Leadership problems and Political instability
has been part of African and, especially Nigeria development problem. It had
short changed every course towards national development; hence, Nigeria had
remained underdeveloped. This quagmire had continually repeated itself in every
facet of the Nigerian hope for stability, which is offered and can be attained
through peaceful elections and change of leadership through the Nascent
Democracy, which was enthroned on the 29th May 1999 till date. As
shaky as this issue had been since inception, the Nigerian state had been
greatly threatened, thereby lacking peaceful social civility as every election
period tends to mesh the country into leadership crisis ranging from ethnic,
religious and geopolitical upheaval, which remains the research focus of
analysis. This might be due to electoral rigging and malpractice, imposition
and greed to retain power by the incumbent owing to the fear of the unknown and
possible corruption allegations that easily snowball into ethnic and or
religious undertone, thereby negating the necessary dynamism for development.
work adopts primary and secondary data. The primary data includes oral
face-to-face interview. Using unstructured questions to interview key
informants of six (6) historians, four (4) political scientists, five (5)
international law scholars, four (4) Human rights groups and three (3) staff of
Nigerian foreign Affairs Departments, four (4) Staff of Nigeria Institute of
International Affairs (NIIA) and six (6) lecturers of international relations –
conflict study. The secondary data was materials adequate to form good value
judgment of the work. Amongst which are archival library method, internet and
website browsing, journals, conference papers, electoral monitors’ reports,
magazine and daily newspapers. The research instrument of evaluation is
in-depth interview method. The work also utilizes historical, analytical and
study noted that leadership problem is a major issue retarding the development
of Nigeria. This is occasioned by poverty of leadership that had been
monocratic in tendencies. The research also noted that long years of military
rule and poverty of governance had helped to cripple the economy due to poor
vision and lack of initiative as well as the threat imposed by ethnic bigotry
and skewed federalism questions. The level of discontent and dissatisfaction
among the citizenry informed that the government have failed the people hence
the desires for change of government arousing instability was option left to
the people as always displayed in every election or change of governance. The
work admits that when peaceful changes from the masses are impossible that
violent change could be the possible alternative, hence, the threat to the nascent
conclusion, a true leadership is that which allows for peaceful change through
the will of the people. The so far Nigerian leaders probably had failed to
understand that those years of dictatorship and ethnic politics is over in
Nigeria. Democracy, meant to open up the society while allowing for
liberalization and consent of the people had become the contemporary ideal for
modern society. Thus, Nigeria level of instability can be reduced to minimum
when leadership is open to all. Just as democracy, means that peace should be
allowed to flourish in Nigeria.
TABLE OF CONTENT
Title Page i
Table of Content iv
Background to the Study 1 Statement
of Problem 5
Objective of Study 6
Significance of Study 6
Research Methodology 7
Scope and Limitation 8
Operationalization of Concepts 8
Literature Review 11
African Approach 11
Nigerian Approach 14 The State of
Nigeria Nascent Democracy 17
Historical Overview of the
Historical Evaluation of
Leadership Problem in Nigeria 40
Instances of Leadership
Problems in Selected African States 49
General Analysis 75
The Examination of the
Factors that Mitigates Leadership Problems
In Nigeria 75
The General Implications
of Leadership Problem and the Threats to the Nascent Democracy in Nigeria 83
Conclusion and Recommendation 89
Summary of Findings 89
1.1 BACKGROUND OF
It is truism that peace
cannot reign in the presence of upheaval, instabilities, catastrophe and or
destructions. A phenomenon that are noted to be tenaciously linked to every
African political processes and even leadership problem. Peace and stability in
a political system or in the history of a nation can only be attained and
sustained when such society is properly managed by the leader(s). An ideal
situation that allows for social civility that is brought about by democratic
tenets and practices world over.
Thus, leadership, an act
to direct the course of men aright for their own mutual benefit and the
advancement of the society1, had been followed in the different
perspectives. Amongst this perspective, Wilson Churchill argued that leadership
is the art of directing the affairs of men to yield positive impact on the society2.
On the other hand,
leadership, as many critics argue is one of the major problems of the African
states. Ideally, leadership, a concept of leading people aright, had been made
to elude the facts on what the people deemed as right leader and or wrong
leader, which in turn had affected the common existence of the African people3.
Leadership style of this nature in Africa had not only resulted in instability,
unhealthy competition, oppression, frustration, repression, deprivation, social
injustice, indiscipline, corruption and social decimation with cyclical poverty,
but it had perpetually keep the states in negative light and history from one
generation to another:
Thus, today in the African
continent you hear of conflict and crisis in Kenya, Zimbabwe, Togo, Nigeria,
Sierra Leone, Liberia, Angola, Sudan, Rwandan, Burundi, Guinea, Algeria,
Mauritania and Congo DR amongst others due to leadership problems, which had
turned the states upside down with no mutual benefit to the common people.
Leadership, under an ideal
situation ought to be a social process; relational issues in which one party
attempts by all means to influence the behaviour of others in a normal
situation without recourse to threat or violence4. A good leader
according to Ailbe seeks to secure true compliance with emphasis on the
willingness of the subjects. Except that is done; the leadership will never
function smoothly. A leader attempts to bring a long-term change in the
people’s attitude5. This characteristics behaviour to some extent is
considerably lacking among many African leaders and Nigeria in particular. On the same
context it was argued that uneasy lies the head that wears the crown. Whereas
on the opposite and in the African
context, the rhetoric phrase is uneasy lies the head of the populist
that experiences the terror of the dictator as was exemplified by Bokassa, Idi
Amin, Mobutu Sese Seko, Juvenal Habyarimana, Samuel Doe, Sani Abacha, Eyadema,
Mengistiu Halimalia and Dennis Sasson Nguesso amongst others6. To
Victor Kalu, a good charismatic leader is that one who speaks and the people
listen to him7.
When applying the above
enuciated ethnics of leadership in the Nigeria political system, several
things, however, calls to minds. Such things as, ‘do Nigeria ever experience the
governance of a leader or ruler, as Kalu questioned: do we call them leaders or
rulers in our context’. This is because, with the mixture of both phrases, the
nomenclature did not different who leads, rule or govern the people in Nigeria
but it is seen as a symbolic gesture that are used to becloud the innocence
while decimating their agilities and labours combined8.
Nigeria in general has a
long chain of leadership problem, which had helped to reduce the people and the
country to cyclical underdevelopment9. Historically, Nigeria
leadership problem dates back to the days after independence from the colonial Britain. The
independent, itself was fought on the stand of “one nation, but immediately the
victory was attained, ethnic cleavages and ethnicity become the order of the
Nigeria, from one republic
to the other was noted to be foisting on ethnicity and incompetent leaders with
attendant corruption that had come to be a household in the Nigeria government
and politics10. Against this inadequacies and anomalies, amongst the
civil class, the military sees the opportunity to perpetuate themselves to
power with the hope of ameliorating the cankerworm, but the long years of
military incursion did not only deteriorate the events in the political scene but
it destroyed the state system, enthroned ineptitude on the throne and looters
who have no business aspiring or overthrowing government through the barrel11.
The kind of leadership, thus, noticed was like if the country ‘Nigeria’ was
besieged by a gang of thieveries, looters, corrupt and incompetent men. The
national treasury was like picnics for these rogues in the name of leadership,
because their kind of leadership was neither good nor beneficial to the nation
in all ramifications12.
It is also on this
parlance and pretence that the erstwhile rulers seeing the country’s wealth as
flowing will rather die than to leave the corridors of power. The element of
continuous cycling of themselves in governance and the introduction of their
children helped to put Nigeria
in a perpetual doomed list in the African political structure and governance.
Moreso, against the hope that after the military rule, that the coming of the
civil class in governance will help to restructure and position things in the
country, negative results had been the harvest as the situation and condition
of things had shown no difference nor change from the former ones.
Politically, the civil
class had not shown any difference in the democratic settings. They have not
been able to do for the people what they (masses) cannot provide for
themselves. The basic needs of man like water, electricity, access road,
shelter and other social services had for long being denied on the people (mass
public). Election and electoral management had been a tell-tale story as
electoral malpractice, rigging, accompanied by arson, killings and wanton
destruction of life and properties had characterised every leadership processes
in the country13. Thus, Nigeria bad leadership system had
affected every facet of the society, mostly the economy, the stability of the
country, social welfare and security of persons amongst others.
Citing a recent event as
an example of a bad ruler in Nigeria
nascent democracy, Okwara aptly noted that the Obasanjo regime never respected
the rule of law. The eight years rule of the person above was adorned with
recklessness; it was a near decade of gross disrespect to court orders and
injunction … in his day to day activities and utterances, he demonstrated
himself a ruler bigger than the nation, a ruler who has come to be served and
not to serve; an unclean… Obasanjo is unmercifully corrupt, going by the way he
ruled the nation; it is crystal clear that he was very dirty. He is a reckless
tin-god and not a leader14.
The Nigerian leadership
problem seemed to have defied any panacea for solution as even those you think
are good or could make a change seemed to be worst-off compared to the present
crops of leaders. This is because against Ailbe identified as a successful
leader, when he opined that it is the manifestation of influence bringing about
the behaviour and intended output (result) the leader desired to have15.
Example, if the plan of the leader is to transform, regime, and reform the
deviant elements in the society; and the same is got, such a leader is termed
as a successful one in that regard, because he had actualised his goal, but
reverse is the case in Nigeria where the leader says one thing and does the
Inference on this notions
above, it is imperative to argue that Nigeria leaders and their followers did
not only fail because of the phenomenon of in culpability but due to a
resilient reluctance that the banished leaders seek to mythicise their indifference
to the peoples’ plight by imposing curative measures which bear no relevance to
the burning issues of the times17.
consideration to the tracing of Nigerian leadership problem, that is rooted in
the history, and defined ill-formed geographical and state units, with domestic
regional and international dimension relating both to its colonial history,
marked by corruption, nepotism, and patronage politics, this work will further
in its investigation expose the imposing negative dimension of the problem with
a view to proffering possible way out.
1.2 STATEMENT OF
The starting point for
this analysis is that Nigerian leadership problem is endemic. It is a system
that had enthroned misplaces priority and misjudgement against all what is right
and good in leadership. This bad leadership, expanding for many years had
encouraged dislocation of good governance to mere failure. This is because
against the lapses that go with bad leadership of all the past leaders combined
nothing had been meaningfully achieved locally, nationally and internationally.
The system owing to poor vision of the leaders had gone to near state collapse.
An issue that had encouraged instability and unhealthy economic, social and
political agendas to no positive results.
However, what we should be
looking at is how did the Nigeria
leadership problem emanate? How have the past leaders handle this problem? What
were the reasons behind this cyclical endemic problem? What could be the best
way out of these quagmires? Has the mass directly or indirectly been part of
this leadership problem? What is the paradigm of Nigeria leadership to fellow
Providing answers to the
entire questions above and more forms the pivot on which this work revolves.
OBJECTIVE OF STUDY
The following are the
To investigate the cause and how the Nigeria
leadership problem existed.
To inquire if there had been any major solution to the
leadership problem by the past leaders.
To identify if there was any major reason behind the long
years of leadership problem in Nigeria.
To explain the role of both the masses and the leaders to
To evaluate if there is any negative influence that such
leadership problem had imparted on the neighbouring African states.
To explain the negative implications of this problem on the
people both home and abroad.
SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
This work is significance
in many ways, among which are:
Firstly, the Nigeria
leadership problem had been an aged long phenomenon that many did not know
where it started, to which this endeavour intend to expose. This is due to the
fact that since after independence Nigeria had not moved forward due
to the reason that there had not been a purposeful leader in the country.
Secondly, the degree of bad
leadership in Nigeria had affected both the economic, political, social and
national course, to which the need for solution was very important.
Thirdly, the study
explains that good leader is that person who serve the others and listen to
them. a good leader extol good virtue on the subjects while at the same time
lead by example in ramification.
Fourthly, the role of
ethnicity and ethnic politics been the bane of Nigeria political stability is also
discussed and evaluated for the good of the country.
Fifthly, the work closes
the gap in knowledge on what had been the causal effects of leadership problem
as affecting the people and the society in general.
Finally, this research
work shall no doubt provide useful information to other researchers who may
want to use it for further research on the issue of Nigeria government and politics. It
will also go a long way to show a clear picture of the Nigeria
political leadership history and problems.
The study will adopt
secondary sources of data collection considering the fact that the research is
concerned with the historical evaluation of leadership problem in Nigeria.
Premised on this, a great
deal of secondary materials like textbooks, magazine and journal will serve as
the main source of data collection. The study will equally employ the use of
internet and web browsing to augment the sourced materials.
In view of this, the work
will utilize analytical approach and documentary in evaluating the course
discourse. While historical approach is also adopted in the evaluation, the
study will use descriptive analysis in arriving at its content desire.
SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF
The scope of this research
shall be restricted to Nigeria
leadership problem, which expand from 1960 – 2009. Although, the study may not
be completely in detail of the nitty-gritty of the issue on discourse, but the
cogent, necessary and silent points will be explained.
However, the study is
bedevilled by several limitations which are inevitable. This include the
problem of getting the required and relevant text from the library; logistic
problem of transporting one from place to place. The researcher not allowed or
attended to by library attendants also form a limitation to the study.
Financial constraints is one of the factor forming a limitation to this study.
However, despite all the noted limitation the work was able to meet the
required goal of the study.
OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF
LEADERSHIP: This is one who led the people on the right
direction. A leader is one who serves the people and provide for their needs.
LEADERSHIP PROBLEM: This is a situation where there is
crisis on leadership. The crisis made it that everybody want to lead without
clear vision of how to lead others. It is the struggle that lead to political
This is when there is
crisis arising from bad leadership, failure to solve the peoples’ problem and
the violence that followed on policy, poor administration and state collapse
A weak leader may enthrone
bad governance to shield away from his failures. A wicked leader may enthrone
bad governance to suppress the masses against any opposition.
This are the people of the
society who are been decimated, badly governed by the bad leader.
The several deprivation,
neglects and maltreatment of masses can lead to the people being frustrated by
those in authority. Frustration is when the entire avenue to progress or
advance is blocked by those in authority, thereby creating untold hardship on
the people, group or individuals.
This is a struggle that
arise from political quarrel and antagonism. It is most used or adopted by
political opponents to discuss a political system much especially when a failed
leader want to perpetual self to power continuous.
This is the kind of
measure of governance that a bad leader enthrones while deprives, denying and
keep opponents at bay. Most bad leaders employ it to maltreat the masses especially
those against his political desperation.
1. Okoroama, Ailbe O. Leadership
and power: A comparative approach
Nigeria Co. pub. 2003 pp. 16 – 17.
2. Michael, Anderson Democracy in plural societies, A
explanation: London: News pass pub. 2009, pp
3. Okoroama, Ailbe O. Op cit p 17
4. Ibid P. 18
5. Farrakhan, Louis “The
role of leadership in uniting Africa and black
American” in the African heads of states and black leaders from
1993. vol. 12 No 16 June 16th p. 11
6. Victor, Kalu The leadership questions: power and poverty in
Nigeria. Enugu: Hill press Nig Ltd. 1994 pp.
1 – 5.
7. Ibid pp. 6 – 7
8. Ibid pp. 7 – 8
9. Okigbo, Pius, Nigeria and challenges of leadership in the
century. Enugu enclave press Ltd. 1996
pp. 12 – 18.
10. Ali Mufuruki, “Is there a crisis of leadership in Africa?” A leadership in
leadership initiative April 12th, 2001 pp. 1 – 18.
11. Ibid p. 16
12. Chinua, Achebe The trouble with Nigeria, Enugu: Fourth
dimension pub. 1998.
13. Chima, Ubani, “Total
disempowerment of the masses in Nigeria”
in Civil liberty magazine vol. 5 No 7, July 4th 1999 pp. 4 – 6
14. Okwara M.D. Emeka “Let
Yar’dua probe Obasanjo now” in
Saturday Sun Newspaper December 29, 2007 pp. 6 – 7
15. Okoroama O. Ailbe Op cit
pp. 17 – 18
16. Ibid p. 18
17. Victor, Kalu op
cit. pp. 3 –5.