The ‘rule of law makes us stronger by ensuring that decisions will be tested, studied, reviewed, and examined through the processes of government that are designed to improve policy.’
Acting on his research result carried out to unravel why leaders make bad decisions, Sydney Finkelstein, a Steven Roth Professor of management at the Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College, United States Of America, underlined; the presence of inappropriate self-interest, distorting attachments and the presence of misleading memories act as factors/red flags that fuels deformed decisions. Flawed decisions start with errors of judgment from individuals, he concluded.
Although corporate organizations were Finkelstein’s focal point in that research, one could not agree more that the fruit of his findings has since transcended to,/found a home in public office sphere particularly ours where those underlined factors have become not just a challenge but a crisis…
Specifically, such acts on our political space essentially consist of the denial/non recognition of the supremacy of, and optional adherence to the nation’s 1999 constitution (as amended) and its provisions such as the rule of law and the rights to a standard of living adequate for the health and the well-being of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the rights to security.
And its ‘works/consequences principally manifest in actions such as; non consideration of human rights approach to governance that will guarantee education/infusion of human rights principle of participation, accountability, transparency, and non-discrimination, as well as foster the attainment of equity and justice; politicization of law enforcement in the country and perception of public office not as an opportunity for public good but as an avenue for private gains.
Standing as a telling example of a pragmatic demonstration of inappropriate self interest and distorting attachment is the recent decline of assent by Mr. President to the Electoral Act Amendment Bill 2018 (an amendment that would have given the Card Reader a legal backing), forgetting that when an executive arrogates to himself the power to ignore the legitimate legislative directive, he becomes a threat to the very structure he was elected/sworn to protect the nation’s constitution. In this article, it is pertinent to admit that leading person into the future, preparing others for what lies ahead whether in the concrete terms of actual or conceptual scenarios requires prolonged efforts and certain administrative pressure.
That notwithstanding, performing this duty as a leader is made complex in my views not because of leadership encumbrances, ambiguity or lacuna in the nation’s constitution but because of the leader’s asymmetrical culture of promoting democracy only when it is in line with their state of mind and favorable to their personal interests. To further underscore this position, history taught us that ‘democracy works where the people have the culture of accommodation and tolerance which makes a minority accept the majority to have its way until the next election and wait patiently and peacefully for its turn to become the government by persuading more voters to support it views.
Instead of keeping to this rule, particularly when considered unfavourable, they fracture the nation’s geography into ‘ethnosyncrasies’ and idiosyncrasies and turn the country to an entity where tribal loyalty is stronger than the common nation – a factor that explains why the nation is not marching forward and our democracy unable to underwrite social justice or promote social mobility. Under this arrangement, they neither consider the feelings of the masses nor work towards gaining the people’s confidence that the government will not cheat or harm them.
This fact, coupled with the prevailing ignorance, democratized poverty and backwardness in the country, these leaders become the primary reality that people worry about. Certainly, why this development should not be a surprise to Nigerians is that globally, any country that allows leadership without ‘disciplined thoughts and actions, leaders that play mindless politics and cannot draw a distinction between politics and leadership, use people to further their own end which is unpleasant, selfish, narrow-mindedness and petty, such a nation must not expect a disciplined political and socioeconomic culture.
The reason for the above is simple – by their understanding, politics is intimidation centered, and getting things done by lying or other dishonored means. And under this form of leadership, no matter how beautiful a policy appears, no matter how strong an institution tends to be, they always have deconstructionists that can undermine it. However, what fuels `this appalling situation is that those with leadership intelligence and can understand things for themselves as well as appreciate what others can understand, are not ready to enter the political fray for themselves or willing to take the risk to liberate the nation.
Instead, they rely upon politicians in whom they have little confidence and those who are famous for not being extra conscious or carefully tested, adjusted and adapted to before incorporating new policies into the country.
Succeeding on this job of exiting this agonizing moment will among other things require Nigerians to develop a keen sense of independence, self-respect and insist on electing as their representatives those that will provide a strong/aggressive leadership and uphold the rule of law.
The ‘rule of law makes us stronger by ensuring that decisions will be tested, studied, reviewed, and examined through the processes of government that are designed to improve policy. And the knowledge that they will be reviewed prevents over-reaching and checks the accretion of power. Again, whenever power is unchecked and unaccountable, it almost inevitably leads to mistakes and abuses. And in the absence of rigorous accountability, incompetence flourishes, dishonesty is encouraged and rewarded’.
While the above is ongoing, it will be rewarding if the present administration realizes the need to have this nation reunited and alleviate the unnecessary pains and suffering Nigerians stoically endure –definitely, history will be kind to them if they take such steps. Finally, as we move towards the entrance doors of 2019, the questions Nigerians would also like to place before the present administration are;’ will we continue to live as a people under the rule of law as embodied in our constitution?
Or will we fail future generations by leaving them a constitution and electoral Acts that is far diminished from the charter of liberty we have inherited from our forebears?’
Providing answers to these and taking action on other socioeconomic challenges bedeviling the nation will be more rewarding than the presidential date.
Utomi writes via [email protected]