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Sir, the depth and enduring nature of Nigeria’s institutional woes has proved fertile ground for psychological analysis and guidance. And here is Why: Professional psychologists remain vast about the institutional effects of instability in regards to human hardship as in many of life’s grittier issues, among them are hopeless, pain, helplessness and general nostalgia.

Sir, these psychological issues are direct consequences of Nigeria’s disordered and ungoverned politics with ongoing massive negative effect on the masses. Ironically and notably, this same institutional disorderliness brings fraudulent gains to many in charge of our institutions.

Sir, in your speech to mark Nigeria’s 51st anniversary of independence from British colonial powers in a just, open and despondent manner, you talked about institutional and systemic breakdown in the country.

Sir, there was need for you to propose a psychological overhaul of the nation’s institutions , if we are to truly bring about a functioning system of institutions.

Sir, you talked about how our ministers’ offices have been rotated into regular ‘consultation’ rooms. Could this be due to the need for a flamboyant lifestyle which can only persist through corrupt practices in order to feed their lifestyle?

It is not unusual to see on a daily basis how the powerful impoverish the trekking masses and motorized drivers with fleet of publicly issued luxurious cars, with privatized Nigerian police and mounted traffic jams on their way home apparently with their ‘consultation’ yields.

Sir, you talked about Nigerian Doctors, who are mandated to protect lives, habitually end up killing people as they did to my mother, and nobody takes action because the institutions that should control and monitor their activities have apparently become exasperated.

Sir, you talked about the nation running on a deficit budget because the institutions that are in charge of protecting public resources are persistently being affected with leakages, mentally of course.

Sir, there is a reason why many of them frequent your office. As you rightly pointed out the “system” is not working well because many of them could be struggling with a mindset of presidential dependency, which could be a sign of habitual helplessness, yet that is what you have surrounding you.

Sir, you cited lack of accurate census figures and incorrect statistics on the economy as indicators of mass institutional fiascos. Sir, when some of them are sent to helpful lectures, meetings, training programs and similar activities they are either asleep during the lectures, runs way after a short stay or simply disappear from the lecture room. But they expect their supervisors and employees to attend and stay in the meetings. In the process there is confusion, as no one actually knows who is right in terms of information, and no one knows the current state of the art in matters of governance.

Sir, you talked about public workers not coming to work by “8am even though the period of service is between 8am and 4pm”, and you asked how many “directors come to work by 8am”.

Sir, there is value in work so if the ministers, directors and other senior officials could come to work on time the general workers will become more responsible for their own actions and behaviors through good attendance.

Sir, you stated that you are not “ going to chase them by carrying a big stick going into the ministries and breaking the heads of the people”. Sir, no one in their right mind wants to see a Hitler type of presidential leadership in you.

Sir, if as “a nation, we have to build strong institutions” as you rightly stated, approaches to institutional indiscipline should be accompanied with successive stiffer penalties. And mandating stiff penalties against those who refuse to participate in best practices in our institutions is only fair. And as a matter of fact, heavy fines on failing ministers and other public leaders could serve as a better chance of avoiding continued institutional collapse.

Sir, as you rightly know many public and corporate leaders remain overly wealthy, while about 80% of Nigerian citizens suffer below the poverty line.

Sir, some of these citizens are in pain and remain in the frontlines of economic struggles, and some are seeking solace by way of unusual behaviors like terrorism, kidnapping, armed robbery, violent civil unrest, inter-communal tensions, strikes, and prostitution.

Sir, many Nigerians for the first time in their lives feel very vulnerable, and ain't too proud of the giant of Africa—Nigeria.

Sir, your candid words will certainly give a spiritual lift to many Nigerians and help hit back against a sense of moral and physical decline in our public leaders.

Sir, professional psychology could help our public leaders recognize their strengths and resources for the betterment of their respective institutions.

Sir, the application of the science of positive psychology to improving our institutions could eventually be broadened to the society only if government agencies and leadership focus on integrating scientific and professional knowledge from psychology.

The Nigeria Psychological Association with all of its human resources and assets are ready to assist when called upon by the leadership and the presidency since psychology has stayed missing or neglected for far too long.

Written by John Egbeazien Oshodi, [email protected], Abuja.

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