Wednesday, December 1, 2021

How poor leadership denies nations, citizens prosperity

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Jaafar Jaafar
Jaafar Jaafar is a graduate of Mass Communication from Bayero University, Kano. He was a reporter at Daily Trust, an assistant editor at Premium Times and now the editor-in-chief of Daily Nigerian.
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The benefit of experience has shown that prosperous nations have attained it through good institutions, sound socio-economic policies, and virile system and ethics. But in many underdeveloped countries, there is clear absence of good policies and institutions; and where they exist, they have not translated to prosperity.

Nigeria, for example, has promoted a litany of supposedly sound socio-economic policies in the last two years, yet there are no indications that she is getting any better in the shortest possible time. It goes to show, therefore, that beyond the numerous formulas for prosperity rest the significant role of leadership.

It is on the basis of this unimpeachable truth that Dr. Kriz David’s book Leadership and Prosperity of Nations is timely and desirable. The book projects the idea that what separates poor nations from prosperous nations is the quality of leadership. In the foreword to the book, Rev. Sam Adeyemi, one of Nigeria’s leading voices on the subject of leadership, corroborates David’s position thus: “Clearly, leadership makes the difference and the prosperity and abundance of nations and communities are created by men and not by spirit.”

Leadership and Prosperity of Nations lays the foundation for the search for prosperity of nations, the pathway to prosperity, and systems dynamics, theories and assumptions of social change that establish the leverage points for prosperity of nations.

In the book, the author explores the diverse criteria for determining the prosperity of nations; he provides data and indices for economic freedom. He also explores different research methods on why nations fail and the different approaches applied in resolving the crisis of failure of nations. To drive his message home, the author provides a comprehensive study of 10 prosperous nations, and the lessons that to learn from the different transformation stories of prosperity. The 10 nations researched are Hong Kong, Dubai, Malaysia, Singapore, Switzerland, The United States of America, Denmark, Finland, South Korea and Indonesia.

David highlights that these nations are established on the value system that places premium on human lives, promotes equality, economic and social freedom of all citizens and high standard of living. Also, that what these nations have in common include: leadership with foresight, high premium on learning and the respect for rule of law, which establish strong institutions that promote meritocracy, quest for excellence and which do not harbor corruption.

The author identifies the three leverage points leaders of poor nations like Nigeria can explore to secure prosperity for their nations. What David proposes, in the first instance, as the leverage points for prosperity appears ordinary and commonplace, but upon a careful study, the reader is stunned by the indelible truth about why many nations like Nigeria have wallowed in the dark, and searching for an elusive prosperity. Before explicating these leverage points, David makes it clear that prosperity in the context of his book is not necessarily about a nation with good roads, regular power supply, clean drinking water, good salary for workers, food for citizens, and happiness for the few; he says these things are available in part in many poor and failed nations like Nigeria.

Rather prosperity, in the context of his book, is a complete experience. It is the endless pursuit of total happiness and comfort for all. This type of prosperity reflects positively in all aspects of the people’s social and civil lives – the culture, career, business, family, education, infrastructure, health, leisure, environment – all such things that make life beautiful.

In presenting the leverage points of prosperity, David also establishes that prosperity in a nation cannot be sustained when solutions to the challenges are addressed to the symptoms. All prosperous nations dig deep and adopt holistic approach of problem-solving to secure unbreakable prosperity for their nation. This, perhaps, is the reason supposedly small countries like Denmark and Switzerland will never be trapped in the quagmire of failed states.

In promoting the three leverage points of prosperity further, David affirms that attaining enduring prosperity is not a flash in the pan. It is based on systems thinking that is built methodically over time. And that when this holistic process is genuinely and diligently followed through, the result becomes the Singapore we know today, the Dubai we love to visit today, the Hong Kong that has remained the hub of international business today, and the Indonesia or Malaysia that have become the cynosure of international trade.

What is clear in all these is that prosperity will elude a nation like Nigeria if she consistently focuses on the symptoms. Nigeria has indeed focused on the symptoms for 57 years and for many more years in other African nations. The result in many African countries is colossal failure in leadership and governance. What Nigeria has in return is an impoverished citizenry and a future of hopelessness and despair. The three pillars of prosperity recommended by David are FAITH, LEARNING and LAW. Faith as a pillar of prosperity is not religion. It simply means the tenets upon which a nation is found – the virtues and values upon which the sovereignty of a nation or society is built. Without it, the nation has no direction for prosperity. Every nation should have faith as a pillar of its national philosophy.

One of the prominent examples of the adoption of FAITH for national prosperity is Singapore. Singapore’s proclamation of independence in 1965 makes clear its article of faith: Singapore shall forever be a sovereign, democratic and independent nation founded upon the principles of liberty and justice and ever seeking the welfare and happiness of her people in a more just and equal society.

Now, the question is, on what article of faith does Nigeria’s economic policy, education, law, system of government and the likes rest? What are the values that shape her leaders, their socio-economic projects and projections, their health policies, housing and agricultural policies? None! Nigeria is a nation that dabbles into human and capital projects principally to secure short-term solutions. Sooner than later, she ends up in an endless cycle of failure and backwardness.

According to the author, the very firm foundation upon which prosperity lies for nations is the article of faith. Great and prosperous nations are guided by clearly and aptly crafted article of faith, which is foregrounded in some virtues! The process of attaining national prosperity may take a while, but if pursued rigorously through the pillars of the indelible truth and virtue that defines the existence that nation, the resultant prosperity is endearingly and progressively consistent. This is the truth about all great nations such as the U.S., Great Britain, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia and so on.

The author of Leadership and Prosperity of Nations posits that regardless of tongue and tribe, creed and clan, Nigeria as a nation, requires an article of faith upon which the prosperous ideal of her leaders would bear root. This, indeed, is the fundamental error of leadership that has deprived the country of prosperity through the years.

The two other pillars of prosperity of nations, LEARNING and LAW, may not require detailed mention here. Suffice it to say, however, that learning or productivity system, human and social capital, the rule of law, the constitution, system of government, institutions and all other avenues that define prosperity of nations draw inspiration from the declaration of faith.

In the final chapter of the book titled ‘Through the Lens of the Futurists,’ the author brings to bear his profound experience, as an accomplished futurist and uncovers the crucible of leadership in Nigeria. He presents Nigeria as a nation going through trying times on account of the burden of leadership. Identifying and assessing socio-economic indicators such as insecurity, factionalised elite, a growing feeling of oppression, ethnic and religious intolerance, poverty, uneven development and huge economic debt, David cites the 2017 fragile state index that identifies Nigeria as a failed state.

The book ends with the author’s proposition for the preferred future for Nigeria. On the problem of corruption, insecurity, poor standard of education, healthcare and inadequate power supply that have bedeviled and crippled Nigeria, he identifies INEQUALITY, as the bane of the state and argues that the absence of an “article of faith” remains the root cause of the failure of leadership in Nigeria. He holds the view that ‘The Declaration of Faith’ will solve the problem of inequality in Nigeria.Leadership and Prosperity of Nations is a book for everyone desirous of the prosperity of Nigeria and the pursuit of happiness by her citizens.

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