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Where Buhari failed and why Tinubu may also fail (1), By Sunday Adelaja

Reading through the APC Manifesto I noticed that there was not a single policy consideration to reform our moral fabric as a nation
Any government that wants to rescue Nigeria must come up with a whole system of values that will effectively address the moral failure of our society. This is our greatest problem as a country. It is from this that we have had all other national issues, including leadership failure… leadership is not the biggest problem of Nigeria. Our biggest problem is a corrupt value system. In the past few years, I have personally taken it upon myself to develop a set of values for the Nigerian nation.
country. It is from this that we have had all other national issues, including leadership failure… leadership is not the biggest problem of Nigeria. Our biggest problem is a corrupt value system. In the past few years, I have personally taken it upon myself to develop a set of values for the Nigerian nation.

I am writing this message as a person who passionately campaigned for President Muhammadu Buhari for the 2015 and 2019 presidential elections. I am still a believer that Buhari was the best choice for Nigeria under the circumstances we found ourselves as a country in 2015. In this coming presidential election, I’ve also made my convictions known to the world that Bola Ahmed Tinubu is the next president of Nigeria. However, none of the above stated facts stop me from expressing the convictions I’m penning down in this open letter to the incoming president of Nigeria, come 2023.

I am moved to write this as an open letter after I had carefully read through the revolutionary action plan manifesto of APC and its presidential flag bearer. I have already published my admiration for this epic document. Today, however I’m writing on one thing that is missing in the document, which could lead to what I’ll call a monumental failure of Tinubu’s government that I’ll hate to see happen. As much as I’ll be the first to point to the numerous achievements of President Mohammadu Buhari, yet I’ll also confess that in this one thing he has failed.

I, like millions of people who supported Buhari to become Nigeria’s president, had hoped we were going to get the 1984 disciplinarian version of Buhari/Idiagbon government. I had thought that Buhari clearly understood that the primary source of Nigeria’s problem is in the lack of values and morals, as he obviously demonstrated in his 1984 government. I’ll say this democratic version of Buhari totally demonstrates that he has completely forgotten what endeared most Nigerians to him. I assume that he has come to believe what most Nigerians hold as a sacred truth – that the major problem of the country is the lack of a good leader. Hence, since Buhari’s supporters and he himself believe that he is a good leader, then the major problem was solved. He was mistaken. This mistake or failure nearly led to the disintegration of the country under his watch, with the onslaught from bandits, and secessionists taking full advantage of his weaknesses.

I too believe that in Buhari we surely have a good, humble and sincere leader. But as I’ve constantly maintained in my books and writings, a good leader isn’t enough to take Nigeria to our promised land. As a matter of fact, I’m convinced that bad leadership or weak heads of state is not the primary problem of Nigeria. On the contrary, Nigeria has been blessed by many good leaders in its history. Leaders like Obafemi Awolowo, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Ahmadu Bello, Tafawa Balewa, Yakubu Gowon, Murtala Mohammed, Shehu Shagari, and Olusegun Obasanjo were great men with great personal virtues and characters. Of course no one is perfect, but if you compare them with other world leaders, you’ll have to rank them very highly.

other world leaders, you’ll have to rank them very highly.

For some reasons, generations of Nigerian leaders have put their faith more in some supposedly genius economic formulas than in building the core moral character of the people. The fact is that no matter what brilliant economic formulas we come up with, it is ordinary citizens who must live these things out daily in their workplaces and private lives. If the moral fabric of the people is collapsed, as we currently have it in Nigeria, the people will end up sabotaging even the best initiatives.

Nevertheless, none of these men was able to bring our country to the place most Nigerians hope the country should be by now. Yet, some people are still naively thinking that all we need is a good leader to make Nigeria fulfill her potentials. No sir/madam, this won’t happen, a good leader will not bring about the type of country we are all dreaming of. Our over sixty years of history should have thought us this lesson by now.

This brings me to what I believe is the biggest problem of Nigeria – its people, who live without a consciously defined value system. Reading through the Manifesto of APC (the best I’ve seen in modern Nigerian history), I could only see the big faith of Asiwaju in his economic ingenuity to turn things around for good for the country. This will end up doing a similar thing to what the former Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala used to do by quoting all the right figures of GDP growth, micro- and macro-economics, etc., yet without any major transformation in the country. Unfortunately this is the economic philosophy the Buhari government also adopted.

For some reasons, generations of Nigerian leaders have put their faith more in some supposedly genius economic formulas than in building the core moral character of the people. The fact is that no matter what brilliant economic formulas we come up with, it is ordinary citizens who must live these things out daily in their workplaces and private lives. If the moral fabric of the people is collapsed, as we currently have it in Nigeria, the people will end up sabotaging even the best initiatives. The only government that had relative success in this area to mend was the Buhari/Idiagbon regime, before it was butted out of office.
Without purposefully instilling high level morals and values in the generality of our people, the same people will end up dismantling anything you build, no matter how glorious it is. Just as we see some Nigerians destroying and stealing the rails from the newly constructed railway lanes. Without a coordinated system of values to be systematically imparted to the totality of Nigerians, sabotage, theft and destruction of national assets won’t stop, even if we have the best military and police services in the world.
A recent discovery of oil bunkering syndicates across the country is another proof that the problem of the country is Nigerians who have no understanding of values and virtues. Someone must cry out loud for all aspiring leaders of Nigeria to hear this principles of life that: The intangible is more important than the tangible. The content of character of our people is far more important than all the natural resources that we so much eulogise endlessly. The internal values of our people are more important than the external prosperity.

We must know that some things are more important than life itself: principles, values, character, standards. It is the people who have these qualities who go ahead to build great nations. When these things are lost, we lose ourselves individually and as a nation. Those who live by values rule the earth, because they have superior inner morals and values.

Reading through the APC Manifesto I noticed that there was not a single policy consideration to reform our moral fabric as a nation. This to me speaks about the fact that this next group of rulers are again missing what is the major problem of our nation, which is our collapsed value system. As a matter of fact I’m not sure it was ever well formulated to the ordinary Nigerian in our history. The government of Shagari actually attempted to draw up a value system for the nation, but it was soon overthrown.

Any government that wants to rescue Nigeria must come up with a whole system of values that will effectively address the moral failure of our society. This is our greatest problem as a country. It is from this that we have had all other national issues, including leadership failure. The point I am trying to pass across is that leadership is not the biggest problem of Nigeria. Our biggest problem is a corrupt value system. In the past few years, I have personally taken it upon myself to develop a set of values for the Nigerian nation. I ended up with 20 of them. We have a National Orientation Agency in Nigeria, we have the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies in Nigeria – these national organisations and others must be tasked to come up with a fully developed set of value systems to give the correct orientation to every citizen of Nigeria.

Sunday Adelaja is a Nigeria born leader, transformation strategist, pastor and innovator. He was based in Kiev, Ukraine.

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