From councillors to the peak of governmental structure, there is hardly anyone that can be adjudged a good leader or a role model for the people.

In the armed forces where stories of silly stealing colour pages of the country’s newspapers, or the ministries where civil servants have eaten everything eatable down to stationeries, or the government agencies like Customs, Immigration, Pensions, EFCC, the NNPC where the President holds the office of Minister, or even in the Universities and allied institutions, there is hardly anyone to point at as reference in good leadership.

It is so bad. Corruption in all its facets has eaten deep into the fabric of society and robbed the country of leadership of any kind. The entire citizenry is groping in darkness and praying for divine intervention of any sort that will terminate this horrible nightmare of a life.

Even parents, traditional custodians of the best in human behaviour as exemplars to children and wards are nowhere to be found. They are either chasing after money or some loot, or simply lost in the confusion which had beclouded the land.

Insecurity, the type never before experienced in Nigeria, has exposed the absence of government and leadership. There is obviously nobody in charge and no lawful or legitimate government in place where virtually three quarters of the country is under the suzerainty of bandits, terrorists, rapists, kidnappers and arsonists. The supposed seat of government in Abuja is under threat of bombardment while the supposed number One leader of the country is rarely seen with the people except in motion or still pictures!

A country that has no government, even if lame, weak and ineffective or a people who have no leader as a reference point is as good as dead.

The way out is for all indigenous nationalities to summon courage and exit this artificial temple on its way to perdition.

•Tola Adeniyi is the co-convener of Indigenous Nationalities Restoration Congress.