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Tinubu: Between government of national unity and government of national competence

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The president-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, made my day last Thursday when, in a press statement, he said that he would go for a government of national competence rather than that of national unity. This was Tinubu’s response to those clamouring for the formation of a government of national unity as a means to dousing the ethnic and religious tension that the just concluded presidential election threw up. Politicians deployed pejorative rhetoric to pit people against one another along religious and ethnic lines for their own advantage during the electioneering period. The effect of this was the exhumation of the nation’s fault lines with many Nigerians becoming more embittered against their fellow nationals of other faiths and regions. So, there is need for national healing, which some people believe can only be actualized through the formation of a national government.

But I beg to differ. A government of national unity will in most cases be a government of compromise because the focus is not capacity but necessity. Where there is compromise there cannot be justice, and where justice is lacking, there cannot be peace, a prerequisite for unity. On the other hand, where competence is promoted, there will be fairness and justice. Where justice holds sway, peace is guaranteed because everyone will get their due. Once this is emplaced, progress becomes a matter of course. So, the bottom line is that you cannot have unity if you overlook competence. But if you make competence your watch word, not only will you have unity, you will also have the icing on the cake which is national progress.

Having a competent leadership is critical to having the Nigeria of our dreams. This is because while incompetent leaders make excuses, competent ones scale all hurdles to get the desired results. The type of leader a country has determines the fate of the country and the lot of the people. When a country is blessed with competent leaders, resources are properly deployed, the people are connected to opportunities and the profile of the country soars. When a country has competent leaders, talents are well-managed, the people’s energies are channeled into productive ventures and the country’s capacity is optimally utilized. Competent leaders turn possibilities into realities and convert adversity to prosperity.

Nigeria’s greatest challenge is not corruption, as bad as that is, but incompetence. It is incompetence that breeds corruption, not the other way round. Incompetence has been responsible for the high level of poverty and deprivation in the country. Nigeria has a humongous deposit of petrol, yet the country imports refined petroleum products. Nigeria has a huge gas deposit, yet this is flared while Nigerians have to depend on generators for electricity. The country is home to some of the most fertile soils in the world, yet Nigeria is the global poster boy for hunger. Nigeria is rich in gold, tin and many other natural resources, yet it has one of the largest pools of poor people globally. Contrasted with Singapore, a country so deprived of natural endowments that it has to import water from one of its neighbours, Nigeria is proof that incompetence is a disaster.

The worst tragedy that can befall a country is the plague of incompetent leadership. When the leadership is incompetent, the people will wallow in poverty. When a country is governed by incompetent leaders, sicknesses and diseases will be prevalent. While incompetence may still be tolerable in low-cadre government officials because of their low-level influence, incompetence should not be contemplated in a nation’s cabinet because its influence has a far-reaching effect. Rot in a fish starts from the head. So, a country is headed for the gulag if its leadership is incompetent. The decisions of an incompetent leadership take a toll on the nation and hold it back. More than anything else, leaders are supposed to make decisions that will propel their countries into prosperity and prepare them for the future. But if the decisions of the leadership are wrong on a consistent basis, the only way for the country to go is south.

The major task of a leader is to hand over to his successor a country that is more virile, more stable and more prosperous than the one he inherited. But that is never the case with incompetent leaders. They weaken the fabric of the country, pauperize the people and make a minion of an otherwise strong nation. Unfortunately, the incompetence of a leader does not come to the fore until the nationals’ quality of life begins to deteriorate.

One of the attributes of a competent leader is creativity. Leadership is about solving problems and solving problems has to do with creativity. An issue is a problem because the solution is not obvious. If the solution to an issue is obvious, it would not be a problem. So, proffering solution to such issues would require creativity. Competent leaders have a creative approach to solving problems, the first thing they do is to change their thinking about the issue. This leads them to turn the matter around until they find an answer to it. Competent leaders are of the opinion that there is absolutely no problem that the human mind cannot find solutions to. So, they never surrender to problems, rather they confront it until it succumbs to them. Competent leaders either find a way or make one; they do not believe that they can end up in a cul-de-sac.

Another attribute of competent leaders is that they are inspired to change the world. This makes them see the world differently. They travel to the future, see what is possible in the future and begin to work towards its realization.

Then, they are passionate about the people. Competent leaders put the people first. They are driven by the desire to improve the lot of the people.

Their primary concern is not about their wellbeing or comfort but about making life better for their people.

President-elect Bola Tinubu said in the statement that, “Our Renewed Hope Action Plan outlines goals for greater economic growth in our cities and rural communities. We are committed to an economy of double-digit GDP growth, greater food security and one with a strengthened manufacturing base as well as an active digital economy where young people will have ample space to fulfill their dreams and aspirations.”

This speaks of his passion about the people and his plan to improve their lot. It is hoped that he will toe this line from his first day in office to the last.




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