Why Change Must Begin With The Leaders, Not The Led -By Emmanuel E. Onyekwere

Filed under: National Issues |

We mock ourselves so much in this country and in so doing have turned the country (the giant of Africa) into an object of mockery to the whole world, even our dead laugh at us from their graves; some of them if (even) given the chance to come back to life (in Nigeria) would prefer to remain dead – yes! It is that bad. My fear and pang of guilt is no longer that my dear country has lost (for a long time) her hegemonic position in Africa but that posterity will judge ‘us’ hardheartedly.

While we sit on the fence, building destructive weaponries with our tongues, lying and deceiving ourselves of the irreparable decay ‘our’ country has been plunged into. ‘Our’ leaders speak of unrealistic ways of ‘making Nigeria great again’, leaving me so saddened with this deceitful slogan of “Change begins with me”. With no regard to how pleasing and comforting it sounds (to those that are not aware that the River does flow rearward – it has to flow from the source) I say: “CHANGE SHOULD BEGIN WITH THE LEADERS NOT THE LED”.

I happen to come across a herder and his flock with whom I observed that the herder led while his flock followed him foot-for-foot, with none taking a contrary route. With this experience I concluded that they were following because the leader (the herder) was ahead of them but a second experience got me inquisitive, here the flock was ahead while their herder was following from behind. The herder effortlessly said to me: “Ah! This is the way I take them everyday, so, without me they will still find their way” – This is my own definition of ‘legacy’. Legacy once laid endures a lifetime and generations will come to even take it up.


Emmanuel E. Onyekwere

The undoing of Nigeria is leadership not citizenship. It is incontrovertible that Nigeria is blessed with the most patriotic citizenry in the world, despite the turmoil posed on us by unpatriotic leaders we still find faith in the corporate existence of our country, Nigeria. It is the leaders that ruined and are still ruining this country, they took her virginity and tore her peace apart. While the common citizens work dawn to dusk to make honest living, the leaders sit on their plastic thrones scheming how to rape the country even more, stealing our common treasure and storing same for their generations unborn who after birth are ‘fixed-in’ to continue from where their ancestors stopped.

One may ask if these leaders I accuse are not chosen from the very patriotic citizens I earlier asserted, the answer is YES, they are not! It is the same bad eggs recycling themselves from one political platform to another, changing songs, chants, slogans and in recent cases changing from Khaki to Agbada; it is the same people! Nothing has changed except that they have sweetened their tongues. While they hold greedily unto power, they plant their likes in every nook and cranny of the political wall for ‘adequate security’ and to maim every honest effort to cause a positive change.

CHANGE as the Oxford Advanced Learners’ English Dictionary puts simply means to become different. Now I ask: Has anything become different? We only chant songs composed by politicians that have no genuine agenda for change – they don’t really want anything to become different, they are just sweet words used in wooing and deceiving our ‘soft minds’; in their closets they laugh at our folly and ignorance. They are aware how patient we are and will keep exploiting us, taking our endurance for timidity. They only lament of the ‘small’ rebellious acts in some parts of the country which are nothing but  helplessly unintentional response to bad leadership – that is what happens when the shock absorber breaks down, that moment when patience has been stretched beyond elastic limit.

‘To lead’ means to be in front of a group of people, to show them the right way to go. If this definition is generally accepted, then it is with shame that I say that our leaders are not really leading us. They are not our leaders if they lie that change should begin with us (and not them). Change is not and cannot be exemplified in change of political mandate, slogan and even cross-carpeting.

Nothing can really change if leaders use power to make the people powerless and witch-hunt perceived political enemies, not when ethnocentrism has become the habit of the leaders, not when one religion is upheld at the expense of many others in a secular state like ours, not also when leaders say what they don’t mean and so on.

Change begins when leadership positions become less-lucrative and self-seeking rather selfless and people-oriented.

Real change begins when we stop recycling politicians who have ran short of ideas.

Change should begin with the leaders, not the led.

Make the right choice!!


Emmanuel E. Onyekwere

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