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Of Leaders and Self-Interest


 Published January, 31st, 2010

Late American newspaper commentator Walter Lippmann defined leaders as “the custodians of nation’s ideals, of the beliefs it cherishes, of its permanent hopes, of the faith which makes a nation out of a mere aggregation of individuals.”

The word that captivated me most in the foregoing definition is: Custodian. For me to have a proper grasp of the meaning of the word I clicked my mouse on The result I got was that custodian is “a person who has custody; keeper; guardian. The second meaning reveals that a custodian is “a person entrusted with guarding or maintaining a property; janitor.

The question now is can we see members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) as custodians of Nigeria’s ideals, her beliefs, her permanent hopes, or the faith which makes Nigeria out of a mere aggregation of Nigerians.

The truth is that all members of the federal executive council have no iota of love for Nigeria. If they have why did they “certify” President Yar’ Adua fit to govern Nigeria, even when the reality on ground shows that the President has been hospitalized since November 23, 2009. Commonsense tells me that majority of the FEC members know it may not be well when a new president takes over power. We all know all the ministers are appointed, not elected. Is it not then logical to think that our ministers refused to “certify” President Yar’ Adua unfit in order not to be sacked during Vice-President Jonathan’s tenure, or not having the favour they were obtaining from the ailing president? Permit me to say that the FEC “certification” on President Yar’ Adua fitness was borne out self-interest. They only considered their job before taking decision, instead of considering Nigeria and Nigerians before taking decision.

Another angle to self-interest that made the President Yar’ Adua not to handover to Vice-President Jonathan is the People’s Democratic Party’s tradition of power rotation between the north and south. Why must such tradition exist in a political party? Is PDP greater than Nigeria? It is high time we began to think more of the Nigeria than ourselves. We shall all die, but Nigeria will ever remain.

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