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Nigeria: Good people, bad leaders

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It has not been easy with my little daughter because she finds it difficult to have a sound sleep at night due to the inability of those saddled with the responsibility of providing electricity in doing so. And am sure the same goes to other children (not forgetting adults) in our country. Electricity is a facility being enjoyed in other parts of the world, including smaller African countries, though we claim to be the big brother around here. We all are proud generators owners now. Tell me, for how long are we going to run on generators? Has anybody considered the implications of the air pollution involved?The latest slogan in town now is Nigeria: Good People, Great Nation.

We are about to re-brand Nigeria. Or has the re-branding started? Am not a brand expert, for there are those who make a living from it, but then one question keeps bugging me: Which country has bad people and which country is not a great nation?

Did we actually get brand experts involved in choosing the slogan? Why didn't we go for something different? Something we can connect with. What happened to differentiation? For instance majority have come to agree that eko o ni baje o!Now, what was our brand before now? What happened to our history? What happened to the stories of Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Abubakar Tafawa Belewa and others? Please can someone tell me what happened to the stories of all those who fought for the independence of this country. In fact where are our history teachers? They should come to our rescue. We need to be reminded how it was in the past, for some have forgotten. How did we get to this point?

What happened to the Oduduwa, Benin, Hausa-Fulani history, the great Oyo empire and others? What happened to the leaders we had before the coming of the colonial masters? Why can't we learn from the selfless service of our fore fathers? So many questions begging for answers.

I have watched and read with interest arguments in favour and against the re-branding initiative by Prof Dora Akunyili. Though I don't see anything wrong with re-branding Nigeria, but we must know what we are re-branding. For us to re-brand means there is a problem.

First, we must acknowledge that there is a problem. Having agreed that there is a problem by initiating the re-branding project, we can then honestly proceed to identify where the problem is coming from and the likely solutions to it.

One truth we must all agree on, is that Nigerians are very patriotic people. Forget the few who try to dent our image home and abroad. There is no country where there are no bad eggs. Should we crucify the entire citizenry for the sake of a few? No! not at all.

It bothers me to observe that while all arrangements are being made to re-brand Nigeria, focus is strictly on the masses with little mention of our leaders. Yes, we need to change our attitude, do the right thing at all times, not give bribe and all that, but permit me to declare that the re-branding effort should start with our leaders who have failed to learn from our fore fathers and leaders from other parts of the world.

Let us start from the head. If we get it right there, then other parts of the body will be easier. Let us begin with our leaders, they need re-branding. Our leaders have now come to see themselves as being superior to those who they claim to govern.

We need not spend our resources to re-brand Nigeria. The money should be channeled to better uses. All we need is for our leaders to do the right thing. Rather than spend money to re-brand Lagos, Babatunde Fashola focused all his attention to providing basic amenities to the state. Most Lagosians are willingly walking into the banks to pay their taxes. Why? Because they are seeing what their leader is doing with their money.

People are happy and very co-operative with the polices of the state government. It means that governance is not as difficult as people think.

Let the truth be told, most of our leaders are greedy. They think of what they will get rather than services to offer to the masses. It is now how much you can be able to grab as soon as you ascend into a public post. Was that the case in the past?

Most of them become insatiable when they suddenly discover themselves in position of authority. They can be likened to the poor farmer who one day discovers in the nest of his pet goose a glittering golden egg. At first, he thinks it must be some kind of trick.

But for real, the egg is pure gold! The farmer can't believe his good fortune. He became even more incredulous the following day when the experience is repeated. Day after day, he awakens to rush to the nest and find another golden egg. He becomes fabulously wealthy; it all seems too good to be true.

But with his increasing wealth comes greed and impatience, unable to wait day after day for the golden eggs, the farmer decided he will kill the goose. And he did but finds it empty. There are no golden eggs – and now there is no way to get any more. The farmer has destroyed the goose that produced them.

Our leaders spend our money to travel abroad, enjoy themselves and fail to bring back any good experience. Don't they for God's sake see how governance is being run in other developed countries? How long are we going to answer developing nation? Other countries who were in the same category with us have since moved on.

Onyechere writes from Ujuonyechere @yahoo.com