October 12th, 2011
Mr. President, You Said It All: AT Age 51
Nigeria Is Still In a State of Institutional Collapse
Because of Leadership Disorderliness?
Sir, the depth and enduring nature of Nigeria’s
institutional woes has proved fertile ground for
psychological analysis and guidance. And here is Why:
Professional psychologists remain vast about the
institutional effects of instability in regards to human
hardship as in many of life’s grittier issues, among them
are hopeless, pain, helplessness and general nostalgia.
Sir, these psychological issues are direct consequences of
Nigeria’s disordered and ungoverned politics with ongoing
massive negative effect on the masses. Ironically and
notably, this same institutional disorderliness brings
fraudulent gains to many in charge of our institutions.
Sir, in your speech to mark Nigeria’s 51st anniversary of
independence from British colonial powers in a just, open
and despondent manner, you talked about institutional and
systemic breakdown in the country.
Sir, there was need for you to propose a psychological
overhaul of the nation’s institutions , if we are to truly
bring about a functioning system of institutions.
Sir, you talked about how our ministers’ offices have been
rotated into regular ‘consultation’ rooms. Could this be due
to the need for a flamboyant lifestyle which can only
persist through corrupt practices in order to feed their
It is not unusual to see on a daily basis how the powerful
impoverish the trekking masses and motorized drivers with
fleet of publicly issued luxurious cars, with privatized
Nigerian police and mounted traffic jams on their way home
apparently with their ‘consultation’ yields.
Sir, you talked about Nigerian Doctors, who are mandated to
protect lives, habitually end up killing people as they did
to my mother, and nobody takes action because the
institutions that should control and monitor their
activities have apparently become exasperated.
Sir, you talked about the nation running on a deficit budget
because the institutions that are in charge of protecting
public resources are persistently being affected with
leakages, mentally of course.
Sir, there is a reason why many of them frequent your
office. As you rightly pointed out the “system” is not
working well because many of them could be struggling with a
mindset of presidential dependency, which could be a sign of
habitual helplessness, yet that is what you have surrounding
Sir, you cited lack of accurate census figures and incorrect
statistics on the economy as indicators of mass
institutional fiascos. Sir, when some of them are sent to
helpful lectures, meetings, training programs and similar
activities they are either asleep during the lectures, runs
way after a short stay or simply disappear from the lecture
room. But they expect their supervisors and employees to
attend and stay in the meetings. In the process there is
confusion, as no one actually knows who is right in terms of
information, and no one knows the current state of the art
in matters of governance.
Sir, you talked about public workers not coming to work by
“8am even though the period of service is between 8am and
4pm”, and you asked how many “directors come to work by
Sir, there is value in work so if the ministers, directors
and other senior officials could come to work on time the
general workers will become more responsible for their own
actions and behaviors through good attendance.
Sir, you stated that you are not “ going to chase them by
carrying a big stick going into the ministries and breaking
the heads of the people”. Sir, no one in their right mind
wants to see a Hitler type of presidential leadership in
Sir, if as “a nation, we have to build strong institutions”
as you rightly stated, approaches to institutional
indiscipline should be accompanied with successive stiffer
penalties. And mandating stiff penalties against those who
refuse to participate in best practices in our institutions
is only fair. And as a matter of fact, heavy fines on
failing ministers and other public leaders could serve as a
better chance of avoiding continued institutional collapse.
Sir, as you rightly know many public and corporate leaders
remain overly wealthy, while about 80% of Nigerian citizens
suffer below the poverty line.
Sir, some of these citizens are in pain and remain in the
frontlines of economic struggles, and some are seeking
solace by way of unusual behaviors like terrorism,
kidnapping, armed robbery, violent civil unrest,
inter-communal tensions, strikes, and prostitution.
Sir, many Nigerians for the first time in their lives feel
very vulnerable, and ain't too proud of the giant of
Sir, your candid words will certainly give a spiritual lift
to many Nigerians and help hit back against a sense of moral
and physical decline in our public leaders.
Sir, professional psychology could help our public leaders
recognize their strengths and resources for the betterment
of their respective institutions.
Sir, the application of the science of positive psychology
to improving our institutions could eventually be broadened
to the society only if government agencies and leadership
focus on integrating scientific and professional knowledge
The Nigeria Psychological Association with all of its human
resources and assets are ready to assist when called upon by
the leadership and the presidency since psychology has
stayed missing or neglected for far too long.
John Egbeazien Oshodi,