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At every gathering of scholars, opinion leaders and other think-tankgroups, leadership has often been identified as the bane of our nation. But myquestion is, Can any nation produce a leader that is not the reflection of thesociety he or she represents? While Iam not saying there are no people whose thoughts, tastes andmanners have been refined in our society, the attitudes of the majority is whatIam looking at! When a child is born in to any family, that child is atabularasa! His or her mind is a clean slate;there is no innate idea in him. The baby will start learning from the familywhich is his or her first contact. The family is also the smallest unit of thesociety, while the society is the connectivity of people who share the samecustoms, beliefs, laws, organizations etc. But, in 10 years time, if you lookat the child's attitudes, and compare them to that of his or her elders, thedifference will only be little.

What has taken place is enculturation! Nigeria is a country where people are quick to condemn any symptomof social malaise without really bothering to uproot the cause from oursociety. This was the scenario Jesus Christ condemned in Matthew 23:25-26 whenHe said: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse theoutside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion andself-indulgence. Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish,that the outside of them may be clean also.” This expression is still very muchpresent in our nation as stated inter abnitio. We demonize people withoutreally examining our own conducts! We shout for justice when it only affectsus, but we keep mute when it favours us! The tragedy of justice is when the greatestbeneficiaries of justice become justice denials. Some of the fiercest criticsof government are those who maltreat the few people working under them. Someare people who

consciencelessly deal with their fellow human beings at the slightestprovocation. They are are people who preach what they are not willing to concede. In the same vein, I have observed some of those ingovernment who preach democracy and rule of law! These are people who use the instrumentalityof power to unduly influence things in their various communities; yet, theycome out to condemn things when there are over powered by superior tactics andskills. Even among the middle class, they use police to intimidate and oppressthe poor in some communities. Because of the high level of illiteracy andignorance among our people, some privileged individuals in our variouscommunities use police to arrest, detain, prosecute, convict and sentence theirvictims without any input from the judiciary. All these are done by the policealone! In some cases where the poor people are unjustly arrested at the instanceof one privileged man or woman in the community, the arrested

fellow willremain in police cell until payment is made for the person's release. Most ofthe times, the police would say bail is free, but, if you happen to be theirguest, you will know there is no free lunch in China! Similarly, in some states where there are laws against devilishwidowhood practices, some persons still manipulate our weak institutions tocarry out their satanic wishes on some of these widows. The worst hit widowsare those in the rural areas, where some title holders who benefits from theentrenched system and beliefs against widows are opinion leaders orstakeholders! Worst still, some of these Non Governmental Organizations (NGO's)that defends women and widows rights are mostly found in the cities, yet the perpetratorsof such atrocity against widows come out in the public to condemn personalitiesat the helm of affairs. Iam not saying they have no write to do so, but what amsaying is that, we should practice what we preach.

Nonetheless, sociologists say, every societal changereflects the desire of few! Hence, conflict is a continuous affair. The onlytime there is peace is when the opposing forces are planning for renewed battle.Some of the vociferous criticisms are occasioned by personality clash. As it isoften said, there is no permanent friend and there is no permanent enemy inpolitics, but, what is permanent is interest! The question now is, must we waitfor conflicts of interest to ensue before we become ferocious critics ofgovernment? This question has a resemblance with what Stephen Sackur, theanchor of “BBC Hard Talk” programme asked President Yoweri Museveni of Ugandain 2012. He said, if Yoweri Museveni of 1986 should meet face to face with YoweriMuseveni of today, don't you think he will use guns to chase Yoweri Museveni oftoday out of office? (Sic). But, in his answer, President Museveni deviatedfrom what any critic of government who has been extended

patronage would say.Instead of hiding under the cloak of an African adage that says, he who eat don'ttalk, he said, if both of them should meet, they would not fight each other,they would be at peace with each other, because, Yoweri Museveni of today has gained more exposure, experienceand knowledge. Probably, if Museveni of 1986 had known what Museveni of todayhad known, he may not have acted the way he did in 1986. Finally, in 2008, when Lisa Miller and Richard Wolffe ofNewsweek Magazine asked Barack Obama: “What do you think about the Kingdom ofGod? Is it attainable on Earth by humans”? Obama said: “Iam a big believer innot just words, but deeds and works. I don't believe that the kingdom of God isachievable on Earth without God's intervention, and without God's returningthrough Jesus Christ, but I do believe in improvement”. Therefore, instead ofcasting aspersions on our leaders, we should always think and do good at alltimes! We

can live in liberty under law if a mechanic in his workshop does notobtain money from his clients through con means. If a lecturer does not use hisposition to extort illegal money from his students and if a bureaucrat does notdemand for a kick back before and after contract execution! The earlier webegin to respect our individual conscience in whatever we do, then we willbegin to produce good leaders. Comrade Edwin EkeneUhara is a Young Nigerian Activist and Public Affairs Commentator. He is alsothe National President of Young Nigerians for Change.07065862479,[email protected] 29, Ben MbamaluCrescent, Achara Layout, Enugu State.

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Articles by Edwin Uhara