50 years ago, Nigeria was a promising giant and a candidate for the rank of great nation. Great leaders, large population, mineral-rich and arable land and
international goodwill, Nigeria had it all. But within few years of home rule,
she frittered away the chance. She became a shadow of her true self. Just at
dawn, she aborted her voyage to greatness. More painfully, she was undone from
within. She failed to translate her rich potentials into wealth, prosperity and


Greatness is a matter of vision, ambition, preparation and political will. In other words, it is a question of leadership. It has little to do with being wealthy. The
greatest nation may not be the wealthiest or the most prosperous. In the world today,
the countries with the highest human capital development indices are not the
greatest or the most influential nations. In fact, a large percentage of the
world’s population will struggle to locate them on the world map.  Conversely, wealth is a resultant effect of
greatness. History shows that a well managed drive for greatness would deliver
wealth and prosperity in return. It thus goes without saying that great nations
are wealthy nations.


Like in the case of humans, great nations may start poor. But with vision, ambition and passion for greatness, they would create something out of nothing and
benefit from other peoples’ talents and wealth. It was this ambition that drove
Columbia under the patronage of the Portuguese King to discover America. It was
this ambition that made Britain the dominant power in the world for several
centuries. It was this ambition that has kept United States going as the most
powerful nation in world. Going into antiquity, Persian, Roman and other great empires
were products of vision and ambition. Did Nigeria ever aspire to become a great
nation in spite of the favourable natural and human factors? If there was any
such ambition in the past, was the nation willing to work the work of great


The history of great nations is more or less the stories of great men.  One wonders, what meaning the world would make of ancient Egypt without the Pharaohs, Mesopotamia without Hammurabi,
Persia without Cyrus, Rome without Caesar, ancient Mali without Mansa Musa,
America without Washington, Germany without Bismarck, Britain without
Churchill, France without de Gaulle, China without Mao, Ghana without Nkrumah,
Tanzania without Nyerere and the new South Africa without Mandela? Benefitting
from history, it would be safe to aver that while it requires many great men to
build a nation, it takes one great man to define the character of a great
nation at least for a generation.


Nigeria, no doubt, has been blessed from inception with great men, particularly the founding fathers. However, no man has been able to rise tall above other men to
help give character to the nation. It is regrettable that Nigeria lacks a clear
and generally accepted founding father or father of the nation, whether at
Independence or thenceforth. We have only had contenders and pretenders to the
title. Nobody has ever worn crowned.


Public opinion seems unanimous about the curse of accidental and unprepared leadership that has bedevilled the nation for a long time. But more worrying is the
competence and capacity of the leaders that such accidents throw up. Accidental
ascendancy to leadership is a big gamble. It often comes with bitter
consequences. We have not been blessed with capable and well prepared leaders whether
under democracy or military rule. We have only had flashes of great performers
on the centre stage. With not too many glittering moments, the memories have
been fleeting indeed.


Corruption is a well-storied phenomenon in Nigeria. Yet to this writer, corruption, despite its obvious destructive effects, is not the fundamental problem of
Nigeria. It is not the cause of our woes. It is only the most telling manifestation
of a state that is not properly formed, a nation that is not properly governed,
a leadership that lacks purpose, a value system that has gone wrong and a people
that have accepted subjugation. But who should we call to help redesign the
state, properly govern the nation, conscientise the people and give meaning to
leadership? Political leadership! There lies the irony. That really is the
dilemma. That is where Nigeria needs to start from in order to get her acts


If Nigeria aspires to start a new journey towards greatness, she must learn to dream again, reinvent her values, work to her strategic advantage, fully
mobilise her internal resources, align her interests with those of other
nations, externalise her strengths, make other nation’s strengths work to her
advantage and ultimately create lasting impact on the world around her. To this
end, she needs a leadership that is competent, conscientious and compassionate.
The new leadership must be visionary, altruistically ambitious and passionate
about doing greater good for the greater number of people. The leadership must
deliver prosperity to the people. It must have a good sense of history and be fervent
about building a positive legacy. Nigeria will be truly great only if she is
blessed with truly great leaders. She cannot rise above the capacity of her


"Century Gothic","sans-serif""">Tajudeen Alabede


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I must appreciate your conscientious effort towards nation building. You have just been confirmed as an ideal realist. Well done! Sincerely speaking, I have been waiting to see your kind of intellectual like you, you will have to partner with me because the nation needs us to carry out our effectiveness which is an enormous task for each of all.
To have an idea about me browse out my discussions. Hint: [The mystery of Nigeria via romantic Nationalism.]
Sodiq Qasim.


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