Sacrifice, sacrifice, and more sacrifice that is all we see in every book about the success story of any individual, group or nations in their leaders desire to carve a nitch for themselves. Solid success has never been achieved by any other means and where possible, it has always fizzled out in minutes as is constantly see every where in Nigeria.

All great achievements made by men and women of note the world over is bourn out of sacrifice in time energy, money and dedication to give luxury or add the value we enjoy today and the world over. Name it Electricity, Pipe Bourn Water, Cars, Airplane, tooth pick, what ever you can conceive or desire to acquire certainly have caused the inventor lots of sleeplessness over a long period of time.

In Christendom which is seen by many as a thriving business, most successful churches grow through prayers on the knee of the leaders. Name them - Paul Yongi Cho, Kenneth Hagen, E. A. Adeboye, Oyedepo and all, they all sat down to count the cost and paid the price to be where they are today. Pastor E. A. Adeboye was on his way to becoming the youngest Vice Chancellor in Africa when he was arrested by God to lead what is seen now as one of the greatest movement of the people of God all over the world. Bill Gate was surfing it out in the silicon valley after he dropped out from one of the most prestigious Universities in the world - Harvard University, when through the nights he developed Microsoft and today tables in every home and offices are itching for a computer the rest is history. But all took step of faith irrespective of the desired endevour, and in belief that all will be well, and that is the experience of most.

But l am writing about nation building. Yes, other than the early years of our nation building as recorded in our history books, at no other time has there been any general consensus among our leaders/representatives on the way this nation should go. Korea took a dynamic step and have arrived their promised land. Malaysia, a nation far behind Nigeria has surpassed her dream, our neighbours Ghana, Ivory Coast; South Africa etc are either on the way to their destiny or, at least know where they are going. But here Nigeria, the welfare and well being of its citizens have never been a burning issue among all the political parties and by extension, their leaders and if ever its been lip service since the 3rd Republic. Nigeria at 51 is a nation ruled for better part of it existence by arrangement bottom line of which is greed, selfishness and outright theft. Other than this country, where else do you have the nations wealth plundered even by those who are supposed to safe guard it? Where else is the nation's wealth divided by the privileged few especially oil even by people not known to be indigenes of producing areas? Nobody wants acquire large expanse of land for agriculture because the harvest is long in coming and may not meet the expectations of the farmer as there may be weather conditions unfavourable to the crops. Hence our Groundnut pyramids have vanished Tanneries are dead and the various commodity boards have gone into extinction. But Isaac stayed in dry land and planted and dedicatedly worked the land to have yield of one hundred fold because he persisted. Just after the Babangida administration, corporate farms sprang up almost everywhere in the country as if farming was a new fad. In less than five years all vanished. Obasanjo farm has metamorphosed to Bell University – a more lucrative venture, Yar'adua Farms in Kaduna is dead, Muritala Nyako was the President of Association of Nigerian Farmers. Where are his farms today?

Think aloud, what was in the mind of the likes of Babangida, Abacha, Abdusalami Abubakar, Obasanjo and late Yar'adua and their associates when they thought about their leadership of this country? But for Buhari whose leadership qualities were demonstrated as Oil Minister, none of all our leaders ever had the interest of the nation at heart. All went to the presidency with a view to stealing the country blind. I am likely to be challenged that some structures were put in place. But l doubt. Were is MAMSA, DIFFRI National Directorate of Employment NDE and many other departments set up by previous governments today? All were only systemic duplications meant to help their creators siphon money into private accounts from the one source – Oil economy. Our today National Assembly has in 12 years spoken in loud and clear tone – THAT THEY ARE IN OFFICE FOR THEIR STOMACH. They have annually increased their salaries and remunerations ten times over and have always justified it. This is time to stop the madness.

The other day, Professor Ango Abdullahi told the world that they – the North made a mistake in choosing Obasanjo for the presidency. What did they expect an Obasanjo presidency to do specifically for the North other than Nigeria at large? Who were the WE he referred to? What was the national agenda handed down to Chief Obasanjo other than sectional interest at best and selfish acquisition of nations wealth – Oil with annihilation of the goose that lay the golden egg. The grudge against Obasanjo is only because the man out smarted them by cornering all functional estates in Nigeria to his cronies, became richer by miles and has remained a constant in the ruler ship equation of PDP.

The PDP cannot claim to be blind to the fact that the only investment they are putting in place in Nigeria is POVERTY and CRIMINALITY. I am certain that the wish of the People Democratic Party is to impoverish us completely hence they pay lip service to functional education all over the place. Hence while we are in the league of Oil producers with Venezuela, the country can train her citizens from primary to university level on scholarship and offer free medical service even from home, while in Nigeria on the other hand, parents form all kinds of association to assist the government and private institutions. Not satisfied, institutions are taxed to support education. Yet the funds end up in private pockets without recourse to the people. The same party has elevated theft and fraud to high heavens by promoting those who perpetrate them to high positions ala Chief Olabode George whose return from prison was heralded with pump and pageantry. We have corruption everywhere but it is shocking that in the same Nigeria, a man is freed on 170 criminal charges yet is jail bound on mare three count charges elsewhere.

But l think that in Nigeria there exist the likes of Professor Pat Utomi, Dr. Mrs Ngozi Okonji Iweala, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, Pastor Tunde Bakare, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, El-Rufai, Dr. Reuben Abati, Mr. Festus Keyamo, Femi Falana, Mike Ozekome, the Agbakobas, Philip Emegwalis, the Dora Akunyilis the list is longer than you can think. Where are all these in the scheme of things? The dynamics of leadership calls for sacrifice, sacrifice and more sacrifice and l see these men and women in mould of the mentioned selfless Nigerias are some of those who can lead us to the promised land. Why cant these crops of leaders' team up to give Nigerians new generation of leadership? I am just thinking aloud. Rtd. General Muhammed Buhari without religious inclinations, has demonstrated that he has the wherewithal to lead this country. But the system has turned him to an almost professional presidential candidate and age is no longer on his side. Nuhu Ribadu has joined the foray and l am certain of his landing destination not without showing strength of character, but because across the nation, all leading politician who moved away from the PDP to parties where they may be more relevant. There is the necessity to grow the New Generation of Nigerians with fresh orientation and quality leadership.

Nigeria is not a cursed country, yet we are the only nation with such enviable resources in human, mineral, material and what have you yet with the worse government on the surface of the earth. We cannot have a lot of thinking heads yet be left in the cool. 2011 is a minus already, just as 2015 is just around the corner. Then it will be an all comers affair at least for the presidency. What can we do now to begin the sanitization of the youth through general reorientation and change of values. All the parties but ACN have failed us today; the manifestos of candidates are at best tending to the book shelves. Excerpt for the personal desire of few governors, the mode of operation simply is steal them black and blue as if the nations wealth will finish next week. The PDP envisioned rulership of Nigeria in sixty years in the time of the pushed over Ogbulafor as the party chairman. Where is he today? Could he complete his tenure as chairman? I dare say that going by the voracious manner which they apply in wasting the nation's resources, there will be nothing left before the sixtieth year if we shall still have a country to call Nigeria then.

Nigeria is in desperate need of leaders. My plea is that the aforementioned Nigerians of note should close rank and begin the new drive. We need new and fresh thinking not with the like of the bands in PDP and most other parties. We can close in on all these detribalized individuals and use them as lunch pad for a new WE. The youths of this country are yearning for real change, not plastic change. The movement will catch fire once ignited just as the youths stepped up on seeing that President Goodluck Jonathan is in the age bracket.

Records are clear that despite the Gold found in South Africa, Nelson Mandela did not enrich himself, yet he remains one of the most sort after statesman in the world. Bishop Desmond Tutu did not set out to becoming a Nobel Laureate, but even as a clergyman, he is up there without ill-gotten wealth. Jimmy Cater left the White House as president poorer than he was when he went in. But he is a fulfilled man. Bill Clinton was on the verge of raising fund to build a new house for himself when his wife became a senator and he dumped the idea knowing that he needed just one room on the surface of the earth to lay his head after the days job and same was provided by his wife. Dr. Alex Ekwueme is still around us today. He was a successful Architect before he became the Vice President of Nigeria. On leaving in 1983 through the coup of Buhari, the man was noted to have lost more than 39% of his wealth. But his loss is the gain he now enjoy as elder statesman today.

Fellow Nigerians, we have missed it and missed it real big. But we can recover as soon as we determine to move positively forward. If e really think that this country is what dying for, it is necessary that we send this message to every nooks and corners of Nigeria. Britain and Japan were countries on the same plane after the Second World War. But where they are today is a function of the decision of their leaders. While Britain went to repair war heads, Japan opted for new technologies. The difference is before us now. Today, choose which leader you want. One who will recognize your being or one that will pauperise you, the choice is yours. But the journey beings now.

Mike O. Akpati is a Public Affair Analyst based in Port Harcourt

Mike O. Akpati
0803-675-7067; 0807-233-5040
[email protected]

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Articles by Mike O. Akpati