The Belief of a Leader!

by Rev. Uche Dr. Obodoechina

The process of governance is a complicated one. More. often than not, it involves more than two important aspects namely the peoples mandate and confidence in a leader and the leader's belief in the people to whom he or she has been chosen to serve. The peoples' mandate is expressed in the people's massive support of a particular candidate during elections and the same candidate winning the said elections. In a situation where the candidates do not win elections, it is presumed that such a candidate does not have the mandate of the people.

But in Nigeria, where elections are most often rigged, it is difficult to ascertain whether the mandate of one who has rigged elections is that of the people or not. The peoples' mandate can be stolen in Nigeria. And when this happens the heavens are not let loose. However, there are little opposition and litigation processes in the courts to contest the situation of rigged elections and manipulated results. But the bureaucracy and administrative bottlenecks that accompany these rigorous processes of litigations are most often very frustrating.

However few instances abound where people protested against rigged elections results and the mandate was upturned. But for oppositions voices that are not loud enough and protesters who cannot carryon with the huge financial implications for litigations, such mandates are lost among brigands and charlatans. Here the mandate of the people cannot be said to have been legitimately conferred on a leader who has stolen the people's mandate.

It is unfortunate that in Nigeria such sacred mandate of the people have been stolen without much eyebrow. Otherwise the massive support of a leader is expressed in the volume of peoples' support during and after the elections. On the other hand, a leader must have faith in the people he or she is to lead. Unless a leader believes in the people he or she cannot lead the people. A leader must identify with its people and have faith in them, seeing not only their surface faults but also their underlying virtues'. Otherwise a leader will be no better than a detached intellectual- and that is the beginning of the end. If a leader does not believe in the people, he or she will not believe in God.

Such a leader who does not believe in the people will think himself or herself superior and that is the corruption of the soul. But a good leader of the people is one who identifies with the people, mindful of their faults, to be sure, but convinced also of their potential greatness and their preciousness in the sight of God. Yes, do the so called Nigerian leaders have faith in their people? Do they believe in the intrinsic dignity of the people? Or do Nigerian leaders believe in the preciousness of Nigerian people in the sight of God in whose image they were fashioned? Do the so called leaders even believe that Nigerians mean anything at all? That even their mandate of leadership belongs to the people? Nigeria indeed presents us with embarrassing scenarios.

Nigeria is a place where the government do not work for the common good. It is a place where abundant human and material resources are in abundance, yet the majority of the people live and moil in penury. The people are just there for exploitation at the beck and call of the so called leaders. It is therefore not surprising that true leadership has always eluded Nigeria. And so leadership has been the bane of Nigeria's mal-development.

But in the present dispensation, the mandate of the people on the new leaders makes it an added imperative that the elected leaders must repose trust and confidence on the people, otherwise, the battle would have been lost even before the fight could begin!

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