Irresponsible People Beget Irresponsible Leadership

by Fredrick Nwabufo

In society responsibility is customarily shared


the people and the government. Responsibility is also implicit in social

contract which wards off anarchy. Going by this unconvoluted truism, it therefore follows that the

blister-inflicting twine of irresponsibility too is tugged between the

government and the people. Irresponsibility is a shared lapse; a damnable

testament to people-government failure.

As a matter of fact, everyone, that includes people

in the saddle, go through the gestational stage of socialisation, after which parturition of

idiosyncrasies, bias, views, beliefs and predilections, occurs. Indubitably,

the role of society in character formation is significant. Therefore, everyone

is a sculpture of the moulding of society.

Again, society is people governed by traits of

culture- progressive or regressive. The

dominant cultural aura or vibe of a given society determines to an extent the behavioural output

and proclivities of the people in that society.

That is, if corruption is a permissible cultural aberration, it becomes

dominant among other cultural deviations in the genome of that society. This is

in no way a sociological absolute, but a verifiable claim that can be exhumed

from comparatively examining peoples of different societies and their


Hinging on this dialectical plank, it is therefore apt to aver that

the Nigerian leadership is a grotesque representation of the Nigerian people and society. The leadership is as

bad as the people. The anodyne expression, “you cannot give what you do not

have” captures picturesquely the Nigerian situation in this purview. Nigerian

leaders are the scions of Nigerian society. Their odious discharges are from

the malodorous miscarriages of the society they are born and forged in. Even those that are contaminated (in a good way) by the la dolce vita

and pheromones

of the better world still carry albeit regrettably, the Nigerian stink. This is

not making an argument for the lamentable ineptitude of Nigerian leaders;

rather it is to espouse the logic that the Nigerian leadership is a manikin of

the Nigerian people and


There is just no shade of difference between the two– the Nigerian leadership and the people.

Both the Nigerian leadership and the Nigerian people

bear the ignominy of culpability in driving the country to the Paleolithic

precipice. Inter alia, what is more sickening is the discomforting fact that

none in the enterprise of running Nigeria aground takes responsibility for its

irresponsibility. The Nigerian


indiscriminately throws blame at past governments and obverse groups; the Nigerian people in turn see the

distant Nigerian

leadership as the provenance of their woes, thus they blame it for even fiddling discomforts such as the angry army

of mosquitoes that torpedoes them in their sleep at night and the sour taste of balls of

“kwuli-kwuli” in their mouths.

In the same symmetrical logic, not taking

responsibility for actions,

inactions, situations, problems, and faults seems to be in the

Nigerian genome. To illustrate this, some Nigerian parents take pugilism to

their children’s school with

the uncouth aim of battering their teachers for failing them.

They induct their children into the “hallowed hall of irresponsibility” at a

nascent age by wittingly or unwittingly encouraging them not to take

responsibility for their failures

and actions.

There must always be someone or something to blame.

In the same vein, when such children from “molly-coddled”

homes fail in WAEC,

their parents become their



barking to all who care to listen to their racket that their children have been

robbed of their true

results or

failed unfairly by WAEC;

You hear, ” WAEC sold my son’s result”.


is usually against the back drop of dereliction of study and laziness of their

children. The same thing happens when they fail in JAMB. The excuse is usually that

JAMB is corrupt, and that they have been marginalised for the sheer reason that they are not from a

particular part the country. So it is when they are finally at

higher institutions. The excuse for their failures in this case is that their

lecturers are victimising them because of their relationship with some “fine

girls” that the lecturers too are “eyeing”. And so the tradition of not taking

responsibility for their irresponsibility progresses to points of rude

disregard for ideals of excellence, hard work, discipline and performance.

As pointed out tangentially earlier, the Nigerian

leadership and the Nigerian people share morsels of garbage from the entrée of

irresponsibility. The irresponsibility of the Nigerian people is visible in the

corruption of the most


person of

the rabble, plebian malfeasance,

celebrated ignorance, denuded scruples, unabashed disrespect for simple rules

and regulations, veiled peccadilloes, and the culture of low

expectation according to Okey Ndibe. In fact, to be ignorant of fundamental


to stand and defend those rights, and to have high expectations of the

government smack of gross irresponsibility on the part of the Nigerian people.

On the other hand, irresponsibility of the Nigerian leadership needs no

adumbration. It is evident in the insalubrious and gangrenous state of the nation. The

Nigerian leadership here implies all the governments that have failed to give

Nigeria the elixir of even marginal development.

Having drawn the Nigerian leadership and people

irresponsibility quadrant, it is germane to etch in the minds of Nigerians the

need for the evolution


a new thinking; a thinking that the Nigerian leadership mirrors them. They are

as good as the leadership and they are as bad as the leadership. Therefore corrective,

surgical operations must be performed on the national body to remove the

decayed arm of irresponsibility; that is by taking responsibility for their individual and collective predicaments and finding solutions to them.

Finally, Nigerians are fighting multidimensional battles

which coalesce into a single

armageddon-like war;


need to join hands to form a giant fist to deal it a coup-de-grace. In all, the

country’s quandary proves emphatically that irresponsible people beget

irresponsible leadership.

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