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A triangle of hope

As expected, already divisive, sectional and selfish interpretations of the letter have started leaving the substance and reading negative intentions portraying the opinions of these…

As expected, already divisive, sectional and selfish interpretations of the letter have started leaving the substance and reading negative intentions portraying the opinions of these selfish people. We must leave above board. This is our country and millions yet unborn. We have no other country but Nigeria and the truth of the matter is Nigeria is overwhelmed by corruption and bad governance and it must be salvaged.  
I want to look at the hopes and opportunities that I see for greater Nigeria.  
Looking at Nigeria from historical, economic or poli-tical perspectives, three cities, Lagos, Port Harcourt and Kano/Katsina play multiple roles in the interest of the country.  
These cities are inciden-tally the capitals of their respective states. In these states headed by the respective governors, the governors exhibit some values and quality leadership that could make Nigeria greater.
Many Nigerians knew how Lagos was before the coming of the incumbent governor. Lagos was lawless, insecure, dirty, etc. but today is a different story. People now express their thoughts in the open that, so we can make it, so good things are possible. The governance to make Lagos better has become a national pride and an example for others. This ability by the governor and his team has changed the perception of many Nigerians. Governor Fashola has brought order, accountability, good gover-nance and hope to Lagos state and Lagosians which must be extended further to Nigeria and Nigerians.
We are all aware that in Nigeria today sycophancy, if you want to be in the good book of the powers that be and thus get your share, is the language of the day. The good ones that attempted to be different are intimidated by the very institutions paid to protect them. However, in Port Harcourt or Rivers state today the story is different.   . Governor Amaechi has demonstrated that it is pos-sible and it can be done. That capacity and ability are values Nigeria needs to instil courage and determination in the new leadership more than ever before and more than Rivers state for Nigeria to be salvaged. There can never be development in an environment where corruption and sycophancy are patronized.
In Kano and Kano state in general, it is another mira-cle. Many knew of Kano’s disorder, reckless, intolerant and terrifying commercial motor cyclists, traffic conges-tion, dirtiness, etc. But a miracle is happening today. Anybody who now visits Kano is overwhelmed by its orderliness, neatness and infrastructural development, educational and attitudinal changes.   To me the most spectacular changes are two. The governor’s persistence in his speeches and actions that people must change their negative attitudes to positive ones and in the Kwankwasiyya slogan of amana, trust. By trust, it simply means no to corruption and bad governance. Nigeria needs that most and Governor Kwankwaso must strive for that.
In Katsina state, there is a silent revolution going on.   Governor Shema has made inclusiveness, objectivity, sanity and accountability, etc. the core values in his governance or the hallmarks of his administration in Katsina state. These are qua-lities we must cherish and practice that are undoubtedly and definitely needed for a new and greater Nigeria and Shema could excel in that.
Our political parties, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), the All Progressives Congress (APC) and others must find a dynamic and promising leadership from the crop of the serving governors and the present and dynamic members of the House of Representatives for a better Nigeria. The parties must give Nigerians credible alternatives of leadership at all levels of governance, if they are in any way patriotic to be considered serious by Nigerians.  
One, a government is run by institutions and not individuals. Thus, if the institutions are good, the country is good and if they are decayed, so is the country.  I could not see how a commissioner of police could humiliate a governor in his own state, even if mistake, and no immediate action is taken by the Inspector General or even the President of the country. Or the numerous humiliations, especially the most recent of our security agencies and destruction of aircrafts by the so called Boko Haram in Maiduguri in spite of the resources expended and the state of emergency in place, yet no credible explanation and no one held accountable.  
Two, the new leadership must reduce the extravagance in governance. The system as it is today serves the leadership and not the leadership serving the people. It must be people oriented. Once a leader is principled and good, he/she or their sycophants need not blow their trumpet. The people will do that at no cost. Mandela, our Madiba, came out of prison to be the president of South Africa. He led by example.  We need to demystify governance. It needs to be seen to be friendly to the people and sincerely serving them. Leaders must be made accountable while in office and not when seeking re-election. Leadership must earn the trust and confidence of the people. Leadership at federal level must be made unattractive by making it challenging and not so cheap to the detriment of the country.
Three, the federal government as it is today is amorphous. It cannot function effectively. It is more like a drain pipe, enjoyed only by the corrupt. There is need for devolution of powers to the lower tiers of government. For me, issues of security, foreign policy, monetary and fiscal policies, in addition to some regulatory agencies are enough functions for an effective federal government in an environment like Nigeria.
Our lower tiers of government especially the local government need the independence they require to function effectively that is our right path for development. Local governments therefore might require some reforms to ensure qualified and effective leadership and staff with zero tolerance to corruption.  
The issues are many and the challenges daunting, but wherever there is capacity, determination and the spirit of team work focusing on the people, Nigeria will not only overcome the challenges but become a leader revered to by other nations in this global village. Nigerians deserve nothing short of that.
 
Dr Abdulkarim is of Department of Public Administration, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, <[email protected]>;

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