2023: The leaders Ebonyi needs

All over the world, Democracy is seen as the best form of government. This is because, it guarantees human freedom and ensures the protection of human rights. Perhaps, popular opinion prevail and the Government is people oriented, Osita Kalu Ugorji writes.

Interestingly, a democratically elected government enjoys the people's acceptance and support. From the time indirect democracy was practiced in the accent Greek City States to the contemporary times when direct democracy or representative government is in practice, democracy   remains people oriented .

However, where true democracy is in practice like United States of America (USA) and Great Britain, the people choose their leaders without being coarsed or manipulated. Government accord much respect to the masses owing to the fact that democracy is the Government of the people according to the 16th President of US Abraham Lincoln.

In these advanced democracy, elections are free and fair, and at the end of the electoral process, credible leaders emerge. This is unlike Nigeria where democracy is practice but in the real sense, it is more of illusion than reality considering the the abnormalities that occur during electioneering period.

In these aforementioned countries where democracy is in practise, Only leaders with articulated and workable manifestoes are elected to run the affairs of the country within a stipulated period in line with the constitution of the country.

In Africa, electoral process is bedeviled with all kinds of negative propaganda, killings, rigging, thuggery, snatching of ballot boxes, coercing of the electoral officers to go against the peoples wish. At the end of the day, unpopular candidate and selfish leaders emerge. To challenge their victory in the court is always difficult because they will manipulate the court and have their way at the end. Moreso, apart from the fact that the process are characterized by human rights abuses by desprete politicians who want to satisfy their whims and caprices, it fails to produce the kind of leaders the people desire.

This is why our country Nigeria has been at the mercy of bad leaders for decades now. This ugly development has plough our nation to underdevelopment, coupled with other challenges confronting us. With the inability of the nation to produce good leaders through the electoral process, all forms of social evils are now the order of the day.

To say the least, the problem with Nigeria is bad leadership, not religion. Bad leadership watered ground for all the problem Nigeria is facing today. Agitation for secession, banditry, fulani herdsmen, kidnapping, yahoo, etc came to existence as a result of bad leadership. The Boko Haram Insulgency in the Northern Nigeria, Militancy in the Niger Delta and Kidnapping of people for ransom in the Northern Nigeria are all the products of bad leadership occasioned by poor electoral process.

The nation has been maintaining a status-quo that allows actors who see politics as a do or die affair to emerge as leaders. Effort to get our Electoral working to engender free and fair Election was marred by the National Assembly members who barefaced voted against electronic transmission of result on the guise of bad network in their domain. This had generated a lot of concern in the country and yet, the NASS members are yet to retrace their stand to conform with the wishes of those they are representing. Sad enough, only few among them voted in support of the electronic transmission of result.

These political actors always come with all kinds of propaganda and intimidation, and hijack the electoral process to achieve their selfish aims.  They promote politics of rancor and bitterness and use government machineries to make things work for their political godfathers at the detriment of the masses.

Though Ebonyi State has had some good leaders since its creation in 1996 by the Administration of Late Gen. Sani Abacha, the state is still rated as a poor state because the indices of under development are still rearing their ugly heads. This situation was excerbated by the present regime who paid less attention to human capital development which is the hallmark of development.

Notwithstanding, the year 2023 is yet another time for Ebonyi people from all walks of life to decide those to be their leaders. It is the time to choose those  that will determine the fate of Ebonyi people.

As the electoral process approaches, Ebonyians should bear in mind that their choice of leaders in 2023 will go a long way in shaping the future of the state. Therefore, it is time that the people should take their destiny into their hands by chosing the right leaders. From the look of things, Ebonyi people need leaders who understand their needs.The state needs visionary and pragmatic leaders, not self centred leaders. The people needs large hearted leaders with the needed charisma, who will roll out policies that will change the lives of the people for the better.

Ebonyians need leaders that will see their welfare as a top priority. Ebonyians need leaders that will provide jobs for the jobless, industrialize  the state to create wealth and stimulate economic activities, approve workers promotion and pay workers their entitlements, provide quality health and educational facilities, give impetus to a productive agriculture to ensure food sufficiency,  and fight criminality with the required political will and courage. They need crop of leaders who will harness the abundant mineral resources in the state for economic growth and development. These minerals resources include zinc, limestone, iron ore, copper, lead and salt.

With such visionary leaders, Nkalagu Cement Factory which is presently in a state of moribund can be revived and more cement factories can be constructed, and building Material Industry,  Izhiangbo which is no longer functional will  also be revived to create wealth. We need leaders who will lay a solid foundation for infrastructural development to trigger off industrialization and engender healthy economic growth and stability.

Ebonyians should not allow room for the mistake of the past to be repeated, but search for leaders with track records and proven intergrity to run their affairs. They should look inwards for leaders with workable political manifestos and Passion to change the narratives of the state.

The year 2023 is the time for positive change. It is the right time to say no to political voilence, tuggery, god fatherism, character assassination and hate speeches which are inimical to our political development and stability. We should not forget in a hurry the condition of our people before the creation of Ebonyi State, salt of the nation.

We should always remember the labours of our heros past and the reasons that propelled the agitation for the creation of Ebonyi State by the Founding Fathers, including Late Ezeogo Dr. Akanu Ibiam.

Like the biblical Israelites, we should be determined to change our story by leaving Egypt to the promised Land. The only way to achieve this is to choose true leaders in 2023.

Engr Osita Kalu Ugoji, the convener Ebonyi People's Vanguard, wrote from Abakaliki, the state capital on Wednesday 11 August 2021.

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