By Nura Jibo
There is no point wasting time on Nigerian leaders and their style of leadership.
Since its independence, Nigeria has been embroiled in a series of leadership experimentation. And the reality of its situation is that it cannot develop! I argued this position nineteen (19) years ago in a full-page opinion column in Daily Trust stable of 19 November 2003, page 6. I highlighted the dual mandate of Lord Lugard extensively.
Nigeria falls squarely under a plural society with several groups of population sharply divided along religious, ethnic and cultural formations. The sharp divide between the North and South qualifies the country as a plural community with lots of ethnic, tribal, religious and cultural conflicts.
Unlike the pluralistic United States, which was or/and is able to embrace a cultural semblance, Nigerian people are yet to even start appreciating the essence of togetherness. Its people’s behaviour (s) is not significantly different from dual societies such as Belgium and Rwanda, for example. Under these dual societies, each group accounts for about eighty-five per cent ( 85%) of cultural independence.
Now contrast my assertion with other countries of the world that have this duality in operation. Belgium, for example, is a classical example with its significant population from France and another group of Flemish identities. But today, the GDP value of Belgium accounts for more than 0.45% of the world economy.
Sweden, on the other hand, constitutes more of a singular society with ethnic swedes population of up to 80.3%. The rest are Syrians 1.9%, Iraqis 1.4%, Finnish 1.4% and others 15%.
Now contrast this with Senegal, which has a near-perfect singular society with a predominantly Muslim population that accounts for 94% that two Christian Presidents ruled for two decades. And yet the Senegales lived peacefully under those Christian Presidents.
Nonetheless, Sweden, because of its large singular population with the same cultural, tribal and ethnic semblance, has been enjoying peace for over 500 years!
Why Senegal did not enjoy this kind of Swedish peace is a subject for another day.
Now coming back to Nigeria as a plural society, it cannot develop like the United States because of its multifaceted traditional beliefs and cultural barriers brought about by the colonial demarcations and global mapping.
One wonders why the colonialists drew their countries’ maps so perfectly that it favours them from all angles.
Indeed, Gérardus Mercator did not favour Africa and all African nations like Nigeria when he came up with his conformal cylindrical map projection that he and his groups originally created to display accurate compass bearings for sea travel. In the end, they added additional features to this projection in form of local shapes by defining them as “accurate” and “correct”. The irony is they demarcated Europe so perfectly at a finite scale by drawing Nigeria and all African countries at an infinitesimal scale in 1569.
That is why Nigerians, even though are pluralistic under Mercator’s cylindrical mapping, the diverse population do not share common identities and cultural semblance like the Swedes.
People like me that consider Geography as the mother of history will continue to question the division or/and the dichotomous drawing of the African continent, which did not in any way and spot favours its people to grow and develop.
Therefore, it is not out of place or context to say or/and conclude that Nigeria and the African continent cannot develop as it is because the African States can’t take advantage of their multiethnic, multicultural and multireligious Mercator “gifts”.
Instead, they will continue revolving leadership that is corrupt and very dangerous for national and international development.
And, of course, there is the need for me to explore the ambivalent nature and relationship(s) between what is wrong with Nigerian and African leaders, their leadership styles and the African condition by tracing these to the fundamentals.
In the end, we may conclude that it is better for Nigerians and Africans to move out of Nigeria and Africa and settle somewhere in Europe and the Americas because the conditions there are more favourable and Mercatoristic than living in the African continent that is deliberately mapped out not to grow and excel by the colonial masters. I will, in the end, take a tour to Rwanda and Senegal to sit with the former African Union president, His Excellency Paul Kagame and its current Chairperson, His Excellency President Macky Sall of Senegal.
But before I do that, I hope to write formal open letters to President Kagame and President Sall on the way, I think the African continent and its people must follow to call or agitate for a united African Security Council. This will be distinct from the United Nations Security Council. It is when we have this, in my view, that we can call for an emergency meeting with European Union and redraw the map of Africa in an African style. Only then can we start championing the cause of Africanity, and its revolutionary proposal, and the triumph of facts for its underdevelopment will begin to emerge through the ages.
But as it is, the message to all Africans, including Nigerians, is: Never care to suffer about elections or having a better Nigeria or Africa. Because the duo are not meant to grow.
Indeed, listening to former and current Nigerian leaders and their African counterparts’ leadership “gospels” will never change anything. Rather it will inflict more pain and quandary on Nigerians and Africans, multivalent French, American, British and European marketers, negotiators and their marketability of African continents’ wars and resources.
Nura is a Research Analyst for the Director of Whitney Plantation in Louisiana, United States.