Nigeria has been a tragic experiment in failed leadership and failed leaders. The foundations were laid by the British colonization of the country in the late 1880s and in 1914 when Lord Lugard christened the country. Even from the beginning, it was an uncomfortable marriage.
When the British gave the country up in 1960, Nigerians had an opportunity to steer their country in the direction they wanted it to go. That opportunity quickly went begging as military coup followed military coup before plunging the country into a cataclysmic civil war from 1967-70. It was a tragic moment for a newly independent country.
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The country has never got it right since then as civilian and military regimes have failed to improve the leadership fortunes of the country. In fact, the heists perpetrated on the country especially under different military regimes have been responsible for laying the firm foundations of corruption in the country.
Even when democracy returned to the country in 1999, the dismal situation witnessed little improvement as early promise soon gave way to disastrous outings by successive Nigerian administrations.
Different Nigerian presidents have come and gone since then, some leaving legacies more odious than those of their predecessors. But under President Muhammadu Buhari, the last seven years have been a new low.
To be fair to him, President Muhammadu Buhari was honest enough to disclose upon assumption of office that he was surprised at the depth of the problems Nigeria was sinking in. His early days in office were marked by a constant reaffirmation of his commitment to tackle Nigeria’s problems. And Nigerians, ever patient and full of fortitude, were ready to give him the benefit of the doubt.
With the 2023 general elections around the corner, and with campaigns having officially opened on September 28, 2022, Nigerians must be on the lookout for those who will come to them mouthing that they have what it takes to fix Nigeria when their antecedents do not stand them in good stead for the delicate task of rebuilding a country torn apart by bad governance and nepotism.
Nigerians must be especially circumspect about the choices they will favour in the upcoming elections because if the mistakes of the past are repeated, the country may be long gone before any survival tale can be spun.
Kene Obiezu writes via [email protected]
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