Friday, 15 April 2016


276 girls abducted by boko haram from their boarding school. If that was bad, what was to follow was worse: (many more women were later to be abducted, raped, made forced brides, and suicide bombers). The government that failed to protect these children did not know what had happened, and when it found out, it did not believe it had actually happened and this directed their reaction and subsequent handling of the situation. The doubt and conspiracy theories led to two things: a reminder that “there is God”, and a prolonged search for these children.

According to Tom Joyce, a Lieutenant, Commander (Retired), 79th Precinct Detective Squad and Cold Case Homicide Squad, New York City, New York, Police Department; and Director, Law Enforcement Strategy, LexisNexis Risk Solutions “the chances of rescuing an abducted child decrease significantly after the first 24 hours” (; after 336 hours (2 weeks), it was still being contested, debated, and theorized. Fast forward 17,544 hours (2 years) and we still are no closer to finding majority of them today than we were on the day they were abducted.

Shamefully, it took the emergence of groups: Bring Back Our Girls (BBOG), made up of several selfless Nigerians and other individual campaigns to get the government to accept and act, and also bring the issue to the notice of the entire world.  

As we mark 48 months of pain for these families, 48 months of the struggle to continue to keep the issue on the front burner, and 48 months of government’s haplessness on this issue, we should remember the girls and their families in our daily prayers, we should salute the courage, and tenacity of the members of the BBOG and those like it that have continued to push for action by government, and avoid the issue being swept under an already excessively bulging carpet (a place already occupied by the likes of Clifford Orji, ALUU 4,and many other “questionable” happenings in our environment).

14 April, a date that should live in infamy in this country should not be a day of merriment in any form or guise in government quarters or its proxies; it should be a day for empathy, for great sensitivity to the plight of these parents. A day to prick the government’s conscience that a great wrong is yet left undone. A day we all should rise with one voice that never should this happen in our country again, a day for national introspection.

While the slow and denied response by the past government to the events has brought us here, we cannot continue to blame the past for the lack of a present solution; after all, the present government knew the Chibok girls had not been found before they agreed to take the oath of office. The government should have realized the buck will stop at their table when they came into power if they had not already deemed it an urgent agenda. High is our expectation of this present government and higher will our disappointment be if they fail to deliver.

The government needs to ramp up its efforts on this issue and get this over with; and if it cannot get them back, let us know. The deed has been done, prolonging its effects without any solution in sight only serves to exacerbate the pain, agony, and disappointment that is associated with it. There needs to be closure on this issue. The families need it, the country needs it, and the world needs it.

God bless Nigeria.

Friday, 8 April 2016

BUY MADE IN NIGERIA............?

In recent days the government has come out to ask and plead with Nigerians to patronize our made in Nigerian goods; If not for anything else, then for the growth of the Nigerian economy.  A lot of us believe that the lack of patronage of Nigerian goods is due to our increased appetite for foreign ones, but I would want us to ask, why do we prefer these goods made outside Nigeria, even if it is from Ghana?

Let me attempt to state my two cents on the issue. To achieve an increase in the purchase of Nigerian products, the following issues will need to be addressed if Nigerians are going to not only buy Nigerian now, but for a long time to come. To begin with, the Government needs to continue to put out and enforce laws that aid the production process. Copyright laws, intellectual property rights, standardization regulation, consumer protection, and the like, need to be viewed more seriously than is being done. This will not only ensure that owners of products and services are protected, it will encourage those with ideas to pursue them, and also prevent and punish peddlers of fake and substandard goods and services. Prosecution for customer service failures that leads to losses are rare if they exist; from the hospital that causes death due to negligence to the banks that promise “24/7 ATM SERVICE” and do not deliver. Government has a broader role in stimulating purchase of made in Nigeria goods and services than just asking we do.

There needs to be a greater attention to detail on the part of producers as this has robbed many Nigerian goods of patronage. Their inattention to detail expressed in poor finishing pitches them unfavorably against their foreign competitors. If you ask the average Nigerian why she or he prefers foreign goods most of the replies will reference the quality of products. This is in addition to the use of substandard or inferior raw materials. We have a penchant for concentrating on the big things while neglecting the little things that tie all that hard work nicely together.

Production is not complete until the good or service gets to the consumer. But in Nigeria, customer (consumer) service na big wahala.  If there is anything the Nigerian economy lacks, is consistent quality customer service/care. It quite often does not exist. Avoidance of empathy, insensitivity to customer’s needs and wants by producers and service providers has helped fuel this. From the market women/men, banks, hospitals, government offices, name it, it just ain’t there! Customer service starts at the point of conceptualization and ideally all through the production process, it drives the whole process. We seem to be focused more on sales and profit by all means than consumer satisfaction. This is responsible for a lack of “warranty, return/refund Policies”, very few loyalty programs, and the like. Regrettably because we have refused to imbibe the economic truth that repeat customer purchase is the key to growth and not the one-time-sales that seems to be our focus.

Other issues include a lack of branding/misbranding our made in Nigeria products with names of more established foreign names to drive sales, inadequacy of research and development to bring out products that are suited to our peculiar needs and wants; poor marketing activities, corruption in the production process, and other problems and issues that need attention and resolution.

There is more to buying Nigeria than wishing or pleading it happens. When and if we sort these highlighted issues, then we can start on our way towards a sustained acceptability and patronage of Nigerian products and services, and enjoy the attached economic prosperity and stability that accompanies it.

God bless Nigeria. 

Thursday, 31 March 2016


Watching TV and an attempt to just make common sense stokes my anger and further confirms that after so many years our journey to redemption in this country seems further from the end than the beginning.  I am surprised that Ben Murray Bruce will come out to tell teeming listeners and fans that the problem with Nigeria is a lack of unity, and the unity in countries (or in the names) like United States of America, United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates is what makes these countries great. I just cannot imagine someone of his caliber and standing coming up with such a pedestrian analysis of our condition; to put it mildly.

If just being unified will bring the change that we so need, then all of us united in the sufferings, all of us united under the harsh conditions; would have achieved it long ago before we had the good fortune of listening to him weekly. If unity was our problem, then we would have been heading to the soccer pitches to solve our problems as no other place in this country congregates such a large number of united Nigerians.

Unity is not the Problem. Nigerians are, and can be unified in many more ways than have been thought possible. The problem sir is a lack of responsibility and accountability in our society. This two are the parents of corruption and all the major ills that have robbed us of our pride of place.

If those entrusted with authority and leadership took up the responsibility of doing what was demanded of them, putting the responsibility of their office ahead of their personal gains or perks, we will be in a better place. If those that have gone contrary to their responsibility had been held accountable for their expressed or implied breach of responsibility, we will be in a better place. If responsibility and accountability are what they should be, corruption will not be so rife and neither will all its other addendums.

I have witnessed in the United States where a pedestrian challenged a driver for attempting to run a stop sign. He felt it was his responsibility to caution the driver; he did not pass the buck neither did he wait for the police to show up; still in America I have also experienced random strangers helping a lady with a baby carriage down the subway stairs without any expectation of gratification, in fact they leave before the second thank you is audible. The citizenry must be personally responsible and accountable for the society they want to live in.

Nigeria can just be Like Charles Osgood wrote, “There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.  Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.  Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job.  Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.  It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have”. So if we are going to make it, every hand must be on deck, all boots must be on ground, and we must take up the responsibility of playing our part as should be, and hold those that need be, accountable, whatever their position or place in the society.

So please when next you come for our hearts and souls Mr. Ben, come correct.

God bless Nigeria.

Thursday, 17 March 2016


As part of the 2016 women’s History Month Program, the United States Embassy, Abuja organized a seminar themed: Women as Victims of Terrorism and I was privileged to be an attendee. Privilege because I had a rare opportunity to hear directly from some Nigerians at the forefront of catering to the needs of those in the Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs) camps across the North East of the country, majority of which are women and children. Information that will not be accessed unless ones comes in contact with these people and the work they do, because the official channels of communication do not give them enough coverage and the government is “busy” with more pressing issues.

I had to hold back tears listening to different stories and firsthand accounts of the situations in the camps. The human tragedies that have befallen these people, the material and human losses they have suffered and still suffer in the camps. The inadequate arrangements in the camps, and alleged diversion of relief materials meant for these camps, the continued exploitation of women and girls in these camps, the inadequacy of government participation, and the multitudes of orphans and widows created by the insurgency.  

After hearing the stories of mothers relaying atrocities such as rapes, killings, and deaths witnessed while in captivity by Boko Haram, the anger becomes palpable especially when one considers the amounts of money that have been stolen and diverted from the fight against Boko Haram that would have prevented these losses or the current situations in the camps in addition to government’s response ranging from slow to outright neglect of the situation.

It dawn on me while listening that while the government tells us daily that Boko Haram is nearing its end, a new silent enemy created by these events is raring to manifest; those that have gone through these atrocities suffer different forms of psychological trauma and Post traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD) that are seemingly being ignored while the fight against the physical enemy continues. This is even made worse by the fact that such things are not fully understood neither are their devastating effects on the lives of people fully appreciated in this part of the world.

How does someone who has witnessed the beheading, rape, and other atrocities of family members return to normal live, how do children in their formative years who have spent months in captivity being indoctrinated by Boko Haram fit back into society, how do women who had been forcefully married to Boko Haram fighters and had even taken part in these atrocities reintegrated into the society among those who were victims and know of their involvements? The questions can go on. Our society has very little skillset in managing unseen enemies; from denial to ascribing it to the gods, to accepting it as fate. We rarely have answers for what we cannot describe or understand and usually take the wrong steps in dealing with it. And where we do have the answers or solutions, other unimaginable things prevent its deployment.

There is a case of a girl that was returned home to her parents from Boko Haram captivity, her mother went out of the house only to come back to find out that the girl had killed her younger sister because the little girl was “annoying her”. There is also another case of a 10 year old boy that was almost beheaded by his peers in an IDPs camp. These attitudes to life were picked up in captivity and are expressions of the psychological state of these victims. How can they be reintegrated into society without causing harm to others or themselves? The government and people have to recognize that this is a clear and present danger and start the second phase of the war on Boko Haram: fighting to reclaim the hearts and minds of those that have been affected.

This campaign is going to be more herculean in nature taking into consideration the diversity of experiences and dynamic nature of human beings. The experiences and its effects will differ and so will the approaches to dealing with it. Even if it means getting international help from countries with established competencies in this area, it needs to be done. We cannot have any residues of tendencies or ideologies perpetuated by the insurgents in our societies (Boko Haram proxies); this will only be a recipe for the next and potentially more dangerous group. Successfully reintegration and return to “normal” life for these people is seriously at risk.

While we can claim that Boko Haram took us unawares, the lessons we have learnt from this and the new information about our vulnerability to such happening should not be discarded. There needs to be new curriculum of study introduced into our educational system to harness and utilize this new knowledge. Conflict resolution, security awareness, treatment of PTSDs, and the like should be made courses in our schools of higher learning and not just topics we skim through. This will help us to develop knowledge bases and build competencies to deal with future events, stopping them from snowballing into what Boko Haram is today.

As a matter of fact, the war against Boko Haram will continue for as long as we have people within our society that have been affected and are yet to let go of the atrocities they have experienced and witnessed. The government has the urgent task of providing psychotraumatic treatment for all those that have passed through this experience; this includes our military personnel and their families too.  We as a people have a role to play in destigmatizing those that have been forced actors, their reintegration into society, and their continued existence within us.  Until we do this, the war on Boko Haram goes on, more people will be affected, and its long term effects will drag on.

So before we get to that point of being drawn into another needless and unending circle of violence needing a cure, let us make use of the most effective weapon that we can easily lay our hands on within our society: prevention. We are not very good with curing situations.

Adopt a camp today. Be your brothers’ keeper. It is unfortunate they are the ones there, if not for God’s grace and mercy, it could easily have happened to any of us.

God bless Nigeria.

Friday, 11 March 2016


The Presidency continues to insist that provision of foreign exchange for health and education should be discontinued by the Central Bank of Nigeria; advising that those who cannot afford it should come back home. My first reaction was:  Haba Baba, come back home to what? For me it was a disappointing response to such a sensitive issue. It was a response that was brought about by a skewed perspective of solving the foreign exchange issue; failing to take into consideration other underlying and equally pertinent issues and consequences.

For as long as I can remember, there have been issues with the education and health care systems in this country. What we make for in quantity with the proliferation of schools and hospitals, we lose greatly in the quality of services and care these organizations provide. We record numerous cases of unnecessary deaths, misdiagnosis, and shabby treatments in our hospitals; churn out half-baked students ill equipped with the necessary education and skill-sets to be relevant in these times. This is in addition to a lack of accountability and responsibility exhibited in the lack of prosecution for the misdeeds in these sectors. These and many more are the reasons why most that can afford and those that cannot desire to go abroad.

Majority of Nigerians that go abroad to seek these services have been compelled by the lack of quality at home. I know for a fact that had things been okay majority of those abroad will be back at home. No parent will want to send their children beyond the reach of accessible parental supervision, exposing their kids to the socio-cultural “advances” of the western world and risk them imbibing attitudes and cultures that are “un-african” to say the least. No one can be happy to have to spend all that money.

The government needs to urgently put the necessary structures in place, and revamp existing ones in these sectors. The judiciary and all supervisory bodies of these sectors need to step to the plate and demand accountability and responsibility of the actors in these sectors. It is not uncommon to hear of individuals dying from negligence in a hospital, what is rare is that a doctor or a hospital has been held responsible and accountable for that negligence.

I once sat on an interview panel where the interviewee (a graduate) did not know the name of the company he had come to interview in; in addition to other goofs. We have a lot of graduates that cannot string correct sentences together, let alone defend their qualifications because of the quality of education and life skills they have received. Yet their schools continue to swell their kind in the labour market yearly. So we have a large number of premature graduates roaming the streets; an economic disaster waiting to happen.

Many of us are told things are not that bad, that we are not too far behind. The truth is things are worse than we are being made to believe and we are really far behind where we should be and where others that we seek to emulate are. We are only coping with our situation; life was not designed to be lived in a perpetual state of coping. There is a lot of work yet to be done. The leaders cannot do it by themselves as such all of us must come together to make it happen. We cannot afford to be divided in purpose or action. If not for today, then for the future we intend to handover to our children.  

We also have to understand that what we may “lose” now in foreign exchange, we make up for later in having a set of people that are better educated, and healthier (albeit a very small percentage) who usually come back home to make contributions to the economy. Sort of paying back for what they have enjoyed from the country.

The government cannot afford to deprive Nigerians an opportunity to better their educational lot, or a chance for better health care abroad when it cannot guarantee these at home. More so when some of its officials still make use of these foreign services. The days of “do as I say” are over, it must now be “do as I do”.

We are all in this together, and until we begin to think and act with this truth in mind, our change will only remain in the air.

God bless Nigeria.

Saturday, 5 March 2016


Driving through Maitama in Abuja in the evening, I came across quite a number of white people at different times taking a run, I could not help but notice the physique of these people who needed to take this exercise; tall and slim, with slim being a more constant appearance. Like a typical Nigerian, I could not help but wonder why they needed it. “Wetin this lekpa people dey find sef?” was a more apt expression. Still in my thoughts, I came across my first black guy (supposedly a Nigerian) you could tell from his build that our local carbs had done a number on him. Short and stocky, sweating profusely as he struggled to get that frame moving.

As I drove on, I saw majority of my fellow Nigerians milling around their office entrances (just closing from work), around eateries (getting their evening meals), or just gathered together gisting and gossiping. Then a thought struck me and immediately the situation presented me with the reason for this disparity, all the white people I saw jogging where not doing it because they needed a slimmer frame, they were doing it so they could maintain themselves, while my Nigerian jogger obviously needed some long overdue exercise.

The maintenance culture is one that is still yet to gain a strong foothold in our society. We see a lack of it in government and privately owned establishment and also in our private lives. We spend a lot of money procuring items, cars, phones, and other gadgets only to allow these things fall into misuse, disuse, and fall apart due to a lack of maintenance and or management. It is so bad that even the small progress we make in certain aspects of our lives, are soon lost due to mismanagement.

When was the last time you went for a health check that was not necessitated by an un-well feeling? Many of us carry illnesses around that we never know about until it takes its toll on our body, and we start fighting an advanced stage. This hit home recently when I lost a friend to diabetes, a condition he never knew existed; an avoidable loss of such a promising young fellow.

Every aspect of our lives needs to be maintained and managed properly, its only in doing so that we can learn from our mistakes with a view to not repeating them and also carry on to greater heights the progress we occasionally make.

We have national edifices like the National Stadiums in Lagos and Abuja, National Theater in Lagos, and many more, as relics instead of icons; especially when compared with similar projects built at the same time in developed countries. All these simply because we cannot spend the required time and funds necessary for maintenance and or proper management.

Maintenance and management is even more relevant to us here as it is better to pursue the prevention option than to chase the cure option that is usually more elusive in our society.

If the older generation missed it, we cannot afford to follow suit. Now more than ever it is pertinent to our continued survival that we indoctrinate the maintenance culture in ourselves and our children. Our natural resources and their application to us and the environment have to be managed properly, this may be singing an old song but it’s a song that needs to be sung. Global warming, environmental issues, socio-economic upheavals are just a couple of glaring examples why this must happen.

Let us in this part of the world not think that the effects are far from us, they are much closer than we think. We need to have a paradigm shift and start doing what is necessary to adequately manage ourselves and teach those around us how they too can do same.

We can do it.

God bless Nigeria.

Friday, 19 February 2016

This Lovén

Coming back around 8:30pm from a stroll to the nearby market to get my son some diapers, I was confronted with an upsetting sight: seated alone at the side of the dark road was a little girl not more than 7 years old. All the guys that passed her at that time stopped to inquire what she was doing there. She could not speak a word of English so Two men that understood Hausa started to talk to her. No sooner had they started that the rest of us left them and moved on. As I made my way home I thought to myself, what would Anja have done in this situation?

Anja Ringgren Lovén is a Danish lady addressing the plight of the “Witch Children” of Akwa Ibom State. These children are being dumped by the road side, tortured, given concoctions to drink, and exposed to a whole lot of medieval “solutions”. She has so far saved over 35 of them.

Anja and Hope
Picture courtesy: Anja Ringgren Lovén Facebook page
No Nigerian history curriculum is ever complete without the story of Mary Slessor and her magnificent deeds in saving the lives of twins in Calabar and Arochukwu areas. Fast forward 100 years later, Anja is doing something similar. Different women, same problem: culturally sanctioned violence against children. It is hard to believe that in the 21st century this kind of atrocities being perpetuated against children in the name of exorcism still exist, George Santayana puts it aptly, “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it”; we are sadly repeating the past.

To my chagrin, the government saddled with the responsibility of looking after these children seems not only helpless in dealing with this situation but also preferring to live in denial of its severity. Godswill Akpabio appeared on CNN some years back to say "it's a very, very minimal situation, the report is part of the media propaganda against the state and it was done for pecuniary reasons( Well the question is, how many children does it have to affect before it is worthy of serious consideration?

People are making a living from exorcism, charging as much as Five Hundred Thousand Naira for “casting out” evil spirits; children are being killed and abandoned daily, and yet we continue to turn a blind eye to this simply because we have viewed it as a “minimal situation”, a regional problem. Boko Haram started as a regional problem.

In this time of change, this too must CHANGE. It is time we started to do something on a national level to condemn these acts, to educate those involved that this is wrong, and hold people (parents inclusive) accountable for their actions and make them pay for harming these children.

Godswill Akpabio claimed that he signed a bill into law in 2008 that makes it a criminal offense, punishable by up to 15 years in prison, to label a child a witch (; but this seems to be more effective as dried ink than it is in dealing with this situation. The greatness of a society is hinged on how well it looks after its members, especially its children. The sense of belonging the people of that society possess directs their selfless commitment to maintaining and improving the society for themselves and future generations. The people make the place.

I  believe in God and angels, I also believe that witches and wizards do exist, in addition to demons and other fowl spirits as one cannot believe in God and deny the existence of the devil. The Bible mentions the existence of “powers and spiritual wickedness in high places”.

It is not mentioned in the Bible where Jesus attacked any fowl spirit physically.  Even when they were many (legion) he cast them out by exercising spiritual authority over them (Mark 5:1-20). Physical assaults on individuals in a bid to cast out evil spirits can only serve to torment the container while the content remains untouched; I see it as joining forces with the evil spirit to torment the possessed.

So while the rest of us are consumed with our personal issues, our religious leaders consumed with their church growth and other pecuniary activities; the government pays lip service at best, Anja and those like her continue saving these children, giving them a new lease on life and slowly adding hers and their story to the history curriculum of tomorrow.
Anja I salute your love, strength, courage and that of your team also.

Pictures courtesy: Anja Ringgren Lovén Facebook page.

Thank you.

God bless you and yours.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Nigerian’s Nigeria

Sometime back, my friends and I saw a woman with a baby on her back, and a little boy beside her. She still had three 20-liter gallons of palm oil to carry across the street. It was a disheartening sight. In that entire situation, she still managed a smile, we could not believe it. Why should any Nigerian have to suffer this? It was a sentiment shared by all in the car.

 We told the driver to make a U-turn and we headed back to the scene, before we got there, another Nigerian was already helping her. We came down in our suits, stopped a cab, carried her load in, and paid the driver to take her to her destination.

 It felt good.

Mangs, Heriju, Chekube, anonymous man, and myself did our small bit to ensure that suffering ended, yet we are not unique because there a various forms of this act happening every day; that’s who we truly are as Nigerians.

Nigeria can and will be great when we begin to see ourselves as one, first as Nigerians before our molecular deconstructs into tribes and languages, which is smaller and weaker than our collective identity as Nigerians.

Just imagine if we all believed in our country, in ourselves, protecting and nurturing each other, the structures, following through with what needs and has to be done, and many other correlates of ensuring a thriving society, who is to say that we will not claim our rightful positive place?

No organized society abandons its existence and its management to those in power alone. It is the collective responsibility of leaders and followers to ensure that we get out of our corporate existence that which will not only keep us together but do so happily, fulfilling our needs and wants in the relationship.

Majority of the disharmony in the country today, stems from the feeling of alienation felt by certain people, and the inability of this union to meet their actual/perceived needs and or wants. If the country belongs to us all, then it is our responsibility, each and every sane one of us to make it work.

The problem is not if we can, it is if we want to. When we decide to, there is nothing under the sun that can, that will stop us.

God bless Nigeria.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015


It is a great day for Nigeria my country, democracy has won. The people have spoken, and they have been heard.

Unseating the incumbent is usually an impossible task in Africa, so improbable is its success that the incumbent usually just sit back and wait for the attack, assured in incumbency that victory is certain but the dire need for change gave us the audacity to dream of it in an environment where the proposed had never been achieved. 

Today it has been realized, the incumbent has conceded defeat to the challenger, but in reality, the victory belongs to the Nigerian people. The people rose up, demanded change, voted, protected their votes and God blessed all the efforts.

This victory belongs to the people of Nigeria either you voted for the winner or not. The expected benefits will be enjoyed by all Nigerians. We have started to take our rightful place in the political affairs of our nation, now we can beat our chests and say that we are indeed part of the governance of our country, we are part of the team saddled with the responsibility of moving Nigeria forward and allowing Her Her rightful place, we will be heard.

While we celebrate the victory, it must be noted that if and when we feel that those elected to serve us have failed, we will change them too. Incumbency has lost its place in our national polity.

They may have told us what we wanted to hear to enable them get our votes, but they have also politically weaponized us with the armaments needed to evaluate their tenure and effect the necessary change if needed when the time comes: our collective voice.

Power has returned to the people.

It is a great day in Nigerian politics.

This is just the beginning.

God bless Nigeria.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013



For a fourth year in a row the Mo Ibrahim prize for good governance in sub-Saharan Africa has not been awarded. This $5 million initial payment, plus $2 Hundred Thousand a year for life prize was set up among other things to reward/encourage: democracy, good governance, and transition in sub-Saharan Africa.

According to the information on the foundation’s website ( ), the criteria for this award are:
  • former African Executive Head of State or Government
  • left office in the last three years
  • democratically elected
  • served his/her constitutionally mandated term
  • demonstrated exceptional leadership
Using indexes grouped into the following categories:
  • Safety & Rule of Law
  • Participation & Human Rights
  • Sustainable Economic Opportunity
  • Human Development.
I will like to believe that like most of us, Mr. Mo is of the opinion that majority of the problems in sub-Saharan Africa is hinged on corruption, and corruption is most exhibited by the siphoning, conversion, and outright theft of government funds by leaders. This attempt by Mr. Mo at encouraging good leadership however laudable is just that: an attempt.

Majority of the African countries in the sub-Saharan belt sit on a lot of funds either directly, through their natural resources, or from foreign aids. Eliciting good governance through material benefits would only serve to compare the immediate benefits of being Head of State to the prize (a huge gamble). For example, a country like Nigeria that makes billions of Dollars from the sale of crude oil and enjoys numerous foreign aids can hardly be enticed into good governance along this line; a corrupt president can ensure his lifelong benefits in the first year of the presidency.

Using money as bait for good governance may bring an un-intended consequence of replacing one form of greed for another. If the leader has money as the primary reason for coming to office, then getting it through the prize can still serve that purpose, but would it have produced a good leader? If being selfless is a basic criterion for good leadership, then can this winner be considered a leader in its true form? If rewards for serving are put on the front burner, then the motive for leadership is already distorted and the ideals which the foundation is seeking to promote are lost. 

Delayed gratification is actual a virtue, one we are yet to acquire in this part of the world, especially among our leaders, and certainly not in this “now-now generation” (we want instant results). I can just hear a leader think, “wait till after am out to make money when am sitting on it now, who lives by a river and washes his/her hands with spittle?” The gamble is too great.

There is also the small matter of EGO! “A foreigner will be the one to judge my performance, how dare they?” this line of thought should not be over looked bearing in mind that majority of the affected states have high nationalist sentiments and these feelings run deep and long. How does this affect performance? How many Nigerians will take a Ghanaian telling them their country is better than ours without our patriotic instincts kicking in to defend our pride, knowing very well we may be wrong? This goes for a lot of countries too.

 While this article does not seek to bash the award, it does poke at the ability of this noble gesture to sustainably address the leadership issues we have in sub-Saharan Africa. While corruption is a problem, it is not the only one. There are conflicts, diseases, terrorism, harmful cultural practices, tribalism, and others that are not a direct result of bad or inadequate leadership that need to be addressed and considered.

 In my opinion, concerning Nigeria, the award does little or nothing to instigate good governance in Nigeria. The quality of politics and leadership produced at the levels of government lack the ability to regard the symbolic or actual benefits associated with such. Simply put the award in reputation and actual terms is of little or no value to the average Nigerian leader, most especially when expressed in monitory terms. As in the words of a former President: money no be problem, na how to spend am be.

Thankfully, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation has other programs aimed at developing the man power of Africa; the leadership award is just an aspect of their activities.

It is time leadership in this part of the world is seen as a call to service, one that requires the leader setting aside his/her own personal benefits for the collective good of the led. The achievement of these goals and objectives is its own reward. No good parent raises children based on the fact that the children will reward the effort later. Satisfaction comes from the ability to provide the basic amenities, and luxuries where possible for the family; and seeing the children succeed and behave in ways that will make the parent always proud. 

We need to create mental and physical structures that produce and develop individuals ready for the challenge of leadership. Our value system needs to change: the concepts of hard work, accountability, responsibility, and the like in our cultures have to be reactivated, and infused into our daily lives; for our own immediate benefits and transmission to younger upcoming generations.

Our notion and concept of leadership needs to change, only then can we produce good leadership and governance in the short and long term. 

God bless Nigeria.