Leadership Is Everything

  • Hello everyone, let me start by thanking you all for your condolence messages. I appreciate you all. I would not ordinarily be inclined towards writing but to avoid a further vacuum in our line of thought, I have decided simply to reflect on some of my thoughts.
  • The area of interest to me is our system of governance. I have had cause In not less than two instances in the past to comment on this issue; particularly the inter-connectivity between good governance and democracy.
  • Often, people combine these two related but distinct concepts as it is often misconstrued that once you have democracy, good governance is automatic. However let us consider how true this is. Is the United Arab Emirates a democracy? What of the People’s Republic of China? Qatar, arguably Saudi Arabia and a host of others where the standard of living is great.
  • On the other hand, the number of countries that supposedly practice democracy but experience terrible living conditions are legion. In other words, good governance is often not a function of the system of government but of the quality of leaders they produce.
  • We have military governments, totalitarian systems and monarchies that have engendered good governance.
  • Whereas we have several failed states operating democracies. Libya was an excellent example before the American invasion.
  • My destination today is not so much about interrogating this issue but actually refreshing our memory of the challenge we have locally in the operation of our democracy. It is no news today that we do not have the best of leaders for several reasons.
  • Let me be clear, I am not advocating against democracy but I am ex-raying the quality of our local democracy. Writers such as Jeffrey Sachs, Francis Fukuyama and Thomas Sowell supports this view.
  • The point I am struggling to make is that democracy can only be genuine and real where you have an informed electorate. This is only when people can enjoy good governance. A situation where majority of the people are illiterate and ignorant cannot give birth to a genuine democracy, and by extension, good governance.
  • We presently have a situation where more than seventy percent of the electorate in the country do not understand why they are voting in the first instance, much less knowing the person they are voting.
  • Even the basic knowledge of the role those they are voting for are supposed to play in positions they are vying for reveals the inadequacy of the present system.
  • Everyday we see the challenges of the government generally while forgetting that we we put the operators there. It is not so much about the system but the operators. We need quality people to man the system.
  • I have often said it that the elites need not come into box but can extraneously assist by sponsoring enlightenment and education of the electorate.
  • We need to take them out of the parochial considerations in the exercise of their franchise. They must eschew religious, tribal, communal, financial and other considerations
  • This is the only way we can begin to vote quality leaders in. That is my reflection for today.
  • Dr. Banire, SAN, is chairman of AMCON

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