Think not what your country can do for you BUT think what you can do for your country’ – John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
Patriotism to country is the chief determinant of the quality of leadership the nation gets. At the core is the heart of the leader. An egocentric and a self-centred person is obviously primed for greed and avarice, and will make a bad leader. Altruism and love are profound leadership credentials as responsible and responsive leaders are simply those who love and care for the common good. Great leaders are often selfless, sacrificial and benevolent.
Growing up in a country with a chequered history and profuse loyalty to region rather than nation; with ethnic and egocentric prejudices as king over ethical and egalitarian precepts; with religious bias as lord over nationhood and brotherhood; and with the jingoism of creed and clan diminishing returns on patriotism, one conclusion is predictable; that the cellar where leaders are brewed would yield naught, but selfish and corrupt rulers.
Countrymen and women, when we look at the ills of governance and locate our pain at the doorstep of region or religion, we offend logic and afflict posterity with bile of unresolved contradictions. I know that those who plunder our resources are by no means loyal to their region or religion, nor are they loyal to country. Their creed and clan is greed. The successive watchmen that pillaged our collective patrimony were persons united by greed and avarice; to them, the difference in creed or clan makes no meaning, in unison they worked untold damage to nation. They were utterly unpatriotic and continue so; beating the ethnic drum is their profit.
When in unison they stole from and depleted our collective till, their Iboness, Yorubaness, Hausaness, Ijawness, Ibibioness, Jukumness et al was never an issue, when they festered the decay of our ethical and moral plexus, our religious differences counted for nothing. But when they lose power and are denied the key to our common wealth, they seek to shoot down Nigeria from tribal, regional, religious and partisan trenches. We ignore the fact that we are where we are because we lowered the bar in our collective engagement to such banal estate that salutes tribal jingoists over patriots and nationalists. We must rebuild our union and make Nigeria work; we must commit ourselves to reworking the fabrics of this union, and germane to this process is loyalty to country. Our nation must groom patriotic leaders.
We must make fairness, equity and justice the minimum margin in our politico-social cum economic interaction. We must admit that successive regimes failed because they repudiated these age-old and time-tested nation building imperatives. To undermine lessons in patriotism is to condemn leadership to a cesspool where failure is definite. It is however salutary to note that when we give our best to country, our country will work and the basic quid pro quo is better life for all.
Tied to responsible and responsive leadership is progress and prosperity. However, there must exist an inviolable resolve by citizens to subsume ‘I’ with ‘WE’; to diminish ‘ME’ with ‘US’; and to make the core of governmental trust better life for the people. Chiefly, there must be rectitude in governance, and those who seek to lead must slay sleaze. When we eschew corruption and malfeasance; when we serve our union indiscriminate of creed or clan; when we water the tree of patriotism, then the journey to the Isle of greatness would have begun.
When we honour statesmen above tribesmen; when we make integrity honourable and villainy dishonourable; when we make good men chiefs and vilify thieves; when we hallow our national memorabilia and denigrate anti patriotic forces; when we punish wrong and salute right; and when we begin an overhaul of our collective morality, then our voyage to the nation of our dreams shall become real.
In this era of CHANGE, I believe that the Senate of The Federal Republic of Nigeria must look beyond the banal debate of witch-hunt, ghost-hunt or man-hunt and ask the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, to resign for the purposes of facing his criminal trial before the Code of Conduct Tribunal. The truth is that the moral standing of the Senate should count more than the ambition of one man. Today, the politics of the Code of Conduct Tribunal case clogs the wheel of a speedy screening of ministerial nominees.
Enter the Senate President. First, it was the forging of House Rules, then corruption charges against his wife, Toyin, and now forgery and corruption charges before the Code of Conduct Tribunal. We must raise the moral bar beyond the diversionary antics of conspiracy theorists and ask him to step down. The question must not be about the one hunting him, but whether he has erred before the law. I must add that witch-hunt is until date not an offence known to law, so the sanctity of our democratic space and the moral plexus of the Senate must count beyond the camaraderie of power mongers.
Compatriots, we must begin an overhaul of our corporate values. We must rise beyond the ‘pawn in a chess-board’ cadre and refuse to be drawn into defending, and or excusing politrickcal and political conflict. To make leadership responsible and responsive to the people, Nigeria indeed must come first. I simply believe that if Senator Bukola Saraki feels witch-hunted, he should step down and square up with the elements witch-hunting him lest governance suffers. We must congregate at the place where loyalty to nation dwarfs all partisan prejudices.
I have always argued that a nation that ignores her children will suffer spiritual atrophy; a leadership that ignores the young condemns the future to an era of inexperience; and a ruling class that ignores the youth plans to fail. Nations are the aggregation of every social stratum. To succeed, it must be about country, about the people, and not about personal egos and ids. Leadership in this clime must internalize the morals and mores of this argument and make the people the summum bonum of governmental trust.
Having read that 50 Senators through a vote of confidence urged the Senate President to stay on, and that after his first appearance before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, another vote of confidence, this time, by 83 Senators, urged and nudged him on, I wonder what happened to the moral gauge of the Senate. They argue that the goings on at the Code of Conduct Tribunal is a witch hunt, so Saraki can play the politics of survival as Senate President at the expense of service to nation, as evident in the repeated adjustment in the schedule for the screening of ministerial nominees.
To the protagonists of the witch-hunt theorem, pardon my curiosity; is witch-hunt the reason for the anticipatory declaration of alleged properties that were not owned by Bukola Saraki as his? Perhaps it is witch-hunt that invented the corruption for which he is charged. Is witch-hunt the reason the Senate Rules were forged to allow his emergence as Senate President? If he is clean, will there be a charge against him at the CCT? We must be careful how we politic, knowing that posterity will judge our actions and inactions.
Like Caesar’s wife, leaders in this clime are expected to be above board, we must commit ourselves to a new paradigm in public trust where sentiments cannot and must not stand toe to toe with truth. We must broaden the frontiers of debate and always challenge leadership to profound service. And we must diminish that behemoth called sycophancy, court-jesting and praise-singing, from such leaders at that level.
We must begin a massive rework of our morals and mores, we must redefine our corporate margins, and we must overhaul our collective values and insist on patriotism as the minimum benchmark for appointments by appointing authorities. The one who leads must understand that tied to leadership is the unalterable watch of history, and to be responsible and responsive to the led our inviolable cross.
God Bless Nigeria.

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