Covid-19 and our leadership deficiencies

Abdull-Azeez Ahmed Kadir


SIR: The global coronavirus pandemic is described as a leveller. Globally, yes. Locally, especially in Africa, nay Nigeria, it has exposed our leadership deficiencies at various levels. Worst, at the political level.

Two sectors aided the exposure of pretense of leadership; health and education. Should the pandemic linger more than necessary –and there are indications it may – it will further expose lack of foresight, planning and quality investment in another vital sector, agriculture in addition to the very visible ones in the health and education sectors.

Any nation that lacks proper and comprehensive plans and investments in these three sectors, is as good as non-existent. Covid-19, if for nothing, is fast opening our eyes to the pretense of our leaders and the lip services paid to these sectors.

Before COVID-19 dawned on us without warning, our leaders at various levels, especially those active, with followership on social media, always “wow” those who are gullible with show of heavy investment in the state-of-the-art health facilities they have invested billions of naira on.

Never mind that at the slightest diagnosis of headache, the same leaders flew out of Nigeria for medical attention.

Today, across all the six geopolitical zones, governors and their households have tasted and are still tasting the negative positivity of COVID-19.

All were and are being treated locally and survived, surviving without crossing the state borders not to talk of flying out for medical attention.

Were coronavirus not dealing deadly blows on their choice destinations of medical tourism and the international boundaries not closed, taxpayers’ money in millions would have been wasted as they would have flown and airlift their families to such places for treatment.

No doubt, even the nations with the best of medical facilities and personnel are not spared by the pandemic and are still battling to contain the ravaging virus, but you can see sincerity of purpose on their parts.

Again, COVID-19 is exposing the rot and pretense in the education sector. Like other sectors gang raped and bastardised, then privatised out of the reach of the common man, education is now feeling the heat of the long neglect, lack of investment and the non-challant acts of our leaders.

In Nigeria, between 1.5 to 1.7 million candidates register and sit for this examination annually. With our almost geometric population growth, put the figure for 2020 at two million candidates.

Divide this by the 36 states and Federal Capital Territory, FCT Abuja, it will be difficult for any state to have a quarter of that number registered to write the examination.

Yes, we are being told that no state can put measures in place for these students to write WASSCE in line with the COVID-19 protocols without hitches.

No state in Nigeria has less than a million registered voters. As we speak, Edo and Ondo are in frenzy to go to the polls with all the attendant crowd-funding, gathering sans COVID-19 protocols.

Like the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, Boss Mustapha said at one of the briefings of the Presidential Task Force, if we don’t learn anything from this pandemic, we would never learn anything. Let me dare add that we would be doomed if we don’t.

For now, COVID-19 has not only succeeded in exposing the rot in our systems, it is exposing the deficiency of the people we call leaders.

It is unravelling the pretense and lip service paid to critical sectors of our daily lives. It is and may hit back at all of us, but hit the elites and leaders more, as today, many of them have become prisoners of their own making, living in a reversed life while the poor may be used to scraping the bottom to eat, even though it is getting harder.

No one should tell you we have no resources to do the needful. If nothing, the revelations from certain forensic auditing gone awry is a pointer.

  • Abdull-Azeez Ahmed Kadir, Kaduna.


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