Tears flowed freely from the eyes of all my colleagues who are Ghanaian-born British. They were terribly shaken; you could feel it – and most of us joined in their sorrow for losing Jerry Rawlings…
Which living Nigerian leader can draw such emotion of empathy if they should pass? May be Obasanjo – yes, him! I can reel out off-the-cuff, 40 items of Obasanjo‘s legacies – so I know majority will cry when he goes.
Otherwise the streets of every Nigerian city and across the world where Nigerians lived will be riotous in merriment, to be rid of evil, when the others go, whenever.
What legacy should you remember a leader by? Is it crowding social media platforms with minions to rationalise mediocrities, paying foot-soldiers to disseminate propaganda while the populace is obviously, impoverished and shorn of basic components of social amenities? No!
A leader dies but should still live. Nkrumah died a long time ago. But he is alive in Ghana today. Nyerere died many years, too but well alive in Tanzania today. Jomo Kenyatta died in 1978 but is alive in Kenya today. Félix Houphouët-Boigny died in 1993, but alive in Ivory Coast today. We still remember Patrice Lumumba; he still lived large today in Congo. These men brought ideological panache to governance. They fought and got power to effect change; not to covet it foolishly and laughably display it like a palace jester. They did not sit to be serenaded, worshipped, straddled and be venerated. They didn’t play god. They evinced long-lasting positive plans for their individual country.
Every Zimbabwean citizen is educated today because of the deliberate programme fashioned by Robert Mugabe. He will never die in the consciousness of even yet, unborn Zimbabweans.
Bad leaders don’t just surface in a country. They are thrown up and sustained in power by the collective naivety, idiocy and share lack of ability to think, by her populace. Until the populace of Nigeria realise that mental infrastructure is better than stomach infrastructure, they’d continue to get empty-headed leader(ship).
The people of Ghana l, both in and diaspora, mourn the passing of Rawlings today because they look back and see him alive!
Will Nigeria ever get a leader they’d mourn when they go?
Wilson Akpomedae Ozuem