Just before you start reading this piece about Nigeria…
This article has a tendency of pissing you off, but that’s fine. It has a tendency of pissing off one of your parents or elderly relatives, but that’s fine too.
This article is about a conversation majority of Nigerians in Nigeria apparently aren’t ready to have.
In case you are impatient to read, just like me, – let me help you decide whether to close this message and continue surfing the ocean of Internet or continue reading.
This article is about those who destroyed Nigeria yet still asking the younger generation to present their experience in leadership. They request that as a validation for them having a seat at the table of governance in the country.
In case you haven’t closed this yet, this article is about the gradual and systemic destruction of Nigeria and how the elders are to be blamed;
Let’s start with a scenario not too far from home.
The West-African country of Senegal is lately in the news for the right and exciting reasons. Even the western media and “Fake News” channels couldn’t dim Senegal’s shine.
You see, Senegal is handling CoronaVirus with smartness and rare ingenuity that is making even their non-allies raise up their two hands and scream “Twale Baba óò”.
Senegal, combating the coronavirus
In case you haven’t heard the gist, Senegal has just developed a $1 COVID-19 Testing Kit to enable it to test EVERYONE – speedily – in the country!
The testing kits are similar to the simple Pregnancy Test kit which makes a line as an indication for a woman to know she’s taken in.
Senegal is also 3D-printing Ventilators to increase supply and this has crashed the cost of getting a ventilator from over $15,000 to just $60.
Did you just shout?
“Woow”? Well, I did too. That’s what an awesome country – where the young and the old collaborate – feels like and it’s only possible when a country is led by Leaders with functional brains.
I am tempted to tell you about the “Giant of Africa” in which one of its largest states – Kano (with a population of about 13.5 Million People).
Up till recently, couldn’t even test ANYBODY until their samples were ferried to Abuja.
That is 6 hours away but I wouldn’t, lest they say I’m a hater.
How did we get lost?
If I say I’m surprised by the recent good news coming from Senegal, I’ll be lying. You see, I have lots of Senegalese friends and Fan-mily (based in Senegal and across the world) whom we discuss almost every other week.
This ain’t even about me or my friends; It’s about how Senegal’s leadership is structured and configured.
In recent times, it has been structured to deliver value to people through the recognition of Ideas and new knowledge.
How Senegal is getting right
In Senegal, the standards of leadership are “slightly” different from ours.
For example, to be a Deputy Director in a Government Ministry or Agency in Nigeria, all you actually need is to have spent some 25+ years working.
Regardless of whether you contributed ANYTHING tangible over the years or not and a bit of Office Politics.
Promotion in our Civil (some call it Evil) Service is by Cadre, some incoherent “exams” and favoritism.
Flash: one of my Senegalese friends is currently an Assistant Director in Senegal’s Federal Ministry of Communication (sort of Nigeria’s National Communication Commission (NCC)) and he’s only 35 years old.
That can only happen in a country where they value Knowledge/Ideas over Age.
Leadership goes beyond elected offices.
Everyone in charge of Government Offices, Ministries and Agencies serving people, directly and indirectly, are leaders in their own rights too.
The crop of people in those capacities are just as important as those we vote via the ballot.
That’s why when you vote an INCOMPETENT half-dead half-alive person as President, Governor, Senator or House of Representative Member, who do you expect him to appoint/endorse in the Ministries and Agencies?
Of course half-dead half-alive people like him/her.
If you go to any government parastatal in Abuja and see those making decisions, you will weep for your unborn children.
Let’s come home to our country, Nigeria
In my little experience of being a Nigerian (in Nigeria), I’ve seen – first hand – a huge government MDA (name withheld) where the Director of ICT Department didn’t have an Email.
Amadioha, Ọlọhun and Sango can bear me witness to the validity of this absurdity I saw and experienced.
No Gmail, no YahooMail, no Hotmail, not even Okokopioko-mail. Nothing! As in the Director didn’t (still doesn’t) even know how anything “Email” works. And s/he was the one in charge of Information Technology Unit for the whole agency.
Money wasted, many years of “service” burnt away, future destroyed! How did s/he get appointed? Of course, we know, number of Years of “Experience” aka “Wait for your turn”.
A sane person will ask “experience doing what exactly”? And that’s the system we run while constantly chanting “God will help us in this Country” at the end of every serious conversation. Let’s face it: God will NOT help us until we fix this toxic system. Let’s stop being foolish and sick.
Don’t get me wrong, please
I have huge respect for elderly people óò. But it just doesn’t sit with logic when people equate Age with Experience and make that the basis of qualification for leadership.
These are two completely different things. The fact that you have been alive for longer (and seen 15 Civil Wars in your lifetime) doesn’t mean you are better aware or equipped for Leadership TODAY Sir/Ma.
Unfortunately, the political class in Nigeria and the Elites (you feed on their misdemeanors) use this “Experience” narrative wrongly to shut naive young people up.
So they can intentionally continue damaging the country across sectors.