Leaders: Some don’t have ‘em
By Uche Atuma
Thursday, January 26, 2012

It is a well-known fact that government, and indeed governance exists to serve the general mass of those associated under it – at least that is the picture in most sane societies. Little wonder why Thomas Jefferson asserted that “governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Succint, but quite instructive.
Government come in different forms.

But, it has been proven the world over that the best means of governing a people is by creating a pedestal which anchors the institution and tenets of governance on the sacrosanctity of the will of the governed. This is democracy! And it is the practice in most civilised nations. Fortunately for us as a people, this is what we have also elected to adopt as a style of governance.

Albeit, ours has been anything but rosy. And we have been sailing in this rickety ship in our turbulent waters – somewhat – since our democratic adventure commenced some twelve years ago. Unfortunately, however, what we have here, willy-nilly – with the benefit hindsight – has fallen short of what obtains in organised societies. Peradventure, ours is far from ‘participatory democracy’
The tenets of participatory democracy presupposes that governance is balanced on a scale of leadership and, by implication, followership.

Even a cursory analysis of the term leadership purveys an apparently resplendent revelation of the fact that it is neither dictatorial nor hegemonic. Infact, its outpouring should elicit humility, with an appreciable measure of docility to its followership. With every sense of responsibility, it is pertinent to postulate that this has been alien to us here. Prior to this time – the last couple of days that is – the country had been grappling with myriads of socio-economic, nay political maladies, chief of which has been the security threats posed by a diminutive group of ‘faceless’ religious sect – Boko Haram.

Alas! Then came the ‘killer-punch’ to send an already staggering populace to the canvas; the subsidy on premium motor spirit (pms) or fuel was removed on the first day of the new year. With the announcement and immediate implementation of this quasi insidious policy came its attendant outcry, which, consequently heralded all manner of debates, postulations, calculations and what have you. The resultant upheavals and protests were somewhat tumultuous, thus over-heating an already tensed polity.

Expectedly, quite a handful of government officials came out strongly in defence of this policy and to advocate its perceived merits and advantages. All sorts of figures and statistics were bandied around by these exponents to wheedle and whip Nigerians into line.
Now, having listened and digested most of the debates and sweet speeches for and against the removal of the subsidy on fuel, some deductions easily spring up, chief of which is that a large percentage of Nigerians are not really aversed to the new policy. However, the crux of the matter was the seemingly insensitivity of their ‘leaders’ to their pains hitherto the new arrangement; and government’s inability to carry them along. Rightly so!

The events of the last few days should act as a pointer to those in various positions of authority that Nigerians have woken up to their responsibilities. They no longer wish to be mere docile followers. They now realise that they are stakeholders in this project called Nigeria. They have chosen to be on the qui vive!

Atuma is on the staff of The Sun .

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