It was a very awful news. The class of news that breeds and widens class antagonism. The Premium Times, the media house that pioneered and marketed the wide spread of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo's letter to President Goodluck Jonathan, once again captured our attention with the following headline: Sambo's furniture and house upgrade gulp 2.1 billion Naira in four years.
In another agonizing news package, it was reported by many media channels that Dr.Goodluck Jonathan would majestically be uplifted with the purchase of extra aircrafts amounting to seven billion Naira this year. The irony here is that when the masses were wallowing in a state of economic morass, the president's new year gift was not the fresh air he promised us but a polluted air in form of the obnoxious fuel price increase in 2012.Two years after that economic misadventure, this year's new gift is exclusively meant for the president to maximize his air transportation honeymoon.
While this fraudulent exhibition of naked self-indulgence is aggrandized by self-importance of the president and his vice, the notorious and awkward depth of crisis of resource plundering by some members of the ruling class deepens. Our decadent system, the architect of this financial mess and tragedy, is fundamentally, functionally and structurally at a loggerhead with the yearnings of the majority.
We can vividly picture the broad type dichotomy between the deep pleasure of our leaders and the severe pains of the deprived. The alarming missing link between our Ogas at the top and the downtrodden can be seen from the dangerous degeneration of the essence of leadership. In those days,we were taught the beautiful lessons of leadership by examples worthy of emulation.
But nowadays,we have so many bad lessons of leadership by extravagance worthy of condemnation. There exists a striking gap between this contrasting leadership variables. For instance, there was the glad tidings of Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande's formidable, messianic and holistic leadership force. As the former Governor of Lagos State in the Second Republic, he characterized, championed and propelled himself to function as a bonafide servant of the hopeless and eschewed the ill-conceived lordship ideals and style. He gallantly shunned the luxury of government lodge and retired to his personal lodge.He willingly boycotted government vehicles and remained to his private car. Hence,he earned the tag "action governor".
The remarkable and indelible case of former president Shehu Shagari is on record. Initially could not believe his penchant for self effacism.I was on a research going through the olden days national dailies when i spotted two cover page banner headlines of the New Nigerian and Daily Times informing the world how Shagari kicked against fifty thousand naira salary proposed for him. Debunking it as too exorbitant.
It was also marvelous when i read in another edition of the New Nigerian that the late Solomon Lar backed Shagari's stand .Eventually, Shagari succeeded in pushing his salary down to forty thousand naira annually.That was the era of resource prudence and management.
However, we are now in an era of brutal squandermania orchestrated by inept leadership bankruptcy. A leader whose theme of leadership begins and ends with the psychology of how to make his residence one of the most expensive is unequal to the leader whose absolute loyalty to humility would trigger him to denounce a skyrocketing salary bonanza. The leader who has faith in enjoying life to its fullest by the grace of aircrafts while our roads are death traps cannot be equivalent to the leader whose sense of leadership has attained a messianic proportion.
How i wish the president would honorably relinquish his passion for the luxury of aircrafts and convert the huge money for the rehabilitation of dilapidated and moribund roads. For now many Nigerians can recall the pledge of the fresh air but is beyond their reach. As for the vice president, if I were him, I would have launched a sensible attack on the moral decay that eats the fabric of the pyschology that views leadership from the negative side of what the late Aminu Kano observed, "State leadership is not a source of amassing wealth, pomposity and self-complacency but a trust for which the bearer is to be accountable to both people and God".
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